Petition: Withdraw support for creationist zoo in schools

Over at today, someone has posted a petition:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to withdraw support for Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, and education focused, yet ardently creationist establishment.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm (NAZF) is a zoo just outside Bristol that markets itself to schools and is heavily focused on child education.

However, instead of teaching well-established science, it promotescreationism.

The literature displayed at the zoo is hostile to Darwin and his theories and attempts to debunk techniques such as radio carbon dating and interpretation of the fossil record.

Much of this literature – which is presented as fact – contradicts science on the national curriculum, thereby actively damaging a child’s education. This can be evidenced on their website; however, this is much diluted compared the ardent creationist material on display at the zoo.

NAZF also uses the VisitBritian logo to market the zoo.

The stated aim of VisitBritain (Britain’s national tourism agency) is to market Britain worldwide and to develop England’s visitor economy.

By promoting the NAZF, with its creationist agenda and harmful educational materials, VisitBritian is damaging the reputation of the United Kingdom.

I’m a little of two minds over this. On one hand, I feel people should be able to believe any bat-shit insane proposition they like. On the other, the fact that the wingnuts behind this zoo are making inroads into schools (what the fuck does RE [religious “education” – a [s]tatutory subject with non-statutory programme of study] have to do with biology?) is not on for precisely the reasons that creationism isn’t already taught in science lessons: it’s not science.

As these two concerns are not necessarily mutually exclusive, the only reason that I’m signing this petition is for the second reason, and not the first.

I just wanted to make that clear.

I also think that the fourth paragraph (the one starting The literature displayed at the zoo…) is both superfluous and frames the petition badly. I do understand and appreciate why it’s there, although I wish it weren’t and think the petition would be better off for it.

Note: The petition is scheduled to close on the 26th June 2009 (six days [ha!] from the date of this post) so please sign it, and repost as far and wide as you can.

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