Wales Online features a story on the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm furore (’Creationist’ zoo in row over school visits), in which a creationist zoo was awarded an imprimature of educational quality – apparently it’s a hot destination for Welsh schoolkids. The article quotes principally from the Zoo’s website, which clearly indicate the creationist bias of the establishment. One quotation is “After looking at the current explanations for origins and evolution, it is our view that the evidence available points to widespread evolution after an initial creation by God”. But what evidence actually points to any creation by a supernatural being (and what actual evidence is there for any god?). The article also quotes an NSS spokesperson:
“Parents should be clearly told what kind of place this is before signing their children up. Not only is it a creationist zoo, it’s a Christian one so children from other faiths or none are effectively being told their beliefs – or lack of them – are wrong.
“Noah’s Ark may be suitable for a Sunday school trip but not for a school trip to teach children about science and nature, especially if teachers are not qualified or able to separate fact from propaganda and explain to children that creationism is a minority view based on faith, not facts.”
I read the WalesOnline report shortly after watching Richard Dawkins’ TV programme on the issue of faith schools (Faith School Menace, More 4). There was a very interestign segment towards the end in which a child psychologist was demonstrating that when young kids are presented with two explanations for something, theyb will tend to choose the one that has a “purpose”. The inference of course is that when exposed to religious explanations (for example to of the diversity of life), they will be receptive, not just because the explanation is from an “authority figure”, but because religious explanations feature a cause and a reason. It seems to me that creationist zoos such as this one should not receive educational plaudits from dubious quangos, for this very reason.