Hardcore Christian creationism isn’t just for the U.S. Bible Belt. A creationism-based zoo outside Bristol, England, attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year with its mixture of furry animals and fuzzy science, reports New Humanist in its Sept.-Oct. 2009 issue. At Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in North Somerset, owner Anthony Bush perpetuates a unique interpretation of the earth’s history, which of course includes a global flood and a kindly man with a large boat who saves all the animals—but also branches into soundly unscientific territory concerning the non-evolution of humans.
New Humanist writer Paul Sims, on his visit to the zoo, found the creationist agenda to be more implicit than explicit in the place’s signage and materials. “Rather than providing the headlines, creationist propaganda … was more often than not inserted alongside established science,” he writes. “Unless you are actually looking for the creationism you might not even notice it.”
But I suspect Sims, in his humanist heart of hearts, is trying too hard to overlook the obvious. The magazine gives enough glimpses of Bush’s interpretive displays to establish the zoo as a wonderland of weird science:
One sign reads, “Eating meat was allowed after the flood. Before this most people might have been veggies.”
Another describes “30 reasons why apes are not related to man.”
And another boldly states, “All the people in the world come from Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Caucasian from Japheth, Semitic from Shem, Negroid/Mongoloid/Redskin from Ham.”
The zoo has made the news a couple of times since the New Humanist article came out: The BBC covered the British Humanist Association’s objections to the zoo, and earlier this week one of the zoo’s tigers ascended a climbing tower and wouldn’t come down.
If the cat is that freaked out by life at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, imagine how it would do aboard Noah’s ark.