Ashley Baxstrom: Thanks to our friendly fellow blogger The Sensuous Curmudgeon for drawing our attention this story: a story about the quest for truth. A story about history and modernity. A story about one of the greatest stories ever told – with a children’s board game. And a story about the people who hate that game.

In a Jan. 9 article entitled “Noah’s Ark Game Misses the Boat,” Institute for Creation Research (ICR) Science Writer – I’m sorry, “science writer” – Brian Thomas, M.S. (don’t miss the M.S.) blasts toy maker Ideal for their new Noah’s Ark Game (on sale at Wal-Mart!) for contributing to what is apparently a dearth of stories, toys and other representations which “parody” and create a “misleading impression” about the biblical Ark.

The 40-year-old ICR is an organization which claims to have “equipped believers with evidence of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.” You might think they’d be geared toward adults, or at least people over the age of, say, 5, who were capable of practical, reasoned, engaged thought. But you’d be wrong. Being a preschooler is no excuse for buying into things like silliness or fun.

Noah's Ark Game

“The Noah’s Ark Game looks innocuous enough, with a picture of colorful animals crowding the roof and deck of a boat barely large enough to hold them,” the article reads. “But it misrepresents the Ark to such a degree that it undermines the feasibility of Scripture’s account of the Flood.”

Yes. Because it is so important to maintain the structural feasibility of Noah’s Ark to a bunch of five-year-olds, who probably think one of the pairs of animals was a pair of blue and pink unicorns. Are you now going to tell the preschoolers that unicorns aren’t real, ICR? ARE YOU?!

Thomas goes on to explain all the ways in ICR’s pseudo-science can totally prove how the ark actually worked and was real, complete with footnotes and references. Really, very authentically scientific. Except for the fact that it’s, you know, not.

The problem with organizations like the ICR is that they try to co-opt the scientific process to prop up unscientific ideas like Intelligent Design or the Rapture (see: Harold Camping’s unsuccessful calculations). It sounds innocuous enough, for people to think that science and religion can support one another – to see God’s hand in evolution or whatever – but the problem is that it’s a porous boundary between personal belief and rewriting middle school text books. This is an article that says the Ark would’ve carried the dinosaurs before they went extinct, on a site that links to a story about how the Dead Sea Sediment Core Confirms Genesis.

The Sensuous Curmudgeon makes the following recommendation for future playtime predicaments: “An ecclesiastical board should be established by the government – when it’s a truly God-fearing government. The board will examine all toys and other images to assure that they comply with The Truth™.”

For myself, I think we all know by now that I’m not the kind of person who’s going to buy my child (future tense) a board game about the Old Testament – they’ll get their National Geographic Genographic Project kit and like it! But if I were a person who might buy a game like this… well, I think my first concern would be to teach my child to read, and count, and play nice with others. Maybe then we could tackle the structural mechanics of seafaring crafts.