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Creationists vs Control Freaks

I am a scientist by training and inclination. I almost did a biology degree. I tend to think creationists are loons. Why? Well… I’m typing this with pentadactyl limbs.

But the British Humanist Association has lost the plot here.

The BHA has written to the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), North Somerset Council, Visit Britain and South West England in a bid to ”stop promoting the zoo”.

BHA director of education and public affairs Andrew Copson said: ”We believe Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo misleads the public by not being open about its Creationist agenda in its promotional activities and by advancing misunderstandings of the natural world.

‘We have therefore asked the South West England and Visit Britain tourist boards to stop promoting the zoo.

”As they are public bodies we believe it is inappropriate that they should support establishments that seek to urge religious or ideological beliefs upon people in these ways.

”As Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo threatens the public understanding of the natural world we have asked the local authority, who issues the zoo with its licence, to ensure that the zoo’s education practices are in line with relevant Government and other guidelines.”

The thing is… It is a zoo so obviously BIAZA will promote it the same way they promote London Zoo or Chester Zoo. It’s what they do. I doubt the Real Ale Society would call for a ban on Belgian Trappist ales because they disagree with the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception or homosexuality. That would be mad.

Thing is. I believe evolution through natural selection to be a mighty good theory. I do not believe it is a sacred cow or a dogma that needs to be defended except through education, reason and evidence. The BHA are being at least as dogmatic here as the most raving mad televangelist in a bad wig and a $3000 suit ranting and raving on TBN*. And they don’t see it because, just like the preacher, they are absolutely convinced they have found the one true path for all humanity. They are also being absolutely patronising. Who died and made them guardians of public knowledge? If Darwinian evolution is an accurate description of nature then we can find that one out for ourselves. We have no need to “protected” from false philosophies. Turning evolution into a protected dogma is the sort of thing which would have Charlie D developing high angular momentum in his grave.

And that final paragraph… So they are seriously arguing for one authority to be replaced by another one. I suspect a God didn’t create the remarkable variety of wildlife we see. I know for sure the government didn’t. No parliamentary sub-committee would ever be able to design a tiger. They’d struggle to get a warthog right. Then they’d argue for years over how many warts the hog must have. The world in short would have been delivered very late and stupendously over-budget and still would not work.

Out of 120,000 visitors we get approximately 10 complaints a year regarding this topic.

And the BHA have nothing better to do than raise Cain over that? That’s one in 12,000 visitors complaining. If the NHS could boast that figure it truly would be the envy of the world.

British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums director Miranda Stevenson said: ”I find it extraordinary that an organisation that I thought promotes free thinking appears to want censorship.”

Well, quite Ms Stevenson. Exactly.

Because the kind of secularism I believe in is not dogmatic and it is not defined by the great and the good (or the BHA). Do they not see that they are being just as prescriptive as the Vatican back in the days it was banning “evil” books? No they don’t do they? I have no religion. They clearly do. It’s the same old shit. Don’t allow the proles access to information or debate unless the philosopher-kings and moral guardians have filtered it and set the agenda first.

They would throw a hissy fit if their censorship was compared to what the Inquistion did to Galileo but what they are advocating is from the exact same playbook.

Ideas, like guns, beautiful women and fast cars are dangerous and that is why they are all fun. Don’t believe me? Fair enough, ask Commader Bond.

*If you have never seen TBN it’s a hoot. They run telethons to raise money for things like a “Devil-busting satellite over Africa”. They also sit on gold thrones and seem to have taken enough botox to kill an army and I don’t mean Luxembourg either. More like China.

5 Comments

  1. El Draque says:

    Hmm, lots of common ground here. I’m not a scientist but I’ve been fascinated by evolution since about the age of 10, I read Dawkins and Darwin, Gould and Leakey, and lots more.
    Since becoming a Christian, that hasn’t changed, it even intensified. I had a look at creationist stuff out of courtesy to friends, but rejected it very fast. The theories don’t fit the observed facts.
    Worth mentioning that the Noah’s Ark Zoo people are not young-earth creationists, from what I read. They see the earth as created by God and evolution, over a long time. There are difficulties with that, of course, not least the idea that anything was “meant to happen”.
    The connection to Noah’s Ark, of course, does suggest a Biblical literalism often associated with fundamentalists.
    And anyone who can object to this Zoo has a serious problem with philisophical and cultural diversity. I find it most chilling that they suggest that the zoo has to comply with “relevant government guidelines”.
    Is nobody allowed to think for themselves these days?

  2. NB. says:

    Is the point not that not only should we have separation of church and state, but every type of single interest group and state. It’s like one side of the political spectrum (loosely) thinks it’s wrong for businessmen to have influence over the state, and the other thinks that it’s wrong for the unions to. The question to my mind is why the fuck do we have to pay for someone to promote any ‘attraction’?

  3. El Draque says:

    NB – if the Zoo is a business, it pays taxes. If it is run by a charitable foundation, then it receives taxes, because donations are eligible to get the tax back.
    Churches get the same, and I assume any religious organisation. My church does.

    But I ask myself, why should every taxpayer, of every belief or none, forgo tax revenue because some people choose to donate it to a charity?

    Scrap tax relief for charities, I say. Off topic, but it would separate church and state.

  4. Rob Fisher says:

    All well and good, Nick, but the thing is if you steal people’s money and give it to other people you’re guaranteed to get insanity like this. No-one would give a shit if it was a self funded creationist zoo or a self funded any other kind of zoo.

  5. JuliaM says:

    “Is nobody allowed to think for themselves these days?”

    No! They might come to the wrong conclusions…

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