Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ann Widdecombe is a fan of Noah's Ark Zoo

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In her Daily Express column (look, it's a quality paper, okay...), Ann Widdecombe lambasts the BHA for speaking out against the awarding of a "Learning Outside the Classroom quality badge" to the creationist Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, near Bristol:
"The zoo has put on such an imaginative and educational display that the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom has issued it with a mark of recognition. Those who run the zoo have established workshops which cover the national science curriculum but do not include discussion of religion and do not promote the extreme creationist view that the world was created 6,000 years ago. In other words it is a moderate, education-focused organisation that challenges children’s minds and produces evidence from fossils.

The British Humanist association says the award is inappropriate merely because the zoo concentrates on creation. In short the British Humanist association does not believe that children should be allowed even to discuss creation or to be exposed to any evidence that might support it."
Now, I'm not sure this would make any difference to Ann's argument, but I have a sneaky suspicion she hasn't actually been to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. I have, and I've had a good look at what the former government minister describes as "an imaginative and educational display" (one example is pictured above). You can see the photos I took and have a read of what I had to say about it all in my piece from last year.

Also, Ann says the zoo does "not promote the extreme creationist view that the world was created 6,000 years ago". She isn't wrong - nowhere in the zoo does it say the Earth is 6,000 years old. But it does say it's only 100,000 years old. I suppose that is a bit less extreme, being 94,000 years closer to the generally accepted figure of 4.6 billion years.

For more on the zoo's proprietor's "science", have a look at this brief interview he gave me.
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