Michael’s Trip to Noah’s Ark

After his hugely popular public lecture last night in Bristol, “Why Darwin Matters,” we spent the morning taking Michael Shermer around to see some local sights. First we had everything frozen off on the Clifton Suspension bridge. For a Californian, Michael seemed to have an unbelievable tolerance to the cold which put my Scottish upbringing to shame.mike-bruce

Then we went to visit the delightful but completely delusional Anthony Bush who is the founder of the Noah’s Ark Farm just outside of Bristol. For the past 10 years, Anthony has built a complete zoo on his 310 acre farm that is dedicated to promoting the noahsCreationist view. Interestingly, Anthony regarded American Creationists as “loonies” because they only believed the earth was 6,000 years old. In contrast, Anthony had constructed an elaborate but equally unscientific account of life on earth. Still he never raised his voice or lost his temper.

We wandered around in freezing cold as Michael and Anthony argued over every exhibit and animal. It was all very generous and kind but when I spotted the brass monkeys wandering around with welding sticks, I had had enough. Anthony may be a very warm and welcoming individual, but frankly hell seemed more enticing.

You can read more all Michael’s experience when he writes about his encounter with Anthony later. After the farm, I dropped Michael and the incredibly tolerant Andrew Kelly (we were both considering setting fire to the farm for warmth) down at the SS Great Britain, one of engineering’s wonders of the industrial era (that and the Clifton Bridge).

Unlike Noak’s Ark, the SS Great Britain is one vessel that definitely once sailed the seas. 

UPDATE: This is for Poietes: Sorry I have become so UK-centric I forget that references are not always clear.. Here is the magnificant SS. Great Britain .. a boat made entirely of iron and as I am reliably informed by a Yank called, ‘Shermer’ the equivalent of a starship in today’s society.

ss-great-britain-glass-plate-bristol

 

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Michael’s Trip to Noah’s Ark

  1. Bruce, Noah’s Ark Zoo is now in my top five ‘must-see’ attractions for 2009. Yes, it’s right up there with Leviticus Towers, ‘putting the fun into damnation!’ and the Flat Earth Society’s Water Park (‘because if the earth is round, all the water would fall out, right?’).
    Really, though. A creationist zoo. I have visited the website and love the rationale. After reams of science (FALSE SCIENCE), Anthony sums up his argument thus: ‘we suggest that the most important facts to consider are not scientific ones, but the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.’
    Now I’m totally convinced.

  2. poietes

    Ooh, a creationist zoo, and they actually let you in? Did they have people sitting on dinosaurs just like the Flintstones, you know, with little saddles and everything?

    In dissecting that last sentence about the most important facts to consider, I have to say that the argument is a bit off-kilter. I mean, what does one have to do with the other?

    I have to tread lightly here because Corey’s family are Fundamentalists and they believe in creationism (he, however, does not), so the spoiler in me is always wanting to ask questions about apes and galaxies and water and logical things like that. But after 10 years, I’ve come to realize that nothing that I say or do, like taking them to the skull exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, will make a bit of difference. Evolution simply did not happen.

    So about that tail that humanoids once had . . .

  3. brucehood

    Hi Dark Lady…. it was a weird visit… I mean meerkats in West of England..I can’t even begin to describe the lovable Anthony Bush’s mind. He was really nice and gave us a “God Bless You” at the end. Rather charming and eccentric… I loved it and frankly don’t want to see his breed die out.

    Poietes, you have me at a disadvantage…Noah’s Ark.. mythical boat…SS Great Britain… real boat…nothing allegorical or clever.

    Guess I am just too knackered!
    Love you all.

  4. Seriously pissed off at weather and finances that I couldn’t go to this – I love a talk given to a packed house. On a much smaller scale, that was what your talk at Portsmouth Cafe Scientifique was like, Bruce.

    Jaysus, no wonder you were freezing your tits off on that bridge – buy a coat, or at least a fleece! Brrrrrrrrr.

  5. brucehood

    Ah Katie,
    yes. I remember well.. I think!.. did you see the twitter photograph just before… this is seriously dangerous technology… do I have to post every picture before an entrance? might be quite difficult.

  6. hey can’t fault the creationist after all i believed in santa until…have we ever proven there isn’t a santa for sure? hehehe

    my rejection of theism bothers christians more than their belief in “magic” could ever bother me! lol

  7. poietes

    No worries. I was just giving you a bit of the mickey about creationism, one of my favorite subjects, and Noah’s Ark, another one of my favorite fables. That’s probably why my comments didn’t quite fit in context.

    As for the U.K., I spent a bit of my childhood there. I don’t remember the S.S. Great Britain, but if it was around when I was a child, then I’m sure that I was probably dragged there with my father.

    But on another note, at the creationist museum over here, don’t know which state, they have a dinosaur with a saddle on it in one of the displays. I truly could not visit this place with my in-laws because I would be guffawing too loudly.

  8. Hi Bruce,
    You look soooooooooooo cold. Why not just bite the bullet and immigrate out here!
    Sounds like a very interesting outing. What I would have given to hear the conversations that transpired between Michael and Anthony.
    Maureen

  9. brucehood

    After watching the heatwave in Auz and the current Arctic blast here in the UK, it is very tempting!

    Michael is writing up his encounter with Anthony for Scientific American – I will post a link when I find out. Basically Anthony had an answer for every objection to his account raised by Michael. Let me just say that every time he was faced with a scientific fact that countered his argument, he retorted, “But Michael, you can’t believe everything you are told.. you of all people must be skeptical!” How ironic.

  10. Excellent retorts from Anthony.

    This is what is so infuriating about his ilk – they can sincerely answer anything with a pitying ‘forgive them Lord for they know not what they do’ sort of smile whilst trotting out the old catch-all ‘He moves in mysterious ways’ line.

    …and they’re usually so damn nice!

  11. poietes

    Nobbly,

    That’s it exactly. I couldn’t put my finger on it, or articulate it well before, but it’s the niceness that gets on my nerves. There is such a thing as being too nice.

    My mom has a saying about people putting on an air of niceness that doesn’t quite fit, you’ve probably heard it: “Sugar wouldn’t melt in their mouths.”

    That’s how I feel about creationists. They are very rational, have an answer for everything, and are exceedingly nice, which makes anyone who tries to go up against them look like a frigging arsehole. And god knows I’ve never been accused of being nice . . . curmudgeon . . .etc.

  12. Pingback: Noah’s Ark Runs Aground « Bruce M. Hood

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