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.£3.5 million, did you say? Funny, because that is exactly what it will cost to build the new Beagle.
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.
So which is it to be, o wealthy British investor-types? Roller coasters of young-earth mumbo jumbo, or a charismatic sailing replica of the ship that carried Darwin around the world and inspired his theory of natural selection, a ship that will bring students and scientists alike on a new voyage of discovery?
As if this news wasn't worrying enough in itself, it looks like the 'AH Trust' has taken a page from the Discovery Institute's 'Wedge Strategy':
By producing its own films, the trust believes it will be able to provide an antidote to modern culture. It says on its website: 'On television today there is so much sex and violence, it is no wonder our youth are binge drinking ... This is a revolutionary scheme requiring innovative people with the vision to bring about change and a new direction.'
It declined to say who the backers were, but admitted it is talking to a number of businessmen who have invested in city academies, leading to speculation that it may have approached Sir Peter Vardy, who has given millions of pounds to advance the claims of creationism - the belief that God created the world and that Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong.Surely if one British businessman is willing to fork over £3.5 million for a creationist theme park, hundreds of British businessmen should be willing to do the same for the new Beagle. We're working on it, believe me, but it will help to get the word out about this 'competing interest' just to show how dire the situation is getting here in the UK, and how much we really do need the Beagle.