Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre: “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…”

Thu 5 July 2012, 2:27pm

John’s professed concern is misplaced.  As the National Trust press release on the “new state-of-the-art visitor centre” at the Unesco World Heritage Site Giants’ Causeway noted

New interactive displays and activities inside the visitor centre include an animation of the legend of Finn McCool and an innovative hand-held audio guide.

Such distractions aside, and without access to the material at issue, the quotes in the UTV report from the National Trust raise serious questions.

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.” [added emphasis]

The problem with this is that the only “debate” taking place is inside the heads of young-Earth creationists.

To be fair to the National Trust, there is no debate in their online presentation of the history of the Giants’ Causeway.

But it is true that there has been a long-running lobbying campaign by the Caleb Foundation – which features a prominent DUP MLA, Mervyn Storey, on its “Council of Reference” – to influence the material available in the Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre.

That campaign, along with indications of assent from the then NI Environment minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, prompted this response in 2008 from the Geological Society’s Stratigraphy Commission, in the Geoscientist issue of April 2008.

The young-Earth creationists’ view of Earth history, based upon their literal interpretation of the Bible, is quite simply wrong. It is a manifest untruth. It is as wrong as saying that the Sun orbits around the Earth, or that the Moon is made of green cheese, or that the Giant’s Causeway was constructed by Finn MacCool, the giant of Irish legend. Nor are we dealing with “alternative views” of the universe. We are dealing with the difference between reason and unreason. For it is unreasonable, indeed fantastical, in any impartial examination of the evidence (evidence that was sufficient even in Victorian times, and now that has been corroborated a thousandfold), to state that the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

This is not a case of censorship. We do not question the right of creationists to hold or expound their views, to write pamphlets and books, hold meetings, or set up websites; nor would we for our part demand to distribute articles on the scientific evidence of the age of the Earth in church halls. But we profoundly disagree with any suggestion that creationist views should be given space in publicly-funded museums or visitor centres that explain natural history, or in school science lessons or science textbooks.

The significance of this point goes far beyond questions of a philosophical interpretation of humanity’s place in the universe. Humanity is now struggling to maintain itself on an overcrowded planet, on an Earth in which the life-support systems of air and water and food and land are being imperilled by human action. To deal with the many crises facing us, we need to deal with the Earth as it is – not with the utterly unreal Earth that the young-Earth creationists have convinced themselves of, by over-literal interpretation of scriptural texts.

Whether undue political pressure on the National Trust was part of the Caleb Foundation’s campaign is a question only they can answer.  Whether a similar campaign elsewhere would succeed, if that’s what has happened, isn’t clear either.  But the Caleb Foundation’s chairman, Wallace Thompson, is also quoted in the UTV report

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,” Mr Thompson said.

“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.” [added emphasis throughout]

Adds  As Prof Brian Cox tweeted


And it’s even worse than I thought.  From the linked story at secularism.org.uk

A transcript from an audio exhibit in the visitor centre reads:

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.

The deluded fools.  Young-Earth creationists are not part of any scientific debate, mainstream or otherwise, about “how the earth’s rocks were formed”.

And it’s not the Giants’ Causeway prompting “awe and wonder” that’s behind the young-Earth creationists lobbying campaign and interest in the Interpretive Centre.

It was the opportunity to promote their supernaturalist nonsense.  And the National Trust have just handed them a free platform on which to do so.

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Comments (66)

  1. Jack2 (profile) says:

    Am completely disgusted by these so called political representatives.
    We now lead the world in factual ignorance.

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  2. Does this mean that Mathematics, Statistics, and other Scientific disciplines with which our Political representatives have a passing interest will also have to bend to the “legitimacy of the creationist position”?

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  3. most religious climate change denial is just created by industrialists to continue ruining the earth, how does a young earth fit into that, who was the land owner and developer, paisely jnr’s friend that wanted to build his own creationist center

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  4. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    None of this was mentioned in any party manifesto, so far as I know.

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  5. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Adds As Prof Brian Cox tweeted


    And it’s even worse than I thought. From the linked story at secularism.org.uk

    A transcript from an audio exhibit in the visitor centre reads:

    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.

    The deluded fools. Young-Earth creationists are not part of any scientific debate, mainstream or otherwise, about “how the earth’s rocks were formed”.

    And it’s not the Giants’ Causeway prompting “awe and wonder” that’s behind the young-Earth creationists lobbying campaign and interest in the Interpretive Centre.

    It was the opportunity to promote their supernaturalist nonsense. And the National Trust have just handed them a free platform on which to do so.

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  6. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    No wonder Wallace Thompson is so pleased with himself…

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  7. tacapall (profile) says:

    Why not level your disgust at those who are behind the inclusion of the creationist theory in the Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre. Religious fanatics in government.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/may/26/northern-ireland-ulster-museum-creationism

    “Northern Ireland’s born-again Christian culture minister has called on the Ulster Museum to put on exhibits reflecting the view that the world was made by God only several thousand years ago.

    Nelson McCausland, who believes that Ulster Protestants are one of the lost tribes of Israel, has written to the museum’s board of trustees urging them to reflect creationist and intelligent design theories of the universe’s origins.

    The Democratic Unionist minister said the inclusion of anti-Darwinian theories in the museum was “a human rights issue”.

    McCausland defended a letter he wrote to the trustees calling for anti-evolution exhibitions at the museum. He claimed that around one third of Northern Ireland’s population believed either in intelligent design or the creationist view that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago.

    McCausland’s party colleague and North Antrim assembly member Mervyn Storey has been at the forefront of a campaign to force museums in Northern Ireland to promote anti-Darwinian theories.

    Storey, who has chaired the Northern Ireland assembly’s education committee, has denied that man descended from apes. He believes in the theory that the world was created several thousand years ago, even though the most famous tourist attraction in his own constituency – the Giant’s Causeway on the North Antrim coast – is according to all the geological evidence millions of years old.

    Last year Storey raised objections to notices at the Giant’s Causeway informing the public that the unique rock formation was about 550m years old. Storey believes in the literal truth of the Bible and that the earth was created only several thousand years before Christ’s birth.”

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  8. Jack2 (profile) says:

    Mervyn Storey seems to be involved in the lobbying for this.
    I phoned his office today hoping to speak with him but he was out. Left a msg with a very polite lady expressing my disgust at his actions and I will try to speak to him tomorrow.

    I’d encourage anyone who is annoyed at this to SPEAK out. Its the inaction of the majority that leads to this kind of madness.

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  9. wild turkey (profile) says:

    the “new state-of-the-art visitor centre” … huh? more like

    “the centre which takes the intelligence out of design.”

    anyone have a national trust membership?

    our family did. until i read this.

    that said, our family will visit no doubt visit the centre at some point. wearing our Galileo T-shirts

    thanks for this PB

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  10. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Tac,

    Quite. Them mind boggles at what real damage they might do if they got hold of the education portfolio! Bizarro! I bet there’s a lot of folk in ghe DUP not taking calls today.

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  11. sherdy (profile) says:

    How much public money has been spent on telling the civilised world what buck-eejits we are?
    What does it say for the mugs who voted for them?
    Not too many of them contestants for Mastermind then!

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  12. tacapall (profile) says:

    I’m wondering Mick where Nelson gets the notion that its possible a third of the population here support the creationist theory. Going by the NT’s FB page it seems no-one who give their opinion agreed with it and are disgusted by its inclusion. Time machines would be needed if these type of people did get hold of the education portfolio.

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  13. Evolve (profile) says:

    This has actually been a useful development.

    The reaction has been overwhelming and one-sided. The comments on the National Trust Facebook page are withering. The Caleb Foundation and the views they represent are of the fringe now. Their time is passing.

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  14. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    You do have the love the eccentricity of this place. One major party advocates creationism and homophobia, the other reckons a united Ireland is achievable with the support of 17% of the population and that Republicans cannot be criminals. And we still go out and vote for them.

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  15. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Tac.

    Where I worked was populated by fundie girls from north Antrim and wild GAA girls from Tyrone. As I experienced them, the former socialise within groups of like minded people and thus may have a very skewed world view.

    They’re quite a nasty crowd with programmed barbs ready to fire at all times. I was astonished at the viciousness they fired at Buddha. Who the hell hates Buddha?

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  16. Evolve (profile) says:

    According to the UTV poll 88.7% of people believe this material should not be displayed at the Causeway Centre. We have to be careful with media polls, but of the remaining 11.3%, an even smaller percentage must actually believe the material.

    It looks like Nelson McCausland’s assessment that a third of the population believe this guff is way off. No wonder his tribe got lost with maths like that!

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  17. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    His figure of a third of the population is mystifying. As Creationism is clearly not Catholic doctrine, that immediately eliminates nearly half the population. Most of the Protestant dominations are at best neutral on the question, the Free P’s being the notable exception.

    With approx 12000 local members, that equates to about 7% of the population. Where do Nelson’s missing 26% come from?

    This idiotic display needs to be quietly removed before NI becomes even more of a laughing stock than it already is. Shabby work by the National Trust.

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  18. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Forget the polls lads. That’s not the problem here. it is not the unpopularity of what’s going on, its the utter wrongness of it.

    Although I think Pete quite comprehensively names and shames a number of leading DUP members (which Tac seemed to have missed earlier) the fool holding the parcel when the music has stopped is the National Trust. They are the ones with the questions to answer.

    I cannot for the life of me think of a meaningful analogue for what’s gone on here. Someone (one of the stakeholders) has inveigled a highly respected national charity into giving a belief centred myth equal billing with a scientifically verified fact.

    I was wrecking my brains earlier to think if this kind of thing has happened in holy Catholic Ireland. The nearest I could think of was Croagh Patrick, in terms of a notable topographical feature that’s been imbued with some kind of spiritual meaning.

    But that doesn’t work, since no one who climbs it on reek Sunday is contesting the nature and length of its formation.

    I don’t think anyone would or should interfere with someone’s right to believe what they want to believe. But erasing the line between knowledge and belief is a dangerous game. Not least when it’s done with a hefty slice of public money…

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  19. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Totally agree with all of that Mick but there’s anothyer dimension. NITB are trying to promote the place as open for tourism and a place reborn but today we look like a bunch of sister bothering red necks

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  20. wee buns (profile) says:

    It would be like An Taisce promoting a weeping statue.

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  21. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    andnowwhat

    “NITB are trying to promote the place as open for tourism and a place reborn ”

    reborn again more like it

    The NT have been politically/religiously pushed in to promoting a Kentucky Fried Bible school agenda, and it’s fairly clear who pushed them

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  22. Backbencher (profile) says:

    A lot of bile and anger being poured out here, has someone hit a raw nerve!!
    A couple of questions, how do you know the Causeway is millions of years old? If the evolutionary view is so well proven why is it still only a theory?
    Tapacall
    I found your comment about Mervyn Storey ‘Storey….who has chaired the Northern Ireland assembly’s education committee, has denied that man descended from apes’ quite amusing, and not for the reason you intended (maybe if he met you, he would change his mind).
    I suggest you stop and realise how ridiculous you sound.

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  23. Backbencher (profile) says:

    Oops! got your name wrong, should have been Tacapall. I must have been to busy laughing.

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  24. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    “A couple of questions, how do you know the Causeway is millions of years old? If the evolutionary view is so well proven why is it still only a theory?”

    Backbencher, when you leave primary school (maybe last week!) It will all be explained in ‘big school’.

    Until then, say your prayers and go to bed. God will tell you why he made it when you go to heaven.

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  25. Mac (profile) says:

    “A couple of questions, how do you know the Causeway is millions of years old?”

    Radiometric dating.
    The causeway rocks are a result of not one but many volcanic eruptions, the individual eruptions are separated by layers of fossilised soils and they sit on rock much older.

    “If the evolutionary view is so well proven why is it still only a theory?”

    The word theory has a different meaning in scientific circles than it does outside it. Your definition of the word is not the same that scientists use.

    Perhaps when you stop laughing you could pick up a book other than the race myths of a buynch of goat herders from a few thousand years ago and learn something?
    Just a thought.

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  26. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    Have we had any people give a supporting argument for exhibition? How can this be allowed when so many people no how utterly wrong it is.

    How does people react around modern conveniences that utilise? What science do they support?

    Maybe they’re men and women of conviction and it explains why they’re not sitting on an ungodly laptop tapping away on an unholy blogging website, with other hell-bound sodomites!

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  27. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    know#

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  28. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Perhaps they are kneeling at their fireplaces before their less than 6000 years old coal, giving thanks to their god for their deliverance from the ungodly disbelievers.

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  29. Angry Planner (profile) says:

    I’m actually struggling to come up for words to describe my anger that would conform to this site’s rules.

    It just adds to my wish to tip a bucket of shit over Poots and Mc’Causland.

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  30. Angry Planner (profile) says:

    Oh and now you know why the NT is going to war over the Runkerry golf course, it’s their revenge!

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  31. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Angry Planner

    Revenge for what?

    Meekly acceding to the lobbying of the Caleb Foundation…

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  32. comhfhreagrai eachtrannach (profile) says:

    ‘They’re quite a nasty crowd with programmed barbs ready to fire at all times. I was astonished at the viciousness they fired at Buddha. Who the hell hates Buddha?’
    I’m curious as to what the people you mention had to say about Buddha.
    As for the Creationist stuff, it’s insanity that it is being given some respectability in this way.

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  33. Nevin (profile) says:

    Much venting of spleen yet no evidence has been presented from the NT about how it arrived at its decision. As I’ve already said, it may just have been part of a marketing ploy to help feed the great white elephant – a little bit of something for everybody. After all, it is a visitor centre for tourists, not a science museum.

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  34. Backbencher (profile) says:

    BluesJazz

    Did I miss your answers to my questions?

    By the way, been to big school, even been to University – my degree even included Geology (including a field trip to the Giants Causeway), now, which part of the science do you wish to discuss?

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  35. Backbencher (profile) says:

    Mac
    Thank you for addressing my questions.

    Firstly, Radiometric dating does not prove the age of anything. It is based on a number of assumptions which cannot be proven. When radiometric dating has been used on rock of known age (i.e. recent volcanic eruptions) the dates have been unreliable – a search on Google will verify this.

    With regards the meaning of the word theory, I am quite aware of the meaning in scientific circles, and evolution is a theory because it is not proven, please provide evidence to the contrary.

    With regards your last paragraph, I have only one comment – is that the type of manners/attitude produced by evolutionary thinking?

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  36. Angry Planner (profile) says:

    Pete

    Have you never wondered why Arlene Foster became “unminded to approve” the rival visitor’s centre?

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  37. Angry Planner (profile) says:

    “a search on Google will verify this”

    So if I type “The Royal Family are Aliens” into Google that automatically verifies it?

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  38. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Angry

    “Have you never wondered why Arlene Foster became “unminded to approve” the rival visitor’s centre?”

    You mean this un-decision?

    Try to keep to the actual topic…

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  39. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    “Like many natural phenomena around the world, the Giant’s Causeway has raised questions and prompted debate about how it was formed.”

    True, I discuss it with visitors every time I visit.

    “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.”

    True, have seen it used as an example in old books

    “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.”

    True, you can debate is it 33% or 3% but it is still some people.

    “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.”

    True, that is the belief of YECs, other Creations believe in gap periods etc. most believers prob have their own version and don’t get over excited.

    “Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective.”

    True, I know many who do, including doctors, teachers, researchers etc. Many more in America also share the view, one of the biggest visitor groups. It is also the prevailing view of most of the Muslim world I believe.

    “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.”

    True, most of the debating goes on within church circles, but occasionally like now reaches the mainstream.

    So in the very short section that is mere seconds on the audio the National Trust merely acknowledges the fact there is another view, whether people like it or not, it is most certainly not “equal billing” as Mick has spun it, I presume the traditional scientific view has 1,000 time the coverage in diagrams, audio and visual presentations.

    For that polite acknowledge the hounds of hell have been released it seems with many frothing at the mouth and baying for blood.

    It is quite disturbing the amount of vile hatred express on this subject, I for one have been imtimidated from commenting till now, which most would acknowledge is quite unusal! I would ask that commentators would tone down their imput, yes much of it is directed at DUP politicians, but many genuine nice honest people hold these views, show them at least a little respect and just go “lalalalala” till that wee bit of the audio passes.

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  40. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    ( where do I get a fireproof boilersuit? I think I can see the flaming torches coming down the road already )

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  41. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    “For that polite acknowledge the hounds of hell have been released it seems with many frothing at the mouth and baying for blood.

    It is quite disturbing the amount of vile hatred express on this subject, I for one have been imtimidated from commenting till now…”

    Ah, diddums.

    Want to try to address the actual topic?

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  42. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    …the dates have been unreliable…

    Wow. The largest error band ever in the history of science. Imagine mistaking 6000 years for 60,000,000. Deserves many papers and a Nobel prize for someone.

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  43. Nevin (profile) says:

    Drumlins Rock, it would be nice to see a little more perspective and a little more civility, a little more light and a little less heat. I must admit I missed the YEC stuff on my free trip around the cavernous mall last Friday – probably too busy socialising :)

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  44. Angry Planner (profile) says:

    Yes I do Pete

    And please believe me the topics are related, make it that what you will.

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  45. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    grow up pete.

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  46. DoctorWho (profile) says:

    I’ve been an National Trust member for many years. I shall not be renewing until this nonsense is removed from the centre.
    Wallace Thompson should keep his myths and fairy tales for the Sunday School classes.

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  47. the British Centre for Science Education managed to get the transcript from the national trust http://ntpressoffice.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/giants-causeway-visitor-centre-interpretation/

    the BCSE sum it up as fuss (from us) and boastful lies from the creationists http://bcseweb.blogspot.com/2012/07/national-trust-and-creationism.html

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  48. Jack2 (profile) says:

    The usual apologists have finally come out. “My party uber alles” seems to be alive and well.
    ————————————————————————-
    Mick was struggling to find something similar that has happened before and I too cant think of one.
    An analogy maybe on a tour of Buckingham Palace, letting David Icke have a very small input because he genuinely believes something.
    “Some people believe the Royal Family are lizards”
    After all its only a few words in a tour lasting an hour or so and its a held conviction often talked about.

    Completely bonkers of course.

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  49. tacapall (profile) says:

    Backbencher

    “Tapacall I found your comment about Mervyn Storey ‘Storey….who has chaired the Northern Ireland assembly’s education committee, has denied that man descended from apes’ quite amusing, and not for the reason you intended (maybe if he met you, he would change his mind).

    I suggest you stop and realise how ridiculous you sound”.

    Beckbencher I suggest you point your neanderthal remarks at the person who wrote the piece about Mervyn Storey, if you hadn’t been blinded with rage you would have seen I was quoting from an extract by Henry McDonald in the Guardian Newspaper. Im sure you’re the type of person who can sit four feet away from your computer and still reach the keyboard with your hands, make sure you have some protection for your knuckles when your walking as evolution it seems has bypassed you.

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  50. Nevin (profile) says:

    Angry Planner, be careful you don’t land Mick and others in the courts. Careless words are the very meat of legal exchanges.

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  51. comhfhreagrai eachtrannach (profile) says:

    A minority of people, probably a very small minority in the immediate area surrounding the Giant’s Causeway, would say that the Irish language is a very important part of our heritage.
    I know I would. So in recognition of that can us Irish-speakers also have our beliefs respected by all information in the interpretative centre also being available in Irish?
    After all, if the Creationists are right, Irish has been spoken on our island for about 45% of the entire history of the universe! :-)

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  52. Nevin (profile) says:

    comhfhreagrai eachtrannach, Irish and Ulster-Scots are certainly very important parts of the local heritage, not least in place-name studies. However, languages such as Chinese would be much more beneficial to visitors.

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  53. wild turkey (profile) says:

    “NITB are trying to promote the place as open for tourism and a place reborn but today we look like a bunch of sister bothering red necks”

    andnowwhat. a friend from new york came to visit me here in nornironland. we did the usual touristo things, including bushmills and the causeway coast. at the end of the days touring, over a pint i am asked him his impressions. response?

    “well now i know where the ancestors of the banjo players in Deliverence come from”

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  54. Reader (profile) says:

    wild turkey: a friend from new york came to visit me here in nornironland. we did the usual touristo things, including bushmills and the causeway coast. at the end of the days touring, over a pint i am asked him his impressions. response?
    A cityboy, eh?

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  55. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘That campaign, along with indications of assent from the then NI Environment minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, ‘

    Not to mention the £9.25 million her Department provided…

    ‘With regards the meaning of the word theory, I am quite aware of the meaning in scientific circles, and evolution is a theory because it is not proven, please provide evidence to the contrary. ‘

    Backbencher, you’ve spectacularly demonstrated that you don’t understand the scientific definition of theory.

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  56. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Wild Turkey

    I could well be wrong but I think the term red neck actually referred to the Irish/Scots who went to america. I may have picked that up on QI or Gerry Anderson, my only 2 sources for information since Richard Madely quit TV :-)

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  57. Jimmy Sands (profile) says:

    “For that polite acknowledge the hounds of hell have been released”

    Christianity’s concept of hell now appears to be backchat on the internet. Clearly Milton and Dante were exaggerating.

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  58. Nevin (profile) says:

    Redshanks and rednecks, andnowwhat – both been around for centuries – so possibly put downs by certain English folks who are afflicted by a superiority complex ;)

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  59. Backbencher,

    From Wikipedia (yes I know, but still…):

    In science, the term “theory” refers to “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.”[10][11] Theories must also meet further requirements, such as the ability to make falsifiable predictions with consistent accuracy across a broad area of scientific inquiry, and production of strong evidence in favor of the theory from multiple independent sources. (See characteristics of scientific theories.)

    Evolution is therefore a theory on the same basis as the theory of relativity or the big bang theory. By contrast, young earth creationism is Not Even Wrong. It doesn’t matter how many people believe it.

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  60. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Andrew,

    A further thing is that scientists say that the theory is the best explanation to date and may change if further evidence comes to light.

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  61. Dec (profile) says:

    On the other hand Joe, the longer a theory has been around (in this case, say 1859), and the more thoroughly it has been tested, the more we can assume that either the theory in question is correct, or, at worst, is close enough to the actual “truth” of the subject to be a valuable tool in understanding the nature of that subject.

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  62. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Yes, Dec, agreed. One little thing; not correct but as close as we can get to the “truth” for now. Newton’s gravitational theory stood for hundreds of years and still is good enough for most calculations but has been superceded by Einstein’s theories which, themselves, might be superceded some day.

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  63. wee buns (profile) says:

    Fascinating to see the muscle of this tactic in play (teaching the controversy/irreducible complexity etc) especially in the light of other (non religious & genuinely scientific) work which could never even hope to get such recognition. I’m thinking of Elaine Morgan’s Aquatic Ape hypothesis – ok not directly related to the Causeway except by virtue of a coastal location, but even so much more deserving of a place & mention as an extremely comprehensive theory.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis

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  64. Backbencher (profile) says:

    Angry Planner
    Regarding your post at 1.03am on 6th

    Sorry, I made the assumption you would know how to undertake a search using Google and view documents available on the web.

    The dangers of assumptions – just like with radiometric dating

    Tacapall
    Sorry to you also – I did not realise that you disagreed with the comment by Henry McDonald in the Guardian Newspaper. By the way I believe that Neanderthals were fully human, were they not your great great grandfather?

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  65. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    From wiki (I know), Interbreeding resulted in 1–4% of the genome of people from Eurasia having been contributed by Neanderthals. So they were a humanoid species. There have been many such lines according to paleontologists.

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  66. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Last two sentences are mine, not wiki’s.

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