THE Caleb Foundation, which represents mainstream evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland, is crowing this week over news that the National Trust has incorporated the creationist view of how the Giants’ Causeway was formed on the Co Antrim coastline.
The NT said it wanted to “reflect and respect” the fact that some people contest the views of mainstream science.
The state-of-the-art new complex, which opened on Tuesday, features an interactive audio exhibition showcasing the stories and the science behind the Giants’ Causeway, and looks at the origins of the basaltic columns. Present at the opening was Northern Ireland’s homophobic* Christian First Minister, Pentecostalist Peter Robinson.
The Trust said that the exhibit gives recognition to the fact that, for creationists, the debate about the age of the Earth is still ongoing.
A statement read:
The Giants’ Causeway has always prompted debate about how it was formed and how old it is. One of the exhibits in the Giants’ Causeway Visitors’ Centre interpretation tells the story of the part the Giants’ Causeway played in the debate about how the Earth’s rocks were formed and the age of the Earth.
This is an interactive audio exhibition in which visitors can hear some of the different debates from historical characters.
In this exhibition we also acknowledge that for some people, this debate continues today and we reflect and respect the fact that creationists today have a different perspective on the age of the Earth from that of mainstream science.
The National Trust worked alongside the Caleb Foundation during the development of the centre. Its chairman, Wallace Thompson, said he is pleased with the result of the engagement and the inclusion of the creationist view.
We have worked closely with the National Trust over many months with a view to ensuring that the new Causeway Visitor Centre includes an acknowledgement both of the legitimacy of the creationist position on the origins of the unique Causeway stones and of the ongoing debate around this.
We want to thank senior National Trust officials who have worked closely with us over a prolonged period, and we are pleased that this constructive engagement has helped to bring about such a positive result.
This is, as far as we are aware, a first for the National Trust anywhere in the UK, and it sets a precedent for others to follow.
The poll being run by UTV shows than not everyone shares Thompson’s enthusiasm. Currently 53.1 percent say that the creationist claptrap has no place in such an exhibition, while 46.6 percent agree it should be included.
Said Alan Thornton, in a comment below the UTV report:
The fact that a huge number of the visitors to the NT Causeway site are schoolchildren makes it shameful that they have given Creationist fairy stories any mention at all. One thing to present Irish mythology as a local tradition alongside the geological truth. Quite another to suggest that creationists have brought ANY science to bear in what the NT and the gloating Caleb Foundation describe as an ‘ongoing debate’ about the age of the earth!!
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Educators everywhere should be boycotting the site out of duty to their students until the NT withdraws the fairy stories and starts telling their visitors the truth. How did those responsible for this decision ever think for a moment it would escape scrutiny? This has covered the NT in shame, and the current Facebook and Twttier campaigns indicate thy’ll be losing a lot of visitors until this mess is sorted out.
Over 600,000 visitors come to see the Unesco World Heritage Site every year.
The £18.5m new centre, which takes the form of an underground complex with a sloping grass roof hiding it from view, opened its doors to the public some 11 years after the previous one was destroyed in a fire.
* After his delusional wife Iris got embroiled in a row after labeling homosexuality “an abomination”, Robinson said:
It wasn’t Iris Robinson who determined that homosexuality was an abomination, it was The Almighty. This is the Scriptures. It is a strange world indeed where somebody on the one hand talks about equality, but won’t allow Christians to have the equality, the right to speak, the right to express their views.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn & Agent Cormac