Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

#GiantsCauseway: Fenians lose out to Bible.

Thu 5 July 2012, 12:01am

*sigh*

According to UTV, the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre now includes exhibits that acknowlegde the young-earth Creationist view of how the world-famous stones are formed. Pete has detailed the backstory to this before and others have picked up the creationist lobbying trail around the Ulster Museum.

UTV report that

The National Trust said it wanted to “reflect and respect” the fact that some people contest the views of mainstream science.

With that, the National Trust have now neatly denigrated and rejected centuries of scientific research outputs as ‘views’ that need to be balanced by religious views. Culturally and intellectually we have now regressed to the eighteenth century* (or progressed from the seventeenth century*), hopefully we aren’t getting the full package. I can only assume, and fear, that the Ulster Museum will be next.

Obviously Finn McCool is the one who is really losing out here as his part in the construction of the Giant’s Causeway is being reduced to myth, rather than respected as a ‘view’ held by decent people. For those unfamiliar with the real Finn, he is best captured in Flann O’Brien’s At-Swim-Two-Birds:

Finn MacCool was a legendary hero of old Ireland. Though not mentally robust, he was a man of superb physique and development. Each of his thighs was as thick as a horse’s belly, narrowing to a calf as thick as the belly of a foal. Three fifties of fosterlings could engage with handball against the wideness of his backside, which was large enough to halt the march of men through a mountain-pass.

How could anyone credibly believe such a man didn’t build the Giant’s Causeway?

*AD

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Comments (119)

  1. Neil (profile) says:

    ‘Mainstream science’. Jesus did indeed weep.

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  2. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    If the N.T. have really done that, then they need to be “disestablished” asap. Disgusting if true.

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  3. articles (profile) says:

    On Higgs boson day too.

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  4. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    And, planning permission should be granted for an amusement park at the perimeter of the site with perhaps a few caravan sites to boot. “Look, I can see the stones from the top of this Ferris wheel”.

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  5. what influence do northern ireland polticians have over the national trust, can anyone find the list of northern ireland regional advisory board

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  6. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Are we chasing the Tea Party dollar or summit’?

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  7. what wallace thompson’s job now? he used to an advisor to nigel dodds

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  8. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    As articles alludes to,

    Today should but a bad day to be a young earth creationist, but fuck it, we’ll make ourselves a laughing stock anyway!

    I presume Finn McCool will get his own ‘viewpoint’ respected too.

    I hope my own personal viewpoint that God pished through a hexagonal stencil gets an equal airing…

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  9. wee buns (profile) says:

    Things are getting really weird up there.

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  10. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    £8.50 pp and £6 parking to hear a free pp sermon?
    Sounds about the right price, if you’re a nutter.
    Apart from the Ken Ham loonies, why bother?
    Could they not just constuct a ‘creationist’ golf course beside the stones?

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  11. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Anyone know a half decent medium that could contact Samuel Johnson on the matter?

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  12. Charlie Sheens PR guru (profile) says:

    How many DUPers had there way here? Does this lot actually go out of their way to look stupid on every issue?

    Bans gay blood donations but imports them anyway..

    Calls gays an abomination and immoral before shagging the butcher’s boy

    Thinks climate change is for the birds, but ignores the hottest April/wettest June/snowiest January/ Driest August/ Insert superlative as appropriate weather we’ve been having in the last few years

    Backs early day motions supporting NHS funding homeopathy

    Wants creationism taught in schools

    believes ulster prods are descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel

    This is really sad….

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  13. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    I wonder what UNESCO’s World Heritage folk think about this?
    I think it should require a delisting of any sites deemed by them to be built before Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC.

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  14. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    From the young earthers chief spokesman -
    “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.”
    Who are these “senior National Trust officials ” and how do we get rid of them?

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  15. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    As someone asks in th UTV comments section,l did the Caleb Foundation throw a quid or 2 in?

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  16. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    I say this as someone who has been at the wrong end of the conflict, as someone who is disabled and in fear of the forthcoming effects of legislation, as an Ulster Bank customer (as is my partner), this concerns me beyond any of the above.

    State sponsored anti intellectualism is something I expect of states well to the east of us.

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  17. weidm7 (profile) says:

    When is the protest?

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  18. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Who is on the committee that okayed this?

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  19. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    What I will do is visit any N.T. properties on my frequent visits to N.I. I will ask them if this story is true, asking for the duty manager if needed. If confirmed, i will tell them that they are getting no entrance fee from me, and I will leave.

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  20. LiamC (profile) says:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/263351503764526/?notif_t=group_r2j

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  21. LiamC (profile) says:

    Remove Creationist Display at Giants Causeway

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/263351503764526/

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  22. john (profile) says:

    Let me get this right a golf course 2 miles from the causeway next to already present villages and caravan parks is bad yet a big modern eyesore with a grass roof filled with cr@p and misinformation a couple of hundred yards from the causeway is good?

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  23. NOT NOW JOHN (profile) says:

    In the beginning, Gizhemanidoo created the universe as we know it today. He created Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon, Mother Earth and Father Sky. And on the earth he created all things, living and nonliving. He created life in the earth, on the earth, in the sky and in the water. He created the plants, rivers, four-legged and winged creatures, and the swimmers. After this was done, he created one of the greatest mysteries of all – the four seasons – to bring harmony and balance to all.

    After all creation was complete, he created man. After he created the first Anishinaabe, he came to him in a dream and instructed him that he was to name all things in the language that he gave him, Anishinaabemowin. So the first man went about on his journey and named all things he saw – all the animals, insects, birds and fish – however long this took. Afterward, he spoke to the Creator Gizhemanidoo in his dream and said, “I have finished what you have told me to do.” Then the Creator Gizhemanidoo spoke back to him and said, “Yes, you have indeed done so, and now it is time for me to give you your name. Your name shall be Nanabozho, and whenever your people meet and greet one another, they will say a part of your name. That is why whenever the Anishinaabe people greet one another, they say the word Bozhoo.

    Will the National Trust be reflecting and respecting the fact that some people may still believe in the Gizhemanidoo story? Will a pretty girl in a pretty dress greet me at the door with the word ‘Bozhoo’?

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  24. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    This,” said Wallace Thompson, ” 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.”

    Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

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  25. AndyB (profile) says:

    The Caleb Foundation claims to represent mainstream evangelicals, but they don’t.

    The council of reference consists solely of Baptists and members of small protestant churches. Considering the high numbers of strongly opinionated Anglicans, Presbyterians and Methodists, you would think they would have a few members from there, but they don’t.

    Therefore I would suggest the Caleb foundation only represents a tiny sidestream of evangelicals (apparently of the KJV-bashing and Catholic-bashing variety) – I wonder if they even represent a majority of Baptists.

    I think someone is too fond of their own opinion… but of course, I have crossed swords with Wallace Thompson before in the Tele (see http://andyb-writes.livejournal.com/1105.html)

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  26. DoppiaVu (profile) says:

    At last, something that seems to unite all shades of opinion on Slugger.

    The thing is, can anything be done about this utter embarassment?

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  27. Jack2 (profile) says:

    Thought I could never be further disappointed by this country. I actually feel sick at the thought of this tripe being given equal footing to the centuries of genuine scientific research.

    A real step backwards for the people of NI.

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  28. salgado (profile) says:

    “The thing is, can anything be done about this utter embarassment?”

    Lobby back, complain to the National Trust, publicize this mess, don’t let the idiots win.

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  29. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Jack2

    That is exactly how I reacted too. Try tweeting the apt people to see if you can get some media coverage of this.

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  30. tacapall (profile) says:

    Its nearly as mind boggling as the underground wall that separates Protestant and Catholic corpses from each other in the Belfast City Cemetery, but sure whatever keeps the Banshees away.

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  31. David Cather (profile) says:

    Maybe we should hold judgement until we’ve actually seen it, if it’s tastefully done without pseudoscience I welcome a place for the idea* that God had a hand in creation at the centre. As a Methodist Local Preacher in training and a Chemical Engineer I have a foot in both camps, as do many other christians. The notion that science and religion must be at war with one another is something that has developed in the US over the past few years, we on this side of the Atlantic should try to be more enlightened.

    *I consider it truth you may consider it an idea.

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  32. Pigeon Toes (profile) says:

    Hopefully it will be presented alongside the Fionn mac Cumhaill
    *myth*.

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  33. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    “Fenians lose out to Bible.”

    *sigh*

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  34. salgado (profile) says:

    David Cather
    I agree that science and religion don’t have to be at war with each other, but unfortunately “young earth creationism” is exactly that. There’s a vast difference between believing God had a hand in things and believing that the earth is a few thousand years old. The latter just isn’t compatible with evidence.

    Maybe it will be tasteful, but the NT being pressured into this by some fringe interest group is a very bad precedent.

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  35. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    At least there’s some good news this morning. Pete Baker has just okayed going on threads and posting nonsense. I take it that includes his own.

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  36. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘There’s a vast difference between believing God had a hand in things and believing that the earth is a few thousand years old. The latter just isn’t compatible with evidence.’

    Neither is the former.

    To be fair to Pete, I’m with him on the title – where’s it coming from?

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  37. Mac (profile) says:

    “To be fair to Pete, I’m with him on the title – where’s it coming from?”

    The fenians were Fionn’s war band.
    I thought it was a clever title myself.

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  38. tacapall (profile) says:

    “To be fair to Pete, I’m with him on the title – where’s it coming from”

    That Finn Mc Cool didn’t make giants causway, it was some geezer called God a few thousand years ago.

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  39. Rapunsell (profile) says:

    I’m with Pete too on the title

    Can anyone report on how the creationist viewpoint is actually represented in the centre? If it’s given equal billing as a legitimate alternative explanation as to how the causeway was actually formed – well – I can’t see how that could be justified in any way.

    Im surprised that the Trust has actually bowed to this pressure group. Even if prominent – the creationist viewpoint is in addition to an extreme a very minority viewpoint in NI?

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  40. salgado (profile) says:

    Dec
    It depends how much of a hand you think he had. You get things like theistic evolution which suggest that science is just natural processes within a world created by God.

    This is obviously very weak from a scientific perspective as we can’t prove or disprove anything along these lines, and God is completely unnecessary to explain anything.

    I’m an atheist, but I don’t necessarily find a contradiction between science and religion.

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  41. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Title comes from the ‘Fenian Cycle’ – the mythological cycle of tales about Finn McCool (one of the four main groups of tales in Irish mythology). Earliest surviving texts are 7th/8th century AD in date. Fenians were the war band that followed Finn: both terms are anglicisations popularised in 18th/19th century romantic literature (of fianna and Fionn Mac Cumhaill). Obviously the term was/has been re-used a few times in other contexts.

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  42. Nevin (profile) says:

    “That Finn Mc Cool didn’t make giants causway, it was some geezer called God a few thousand years ago.”

    Yes, it’s all as plausible as the Big Bang. I wonder if Fionn or Fionnula heard it as they tucked into their Ulster fry – fried egg, two rashers of Bacon and Black Pigs Dyke puddings :)

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  43. David Cather (profile) says:

    It’s not really that extreme, I mean it’s not like anybody’s getting hurt. Nor is it that small a minority, A lot of people in Northern Ireland have varying degrees of religious belief, not all of them are young earth creationalists admittedly, but many would be interested to hear an informed and cordial discussion on the subject.

    Without having seen the presentation I don’t want to tie myself to it too closely just yet, because there are some right idiots in the US speaking on behalf of creationism, but I’m certainly now keen to get up to the North coast and visit during the summer.

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  44. David Cather (profile) says:

    On an unrelated note, why are epic myths called cycles?

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  45. articles (profile) says:

    Blues Jazz, you set me thinking : What would a creationist golf course be like?

    There has to be some doubt whether a creationist Golf course would ever get past the discussion stage given that golf is a game of numbers and the bible is so full of scripturally significant numbers , well, significant in a self-referencing, closed loop sort of way. Undoubtedly there would be doctrinal debates about the course yardage, number of holes, number of clubs, scoring, handicaps etc. Expect a few schisms early on and rival golf courses set up nearby with shall we say interesting configurations.

    But my course obviously would be 4004 yards long, be designed by Bernhard Langer, built in 6 days, have 10 holes, (10 virgins, lepers, plagues, commandments etc. ), 27 clubs (you just can’ t have too many bible clubs), a par of 40 (40 days in the wilderness etc ), and a handicap of original sin, mine’s “ I poked a badger with a spoon”; what’s yours? (Eddie Izard)

    The water hazard is of course compulsory and after baptism play should be resumed from in front of the hazard. If in doubt players should refer to the rule book. And no, in case you ask, the Rules of Golf are not an acceptable substitute. A player may declare his ball to be unplayable at any time between Monday 0.00 to Saturday 24.00, however no ball is playable between Sunday 0.00 to Sunday 24.00
    .
    Members are warned that straying out of bounds shall be penalised by one stroke (of the lash), mixed foursomes are punishable by eternal damnation , and stroke play often causes golf ball, similar to tennis elbow quite painful and socially embarrassing.

    What’s not to like. Bring it on. Perhaps I could get my yips exorcised.

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  46. Dec (profile) says:

    Mac

    cheers – I’ll dutifully withdraw from the Bakersphere and retake my place on the barricades of freedom and anti-pedantry.

    Salgado

    ‘This [existence of God] is obviously very weak from a scientific perspective as we can’t prove or disprove anything along these lines’

    It’s completely irrelevant from the scientific perspective if it can’t be proved or disproved. .

    ‘I don’t necessarily find a contradiction between science and religion’

    Sorry, but you appear not to understand what ‘science’ actually means:

    1. the systematic observation of natural events and conditions in order to discover facts about them and to formulate laws and principles based on these facts. 2. the organized body of knowledge that is derived from such observations and that can be verified or tested by further investigation.
    Academic Press Dictionary of Science & Technology

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  47. tacapall (profile) says:

    Of course Nevin, although a closer comparison is it being just as plausible that the six counties are part of Britain.

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  48. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Of course Nevin, although a closer comparison is it being just as plausible that the six counties are part of Britain.”

    tacapall, if you mean Martin’s Britain, I concur; it and Enda’s Ireland exclude the greatest and most significant place on earth Slugger O’Toole: Norn Iron :)

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  49. DoppiaVu (profile) says:

    from the Giants Causeway website:

    http://www.causewaycoastalroute.com/index.php/giants-causeway-website/69

    Hopefully the visitor centre will take a similar approach, with the clear implication that the creationist theory ranks alongside Finn McCool in terms of likelihood.

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  50. abucs (profile) says:

    The idea that the Earth is 6,000 years old has never been more than a fringe view.

    As the Earth is material then science is the tool to investigate it through many disciplines such as paleontology (created by Bishop Steno – 17th century or Particle Physics – Father Boscovich – 17th century or Big Bang Cosmology created by Father LeMaitre 20th century).

    Of course Western science was defined and pioneered in the Christian West to investigate God’s Creation and specifically the mathematical rules that it obeys.

    The majority Christian view then as now is that Creation is a secondary dimension which springs from a primary dimension.

    Christians knew then as they do now that you can’t prove a primary dimension with tools designed to solely investigate a secondary dimension.

    The best you can do is use those tools (science) to investigate whether a material world can give rise and maintenance to itself.

    Failing that (and it has failed) the question becomes whether such a matter-only view is more sensible than the traditional Christian primary/secondary view of Creation held by the pioneers of Western science and their Christian descendants today.

    As such both sides use science to support a view but science cannot ever directly answer the question. It was not designed to.

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  51. Boglover (profile) says:

    As to why the National Trust would give the Creationist view any exposure, £9.5m of NITB from a DUP controlled Department funding might have just had something to do with it…

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  52. Mike the First (profile) says:

    David Cather

    “because there are some right idiots in the US speaking on behalf of creationism,”

    Sorry to be snarky, but…doesn’t that kind of come with the territory?

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  53. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    People don’t go to the Giant’s Causeway for a science lesson. It’s a visitor centre, it’s entertainment, and anyway there is plenty of science based material on show.

    The audio visual display, peopled by cgi characters, romps through many stories associated with the causeway including the science, young earth and Finn McCool myths etc. It’s not a university lecture presenting different ‘evidence’ strands for the serious student to consider.

    Perhaps some of the posters would have been more content if the formation of the causeway by the solidified froth from the foaming mouths of Dawkinesque atheists had been included in the show as an option? Or a simple ‘sit down a listen cadres’ Stalinist didactic?

    I have my own thesis. Given the references to “Fenians” and Machiavellian “DUPer” Creationists on this thread I postulate that the causeway was formed by the solidified tears of generations of moping Gaels ;)

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  54. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    @David Cather

    The term cycle tends to be used for collections that share a theme (e.g. the Ring Cycle or Homer’s Epic Cycle). In this case, like the Epic Cycle, most of the mythology consists of orally transmitted tales [in poetic or metrical form] that have been captured at a point in time and recorded. They tend to have a series of shared characters and events and often exhibit memes like visiting the underworld etc that are often used to do comparative analysis (e.g. for shared Indo-European myths). Many are pseudohistorical (it is often impossible to prove or disprove their non-supernatural components as there is rarely sufficient contemporary documentary records to corroborate anything).

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  55. Rapunsell (profile) says:

    “The audio visual display, peopled by cgi characters, romps through many stories associated with the causeway including the science, young earth and Finn McCool myths etc. It’s not a university lecture presenting different ‘evidence’ strands for the serious student to consider”

    So the science and natural history behind the creation of the causeway and preumably all the other features of the landscape of these islands is just another story equivalent to the young earth( creationist) and Finn McCool mthys?

    Presumably museums and the like shouldn’t worry about enabling people to learn and educate themselves. Sure it’s all a bit of fun- what you believe or want to believe – rather than what evidence and rigorous investigation shows.

    I wonder do the creationists trust in medical science or is it all bullshit too.

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  56. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Some 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleogene period, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. This would have been shortly after the mass extension of the Dinosaurs circa 65 million years ago.

    England , Scotland , Ireland and Wales have not always been neighbours .The geologists tell us that 600 millions years ago Scotland and Northern Ireland were part of a continent near the equator. This continent also included land that would become North America and Asia.

    England, Wales and Ireland on the other hand were 5,000km away, hanging out minding their own business just outside the Antarctic Circle.

    http://blogs.sundaymercury.net/weirdscience/2009/10/the-amazing-journey-of-the-uk.html

    The National Trust should be ashamed of itself allowing these idiots i.e the Caleb Foundation anywhere near such an important world heritage site .

    If they want to believe their nutty ‘creationist’ story then let them do so inside their churches or homes . Next up they’ll be trying to prove the Earth is the centre of the universe and that the heaven magician created all those hundreds of millions years old fossils just to play games with the faithful and confuse them ?

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  57. Nevin (profile) says:

    Thank goodness we can still take in the glorious views for FREE; we don’t have to succumb to the expensive diversion through the partially underground 30 feet high mall ;)

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  58. Nevin (profile) says:

    Perhaps all of this should be viewed as a marketing ploy to lure as many folks as possible through the new visitor centre – a little bit of something for everybody – including the golfers!

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  59. DoppiaVu (profile) says:

    “Finn MacCool was a legendary hero of old Ireland. Though not mentally robust, he was a man of superb physique and development. Each of his thighs was as thick as a horse’s belly, narrowing to a calf as thick as the belly of a foal. Three fifties of fosterlings could engage with handball against the wideness of his backside, which was large enough to halt the march of men through a mountain-pass.”

    Bloody hell that Scottish giant must have been a right brick sh**house

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  60. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘People don’t go to the Giant’s Causeway for a science lesson.’

    SoS

    Whilst it’s perfectly clear that you and education haven’t always been the easiest of bed-fellows, normal visitors to a UNESCO World Heritage site are entitled to be presented with demonstrable facts.

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  61. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/05/a-poll-to-determine-whether-northern-ireland-sucks/#comments

    Well, we’re now an international embarrassment….again

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  62. [...] professed concern is misplaced.  As the National Trust press release on the “new state-of-the-art visitor centre” at [...]

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  63. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    Dec,

    Always with the tiresome petty insults?

    Visitors are “presented with demonstrable facts” [sic]. They also get a little entertainment. I expect the NT expects Einsteins such as yourself to stand back and sagely massage their massive brains.

    Rapunsell,

    “just” a few other stories for your condescension; ‘The Quantum Story’, Jim Baggott, ‘The Story of Particle Physics’, Euan Squires, ‘The Story of Physics’, Lloyd Motz: “just” recounting a series of events, “just” stories.

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  64. David Cather (profile) says:

    Blues do you not think it’s amusing how “freethoughtsblogs” call other peoples free thoughts “bullshit” (sic) without a hint of irony.

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  65. David Cather (profile) says:

    From what I’m gathering from the media, the National Trust’s presentation highlights the discussions over the centuries as to how the causeway came to be there and acknowledges that some people don’t accept the millions of years old argument. It’s tolerence on the Trust’s part that’s all.

    One would think that the mighty ediface that is Big Bang cosmology would be sturdy enough to withstand this tiny nod to it’s dissenters, without a wholesale manning of the barricades.

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  66. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Why would one tolerate blatant nonsense masquerading as fact?

    We have the science. We know the earth is a hell of a lot older than 6,000 years old.

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  67. Mac (profile) says:

    Seems to be going down well on the NT’s facebook page.
    http://www.facebook.com/nationaltrust/posts/181610451968970

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  68. Rapunsell (profile) says:

    SoS

    I’m at a loss to understand how it is condescending to suggest that the science behind the likes of plate tectonics and volcanology is not just another story to be considered as a suggested explanation for the causeway alongside your apparent belief that it was created by a supreme being less than 10,000 years ago.

    The creationism view is a story , I’ll go with the scientific explanation from careful evidence based research and examination over many years.

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  69. Maybe creationists should be banned from Jury Service.

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  70. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    From the BT website:

    … but what do our architectural experts think of the new creation?

    Irony anyone?

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  71. Mike the First (profile) says:

    David Cather

    “One would think that the mighty ediface that is Big Bang cosmology would be sturdy enough to withstand this tiny nod to it’s dissenters”

    This is fairly typical creationist fare you’re trotting out. There are demonstrable geologial facts about the origin and age of the Giant’s Causeway. What cosmology has to do with this, I don’t know.

    Then again, I don’t what what place religious creation myth has in it either, but you want to throw that into the mix.

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  72. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Mac

    I checked out the Facebook link. WOW!!! What a reaction

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  73. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    I checked out the facebook reaction too. Quite a few posters say that they won’t be visiting any more N.T. sites. I think that’s an excellent way to demonstrate their displeasure, If I happen to be passing one of their sites, I will go to the ticket office and tell them why i will not be paying them money.

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  74. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Secularism.org.uk quotes the following as text from the audio guide citing a non-existent debate about whether the earth is 6000 years old*:

    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 Belfast Long Chronology (constructed from overlapping sequences of tree rings on oaks goes back to 5474 BC, i.e. 7486 years) for anyone who believes there is any sort of debate to be had here.

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  75. John, thanks for the long chronology link – impressive stuff.

    The only debate is between people who think everyone is entitled to his own opinion, and people who think everyone is entitled to his own facts.

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  76. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Interesting to see that Prof. Brian Cox has tweeted on the issue. His tweet is shown here http://www.facebook.com/groups/238916812894665/

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  77. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    andnowwhat,

    Any chance of reproducing the tweet? I’m facebook allergic.

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  78. Mister_Joe

    He has a number of tweets on the subject. https://twitter.com/#!/ProfBrianCox

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  79. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

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  80. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    Rapunsell,

    I was simply highlighting your pejorative interpretation of my use of the word ‘stories’. You seem to be labouring under the misconception that a ‘story’ is by definition fictitious. This is patently not the case.

    The ‘science story’ at the causeway is factual, the ‘young earth story’ along with the ‘giant myth story’ are not.

    Unlike you, as it would seem, I don’t hold with petty censorship. The NT in a wide ranging display visit the many interpretations of the causeway that have been advanced over many years. This includes the young earth position, and the fact that people do believe in it (should they have ignored these ‘truths’ of the historical and indeed minority contemporary views of the causeway’s formation?).

    Should people exposed to this dangerous propaganda begin to question the site’s geological roots they will quickly realise which story is supported by evidence. Indeed taking the visitor experience in the round it is obvious that the NT comes down strongly on the side of science.

    You allow yourself to be blinded by your own zealotry when you portray me as a creationist. On the religion thing generally I’m agnostic, but I understand that narrow minded people like you feel the need to negatively pigeonhole others who have the temerity to challenge your worldview.

    However back to the causeway: as I’m married to a geology MSc I’ll pass on taking instruction from any of the ‘experts’ here.

    Btw, I expect you’ll be fronting-up a campaign to rename the site. Can’t have any of this mythic giant nonsense being promoted, now can we?

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  81. sos,

    It is not the fact that there are people who believe in young earth creationism that is the issue here – that is an incontrovertible fact. It is the misrepresentation of the status of the “debate” that is the problem – the NT has strongly implied that the debate is still ongoing, when in fact the young earth creationists lost comprehensively a hundred years ago. Just because they haven’t admitted defeat doesn’t mean we should take them seriously. It’s rather like the Black Knight insisting that he can still fight despite missing his arms and legs. At what point do you stop respecting his lost dignity and just ignore him?

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  82. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    sonofstrongbow – I think the concern with how this is presented is that idea that the phrase ‘current mainstream science’ implies that the creationist ideas have some form of equity as an interpretative model. If you want it narrowed down further, I’d imagine what is freaking out so many people is that it is suggesting that ‘science’ here should not have a qualifier like current or mainstream since it implies that the creationist understanding could be equated with some *future* science that has a better understanding or that it is a *scientific* debate that is outside the mainstream but somehow valid all the same a scientific debate of sorts. Creationism just isn’t science, it’s a religious belief.

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  83. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Yep Joe.

    “I’m afraid that the National Trust should be ashamed of themselves if the story is true (he links to secularism.org)”

    then; “I don’t mind creation stories presented as mythology but to suggest that that there is any debate the Earth is 4.54 years old is pure shit”

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  84. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Ta, andnowwhat.

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  85. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Sorry I was so slow Joe.

    I was trying to type while house training a puppy. Quite apt as the puppy also leaves shit where it’s not wanted.

    We now have a debate on the NT’s FB page and a high profile scientist/personality tweeting on the matter. What twats we must look (again)

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  86. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    AG/JON,

    I do think there is a large degree of pinhead dancing going on. The vast majority of visitors will not be weighting every word, of what is at the end of the day a small part of the visitor experience, in such a, forgive me, overly sensitive and nuanced way that would give the average pedant the collywobbles.

    As I have pointed out the message to the Average Joe leaving the centre is one of supporting the scientific facts. The NT has (belatedly) issued a press notice underscoring this.

    It seems to me that too many have run with a mistaken impression of the visitor centre’s presentation sending the story viral. Perhaps all that froth flowing from the collective mouths of the Dawkinesque Disciples gathers up and engenders a rapid feeding frenzy at the merest scent of a Fundamentalist Christian about the place.

    I here defere to the Prime Minister: “calm down dear”.

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  87. OscarTheGrouch (profile) says:

    Back to banging the rocks together in Norn Irn. Oh well, par for the course…..

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  88. OscarTheGrouch (profile) says:

    …just wondered, how do you get to join the ‘debate’, I’d like a section to explain the creation stories of Pastafarianism

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  89. Rapunsell (profile) says:

    SoS

    What do you know of my world view ?

    I quoted part of your post. To me in that post you gave equal validity to the scientific explanation for the creation of the causeway and the creationist and other myths. A logical interpretation of that for me is that you apparently believe in one of the mythical explanations – the creationist view. It’s a pretty common tactic amongst those that argue that evolution is just another theory like creationism but I accept maybe one you’re unfamiliar with.

    I don’t believe in petty censorship at all but to conclude that not wanting a publicly funded educational centre at the heart of our only world heritage site to give validity to a clearly erroneous religious viewpoint ( and to spend public money on promoting it) is censorship is clearly wrong.

    You now seem to be saying that the purpose of the story of the creationism view of the causeway in the centre is to enlighten visitors to the centre to the scientific explanation.I hope it achieves that but as far as I can tell the NT is guilty of giving equal validity to the creationist view.

    Finally as far as i can see – you portray yourself as a creationist. And so what if you are or are not – you’re as entitled to your views as I am to mine and you owe me no explanation for them

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  90. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    The nutty ‘Caleb Foundation’ that promotes creationism:

    https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/120251888003861/

    Interesting that Liam Clarke is a member!

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  91. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Jazz.

    I’m not big time in to Bakebook but I think one has to be a member to see everything on a group link and comment in it. That might explain Clarke being on the list.

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  92. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    andnowwhat
    Nope
    It lists the 39 members, nearly all DUP executive ministers and their relatives, and Liam Clarke. He was accepted as a member 4 months ago. And you have to be ‘invited’. He might well be the Katie Holmes of the group but why he’s the only member that isn’t ‘on message’ is a mystery.
    And this is the group that forced/advised the NT into this decision. Maybe he’ll defend his membership in the BT tomorrow.

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  93. articles (profile) says:

    As a relevant aside anybody know which branch of science Nelson McCausland taught in his time as a teacher in a secondary school in N Belfast, and what did he study at Worcester College, Oxford?

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  94. articles (profile) says:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/liam-clarke/why-we-need-to-keep-religion-out-of-politics-16118410.html

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  95. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    articles
    maybe he’s a double agent

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  96. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Actually the Bel tel thinks the new ‘interprative’ centre is brilliant. Why would that be Liam? No chance of declaring an interest?
    Apart from the Ken Ham style exhibition, the visitors centre offers 2 guys in face masks, a dreary video and a cafe (prices?) and, ffs a ‘gift shop.
    £8.50pp, £6 car parking. You can bypass both for free.
    National Trust take note .
    Let’s hope it tanks, probably will.
    And it’s not exactly brilliant to see.

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  97. headtheball (profile) says:

    Genuine question. Are there any Catholic creationists? If not, why not? Why is this just a “prod” (evangelical) thing? Are all Catholics content with Augustine of Hippo’s view that Scripture must be interpreted as allegorical wherever it appears to conflict with sound science? Do they just leave these questions to their priests or the Vatican? I realise that when Luther (and others) set The Bible at the heart of Christian faith and practice they opened the door to nutty literalists like the Caleb mob, but are there no Catholic literalists?

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  98. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    yes, headtheball. For example, the ones such as the present pope who would like to reverse the changes introduced by John 23rd. But they keep their heads somewhat low.

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  99. Reader (profile) says:

    headtheball: but are there no Catholic literalists?
    Loads: Transubstantiation.

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  100. articles (profile) says:

    Turns out that Nelson studied physics at Oxford and thus he, so to speak, walked in the shoes of Newton, Einstein, Bohr, Hawking et al.

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