National Trust: “However, not everyone agrees with the scientific view…”

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The BBC report that the National Trust have amended the controversial exhibition at the new Giants’ Causeway interpretive centre following their announced review of the materials in the display.  But have they fully addressed the problem?  Not quite.

Here’s how the revised controversial section of the transcript now reads

Today there is a clear understanding among scientists that the heat of the earth was the driving force behind the formation of the Giant’s Causeway – and that the earth is far older than had previously been thought. James Hutton suggested this back in 1785; modern geologists agree with him.

All the scientific evidence points to a volcanic origin for the columns of the Giant’s Causeway, around 60 million years ago.

However, not everyone agrees with the scientific view.  There are some people who believe – often for religious reasons – that the earth was formed more recently: thousands of years ago rather than billions. [added emphasis]

The National Trust supports the scientific view of the formation of the Giant’s Causeway.  We are proud to be the guardians of such a special place – one that has played an important role in our understanding of the world around us.

Often for “religious reasons”?  Nobody doubted that the National Trust supported the scientific view.  But here’s the founder and President of Answers in Genesis – who not coincidentally are also purveyors of resources for teaching Creationism as ‘science’ – and director of the Creation Museum, Ken Ham

I want to make it VERY clear that we don’t want to be known primarily as ‘young-Earth creationists.’ AiG’s main thrust is NOT ‘young Earth’ as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.

[But the National Trust "commissioned interpretive specialists"?! - Ed]  Indeed…

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  • http://www.dublinstreams.blogspot.com lostexpectation

    in what way do YOU think the problem hasn’t been fully addressed.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Nevermind the creationist nonsense, how much weight does the amended exhibition give to the theory that Fionn Mac Cumhaill built the causeway?

  • Pickled_Peppers

    It sounds much better to me. Whats’ wrong with it? It points out that the flat-earthers are all delusional religious types. Problem solved. The issue for most was always the “particularly here in Northern Ireland” line….which was DUP/Caleb crap at its worst.

  • BarneyT

    It looks like the National Trust is trying to be nice and have not come out strong enough. Instead they seem to have taken the approach, “we have our view and the creationists have theirs”…with a overtone of, “they are both validm but we have opted from the scientists, rather than creationist view”

    So, its very much “not quite”. I would have preferred them to issue a stronger statement saying they will not entertain any notion of creationism with regard to the formation of the causeway, citing “a body of techniques for investigating phenomena”.

  • Tomas Gorman

    The act of mentioning the creationist view (which the National Trust has absolutley no obligation to do) on the age of the Causeway allows it a gravity that it doesn’t at all deserve. The Ken Hamm view on the geological development of the causeway is as relevant as that of the ‘flat earthers’ or those who choose to believe that the causeway was in fact hand built by a giant. The National Trust article should end at paragraph two.

    Ignorant views should not be given an inch on scientific matters such as this.

  • Dec

    ‘ would have preferred them to issue a stronger statement saying they will not entertain any notion of creationism with regard to the formation of the causeway, citing “a body of techniques for investigating phenomena”.’

    I would point you to the £9.25million funding the centre received from the DUP controlled Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. This might explain why the NT seems determined to reference ‘alternative views’.

  • BarneyT

    I take it back…the response from the national trust is adequate “The National Trust only endorses the scientific explanation of the origins of the stones…”

  • BarneyT

    Dec – fair point but a worrying one

  • The Raven

    …”allows it a gravity that it doesn’t at all deserve”…

    So we’ll remove local folklore as a reference point too? Strange how everyone has a little chortle at panels and interpretation of a stone-hurling giant, but bring God into it, and my, how the knickers get twisted.

    It only gets gravitas, if you *actually* think that the occasional bored tourist or visitor stops…thinks about it…accepts it as rote..and goes off and researches more about it. How many do you think that happens with?

    I would suggest there are more worrying influences of the Caliban that deserve a thread than this.

  • Neil

    the Caliban

    Haha.

  • BarneyT

    The Raven – Hi the folklore, giants et al (in modern times at least) is taught tongue-in-cheek, and no-one really believes that a giant scooped a sod of earth and hurled it at the Scottish Giant and in doing so created but Lough Neagh and the Isle of Man…and clearly missed quite badly. Neither are we to believe that the causeway is man-built, notwithstanding that fact that it would amount to micro-surgery on the giants part, given the scale of Lough Neagh.

    Creationism dismisses the rational and understandings based on hypothesis, testing, evidence and techniques…such as carbon dating and other I dunno, calorie or decay based proofs?. I’m not scientist, trust me.

    Ok all of this science if based on what we currently know…naturally. Science asks why and it engages. The evidence is stacked against creationism and deliberately so, as creationism is not a metaphor or a quant wee story for 6 year olds.

    Folklore attached to the causeway is pursued solely I would guess for commercial reasons and entertainment. When I stand on the causeway, I do think about the Giants in dispute (and I mean the story I was told as a child)…cause its fun. Its not long before I start thinking about the various historical engagements between Scotland and Ireland and further afield, and how these metaphors evolved, much like the brown\white bulls of Ulster and Connacht.

    Creationism as I understand it, suggests that the earth was not here or in its current state, much more than 10,000 year ago and they make that assertion very seriously? The evidence suggests (proves) otherwise. On the basis that creationism is taken seriously, and folklore is not, the former should be dismissed as “pure daft” and therefore have not place in the tourist attraction. God is always going to be a spanner in the works and an arse tightening and knicker twisting issue for many…and she is best left out of this one.

  • OscarTheGrouch

    I am happy with this statement, in that it is essentially true and does not distort the scientific issue as the previous statement did. We may (and I do) find it embarrassing that we seem to have a higher percentage of creationist nutjobs in NI – so hell what’s new, we have loads of folks who would shoot you if you don’t like the colour of their particular little flag, so nothing new there then. It is also peculiar that a number of creationists have assembly posts, but then again – that’s hardly a position famous for reasonable, normal people – so it probably does reflect our society pretty well, Society change – well good luck with that – I just wanted the NT to remove the line ‘the debate continues’ from the scientific component of the exhibit. They have. Job done. Back to hoovering the hallway.

  • Reader

    That’s good enough for me. In 10 or 20 years creationists will have more or less disappeared from the western world, even round here. There’s no harm in recognising their existence right now, especially if the alternative is endless whining.
    And in fact, read the right way, (whisper) the concession looks like a bit of a put down.

  • Tomas Gorman

    “So we’ll remove local folklore as a reference point too?” Yes, if the section involved is a serious one around the origins of the Causeway.

    Caliban. I liked that as well.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Kudos to the N.T. They listened and acted. I alone had 3 emails from them when I objected to the initial wording and they did promise to take action.

  • BarneyT

    reader – why are you so optimistic about the disppearance of the creationists?

  • iluvni

    Never mind all that, is it still ridiculously overpriced to get in?

  • Neil

    Never mind all that, is it still ridiculously overpriced to get in?

    True that. Any tourist who decide to go will be too distracted by the gouging they’ve been subjected to they’ll be unable to read anything anyway.

    It’s the same ‘here’s a golden goose let’s cut the f*cker open and see what’s inside’ that sees empty units in Belfast because of the councils’s extortionate rates. Just as the tourists will eventually realise the deck’s stacked against them from the second they try to transport themselves from the airport and not come back.

  • Reader

    BarneyT : reader – why are you so optimistic about the disppearance of the creationists?
    Because I remember what school was like in the 1970s, and there’s no comparison with my children’s experiences now. Creationism lacks critical mass among the young.
    These days, creationism is the province of those who have sacrificed their critical faculties to literalism. In the future, it will be the preserve of those with almost no critical faculties.
    It’s not all good news though. It looks as though conspiracy theories are on the rise.

  • Clanky

    Reader – that might be true in the UK and even in Ireland, but not in much of the US, these fruitcakes are trying to force schools to teach creationism as science under the “intelligent design” guise.

  • Red Lion

    How this for a tourist attraction,, summer only, for our beautiful north coast, golf hub supreme…

    a tourist boat that runs between portstweart, portrush harbours and then portballintrae for access to bushmills distillery and giants causeway.

    ok i know nothing of the costs and whether these are prohibitively expensive.

    could even start at coleraine town go up the bann stop at the barmouth for castlerock, do the above named route and possibly extend to ballintoy and or ballycastle.

    Maybe i’m a dreamer…

  • Backbencher

    If creationism is as ‘unbelievable’ as you all suggest why are you all so troubled by the issue?

    Maybe, quietly you fear that the evolution brainwashing that has gone on in schools for years has not paid dividends.

    Children can spot a fairytale when they hear one – once upon a time there was nothing, suddenly a big bang occurred and the universe was created, over time the most amazingly complex, interdependent life forms arose, all by chance. These life forms continued to develop into even more complex and interdependent life forms, yet again by chance.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Never mind all that, is it still ridiculously overpriced to get in?”

    Well said, iluvni, the trivia has been a useful distraction from the pricing. However, it’s the getting out rather than the getting it that has raised a lot of hackles. Imagine, if you will, a party of four adults arriving by car from Garvagh on a return visit. The last time they were – ten years ago – they handed over £5 to park the car, took a stroll through the visitor centre, walked down to the stones and dropped into the cafe on the return leg for some refreshments. This summer they would have parked the car, looked at the £8.50 charge per person for ‘the experience’ and, on reflection, opted for the free walk down to the stones. They were in for a rude awakening when they were about to leave. “How much was it to park the car?” “We don’t charge for car-parking. That will be £34.”

  • Tomas Gorman

    Let’s put it this way Backbencher. I’ll tell you a big purple, poka dot dragon shat out the earth 600 years ago after a pretty rough night out that included kebabs.

    A few of us Dragon worshipping types are members of a pressure group with insider access to funding applications for regional development. We want our theory mentioned in the Causeway exhibition. We get our way.

    Moreover, the burden of proof is on you to argue against and disprove my theory.

  • Backbencher

    Thomas

    I have no need to disprove your theory, I am all for free speech, if you can get it included in the Causeway exhibition so be it. I am quite happy to have the visitors make up their own mind as to whether your theory is fact or fairytale.

    Do you really believe that?

  • Reader

    Backbencher: Maybe, quietly you fear that the evolution brainwashing that has gone on in schools for years has not paid dividends.
    Oops. Not only is Creationism giving way to conspiracy theories, it appears it is *becoming* a conspiracy theory. I would like to present that as evidence for Natural Selection, but actually it looks like Lamarkism to me. I’ll have to think about that…

  • BarneyT

    Backbencher – the theories that explain the universe and how it formed are based on what we knew in the past and what we also know today. Clearly as we move forward in the next few hundred years we will perhaps learn that we knew very little in our current present, however the principle of science is that we theorise, then seek to prove/disprove the theory and based on the results we accept/reject, usually based on a probability of being wrong. The key here is that we seek to prove based on the knowledge and tools we have at the time.

    The recent ongoing experiments in Switzerland tried to gather evidence to prove\disprove a theory formed 50 years ago by Mr Higgs. What we should dwell on there is that proof was sought, rather than allowing an ideology to form with blind faith attached. It was accepted based on many many observations that theory was probably correct and the so called “god particle” which gives other particles mass, most probably existed and can be created for an instant, based on the signature it left.

    If the earth is 6000 years old, science would put that to the test as it did the Higgs Boson theory. The fact is that much work has already been done regarding our planet, its formation (not to mentions 100s of years of chemistry, physics, maths.) allows us to immediately discount the 6000 year old notion. There is a clear distinction here between accepted/known facts and a dismissible belief.

    Some believe that they can communicate with the dead. Some believe we have a consciousness in some form post death. Those are generally quite harmless beliefs and they give a lot of comfort to many when they remain as personal internal beliefs. These points can be debated and maybe they cannot be disproven, or indeed proven. You either have faith or you don’t. The same cannot be applied to the notion that the earth is 6000 years old, as we firmly know it is not, in the same way we know the earth orbits the sun and it is spherical.

  • Backbencher

    Barney

    ‘The fact is that much work has already been done regarding our planet, its formation (not to mentions 100s of years of chemistry, physics, maths.) allows us to immediately discount the 6000 year old notion. There is a clear distinction here between accepted/known facts and a dismissible belief’

    I would be keen to know what the accepted/known facts are? Please provide some detail.