A Creation Museum Catastrophe? [The Arena]


Is Kentucky's state sponsoring of the Creation Museum and Ark Park a prelude to a push to force businesses to spend billions of dollars retrofitting buildings to better withstand earthquakes? The answer may be an unavoidable "yes."

As with all such questions, the answer lies in liability and, even more importantly, the cost of insurance coverage.

The cost of earthquake insurance varies geographically, of course, and is calculated based on the risk of earthquakes of various magnitudes occurring in any given year. So, how are those risks calculated given that we cannot yet even forecast earthquakes right before they happen, let alone years in advance?

Well, it turns out that the actuarial people look through the geological record to see how many earthquakes have occurred in a given area and how severe they have been. They then divide this into the geologic time span in which these quakes occurred, which has traditionally been assumed to be several millions of years. That tells them, on average, how frequently earthquakes have happened in the past and they use that to project the likelihood of earthquakes happening in any given year in the future.

But the state's formal acceptance of the young Earth theory of the Creation Museum and the Ark Park changes everything. Now our official position is apparently that all of the earthquakes in Kentucky's history have happened within the last 10,000 years. That means that our earthquake risk has been stupendously and recklessly underestimated.

When this new understanding of our earthquake risk hits the insurance companies, the rates for covering buildings, infrastructure and other property against earthquake damage must skyrocket. The only way to mitigate this at all will be to retrofit our entire infrastructure so that it is more California-like and can withstand the levels of shaking that are, apparently, so very much more prevalent here than we thought.

The good news is that, assuming any businesses opt to stay in a state that incorporates young Earth theory into its fiscal policy, construction employment should skyrocket!

Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).