Shame on the Cincinnati Zoo

| 219 Comments

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the Creation Museum have made a joint marketing agreement and are selling "combo tickets" to get into both attractions for one price.

The Cincinnati Zoo is promoting an anti-science, anti-education con job run by ignorant creationists.

Unbelievable.

Here's a little bit about the Cincinnati Zoo. I've highlighted a few key words and phrases.

Part of the public school system in Cincinnati since 1975, the Zoo hosts a four-year college prepatory program - Zoo Academy. The Cincinnati Zoo is proud to serve as the leading non-formal science educator in Southwest Ohio. Over 300,000 students participate in the Zoo's educational programs annually.

The Zoo has long been successful at captive breeding, starting with trumpeter swans and sea lions back in the 1880s. The Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) was founded in 1986 to strengthen the tradition. The research conducted here has made the Cincinnati Zoo an international leader in the protection and propagation of endangered animals and plants around the world.

Rated by peer zoological parks as one of the best zoos in the nation, the Cincinnati Zoo continues to set the standard for conservation, education and preservation of wild animals and wild spaces. Over 1.2 million people visit the Zoo annually. The Zoo features more than 500 animal and 3,000 plant species, making it one of the largest Zoo collections in the country.

I believe the Cincinnati Zoo has betrayed its mission and its trust in a disgraceful way, by aligning themselves with a creationist institution that is a laughing stock to the rest of the world, and a mark of shame to the United States. I urge everyone to contact the zoo; write to their education and marketing and public relations departments in particular and point out the conflict between what they are doing and what their goal as an educational and research institution ought to be.

While you're at it, it might be even more effective to contact the newsroom at the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati weekly, City Beat. Let's raise a stink and give these guys the bad PR they deserve.


Good news! Upon discovering this embarrassing news this morning, the Cincinnati Zoo has moved with commendable swiftness to remove the combo tickets offer from their website. The Creation Museum, however, has not done so just yet.

219 Comments

Ugh. Letter and email and telephone call coming up.

It sounds very much like what happens when an organisation is clamouring for sales/funding and becomes very careless about how they get it.

Also smells very strongly of the typical creationist “what can we do to make people think we’re mainstream science educators?” principle.

Email to follow.……all the way from Australia.

Yeesh. A zoo, of all places. I mean the only place where this would be even more absurd would be if a natural history museum allied itself with the creationists. Zoos are a showcase of what’s wrong with creationism. You can go to a zoo and learn about how an animal’s digestive system is specialized to allow it to eat a particular diet. Then you go to the creation museum and are told that EVERYTHING used to eat plants, despite that high degree of specialization among carnivores.

I checked the link and saw how they described the creationism museum. It says that the museum “presents a walk through history”. There is just no way to put a positive spin on this. A zoo, a place dedicated to the natural world, is working with a place dedicated to embracing ignorance of that same natural world.

I actually think it’s a good idea.

There’s likely to be more people from out of the area who traveel there specifically to see the creation museum than to see the zoo, and this may give them incentive to get some exposure to REAL science once they’re done with the theme park.

mkb said:

I actually think it’s a good idea.

There’s likely to be more people from out of the area who traveel there specifically to see the creation museum than to see the zoo, and this may give them incentive to get some exposure to REAL science once they’re done with the theme park.

That might work if the zoo wanted to do pro bono science advocacy by allowing visitors to trade in their Creation Museum ticket for a ticket to the Cincinnati Zoo. I maintain, however, that they should have nothing to do with the Creation Museum.

mkb said:

I actually think it’s a good idea.

There’s likely to be more people from out of the area who traveel there specifically to see the creation museum than to see the zoo, and this may give them incentive to get some exposure to REAL science once they’re done with the theme park.

Yeah but I don’t think it will work that way unfortunately. Those who travel specifically to see the creation museum are unlikely to be swayed by rationality and commonsense regarding evolution and species in a normal zoo. More likely they’ll do the usual “look at how this zoo fully supports creation”, armed with the complete and utter BS they’ve just seen in the creation museum.

On the flip-side, those who know a bit about science/biology are not even going to waste their time visiting the creation museum.

Net effects: (1) lends unwarranted credibility to creation museum (which is what I believe they, the creation museum, probably wanted). (2) Does nothing for science (which they couldn’t care less about).

On original reading I thought that this was a joke. Yes, the Cininnati Zoo has betrayed science, and common sense. There are people who take a literal interpretation of a something that is over 2000 years old without questioning it. If these people want to keep their believes private that is their right. However, to pollute the public sphere is just wrong.

I just moved to Cincinnati a few months ago. This is definitely a disappointment. I’ll definitely be sending some e-mails out.

Please do write to Cincinnati Zoo and let them know what you think of the zoo lending credibility and prestige by association to the creationist crap. But also do write to your local zoo and museum to forestall similar moves by them. It is possible the creationist propaganda machine is setting up reciprocal arrangements with other museums in their quest for credibility.

I have paid for family membership to the local science museums for more than a decade now. I will let them know they will lose me if they try to pull such stunts here.

Also please do support your local zoos and museums even if your children have passes school age and let your politicians know how much you value science. We will have much more clout if we are the donors and patrons of these institutions.

Apparently the Cincinnati Zoo aspires to become the Bengals (1-10-1) of the zoo league.

Please don’t confuse the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Museum Science Center. The zoology director at the latter is Dr. Herman Mays, an ornithologist and a staunch pro-science guy.

I’m contacting Herm to see what help he needs - but I don’t have his permission to share his email address with the public.

fusilier, in Indianapolis James 2:24

THIS MAY BE CREATION MUSEUM FRAUD Before everyone begins slamming the Cincinnati Zoo, let’s verify this. First of all the page linked to in Panda’s Thumb can not be reached via links of the Cincinnati Zoo website.

Secondly, the Panda’s Thumb page has “Convergence.Net” in the bottom right corner. No such logo is on any official Cincy Zoo pages.

This could be a third party website or ticketing company that is bundling the tickets and NOT the Cincy Zoo.

Could someone please call the Cincy Zoo? I have too much to do here at UPS at the moment.

Edwin Hensley

Here is the link to the Cincy Zoo website to purchase tickets.

http://www.cincinnatizoo.org/tickets.html

The dodgy combo appears to be offered on the site with “eticketing by convergence.net” in the lower right corner, https://tickets.cincinnatizoo.org/mainstore.asp ; it appears to be a legit group-ticketing site and does link back to the zoo’s own website via the zoo logo in the top left. The zoo’s own front page doesn’t seem to link to the dodgy combo. It is possible that the zoo itself didn’t know this was happening until the storm just broke- has anyone had a response back from the zoo? I could imagine some clueless wonder setting up the combo without thinking it through. I could also imagine some zealous godbot doing this deliberately.

Well I smell a lawsuit coming up. If the zoo really is part of the public school system and it really is promoting creationism, then they are in blatant violation of the constitution. This will be a good case to extablish precedent and if persued, should cause everyone to realize what a deceitful bunch of hypocrites the creationists really are.

Are we sure this ticket sales site is legit? It just doesn’t … feel … right, somehow. The link in the zoo logo in the upper-left corner is hinky, not like the version at the legit zoo site.

Just sent off an email to the PR and Education departments at the zoo. I hope that this is just a misunderstanding, or fraud on the part of the Creation Museum (sic). Has anyone heard back from them with a clarification?

I can’t find any reference to the partnership on the Zoo’s actual website, no mention in the news section, tickets section, or anywhere as far as I can see.

Looks like a hoax unless I’m missing the link.

If it turns out to be serious, I’ll send off some emails but it looks phony for the time being.

And no use accusing the Creation Museum of “fraud” without solid verification to back it up.

Yeah guys, let’s not jump the gun and accuse creationists of fraud! Why, such a thing would be unprecedented! Heavens,my monocle!

FL said:

And no use accusing the Creation Museum of “fraud” without solid verification to back it up.

Why should we consider a “museum” that teaches children that “Darwinism” is the root of all evil in the modern world, and that people used to ride around on specially saddled dinosaurs before they were killed in a world-wide flood for which no physical trace exists fraudulent?

Hi all,

I haven’t checked the NCSE website yet, but would encourage all to ask them to see if they could ask their members (including yours truly) to write politely to the Cincinnati Zoo, complaining about its “education” agreement with the Creation Museum. Without question, the Cincinnati Zoo has abrogated its educational mission. Indeed, I wish it would emulate the principal of New York City’s prominent science high school, Stuyvesant High School, who had pledged at an alumni gathering (which was held as the Dover trial unfolded) that Intelligent Design would never be taught there as long as he continued serving as the school’s principal (I will assume that he also meant other varieties of creationism too.).

Regards,

John

FL said:

And no use accusing the Creation Museum of “fraud” without solid verification to back it up.

The creation museum insists that there is scientific (not Biblical, not faith-based) evidence that humanity and dinosaurs coexisted. This is fraud.

This is not a fruad. Just spoke to Susan in Sales (513 559-7721) at the zoo and this is a part of a seasonal promation involving a number of local attractions. She confirmed that the zoo tickets and museum tickets are part of a package. Tried to talk to Katy(sp?)in Public Relations, at the same number, to tell her she was about to have a busy PR week and recomend she visit Panda’s Thumb, but she was out. Other direct numbers are(these are a bit old but the Sales number worked): Zoo Director, 559-7749; Curator of Education, 559-7737; General Curator, 745-6156; Executive Director of the Zoologcal Society of Cincinnati(Membership over 40,000), 281-4701. There is a national organization that accredits zoos and has considerable influence - the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Phone 301 907-7777, www.aza.org. Executive Director, ex222; Deputy Director, Kristin Vehrs, ex 223; Director of Public Affiars, Jane Ballentine, ex 236; Director of Conservation & Science, Bruce Carr, PH.D, ex 232; Director of Science & Education,ex Michael Hithcins, PH.D, ex225. I have lots of other zoo contacts and will continue digging. Couple of additional comments: When ever a zoo gets into PR difficulty Jane Ballentine from the AZA gets involved. Remember the very often the PR/Sales people get zoos involved in promotions that make the animal staff cringe. This is probably the case here. David

lilly said:

Then you should say so under your own name and publish it in a newspaper.

Knock off the outing attempt already, willya?

Why? The truth can be exposed anywhere and does not require one to shed one’s anonymity. Your surely seem to have a foolish concept of backing up one’s claims.

Speaking of that, how are you doing on your laundry list of failed ‘arguments’? Any backup with references to facts or can we safely conclude that Bobby has failed. So why do you return under an assumed name in violation of the rules?

lilly said:

Dan said:

FL said:

And no use accusing the Creation Museum of “fraud” without solid verification to back it up.

The creation museum insists that there is scientific (not Biblical, not faith-based) evidence that humanity and dinosaurs coexisted. This is fraud.

Then you should say so under your own name and publish it in a newspaper.

It’s amazing how “tolerant” all you liberals are of any viewpoints that contradict your own! There are millions and millions of well-educated Americans who believe in Creationism, and do not believe their great-…-great-grandparents were monkeys. How often do you see these good people getting all upset because others disagree with them?

I applaud the Cincinnati Zoo for showing more open-mindedness than all of the posters on this website. For one thing, they know that (probably) a majority of their paying customers believe in some form of Creationism.

Being an Animal Keeper at the San Francisco Zoo, it would seem pretty clear what my feelings are surrounding “evolutionary theory.” With that said, I think its a great idea for people to visit both a museum that focuses on Creationism and a zoological facility that doesn’t, then the people themselves can make a decision on what they believe.

Also, in this challenging economic environment, zoo’s and other scientific organizations cannot afford to turn a cold shoulder to those that may have different belief systems, we actually need to stand up and welcome these people.

Just my two cents.

Pan to Gilda Radner - Never mind. David

If you think modern monkeys are in your genealogical line, you are NOT well-educated.

And yes, clearly labeling PT posters as “all you liberals” is much more tolerant than our posts. Geez this isn’t even accurate intolerance - many pro-science posters here are conservative. Some are even (gasp!) foreigners who don’t fit easily under either of the U.S. party labels.

MoreOpenMinded said:

It’s amazing how “tolerant” all you liberals are of any viewpoints that contradict your own! There are millions and millions of well-educated Americans who believe in Creationism, and do not believe their great-…-great-grandparents were monkeys. How often do you see these good people getting all upset because others disagree with them?

I applaud the Cincinnati Zoo for showing more open-mindedness than all of the posters on this website. For one thing, they know that (probably) a majority of their paying customers believe in some form of Creationism.

Exactly. They employ a double standard, apparently without the least bit of recognition. They should be perfectly free to say or do anything they want, no matter how ignorant, foolish or contrary to known facts. Others however cannot write letters, complain, or even point out their logical fallacies and inconsistencies without being labelled as angry, intolerant and full of hate.

Either all opinons are equally worthwhile or they are not. If they are, then everyone has the right to diagreee with you and to call you a liar if you deliberately lie and distort. It they are not, then everyone has a right to point out to you why they are not. Tolerance doesn’t mean that everyone has to agree with you. Tolerance means that everyone is free to disagree with you.

The bottom line is that no one has prevented Ken Ham from opening and running his little shop of horrors. No one has prevented Amy from posting anything she wants. Perhaps she would be more comfortable with the tolerant people at Uncommon Descent.

Dear Ms. Smith:

Where is the evidence you speak of and the “real” scientists you are alluding to? You certainly can’t be referring to the likes of Lehigh University biochemist Mikey Behe, philosopher and “mathematician” Bill Dembski, and “paleontologist” Kurt Wise could you? Why should I ask? The last time I checked - which was yesterday - none of them have published anything of note in a peer-reviewed scientific journal lately:

Amy Smith said:

There IS evidence for creationism/Intelligent Design and there are “real” scientists who have the courage to admit it.

.…”In God We Trust.”

While cell biologist Ken Miller has admitted that design does exist naturally, he has argued persuasively that it is due to the result of natural processes like Natural Selection, not through the direct - or indirect - agency of a supernatural entity like a Klingon God.

As for your assertion that we ought to believe in mendacious intellectual pornography like Intelligent Design creationism and other flavors of creationism simply because “In God We Trust”, then I must retort that in real science, to evoke a “GOD” to explain phenomena is an unnecessary, ridiculous hypothesis that’s impossible to verify. If you want “GOD”, then please find this entity elsewhere, at your local Christian Church, Jewish Temple, Muslim Temple or Klingon Shrine.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

Dear Ms. Smith:

I’m revisiting these inane remarks of yours which you had posted recently:

“Good science starts with good questions. Why have they found cave paintings with images of what look like dinosaurs? Why are there artifacts discovered that don’t fit the timeline? Why are fossils of sea creatures found in the midst of the desert? Look at the process of birth and conception in light of evolution.…The human species as we know it would’ve died out long ago!”

No cave paintings have been found with images of dinosaurs. As for “artifacts discovered that don’t fit the timeline”, then that is a problem for physical and cultural anthropologists to ponder, not geologists, chemists, physicists, astrophysicists, or biologists. If you decide to learn something about plate tectonics, then you’ll understand why there are “fossils of sea creatures found in the midst of the desert”.

Evolution is a scientific fact. DEAL WITH IT. Moreover, it is no accident that Darwin and Wallace conceived independently of each other, the Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection, since both had collected widely in the tropics and had gleamed substantial insights from reading Malthus’s “essay” on population growth and regulation.

Once more I’ll remind you to remember that Science is comprised of an intellectual meritocracy; it isn’t the “democracy” of ideas which you so inanely contend, nor should it be.

If you can’t understand these points, then you are merely as dense as all of the creos who’ve posted here, the AiG staff, the Dishonesty Institute staff, and others of their ilk.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

Amy,

You said the you wanted to look at ALL of the evidence. WJy didn’t you look at the SINE insertions shared between hippos and Cetaceans? Why didn’t you look at the fossil evidence for intermediates between Cetaceans and artiodactyls? Why didn’t you look at the developmental evidence for bolwhole migration in dolphins? All of these different lines of evidence yield exactly the same conclusion. Cetaceans came from terrestral ancestors. You must come up with a better explanation for all of this evidence in order to overthrow the theory of evolution.

None of the evidence you presented is evidence for creationism. Some of it might be considered evidence against evolution. that isn’t the same thing at all. I would suggest that you stop going to creationists for information. They are in general a very intolerant group and I know how much you hate that. Please feel free to believe in anything you choose, but please don’t claim that you have any evidnce for creationism when you in fact have none at all.

Wheels said: I find the general cry of “intolerance! freedom of belief!” to be uninformed and addle-pated (not to mention suspiciously repetitive).

I find a good rule of thumb about tolerance is that it is something best applied to one’s own behavior. Demanding it in others is, by necessity, hypocritical.

Amy, you’ve spent many posts describing how rude we are. Okay…but why should a public zooloigal park fund a religious exhibit? Think carefully before you answer, there are many religions other than your own to which your answer will also apply.

I am very disappointed that the zoo has caved to pressure of atheist extremists by changing your plan to work with the Genesis Museum on ticket discounts.

In caving to the atheists, a small percentage of the US and your customer base, you have alienated a very large sector, those who are religious, and those who may not be religious but do not tolerate the kind of hatred and vile vicious attacks that were launched by PZ Myers and which lead you to the decision to disassociate with the museum.

Shame on you.

I would boycott your organization indefinitely until you repair this situation.

Oh, look, a Creationist concern troll who can’t get her pronouns straight.

Got any proof that a letter writing campaign to have the Zoo not associate with an organization dedicated to lying to children about science and reality for Jesus has alienated a large sector of religious and non-religious people in the US?

Or, are we to rightly assume that you’re still upset that the US government still hasn’t signed a law making Christianity and adherence to a literal interpretation of the King James’ Translation of the Holy Bible mandatory?

Samantha said:

I am very disappointed that the zoo has caved to pressure of atheist extremists by changing your plan to work with the Genesis Museum on ticket discounts.

In caving to the atheists, a small percentage of the US and your customer base, you have alienated a very large sector, those who are religious, and those who may not be religious but do not tolerate the kind of hatred and vile vicious attacks that were launched by PZ Myers and which lead you to the decision to disassociate with the museum.

Shame on you.

I would boycott your organization indefinitely until you repair this situation.

Huh, the zoo is actually trying to educate people with the truth, and not the moronic garbage that ignorant fools believe called evolution.

I’ve been trying to reach anyone of the cincinnati zoos gorilla keepers, for one, or the zoos director, and I have had absolutely no success. The operator at the zoo stipulates that “we don’t give out phone numbers and they don’t answer emails. What a strange zoo, because the public is giving their money to support the zoo. If anyone knows why they are not open with the public, please let me know - I am concerned about a gorilla named Muke, hoping she’s not made fun of, and that the keepers are giving her the very best of food before (I do believe this will have to happen) she dies or has to be euthanized. God Bless her sweet Soul. doreen r.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on November 30, 2008 11:03 PM.

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