Zoo farm hits back at science professor

PUBLISHED: 16:00 19 December 2013

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THE owners of a North Somerset zoo have hit back at science professor Alice Roberts after she slated how it promotes its religious views.

The professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham, who is also well-known for presenting the TV programme Coast, wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper after visiting Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Entitled ‘Why I won’t be going back to Bristol’s creationist zoo’, the piece focuses on her concerns relating to posters displayed at the Wraxall attraction which she says question the evolution theory and promote creationist views.

In her article, Professor Roberts, who believes such posters could distort a child’s education, said: “There’s little evidence of the creationist theme until you enter the large barn in the middle of the complex, which houses an auditorium and an impressive indoor children’s play area.

“The walls were covered in posters, and they made for interesting reading.

“Robust scientific facts were being distorted, bent out of all recognition, in order to fit with the religious story.

“Now, you could visit Noah’s Ark and not read the posters. But they’re clustered by the picnic tables in the indoor play park – somewhere all the children are almost guaranteed to visit.”

However, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has hit back, saying: “We’re not surprised by her comments as she is well known as a television atheist and humanist who doesn’t like the notion of God being introduced to science.

“Noah’s Ark is a Christian organisation which wants to give people the scientific freedom to believe in God as part of their view of how life was made and has changed over time.

“We provide some discussion boards which explain the theories of evolution, creationism and re-colonisation.

“We also question whether the biblical story of Noah and his ark could be true.

“Noah’s Ark is keen to promote thought and discussion for interested visitors, certainly not forcing religious views and pressuring unsuspecting families as unfortunately Alice Roberts’ article confusingly portrays.

“For us, receiving occasional criticism for our Christian theme by opinionated atheists is not new and gives little cause for concern. Fundamentally, we are a popular family zoo with an excellent and well-cared for collection of animals which is enjoyed by thousands of public and school visitors each year.”

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