It's been a week in which I just can't get away from Creationism. Not that I generally try very hard.
First davegodfrey took away a morning
by linking me to LOLCreashun
, based on the pictures scalzi
took on his reader-sponsored trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky
. That museum in question is painful, but also so ridiculously stupid it's hard to take it seriously.
Yesterday, matgb linked to nannyo
's post in which she encountered the people
behind the Noah's Ark Farm Museum. miss_s_b
followed it up in theyorkshergob
by talking about the debate process and fallacies used by both sides of the Creation kerfuffle
. I refuse to refer, as she does, to the "Intelligent Design debate." Firstly because ID tries to falsely distance itself from creationism, when it is a deliberately designed and remarketed version of creationism as part of the Discovery Institute's Wedge Strategy
The Zoo Farm worries me for a number of reasons. Mostly because its website is deliberately designed to give an air of quiet authority and imply a respectability as a scientific institution. It displays their British Tourist Authority
badge and BIAZA
membership proudly, refers to 'our research', and seems to deliberately underplay the Creationist agenda. One has to go quite deep to find the creationist stuff, and by that time you think you're looking at a reasonable site. There are few links to other Creationist sites. They don't resort to the American Creationist tactics of claiming conspiracies and espousing the evils of science. They even advertise themselves as supporting the National Curriculum
at various levels. "Yes, we accept the Ark creation story as fact," they say, "but look!
pretty animals!" It allows the lies to slip in unnoticed.
Make no mistake, there are outright lies there. I usually give Creationists a little more credit than they probably deserve, and assume that the untruths they're propagating are the result of ignorance, but when they claim to have scientific and educational credentials and talk such absolute nonsense, I begin to assume they have
to know how false is the information they're giving, and therefore must be perpetrating lies deliberately to serve their own agenda.
It's not hard to believe, but deliberate untruths always make me feel queasy.
Its Animal Classification
page is just an example.
On the basis of our current research at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm we suggest that around 60 mammal pairs, 11 reptile pairs and 3 amphibian pairs gave rise to the vastly greater number of mammal, reptile and amphibian species living today.
Compare and contrast to this section from the Constructing the Ark
Our current estimate is that all mammals, living and extinct, can be grouped into some 120 original kinds. Similarly there may have been around 100 different kinds of bird and a similar number of reptiles and amphibians, including dinosaurs.
The 'kinds' database is broken on the website, so I went ahead and emailed their education officer (using my academic email address but removing the signature: no point in letting them know I have a possible agenda), she was very prompt in getting back to me and provided me with a document outlining their bird 'kinds' - of which they have 42 (Ha!). And then refuse to classify extinct forms a further 38 families. I'm currently entering into email correspondence with her, although sadly she's in charge of the schools programme, and it's the museum's founders in charge of the taxonomy - or lack thereof. However she was very sweet and asked me to point out the factual inaccuracies and unsupported assertions I claimed to have found. So, I take that as a challenge. Uh - wish me luck?
And apparently to mock my pain, Sinfest
yesterday yielded this gem:
DinoAIDS is one of those things that's only funny because you're sure you've heard someone rave about it before, and that's just sad.