Science Fiction: December 2007 Archives

December 27, 2007

More commentary on the creationist theme park

One of the stated aims of the AH Trust's proposed Creationist theme park is that it will provide an alternative to binge drinking for young people. David Mills ponders this in the Guardian's Comment is Free section:

Although the trust correctly identifies that there is a drinking problem endemic in the culture of young people today, to believe that by providing religion as an alternative so that youngsters will put down the White Lightning and pick up a bible, seems quite naive and out of touch.

What's more, he wonders whether the Bible is really good for young people.

To correct the wrongs of society, perhaps the theme park - using its multimedia to maximum effect - will tell the story of how Lot was prepared to give up his daughters to the Sodomites and eventually slept with them himself? Is it appropriate moral guidance to show how Abraham was going to kill his son because God ordered him to? Will it also tell the story of Cain killing his brother Abel? How will tales of rape, incest, infanticide, fratricide and mass homicide become the antidote to binge drinking and a society that watches too much sex and violence on television? Theologians would say they are not meant to be taken literally but how are they meant to be taken? Are these the kind of family models we want "our youth" to look up to?

Taking children for a rideComment is Free, 23rd December 2007.

December 24, 2007

Creationist trust confused about everything

England: Plans to build a creationist theme park have moved on, with a site near Preston now favourite, although the trust behind it seems to have no firm plans

[Trustee Peter Jones] said: We have a number of sites in mind, which have different restrictions, but we are looking at an area in the North West, in a triangle of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester.

They also seem confused about what it is that they want to build, or perhaps they are simply lying to planning authorities. Some choice quotes:

Trustees of the AH Trust Fund, which is proposing the £3.5m project, have looked at sites around the city with a view to opening the country's first ever multi-faith tourist attraction....

Quickly followed by:

From our research we found there is a great demand for a Christian theme park - a place where you can go and relax and provide a place for people to listen to God

Then back to:

as well as being a meeting place for leaders of all different religions.

And then an utter whopper:

He said the trust ... was non-denominational and covered all religions, including Christian, Catholic, Muslim, and Hindu.

So Catholics are apparently not Christian, according to the charity, and the Trust's objects are really completely different from those listed by the Charities Commission's records:

TO ADVANCE THE FAITH OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STATEMENTS OF BELIEF APPEARING IN THE SCHEDULE THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH MAINLY, BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY, BY MEANS OF BROADCASTING CHRISTIAN MESSAGES OF AN EVANGELISTIC AND TEACHING NATURE. TO ADVANCE THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN DEMONSTRATING THE LOVE OF GOD TO ALL PEOPLE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC THROUGH THE HOLDING OF PRAYER MEETINGS, LECTURES, PRODUCING AND/OR DISTRIBUTING LITERATURE ON BIBLE SUBJECTS TO ENLIGHTEN OTHERS AND TO HELP THEM TO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.

So, presumably multi-faith, inter-denominational and covering all religions simply means that they harangue everyone, regardless.

The AH Trust's most recent annual report notes that they have a grand total of £310 in the bank.

Religious 'theme park' would cost £3.5mLancashire Evening Post, 22nd December 2007 (via The High Weirdness Project). See also At least Disneyland admits it's fantasyPagan Prattle, 16th December 2007 and More on the Creationist theme park planPagan Prattle, 16th December 2007.

December 16, 2007

More on the Creationist theme park plan

United Kingdom: Commenters on Pharyngula have been looking into the AH Trust (The Assembly Hall Trust, according to the record at the Charities Commission), the charity behind the creationist theme park proposal, and it seems to be a little devoid of substance.

One particular comment from "tacitus" sums it all up quite nicely:

First, he examined the testimonials page on the company's website, and found a pile of extracts from rejection letters.

If you take a look at their Testimonials page, there appears to be an impressive list of British companies-Boots, B&Q, BAA, Thomas Cook, BAE, etc.

Wow, not a bad list from a company that appears to have no money. But here's one of those "testimonials":
We wish you every success with your activity and hope that you are successful in securing support from other sources. - Boots Group plc

Calling that a testimonial is a joke. There is no doubt that this is a quote from a rejection letter. They were turned down flat.

The whole page is full of such rejections, with a handful of positive comments from people you've never heard of at the end, including the founder of the trust himself!

Next up for examination was the Annual Report, which reveals that

They have no funding, no backing, no coherent plan, and they're are woefully out of touch with the sentiments of the British public on religion and moral issues. They haven't even been able to replace the three trustees who resigned from their board over a year ago.

The annual report states that they have a grand total of £310 in the bank. That should go a long way. And then something really scary, should you feel like helping them out of their financial predicament:

Their "Make a Donation" page accepts credit card details and then promptly sends them in the clear across the Internet.

Personally, I find the single item under "News" amusing:

The Church in this country is in crisis, and many Church Leaders living in Australia, America and Canada have openly proclaimed that God has left the Church in England. A view which we find amusing and disturbing. Evolution has falsely become the foundation of our society and we need
the television studio to advocate Genesis across this land in order to remove this falsehood which
presently is destroying the church foundation.

One hopes their books are not written with a similar standard of English.

George Galloway proves he's a nutter

England: It seems that fundie nutcases have got at what remains of politician George Galloway's brain.

But this week Galloway took a further step towards full-blown fanaticism, when he came out as a creationist. This is what he said on his TalkSport radio rant, in trying to rebut a caller who defended atheism and science: I was looking at my little six month old baby today beginning to take his first steps crawling across the hall of the Methodist Central Hall today, and it doesn't look like an accident to me. He doesn't look like an accident of evolutionary chance to me. I'm not really prepared to believe that from the bottom-dwelling slugs of the pond came the voice of Pavarotti. I'm not really prepared to believe that Albert Einstein and a spider are really the same thing, that they just took a different evolutionary path.

Galloway comes out as a creationistOpen House, 7th December 2007.

At least Disneyland admits it's fantasy

United Kingdom: Christian businessmen plan to set up their own fantasy theme park in Lancashire.

The latest salvo in creationism's increasingly ferocious battle with evolution is about to be fired in Lancashire. Not in a fiery sermon preached from the pulpit, but in the form of a giant Christian theme park that will champion the book of Genesis and make a multi-media case that God created the world in seven days.

The AH Trust, a charity set up last year by a group of businessmen alarmed by the direction in which they see society heading, has identified a number of potential sites in the north west of England to build the £3.5m Christian theme park.

At least one town has told them to bugger off. This is, of course, evil Christianophobia in action.

The theme park's anti-evolution bias and its emphasis on Genesis has raised eyebrows among planning officials, according to Jones, who originally wanted to build the park at the site of an old B&Q store but was refused permission by the council.

'Wigan council slammed the door in our faces. You mention the C [Christian] word, and people don't want to know,' Jones said.

Creationists plan British theme parkThe Observer, 16th December 2007.

December 1, 2007

Dying on the cheap

Today is World AIDS Day and Ben Goldacre has written an AIDS Quackery International Tour. Many of his examples are from developing nations where access to medicine is limited, but one is more embarrassing:

Before you feel smug and superior, the Society of Homeopaths are holding a conference in London today featuring the work of Peter Chappell, who also claims he can make an immediate impact on the Aids epidemic using music encoded with his Aids remedies.

Right now, he says, Aids in Africa could be significantly ameliorated by a simple tune played on the radio. Damningly, contemptibly, not one single person from the homeopathy community has spoken out to criticise this lunacy.

The BBC has more details of some of the original thinking being presented at the conference.

One of the speakers believes that the treatment, involving flower essences, can be used to halt the AIDS epidemic.

Aids quakery in Africa, and nearer homeThe Guardian, 1st December 2007; Concern over HIV homeopathy roleBBC News, 1st December 2007.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Science Fiction category from December 2007.

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