National Trust: “To ensure that no further misunderstanding or misrepresentation of this exhibit can occur, we have decided to review the interpretive materials in this section.”

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As the BBC report, after a fortnight of stonewalling and denials, and temporarily closing comments at their press blog, the National Trust has announced that they intend “to review the interpretive materials” in the controversial section of their Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre.  [Have the Geological Society had a word in their shell-like? - Ed]

They’re still blaming everyone else.

However, one small part of the visitor centre’s interpretive display has caused mixed reactions, mainly from people reacting to media coverage and online discussions.

The display in question focuses on the role that the Giant’s Causeway has played in the historical debate about how the earth’s rocks were formed.

Our intention in this section was to provide visitors with a flavour of the wide range of opinions and views that have been put forward over the years.

Our intention was not to promote or legitimise any of these opinions or views.

Unfortunately, elements from this part of the display appear to have been taken out of context and misinterpreted by some. [added emphasis throughout]

Here’s their statement of intent

A spokesman said: “Having listened to our members’ comments and concerns, we feel that clarity is needed.

There is clearly no scientific debate about the age of the earth or how the Causeway stones were formed.

“The National Trust does not endorse or promote any other view.

“Our exhibits, literature and audio guides for visits to the Causeway stones and this renowned World Heritage Site all reflect this.

To ensure that no further misunderstanding or misrepresentation of this exhibit can occur, we have decided to review the interpretive materials in this section.” [added emphasis throughout]

Two cheers, then.  For now.

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  • HeinzGuderian

    Our intention in this section was to provide visitors with a flavour of the wide range of opinions and views that have been put forward over the years.

    “There is clearly no scientific debate about the age of the earth or how the Causeway stones were formed.

    “The National Trust does not endorse or promote any other view.

    Ineed ?

  • Taoiseach

    Presumably the “scientific community” will now launch a campaign to have the feature renamed and any reference to giants or Finn Mc Cool removed as clearly this conflicts with the scientific consensus as well.

  • innis

    I doubt the scientific community will launch any campaign on the removal of Finn MacCool or Benandonner as the big lads don’t have a fundamentalist base who relentlessly promote their biblical beliefs in the face of established determined fact accepted by the vast majority of people including most theologians as well as the aforementioned scientific community. The folowers of Finn and the Scottish Fella also don’t want the world to be run according to their mythology with everyone having to chain the park swings on a Sunday

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Sense prevails at last, excuse me, heading to Nelsons blog now for the reaction

  • Mister_Joe

    I hope that my letter to them along with, presumably hundreds or thousands of others, helped.

  • Alias

    If the Trust is reacting to media conditioning of visitors then its action is short-sighted since that conditioning will not outlast media interest. When that occurs, it’s original decision will remain as valid/invalid as it was when they arrived at it. It’s simply a case of buckling under media-created mass hysteria.

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Alias,
    It’s reacting to the public reaction, not the media. That’s the mistake Nelson made. The Media is no longer a mainstream newspaper led thing.

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    It wasn’t so much the hullabaloo as the drop in revenue at the gate;apparently visitors have been arguing for a reduced entrance fee given it is only 6000 years old, besides which having brought their bibles, they are foregoing the opportunity to buy the official guide. Canny folk these Creationists.

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Lol Articles,
    Very good………It actually seriously worries me that my two kids would have seen this nonsense. They have no problem distinguishing between the mythology of Fionn Mac’cumhaill and the geology of the landscape. It’s the grown up lunatics that are harder to explain

  • Mister_Joe

    articles at 4:54 pm

    Hilarious.

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    Play the ball.

  • Alias

    “It’s reacting to the public reaction, not the media. That’s the mistake Nelson made. The Media is no longer a mainstream newspaper led thing.” – Bangordub

    That’s your opinion, which, as wild guess go, is fair enough. However, that is what the Trust has said in its statement:

    “However, one small part of the visitor centre’s interpretive display has caused mixed reactions, mainly from people reacting to media coverage and online discussions.”

    Hence:

    “If the Trust is reacting to media conditioning of visitors then its action is short-sighted since that conditioning will not outlast media interest.”

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    One of my favourite books is “The Moving Toyshop” where a murder is committed in a toy shop but when the discoverer of the murder, Richard Cadogan, returns with the police not only is the body missing but also the toyshop. It is one of the great pre war detective novels set in Oxford.

    I know exactly how Richard Cadogan feels, thrice over. I post a contribution and on return to the thread its gone missing, again and again and again. But on this occasion I don’t need the amateur detective Professor Gervase Fen to solve the mystery. Pack it in please and grow up.

  • Jack2

    Perhaps our own Ulster Taliban will cut funding to the tourist centre.

    Compare this from wikipedia to our own situation.

    “Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam.”

    Statues built in 500 AD destroyed by the Taliban.

    Both stories have a “Culture” minister, who is a religious fundamentalist.
    They view an ancient site as a threat to their religious view.
    Then set about undermining it.
    In Afghanistan it was with dynamite, here it was with a fairytale trotted out as the truth.

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    I’m not going to say this twice.

    The topic here is the National Trust’s response to public pressure over their ambiguous text at the Interpretive Centre.

    The political context of the ‘interpretive material’ is detailed in the previous posts linked in the original post above.

    Including where the funding for the centre came from. Hint: not the NI Culture Department.

    Go educate yourselves.

    Further gratuitous and/or off-topic comments will continue to be removed. Where appropriate, with prejudice.

  • carl marks

    first off articles very good.
    This was always a storm in a teacup, A friend of mine went to the Causeway to see for Himself (I already had) we hadn’t talked about the exhibit before he went. We met up a couple of days later, he told me he was a bit disappointed expecting to be outraged at the National Trust teaching Myth as Science. The impression he got from the press was that there was a large display equating young Earth nonsense with Fact. After wandering around the centre for ten minutes giving every screen a close inspection he finally found the offending item in among other alternative theories all equally as valid and with the same standard of evidence as creationism namely that it was, fossilised Bamboo, a Giant fossilised sea creature and each stone was made up of millions of little sea creatures who somehow got stacked in columns as they died. This is where it belongs. The bit that goes “the Debate continues” was a unfortunate choice of words and has been quoted out of context.
    The good thing that has come out of all this is the reaction from across the community to this shows how isolated creationists are and how few of them there are in the general population.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “This was always a storm in a teacup”

    .. partly fuelled by the likes of the National Secular Society. Local people will be rather more concerned about serious issues that have come to light in the shadow of the Causeway and will shake their heads at the visitor centre bruhaha.

  • andnowwhat

    There’s a transcript of a pretend conversation Hutton and Richardon in today’s Belfast Telegraph. It’s not on their site and my typing isn’t up to knocking it out here. Pete might want to add it to his blog or someone else might wish to do it.

    I followed the reaction on Facebook and Twitter and it went beyond the parochial.

    As Pete infers, there’s a serious issue about a pressure group (matters not what their cause is) being involved in financing public facilities. At what cost to neutrality or self promotion is it acceptable? How about the issue that many members of the leading party appear to be members of that very group (look at the heat over Sky it’s strong advocate Jeremy Hunt got)

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    andnowwhat, when Ministers are members of organisations be they churches, sporting bodies, etc. then no great pressure may be required to accede to the wishes of that organisation.

  • andnowwhat

    Nevin

    There is something rotten in Denmark but very little journalism. I just checked the Caleb Foundation’s FB page and there are quite a few unionist politicians that were on their friends section that are no longer visable

  • Jack2

    andnowwhat: I’m pretty sure Paul Givan DUP MLA is one of the ones who has since removed his name.
    Nigel & Diane Dodds are a maybe.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    andnowwhat, you should see my Facebook friends section. I’m not sure what conclusions you or others might draw about such a motley crew of lads and lassies. I doubt if many of them subscribe to my political analysis :)

  • Jack2

    Nevin, Caleb isnt a person its a group.
    You dont join it because you went to school with it or met it in the pub.
    Its a very tight knit religious pressure group.

    Stop the straw man arguments.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Jack2, andnowwhat and I are dealing with the Facebook page, not the organisation itself.

    Perhaps it’s also worth making two further points:

    1. One person can influence events and decisions.

    2. We don’t know why the NT decided to include the small Creationist item.

  • Mister_Joe

    I have just received my 3rd letter from the N.T. on this issue telling me about their decision to review the materials. They say that they got a large number of emails and letters and they like to take feedback from Members and supporters into account. This is good. They also referred to the large number of comments on social media.

  • andnowwhat

    Sorry Nevin. Friends was the wrong word, it should have been members (sniggers).

    Yep Jack, the Dodds and Girvan have gone as has Jim Allister and Liam Clarke. There might be an option to go private or something.

  • GoldenFleece

    “2. We don’t know why the NT decided to include the small Creationist item.”

    I’m part of of the group trying to get the creationist item (at least in its present form) removed.

    From what we have been told, the NT decided to include the creationist item because “County Antrim was awash with creationists”. News to me to be honest.

    I don’t think NT anticipated the mass fallout with its members or the (unwanted) praise from creationists either. Bit of a double whammy.

    Although the creationist input in the vistor centre seems small in content, it is part of a “wedge strategy” that creationists are trying in the US – push their dogma into education a little bit at a time, inch by inch. This is why the outcome of this event is very important!

  • andnowwhat

    Are all those heroin addicts in Ballymena and Antrim creationists? Man!! That’s a bad drug

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “There might be an option to go private or something.”

    That something might be Friends or Friends of Friends, andnowwhat ;)

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “anticipated the mass fallout”

    Easy on now, Golden Fleece, it’s not as if the sky – or the visitor centre roof – is about to fall in!

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The bit that goes “the Debate continues” was a unfortunate choice of words and has been quoted out of context.”

    carl, two words follow ‘continues’: amongst evangelicals. It seems Caleb’s opponents, in their red mist moments, overlooked that option.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I’m kind of with you Nevin, I doubt most of the opponents of the “Debate Continues” give a damn about Geology or being educated on the origins of the rocks in any sense. We are seeing Science funding being eroded for public bodies such as the legal system and medical centres and there’s no moral outrage that this will cost lives and put innocent people in jail, absolutely none. Science cannot be just for the imaginations of those who believe in it, it needs to be kept alive by active participation which frankly most of the angry heads blatantly refrain from.

    Since when did creationism become an unacceptable lifestyle choice in a tolerant pluralistic society? If Creationism prevents you from learning science or scientific thinking then how different is that from thinking homosexuality is a threat to your heterosexuality?

  • http://gerryleddyphotography.blogspot.com pashaluk

    What i find amusing about the creationist belief structure is that they believe an Ass has the ability to talk, not as a parrot, but hold a conversation with its rider.

    I believe in creation by a super power, but also i believe in evolution. The influenza virus is constantly evolving.

    the talking ass , numbers 22 old testament

  • Jack2

    Well since you bumped the topic ;)

    Just two days ago, ceramics thought to be made 15,000-17,500 yrs ago were discovered.
    http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/archaeologists-uncover-palaeolithic-ceramic-art/

    The National Trust must remove the codswallop strong armed in by Storey, McCausland et all.