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.