f Humanisticus: Creationism Comes to Ireland's 6000 Year Old Shores

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Creationism Comes to Ireland's 6000 Year Old Shores

I have always watched with keen interest the problem of creationism in the US and how, despite all evidence refuting it, it still hasn’t been weeded out of the education system. I have counted ourselves (Ireland) lucky that we haven’t had to contend with such bullshit, excuse the crassness but that is what it is, pure and utter bullshit, arse-gravy, the very worst kind of verbal diarrhoea, I simply cannot stress enough how completely and utterly stupid creationism is, but I am sure you all well aware of this. So you can imagine my horror when it was revealed the National Trust (NT) included the creationists view alongside the scientific consensus in the new Giant’s Causeway visitor’s centre. Why the NT, an organisation which preserves and protects many historic sites around the whole of the UK, decided to allow the creationist view is not only baffling but also quite worrying. Due to the criticism rightly directed at the NT after this was discovered, they released a statement explaining their decision; 

‘The interpretation in the visitor centre showcases the science of how the stones were formed, the history of this special place and the stories of local characters. We reflect, in a small part of the exhibition, that the Causeway played a role in the historic debate about the formation of the earth, and that for some people this debate continues today. The National Trust fully supports the scientific explanation for the creation of the stones 60 million years ago.’
The problem with this is that they portray the creationist view as ongoing rather than historical. If the NT presented the creationist view in a similar manner the Finn McCool myth then there would not be an issue, however, they present it as an ongoing debate, as if somehow there is uncertainty regarding the origin of the causeway. Here is a transcript from the centre which references creationism;

Like many natural phenomena around the world, the Giant's Causeway has raised questions and prompted debate about how it was formed. This debate has ebbed and flowed since the discovery of the Causeway to science and, historically, the Causeway became part of a global debate about how the earth's rocks were formed. This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science. Young Earth Creationists believe that the earth was created some 6000 years ago. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and in particular the account of creation in the book of Genesis. Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective. Young Earth Creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant's Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it.
As you can clearly see the NT doesn’t simply present the creationist view as an historical debate but as contemporaneous with modern science. It validates their point of view and presents the possibility it could be true. I am also trying to figure out exactly what ‘debate’ they are referring to. Just because there are people who believe in creationism does not mean there is a debate, it just means idiots exist in this world. There is a flat earth society, does that mean the shape of the Earth is now up for debate because of few clueless people say it isn’t round. Almost 1 in 4 Britons believe the moon landings were a fake, which is far more than those who believe in creationism. So should we ignore all evidence and offer these alternate views to school children? Simple answer is no, there are many people out there who ignore evidence and believe in many strange things and there is no reason why we should validate these arguments because the only outcome is the continued pervasion of ignorance.

The NT cited respect of others views for the reasoning behind their decision to incorporate creationism; however, if respect of alternative views is the true motivator then the NT should include all alternative views and not just creationism. To this end a rather satirical letter was written and sent to both the NT and the Caleb Foundation, the evangelical group behind the creationist perspective. This letter was promulgated by Geoff of Geoff’s Shorts and I urge you to read his letter here. Geoff requests, rightly so, that the NT include the Druidic interpretation of the causeway, and why not, it has as much credence as creationism. So if the NT is truly about respect then surely they would include the Druidic interpretation, especially since this version has existed much than longer and is more traditionally Irish. And in the name of pluralism and multiculturalism then they should also include other religion’s viewpoint. Unfortunately I don’t think they will which points to something sinister. I feel that the NT included the creationist view due to either some form of political pressure or for some form of financial benefit. Shall we see creationism expand throughout more NT site or is this an isolated incident. Hopefully isolated but either way damage has been caused, by allowing the creationist interpretation the NT has set a precedent and you can be sure the Caleb Foundation and others like them will leap upon this and pressure other organisations and possibly schools to include their creationist outlook in their programs.

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  1. Have you even bothered to check out what the actual exibit says?

    "During an interactive audio exhibition, the historical figures of the rector of Clonfeacle Reverend Doctor William Richardson and geologist James Hutton debate the formation of the Causeway.

    "I am a keen naturalist, so I have every sympathy for open-minded scientific enquiry. But as I say, I am deeply concerned that Mr. Hutton may mislead you with his theories on the age of the Earth," the rector is heard to say.

    "We know from the Bible that the Earth is 6,000 years old - one has merely to count the generations between Adam and the birth of Our Lord.

    "And for all his eminence as a geologist, and his standing with the Royal Society in Edinburgh, that makes Mr. Hutton's theory nonsense!"

    Mr Hutton responds: "Now, now, Dr. Richardson - I am well aware that my theory is challenging, upsetting to many. I myself find it dizzying.

    "Yet when I look at the evidence, at the slow and steady volcanic formation of rocks - occurring even as we speak - I am driven to believe that 6,000 years is a mere blink in the life of the Earth.

    "I see no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end!"

    "All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects mainstream scientific understanding that the Causeway stones were formed 60 million years ago. "


    1. Considering I have actual quotes from the exhibit clearly shows I have 'bothered' to check what it says. However, I am wondering if you 'bothered' to read what I have wrote. I did not include the above section as I don't really have a problem with it, as it does present the debate as historical, however, they do not just present it as an historical debate but also as a current debate (see above quotes) which it isn't. Also the other issue I raised is why does the NT only present the evangelical Christian debate and not the Druidic debate, or any other religions view on the topic.

      There is no logical reason why the NT should ever present this information at the Giant's Causeway without presenting all other origin stories. The NT is clearly showing a bias towards the evangelical Christians.

  2. Hi Peter. I thought you might be interested in listening to this from 42:30 onwards. It's in relation to the posted topic here: http://www.reddit.com/tb/w7ghn

    1. I wonder how much Dawkins had to bite his tongue when the woman kept referring to herself as 'smart' and 'thinking'.

    2. That was very cringey indeed. It's as though she had a chip on her shoulder about being a housewife and was going to lengths to differentiate herself from other housewives by continually referring to herself as 'a thinking housewife' almost suggesting housewives are not thinkers by their very nature. I was grimacing and laughing uncomfortably during that. Strange lady.

      The chap who took personal insult was also entertaining for all the wrong reasons.

    3. I just listened to this. Cringe!. It still saddens me to think of how many ignorant people are out there who think that listening to the dogmatic ramblings of one man/ minority 'scientist' constitutes examining all of the evidence for creationism. Karen