August 27, 2009

Creationist zoo attacked by atheists

by David Masters

A North Somerset zoo has come under fire from atheists who claim the tourist attraction has a creationist agenda.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is urging tourist boards to stop promoting Noah’s Ark Zoo.

According to the BHA, the zoo farm promotes creationist views, and in doing so, is misleading tens of thousands visitors and undermining scientific facts.

Creationists argue that the universe and all life within it were created by God.

One sign at the zoo explains how “three great people groups” could have descended from the sons of Noah.

Another tells visitors that animals only eat meat because “man rebelled against God”.

The zoo’s website rejects Darwinism as “flawed”.

A spokeswoman for the zoo said the zoo promotes creation and evolution.

“We hold a view that the natural world around us is the product of both God and evolution,” she said.

“Although technically creationists, we do not hold the stereotypical creationist views that the world was created in 6,000 years and there is no evolution.”

Nonetheless, the BHA said it is “very concerned” that the zoo promotes “pseudo-scientific” ideas.

BHA education officer Paul Pettinger visited the zoo last month.

“I found lots of creationist and pseudo-scientific beliefs,” he said.

“They ask you to pray for animals, and so on.”

BHA’s director of education and public affairs, Andrew Copson, added: “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.”

Around 120,000 people visit the zoo every year, including school groups.

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