A full two years have passed since we wrote Creationism in Northern Ireland: Institutional Insanity. It was about a band of creationists who wanted some kind of control over Giant’s Causeway — a geological phenomenon as important to Northern Ireland as the Grand Canyon is to the United States.
The next few indented paragraphs are the background information we provided then:
Northern Ireland’s culture minister, Nelson McCausland, wants the Ulster Museum to include information about creationism and intelligent design. He says that the inclusion of anti-Darwinian theories in the museum is “a human rights issue.” He’s been exposed to all the world as being raving mad, and now — instead of resigning in disgrace — he wants a government investigation into the “leak” of his letter.
It now appears that McCausland is little more than a useful idiot for his masters at the Caleb Foundation, which seems to be a combination of the worst aspects of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) and Answers in Genesis. It also appears that the Caleb Foundation are the puppet masters for the DUP — the Democratic Unionist Party, which is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Much has been happening since we last visited this issue — all of it bad. Today, at the website of UTV, part of a media conglomerate in Northern Ireland , we read Causeway centre gives creationist view. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
An exhibit in the new Giants’ Causeway Visitors’ Centre acknowledges the creationist view of how the world-famous stones were formed. The National Trust said it wanted to “reflect and respect” the fact that some people contest the views of mainstream science.
Isn’t that sweet? It’s as if something like Answers in Genesis took over the National Park system in the US. Here’s more:
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.
“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.”
Let’s read on:
The National Trust worked alongside the Caleb Foundation, which represents mainstream evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland, 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.
Here’s another quote from Thompson:
“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.“
Meanwhile, at the website of the National Secular Society, which describes itself as “Britain’s only organisation working exclusively towards a secular society,” we read National Trust puts creationism on show at new visitor centre. They say, with our bold font:
The National Trust had been under pressure from evangelical Christians to give equal prominence to its religious viewpoint in the new £18.5m (partly publicly funded) visitor centre at the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Northern Ireland’s north Antrim coast.
Creationists believe the stones, which emerged from the sea-bed following intense volcanic and geological activity 60 million years ago, were in fact formed around 4,500 years ago as a result of Noah’s Flood. Wallace Thompson, chairman of the creationist Caleb Foundation said he was pleased with the inclusion of the creationist view:
And they express their disappointment:
Stephen Evans at the National Secular Society said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see the National Trust giving credence to bogus creationist explanations for this world famous heritage site. Visitors, many of whom will be children on school trips, expect to be informed at the new Centre, not presented with religious propaganda.
“We’ve seen how Christian fundamentalists have gained ground in promoting creationist nonsense in the United States; we must be vigilant and not allow those kinds of ideas to gain a foothold in this country”.
They also have some kind of Facebook page where people can express their outrage — for all the good that will do. It appears to us that the government of Northern Ireland is officially committed to young-earth creationism.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.