Ha-haa, England!

All you Brits who pointed and laughed at our village idiot who built a major Creation “Museum” in Kentucky are going to get your comeuppance: Lancashire is about to get 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.”

We’re pointing and laughing ourselves now, but I assure you — we also feel your pain, and there are tears in our eyes.


  1. Maarten says

    Oh. My. God!

    Clearly we’re not safe over here in Europe.

    I had this strange thought of God, in all His glory etc etc, erasing Himself from all of history after having given up in disgust. You see, creationists are atheists after all, just more militant. :-)

    Urgh. Humour is one way to keep your head up..

  2. alex says

    i believe this quote says it all:

    ‘It will be a halfway house for youngsters,’ Jones said. ‘Today all they do is binge drink. We will be able to offer them an alternative.’

    Christian Creationism – an alternative to binge-drinking.


  3. Maugrim says

    You know, as saddening as this news is to me as a Brit, I can’t really see the project managing to make money. Our national attitude these days consists chiefly of cynicism and apathy and a park like this is going to get laughed at by most of the youngsters it’s aimed at.

    I hope I’m not wrong. There *should* be no place for this ridiculously over-the-top American-style antiscience in our sedate, broadly secular society.

  4. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood says

    Fortunately, we British are crap at aping American tropisms. They always turn out crap and half-arsed. Our tradition of god-bothering is equally wet. I may have to visit this place for the yucks values and the excuse for a bit of creative abuse.

  5. JohnnieCanuck, FCD says

    ‘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.’

    What a fine mixture of hyperbole, lies and maybe some truth – hopefully. And all this can be countered by one television studio?

  6. SEF says

    I can’t really see the project managing to make money. Our national attitude these days consists chiefly of cynicism and apathy …

    I may have to visit this place …

    It will do well after all then, with enough people taking that view. It just won’t get the repeat visit money.

  7. AllanW says

    Heeheehee. I live close to the area this trust is contemplating setting itself up. The chances of building the park are not good. With its overt religious message and american backing it will find great difficulty in getting started. I’m tempted to wish it well though just to see how quickly it gets trashed by the youths it is aimed at :)

    Bottom line? You won’t hear much about this after this press release; it will die a lingering still-born death.That’s my best guess and hope.

  8. AllanW says

    Man oh man. Did I really just submit the phrase “lingering still-born death” on a message? By my own rules I deserve to be shot for maiming the english language. I have no excuse save that I’m chilling on a Sunday morning and my brain isn’t properly in gear yet. Apologies.

  9. Julius says

    And they’ve got the usual case of Christian Persecution Complex, as well:

    ‘You mention the C [Christian] word, and people don’t want to know,’ Jones said.

    It’s good to see that they’re facing a good deal of opposition, as AllanW points out among others. I’m wondering if there’s any way to submit comments etc. to the allocation process for the “government grants and European funding” that they talk about applying for…

  10. says

    Wow – they’re really going to show the scientists now! A theme park! I can just see elementary school creationist teachers taking their kids on field trips there…

  11. Ross Nixon says

    I’m just surprised it’s not Moslems who are building this museum. With Muhammad as the most popular boys name now, they may well outnumber the born-again Christians.

  12. Kcanadensis says

    Terrifying. The ark story drives me up the wall. To hell with genetic diversity, one of each is all we need! Maybe he should take his wifes advice…

  13. The green frog from Spain says

    Oh, landing in Lancashire, like in the age of the viking invasion. Don’t worry. No problem. The british survived then, and will survive now using their best arm: an infinite patience (with a cup of tea, of course).

  14. Matt A says

    I concur with #7; I don’t think this will get built, and if it does, I suspect it will stagger, wheezing, to an ignominious death in the face of classic British teenage aggressive apathy (see this for an example of how far back our lads have been proudly flying the flag of yeah-so-wot-wanna-make-somefin-of-it). I do, however, want to note a couple of additional things…

    Firstly, there are two separate mentions of “binge drinking”, so apparently these people have never read about the wedding at Cana where Christ Himself approves of getting rat-arsed in public. Sort of.

    Secondly, they blame binge drinking on the amount of sex and violence on TV. Now, I know people argue that there’s more violence as a result of exposure to media violence, and that pornography causes the rate of sexual crimes to rise, but I’ve never heard anyone blaming sex and violence for a rise in the consumption of alcohol. Other way around, surely!

    Thirdly, I was going to voice my total lack of surprise at the involvement of Sir Peter Vardy in this cack-handed excuse for an enterprise, but I note that these people are so useless they don’t even definitely have him on board – this is the man who put up cash for schools to teach Christian beliefs, but didn’t extend those beliefs to remembering the Sabbath day to keep it holy, since he had his car dealerships open on Sundays. (Yes, I know, Sunday is not the Sabbath, but you try telling some people that.)

    If this does open – ever – I would suggest that all UK readers join together, organise a coach trip as a unit, and vent our snark in one massive salvo.

  15. says

    I made a blog about this, and a post over on the RD forum. So so angry, I thought we’d never get that sort of lunacy over here.

    All the more amusing replies have cheered me up though, and the fact that by the trust’s own admission the church here is in “crisis”.

  16. reindeerboy386sx says

    Lancashire is about to get 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.”

    Yeah, how come God doesn’t make the case? Why do people have to keep making it all the time? Folks should be a bit more skeptical about such things, IMO.

  17. says

    Love the whiny final quote (boo-hoo we Christians are always being discriminated against! Council won’t support our insane propaganda theme park for binge drinking teens!)

  18. Matt A says

    Their website is good for a giggle – particularly the section on “special features” on the television studio page, where they appear to want to build the Skynet Channel – they say it will not require “cameramen, lighting engineers, sound engineers, video editors, videographers, [or] ENG operators”, as all of these jobs will somehow be automated. Now, I have some familiarity with TV production, and I don’t see how you can program a computer to do any of those jobs…

  19. Sigmund says

    I hope they do get the go-ahead for this venture, although they certainly shouldn’t get any government or EU support. Its much better for the fundies to be pouring money down the drain with this sort of thing rather than ruining the science education of pupils in school. There just isn’t enough Rod and Todd Flanders in the UK to make this sort of theme park financially viable. Its the muslim kids that believe the fundamentalist nonsense in the UK, the ‘christian’ kids are much too cynical.

  20. Damian says

    After looking at the AH Trust website – which doesn’t even look finished – it only mentions a cinema and TV studio. I am not sure that anyone should be too afraid, to be honest.

    The arrogance of Christianity in believing that it has anything useful to say whatsoever about societal ills, is quite breathtaking. History and evidence – something that doesn’t seem to matter to the religious – suggests that they don’t.

    They should be honest and admit that they are fed up with the fact that nobody listens to them anymore. Instead they have to dress it up in the usual nonsense about the goodness and life changing ability of their faith. They have only had 2000 years!

    How did we end up in a position where lying to children is seen as a virtue?

  21. Matt A says

    Okay, I’m hogging the comments, but seriously; the website I linked at #20 is really, really weird. They talk about stuff they can’t have done, in the present tense. For example, on the home page, in the sidebar in the left, they say “THURSDAY EVENINGS – Lively Christian Music played live on stage, and regular television broadcasts made via satellite and web TV. Due to demand, these events are ticket only. See ‘Bookings’.”

    But they’re asking for the money and the location to build the TV studio. So where is the “demand” coming from? I mean, obviously demand outstrips supply when the supply is zero… Anyway, I’ve now downloaded their Annual Report document, so I suspect I will have yet more comments-hogging to do shortly…

  22. MJ says

    Thanks PZ, for not pointing out that your Village Idiot used to be our Australian Village Idiot. But perhaps our Giant Imaginary Theme Park is next!?!

  23. Joe says

    The bookshop on their website is amazing. It has four books, one of them flagged as “not final”, and there is no way to actually buy them. And the TV studio ideas do indeed suggest that this may in fact be a great thing, as they are going to be hosing money up against the wall trying to bring utterly impractical ideas to fruition – “In simple terms we can reproduce a program like Coronation Street using only one set. It is proposed to build a large aircraft hanger to house only one set (stage). This will leave over 95% of the building empty. We propose to install 5000 seats – turning a television studio into a multi-functional building. Allowing 5000 people to watch the making of a television drama show on a Saturday evening and attend the Thursday evening lively music show being played live on stage.”

  24. kevinj says

    hey we have had creationist bollocks for ages now
    this site has some comments on it and deserves the hits anyway.


    i love the whinging about binge drinking i guess it is too much to hope that the feckwits would read some history, oh the Gin laws and the reason might be a good starting point for binge drinking in the uk

    unfortunately this isnt so worrying as the city academies where they can preached their nutty claims to an extent they couldnt manage in the states.

  25. says

    That’s a bit too close for comfort… I live in West Yorkshire, just five miles from the Lancashire border. This could be the opening shot in the Second War of the Roses.

    Now if only I knew some other Yorkshire Darwinian… Perhaps we could organise some sort of raid!

  26. says

    I believe I’ve identified the difference between the US and UK:

    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.’ […] Jones said.

    Ah… it warms my cold, dead Darwinist heart.

  27. Joe says

    Oooh, thanks for the tip about the annual report. It’s very hard to tell if they’re just stupid enough to think this will work out, or are being scammed by someone… They took in less money last year than the tip jar at my local Starbucks, and I currently have more money in my wallet than they do in the bank.

  28. Matt A says

    The annual report is priceless. I’ve no idea how much of it is boilerplate that you find on any trust’s annual report, but, briefly imagining myself as a digital Woodstein, I followed the money. What there is of it.

    There’s a tiny graph on page seven showing, allegedly, the Appeal fund. They reckon they’ll need something over £3m, which is large by the standards of an individual but staggeringly low for serious TV production. They claim to have been promised £2m, although by who is not revealed – perhaps God promised them that much? – but they’ve received, at best, a quarter mil by the size of the “actual” bar. The real financial meat, however, is on page nine. They’ve received, by their own figures, a total of £2,310 over two years, £2,000 of which has come from the trustees of the fund. They’ve spent £1,999. They have £311 remaining. I have slightly more money than that in my current account at the moment.

    The absolute best bit of the report, for me, is on page eight, under the heading “Achievements”. I quote it here, with their spacing cleaned up but otherwise unedited:
    “The AH Trust has produced a book the Omega Files, a series of fifty articles covering a time period from 9,000 BC to future events. These are scientific based, written by a Christian pen on topics from Astronauts, to What is a Freemason? The Omega Files is a magazine on human history. The sales from this book will go towards the building fund and we hope other writers will want be included in future editions.”

    I’ve read Youtube comments with better grammar. Not many, admittedly, but I have. If they plan to fund a TV studio with the sales of a book – or is it a magazine? – written to this standard of English, they I suspect they will be able to afford a cardboard cut-out version of their studio to show potential investors, who will invest the phrase “Yeah, it’s got potential” and not much more.

    Directly following from the above quote is this gem:
    “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. As a result Denis Rodenko and Peter Jones issued a Press Release with an invitation to all Church Leaders to become involved in the AH Trust new approach to the Bible, and to show people how to approach the 97% of people who have given up on the Church.”

    97%? Hooray! Someone tell Richard Dawkins that he’s won, at least in the UK.

    “We have sent out over 500 leaflets and in the months ahead the AH Trust will be holding seminars all over the country explaining the new approach.”

    Now, Mr. Jones, I don’t mean to tell you your business, but when you send out – presumably nationwide – fewer leaflets than local pizza companies send out in a week, well, I start to wonder…

  29. Matt A says

    Galloway? Really? Oh, frabjous day! An excuse to post this, so that our American friends can suffer the same mental anguish I did after being repeatedly exposed to it on every topical comedy show on TV for six months…

    Bear in mind, as you watch it; this is allegedly a serious politician.

  30. DLC says

    Somhow, I don’t see Euro Jesus-Land making much of a go of it in Lancashire. Do you Brits have witch-doctors like Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson ? These guys rake in quite a large sum of money from the credulous in the USA, and fund such dismal locales as Liberty University (where Liberty is the last thing taught) to American Jesus-Land, whatever it’s called these days.
    And to think I had considered Emigrating back in 2004.

  31. Maugrim (aka Justin) says

    #4: Lee?! My former boss? A fellow lurker on Pharyngula? I think my brain just imploded.

    If this place does get built, I’ll head up there with you, and bring the darwin fish stickers.

  32. Joe says

    DLC, nutters like that are largely confined to Northern Ireland and remoter areas of Scotland. Mind you Northern Ireland really is a hotbed of the buggers; the current Culture Minister, the wonderfully named Edwin Poots, found himself at the front in the ‘culture wars’ recently when he was foolish enough to admit in a BBC interview that he believed that the planet was 4500 years old – which is particularly stupid given that Newgrange, just over the border in Louth, is older than that.

  33. Mono Ape says

    Well, if the same care, attention and professionalism goes in to the project as has gone in to their website, we have little to be worried about. However, I’m not going to be complacent and will be writing to Lancashire Council (enquiries@css.lancscc.gov.uk), recommending they not become a source of national shame and ridicule. I hope others here will join me.

    Anyone know if UK planning regs have any legislation against promotion of Bronze Age ignorance / modern-day stupidity?

  34. says

    Ah-ha! I finally see that the Beatles’ “4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” referred to the holes in the creationists’ pointy little heads. Now if I could just establish whether Zeppelin’s “D’yer Maker” was, in fact, just a phonetic representation of some British yob saying “Jamaica”….

  35. maxi says

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this piece was, Lancashire? Lanacashire??? Why the hell would they build a Creationist Theme Park on the cold hills of Lancashire? (Ooh, how many times can I put Lancashire into the post!) Anyway… IF this does ever get built, it will fail. We British are too apathetc for this sort of American nonsense to take hold.

  36. says

    The annual report for the trust says they have a few hundred quid in the bank, no named patron and vacancies for trustees. They’re also pretty much illiterate, if the website and report are anything to go by.

    I think this is another of the Grauniad’s “OMG scary evangelicals are taking over” stories which they like to publish from time to time. Ironically, by drawing attention to it, they may have helped the trust get some more backers. Christianity in this country should be left to die in peace.

  37. negentropyeater says

    #1 : “Clearly we’re not safe over here in Europe.”

    well, I think we’re safe here on the continent (?) If this kind of joke is crossing the Channel, I’ll be eating my hair.

  38. says

    It will be interesting to see if Brits actually visit this park or if it will just serve as a tourist attraction for visiting Americans.

  39. flashbaby says

    I live in Manchester (Lancashire until local government reforms in 1974.) I have yet to meet a creationist since I moved here in 1982. The only in you face Christians are Jovials or Mormons and we get one at our house every 5 years. Any theme park would bomb I think. I hope they build it.

  40. jimmiraybob says

    …covering a time period from 9,000 BC to future events…we hope other writers will want be included in future editions…The Omega Files is a magazine on human history. – from #34

    Anybody have a take on any interesting future historical human events and feel sharing?

  41. tacitus says

    Why is it that these creationist groups have so much trouble with the unvarnished truth? 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. Most of the other so-called testimonials are almost as bad. They are playing fast and loose with the truth and obviously, they have been taking lessons from their American counterparts.

    If you take a look at their annual report (from http://www.ahtrust.net/ ) then you will see that this company is a joke. 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.

    BTW: Their “Make a Donation” page accepts credit card details and then promptly sends them in the clear across the Internet. They mocked up a donations page and then went live with it.

    A joke indeed.

  42. G. Tingey says

    The vile and unspeakable liar, Vardy ( I refuse to use his title, since a deliberate public liar has no honour) has long been an embarassment.

    There will be seroius ructions over this one, I can tell you.
    It is to be hoped that he fails to get planning permission for this sham show of perverted tales.

    I will be intersted to see what the British Centre for Science education says about this – once they have recovered from a brief apoplexy …..

    Excuse me, but …


  43. tacitus says

    It Vardy had any sense at all (even as a creationist) he would see through this company’s charade in two seconds flat. Creationist or not, he is a successful businessman and I doubt that he would be willing to piss away his money on some lame-brained theme park scheme.

    My prediction is that Vardy will not back this venture.

  44. kevinj says

    am i missing something but on the home page we have
    “Our aim is to give youngsters an opportunity to learn to play music, perform on stage, train as cameramen, lighting engineers, sound engineers, video editors, videographers and ENG operators”

    but on the multimedia page we have
    “A fully automated television studio designed not requiring cameramen, lighting engineers, sound
    engineers, video editors, videographers, and ENG operators”

    so that will be as good as their biology teaching
    “god/computer did it”

  45. AllanW says

    Well, the posts here and on RDnet from the english posters say it all; this may not get off the ground and if it does will lose a lot of money. I agree.

    Mind you, if they set out to build a theme-park FOR bingedrinking youngsters they would make a bloody fortune …

  46. David Marjanović, OM says

    I’m just surprised it’s not Moslems who are building this museum. With Muhammad as the most popular boys name now, they may well outnumber the born-again Christians.

    Must be because not all of them are fundamentalists either.

    4:30 in the morning? Are you not done grading or are you just awake all the time?

    Apparently it’s possible to send blog posts in a time-delayed way. And besides, evil never sleeps.

  47. David Marjanović, OM says

    I’m just surprised it’s not Moslems who are building this museum. With Muhammad as the most popular boys name now, they may well outnumber the born-again Christians.

    Must be because not all of them are fundamentalists either.

    4:30 in the morning? Are you not done grading or are you just awake all the time?

    Apparently it’s possible to send blog posts in a time-delayed way. And besides, evil never sleeps.

  48. says

    We’ve been looking at the AH Trust today. So far, it seems to us that the whole plan is two sandwiches short of a picnic. It looks to be nothing more than the delusions of a husband and wife team.

    With all due respect to the good denizens of Wigan, the place is one of the biggest dumps in Britian. Nobody in their right minds would locate such a centre there. It has never lived down its reputation from George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier. It’s rust belt country in American parlance.

    Anybody with the slightest of business brains would avoid Wigan like the pits and locate the centre in a much more central and accesible place in Britain – probably the West or East Midlands.

    The only reason that Jones appears to want to locate in Wigan is because that’s where he lives. Jones claims to run a programme production company but it appears this is run from his home and is tiny.

    Jones and hs wife appear to be completly unconnected to the creationist mafia in Britain which further suggests that the whole set up is a two man/women band operation.

    There was also a nutter in Yorkshire about four years back who tried to launch a similar theme centre; even the fundamentalists ignored her and the plan went nowhere.

    The key issue to understanding what is going on is that Answers in Genesis has largey stitched up, and now controls, the creationist movement in the UK. The other creationist organisations are tiny also rans in comparison. The oldest, CSM, has an annual income from all sources of around £60k a year. In purchasing power terms, that is equivalent to US$60k. The BCS appears to have an income of about the same. AiG’s, though, looks to be well over £700k.

    Roger Stanyard, British Centre for Science Education

  49. AllanW says

    “one of the biggest dumps in Britain”. As a nearby resident I dispute that; it is THE biggest dump in Britain :)

    However, you are bang on with the rest of your post, Roger.

  50. Bride of Shrek says

    Mr Shrek reckons all you Yorkies are wrong- God is a Geordie. Which would kind of explain the foul temper and the tendency to smite at the smallest perceived slight.

  51. Kimpatsu says

    Bob, you shall burn in Hell for that blasphemy!
    God is clearly a Liverpudlian, and the Beatles are the Heavenly Choir of Angels.

  52. Tobor Redrum says

    They’re going to make their case with a multimedia presentation? Wouldn’t a PowerPoint be more convincing?

    Seriously though, this reminds me of my philosophy professor who, after being repeatedly criticized by a fundamentalist in our class remarked, “A god that requires the defense of mere mortal men must be pretty weak and impotent in the first place.”

    (The fundie dropped the class shortly thereafter.)

  53. Fesh says

    I am fairly certain that this same bunch tried to open a park in Tennessee, in the US first. It is entirely possible that these are different groups, however, about 6 months ago my grandparents were contacted by a group who tried to buy out their property with, they later learned, the intent on building a bible theme park. They had successfully bought out all the other neighbors, (this is out in the soon-to-be not boonies), however, my grandparents refused to sell. Apparently the other property has been let go and the group wanting to build this park gave up.

    Now, as I said, it is entirely possible that these are two different groups, just with a similar purpose, but the timing, etc, is rather coincidental to my mind.

  54. Dunc says

    It’s very hard to tell if they’re just stupid enough to think this will work out, or are being scammed by someone…

    My initial thought there was “what’s Chris Morris been up to lately?” – but then I realised that this is far too amateurish for him.

  55. Louis says

    Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

    It’s prefectly acceptable for you Yanks to have to put up with this nonsense over there in the Colonies, but we won’t tolerate it here. I forsee a campaign of bombing!*


    *WARNING! Not entirely serious!

  56. Raynfala says

    RE: #2

    Christian Creationism – an alternative to binge-drinking.

    Well, why not? They both kill brain cells at about the same rate, don’t they?

  57. says

    For you folks across the pond I thought I’d send this URL (http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=121 ) which is a description of the first Creation Museum to open here in the States. The guy pretty much shreds the inconsistencies being yakked about in this multi-million dollar joke of a ‘museum.’

    Sometimes, some things make me embarrassed to be an American. This crack pot of an institution is certainly one of them.

  58. Edd says

    We already have a creationist museum small building full of hilarious displays here on the south coast of England. It lets people in for free, and presumably makes what money it does off the small gift shop. I don’t think it does terribly well. Most people in the city don’t know it’s here.

    I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to have these people lose their money by pouring it into something the wider public won’t pay money to go to, and honestly I don’t think many would.