Thursday, June 16, 2005

Creation Myths at the Tulsa Zoo

“For that matter, even religious worship would have been permitted if the proles had shown any sign of needing or wanting it. They were beneath suspicion. As the Party slogan put it: ‘Proles and animals are free.’’’

-George Orwell

Well, those crazy, cretinous creationists are at it again. Not satisfied with undermining scientific education in the schools, they have moved on to bigger and more public targets such as the local zoo.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Park and Recreation Board voted this past Tuesday in favor of a Biblical display highlighting the myth of Genesis in which God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh at the Tulsa Zoo.

In spite of objections from zoo officials and scientists, the board voted 3 to 1 to include the religious display without regard to the fact that theology should not be part of a taxpayer-funded scientific institution.

Jesus loves me this I know... Posted by Hello

The lone dissenting board member, Dale McNamara, said the zoo is dedicated to animals and science, not religious beliefs. "I do not like the idea of scripture at the zoo," she said.

Exhibit curator at the zoo, Kathleen Buck-Miser, expressed misgivings about the zoo delving into theological debate. "I'm afraid we are going in the wrong direction," she said.

The move to have a creationist display was spearheaded by religious fanatic Dan Hicks, who has campaigned since the mid-nineties to have evolution-based displays removed. Hicks’ objection is to the statue of Ganesh, a Hindu elephant deity that stands outside the elephant exhibit. "I see this as a big victory," said Hicks, "It's a matter of fairness. To not include the creationist view would be discrimination."

Because the Bible tells me so! Posted by Hello

Zoo officials argued that the zoo, as a scientific institution, does not advocate religion and that displays like the elephant statue are meant to show the animal's image among cultures. The same exhibit includes the Republican Party's elephant symbol.

Tulsa’s conservative Republican mayor, Bill LaFortune supported the initiative saying the zoo already had religious exhibits referring to the Ganesh statue. But, more likely, the two thousand signatures Hicks had collected on a petition more heavily influenced the decision on the mayor’s part. After all, Mr. LaFortune is the man who declared March as National Caffeine Awareness Month in Tulsa.

The board agreed to post a disclaimer on signs around the zoo that reads, "There are many views on the origins of biological species and their behaviors. The information that accompanies our displays is based on evidence of the natural sciences. Because scientific knowledge is subject to change these displays may be revised as new information becomes available."

Another dark day indeed for science and progress.