Monday, December 08, 2008

Zoo Deal: A Case of Bigotry?

Barry Cox writes for the "Other Voices" section of the Cincinnati Enquirer and argues that the criticisms of the deal between the Cincinnati Zoo and the Creationism Museum are an example of intolerance and bigotry. He writes:

The debate, on the surface, seems to focus on creationists vs. evolutionists, but that, my friends, is a smoke screen created by the false "tolerance" of the left.

The creationist philosophy espouses that man and dinosaur walked together, and that all things are created via divine intervention. Evolutionists, on the other hand, maintain Darwin's theory of natural selection contradicts the creationist beliefs.

It really doesn't matter. The Cincinnati Zoo and the Creation Museum were collaborating only to draw attention to their respective attractions. Period.

The zoo caved in due to "dozens of angry calls and e-mails." Huh? Neither institution endorsed the other. The zoo gave in to bigots who cannot stand anyone who professes a faith in anything remotely divine in nature.

Here's the problem: a large part of the zoo's mission is a scientific one. All zoos house animals, but a good zoo (and I have heard that the Cincinnati Zoo is one of the better ones) also teaches about the animals, including their ranges, their habitats and, in some cases their histories. The creationist viewpoint specifically states that all animals over the earth are direct descendants of a pair of animals that traveled aboard an ark during a world wide flood a scant 4500 years ago and subsequently dispersed over the entire planet in that time. This is plainly at odds with modern science, especially modern zoology and biology, which teach an evolutionary history of modern animals from palaeoancestors. Unless the zoo endorses this viewpoint, it cannot be a party to it. I stand by my earlier post that if you enter into a joint agreement with someone else, you are tacitly endorsing the viewpoints of the other party.

As far as bigots who cannot stand anyone who profess a faith in anything remotely divine in nature, this has little to do with that either. The creation museum promotes a particular reading of the Old Testament that I and many other Christians do not share. I don't support it and, due to its reading of modern science, I do not think the Cincinnati Zoo should either.

1 comment:

  1. I stand by my earlier post that if you enter into a joint agreement with someone else, you are tacitly endorsing the viewpoints of the other party.

    I don't know, I'd say it's more like you're tacitly saying that the viewpoints of the other party are not so odious to you that you refuse to associate with them.

    And even at that you may choose to associate with them for certain purposes. The ACLU worked on behalf of Rush Limbaugh in his whole doctor-shopping imbroglio, but they certainly don't endorse his views. In a more extreme case, you might even find civil libertarian attorneys representing neo-Nazis in their efforts to get public permits and the like. Not because civil libertarians endorse neo-Nazis, but because they believe that even the most odious points of view are protected by the First Amendment.

    That doesn't mean the Zoo was acting judiciously. It just means they might have a low opinion of creationism but still have reasons to associate with the Anti-Museum.