BHA condemns “appalling decision” to give education award to creationist zoo

The BHA has strongly condemned the decision of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom to award the creationist Noah’s Ark Zoo in Wraxall, near Bristol, a ‘Quality Badge’ in recognition of its educational programme.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom was established by the previous government to promote educational visits for schoolchildren. Its Quality Badge is intended to assist schools in identifying external organisations, such as museums, who are ‘committed to providing high quality teaching and learning experiences’. The Quality Badge was awarded to Noah’s Ark Zoo following a visit by assessors in June.

The BHA is writing to the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom urging them to retract the award.

BHA education campaigns officer James Gray said:

‘This is an appalling decision. It is entirely inappropriate that the Council should support an establishment that advances creationism and seeks to discredit a wide variety of established scientific facts that challenge their religious views, such as radio carbon dating, the fossil record and the speed of light.’

‘Teachers and parents look to the Council for assurance that children will experience high quality educational visits that meet the relevant government guidelines. Awarding this particular zoo a Quality Badge risks exposing hundreds of children to anti-scientific dogma.’

‘This is not a freedom of speech or freedom of religion issue. The question is whether the information displayed by this zoo meets the tests of accuracy and truth that parents, teachers and other educational professionals expect.’

Notes

For further comment or information, contact James Gray on 020 7462 4993 or james@humanism.org.uk.

Further information about the Quality Badge is available on the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom’s website.

Explaining the mission of the Noah’s Ark Zoo, its website says ‘Undoubtedly, Darwin helped science see that nature is continually changing, but along with this great progress there began a subsequent movement to remove any notion of God from our understanding of life. This is unjustified and we look to put the case for a Creator across to those who wish to investigate.’ The site goes on to ask: ‘Is it right for Darwin’s evolutionary theory to be portrayed as “fact” in today’s scientific media and the idea of God, generally abandoned?’