Monday, December 15, 2008

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is a creationist-run zoo in the south west of England, aimed (admirably) at teaching children where food comes from, but also (far less admirably) at brain-washing kids into believing religious claptrap. The Guardian's James Russell visited the farm a couple of years ago:

When I visited Wraxall with my son's nursery group, we went to the animal show and learned the difference between a cow's horn and a deer's antler. We learnt that ewes have udders, and we watched the presenter milk a ewe and drink the milk. Then events took a curious turn. A donkey was led in and the presenter traced a marking on its back. Did we know that the domesticated donkey has a dark cross marked on its back, he asked us casually, whereas the wild donkey doesn't? Did the cross not remind us that the donkey carried Jesus?

This page on the farm's website claims that "Evolutionism is as much faith as Creationism is". Putting aside the poor grammar, as well as the dreadful, misleading word "evolutionism" (should we start refering to doctors as "medicinists"?), this claim is of course indefensible. Science is based on evidence, not faith (which is defined as belief despite a lack of evidence). The page goes on to give a brief run-down of some of the major steps in evolution, implying that they are each unsupported by any facts or data. For example:

13. Birds such as Archaeopteryx, complete with wings, feathers etc, evolved from an unknown theropod dinosaur.

This is a common creationist tactic; creationists have not a shred of evidence for their beliefs, so one strategy is to point out weaknesses in the alternative. These "weaknesses" usually amount to a certain specific detail that has not yet been accounted for. Richard Dawkins summed it up: “I bet you don’t know how the elbow joint of the lesser-spotted weasel frog evolved. You don’t? Right then. God did it.”

This approach is doomed to failure.

In order for their case against evolution to be understood by their audience, creationists must first present evolution, how it works, and what it implies. But given the simplicity of the theory, and the fact that it can be understood without recourse to any mathematics or advanced concepts, and the sheer number of phenomena that it can explain so satisfactorily (Dobzhansky said that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution"), do creationists really want their followers to be exposed to it?

A theologian recently thanked the organizers of the UK atheist bus campaign for keeping God in the public sphere. Well, the same applies to evolution. Creationists are bringing Darwin and Wallace's theory directly into the churches and sunday schools, and Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is planting the seeds of the theory directly into the minds of young children before they've even attended a science class. We can only hope that these kids are bright enough to figure out the truth for themselves.


bay-of-fundie said...

The problem with your idea that creationists have to teach evolution first in order to rebut it is that they teach it incorrectly. They come up with such crazy ideas about it that even I wouldn't believe in evolution if they taught it to me. Just look at Ray Comfort's crocoduck, for example. He says that evolution can't be real because the half-crocodile half-duck never existed.

Luke O'Dell said...

Very true, and I am assuming some good faith on the part of the creationists that they follow their own religious teachings and tell the truth rather than "lying for Jesus".

Malcolm Akkers said...

Pity I can't think of an easy way to stop them selling themselves as an "educational" experience. I'm pretty sure the notion of a pre-flood, self watering planet with a cool core ain't anywhere in the National Curriculum....or at least I hope it isn't!

Hale Meserow said...

You say science is based upon evidence. Yet you hold to a theory--which you call fact--that has absolutely no evidence to support it. Can you tell me just one thing that is true about Darwinism? finch beaks. Finches change beak size as the seasons go from wet to dry, but they always change back and they do not become eagles.

Also please do not attempt to use the fossil record as a "fact," since it is an embarrassment for Darwinists.

If you have any evidence whatsoever of the interspecies progression on which Darwinism depends, I would love to hear it.

Anonymous said...

The above comments just demonstrates the drivel that creationists come up with when their cherished beliefs are threatened.
I'm guessing you have never bothered to read Darwins Theory of Evolution in any detail other wise you would know about Finch Beaks and yes they are different. They have different functions.
The argument that a Finch does not turn into an Eagle is just plain stupid and is not a scientific argument. That is the sort of question I would expect from a child not an educated adult.
The fossil record far from being an embarrassment to Darwinists is quite the opposite. I presume your information comes from one of the many creationist sites which lack any sort of scientific background.
If you want to find evidence of Darwinsim I suggest you go to your local library and get some books out on the Theory of Evolution, biology, paleontology and geology, plus have a good look at proper scientific websites not creationist ones and read up on the latest developments in scientific publications such as New Scientist and Scientific American.
Don't bother with the bible, it is not a scientific publication.

Anonymous said...

"Can you tell me just one thing that is true about Darwinism? Please..."

I'll be kind to a cretinist for once, since they have so little cerebral matter.
The vagus nerve. This one bit of evidence blows cretinism out of the water, and demonstrates that our remote ancestors were fishes.
Go now cretinist and learn more about vagus nerves.