This website is about the origin of the Earth and the organisms that live on it. It’s not an attempt to detail every event or process that led up to the present world, but an attempt to help the reader understand – without explaining away – something of life’s mystery.
There are good websites and bad ones, some well-informed, some misleading, and it is not always easy to distinguish between them. So we will say a few words about our values and motivation.
In relation to origins, the present contenders in the market place are Darwinism and creationism. These are polar positions, and many people would prefer not to be identified with either of them, as they tend to be polemical. Strong opinions are held because what is being fought over is an explanation of existence, of the thing we call life.
What, then, is life? Consult biology textbooks and you’ll find a variety of definitions. After acknowledging that it is not easy to define, they will usually say that it has a number of properties, such as growth, reproduction, and energy utilisation.
Such an approach has its place. Nonetheless, life is best understood from the inside, from the experience of being oneself a living being. We know it intimately even if we do not understand it, because we are beings that think, feel and perceive. Life is in essence spirit, not matter. Its origin must therefore be spirit. Every time a new baby comes into the world, it owes its life to the giver of life.
That perception has implications for how one understands evolution. If, with every individual, life is a gift and comes from above, then what passes from parent to child is only half the story, and it is a mistake to suppose that life can account for itself, beginning from chemicals in the sea and gradually attaining the fantastic diversity we see today. Organisms have changed over time – that is the clear message of the fossils – and species have proliferated, but it is quite another thing to suppose that their ancestry can be reduced to the properties of self-organising atoms. Even bacteria are miracles of engineering.
We object to Darwinism because it represents life as something understandable solely in terms of matter. It fails to recognise the author of life and, within educational institutions, it tolerates no contrary view. We object to creationism because it is primarily a reaction against Darwinism: it perpetuates the false association between evolutionary change and common ancestry, and it promotes an association, equally false, between creation and the doctrine that the universe is less than 10,000 years old. It consequently misrepresents the fossil and geological evidence to a degree that orthodox science – most of which is not ideologically driven – does not.
We take no position on the age of the Earth, except to point out that its claimed age of 4.6 billion years old rests on the assumption that rates of radioactive decay have always been constant. That is a fundamental tenet that science is currently unprepared to question. In our opinion, the primary evidence (some of which we discuss) indicates timescales much shorter.
The research that has gone into developing the new approach has benefited from the financial support of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, a private zoo located just south of Bristol, in the UK. It also pays for the running costs. The relationship is at arm’s length and often enough the research has led to outcomes that were both surprising and ideologically difficult to accommodate (e.g. concerning timescales and the magnitude of biological transformations over time). But there has been no backing off.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm seeks to promote the ideas pioneered here to a wider public, both through its own website and through its many displays. We endeavour to be truthful, accurate and conversant with the scientific ‘state of the art’, so please write to us if in places we appear to have failed.