An update from the team at Giant’s Causeway

We’re encouraging everyone to come and see the new interpretation at the Causeway for themselves and make up their own mind. But we realise not everyone contributing to the discussion may be able to come in person. So please allow us to take some time to describe exactly what we have in on site interpretation.

Once at the Causeway all visitors receive an audio guide which tells some of the history of the people who lived and worked here and then describes the formation of the Causeway landscape across 60 million years. This interpretation tool is the one which most visitors will be exposed to.

Inside the centre there are two major exhibits which we hope most of our visitors will see – a large model showing the landscape of the world heritage site and a big screen film. The film show has two films of around two minutes each. One of the films tells the tale of Finn McCool, the other shows how the Causeway landscape was formed and shaped, starting around 65 million years ago with the eruption of the lower basalts (followed by the formation of the columns and subsequent weathering and ice ages).

The more detailed exhibition space contains a whole range of activities for visitors who can spend a little big longer on site. Around one third of this space is devoted to ‘Formation and Shaping’. This in turn is laid out roughly by scale and time – i.e. those exhibits at one end are more global and look at the grand sweep of geological time, those at the other are more concerned with ‘column’ scale and the history of science.

Here’s a list of the exhibits within this area:

  • ‘Atlantic Widening’ – a turn handle exhibit primarily aimed at children which describes how the mid Atlantic ridge has been spreading for millions of years and still is today (at the speed your fingernails grow)
  • ‘Planet on the Move’ – a display which details other sites around the world which have basalt columns, and which clearly sets out when these formed in the context of the Causeway’s formation 60 million years ago
  • ‘Where on Earth’ – our largest touchscreen exhibit looks at 400 million years of Ireland’s rocks using a specially made paleoglobe animation – visitors click dates ranging from 400mya to 100my future (predicted), watch the continents shift and read facts about particular points (e.g. evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs, human evolution etc.)
  • ‘Causeway suspects’ – another touchscreen where visitors can look at the forces which have shaped the Causeway – lava, wind and rain (weathering), ice ages and people (Victorian path cutting to climate change). The dates of all these ‘suspects’ are clearly mentioned from 60mya for lava to hundreds of thousands of years for successive ice ages
  • ‘Causeway suspects’ – models and flipbooks of Causeway landscape features, the Boot, the Onion skin rocks and the Camel – exploring them as a glacial erratic, product of chemical weathering and dolertite dyke respectively (again stating how long the processes involved take)
  • ‘Modern Geologist’s desk’ – a touchscreen exploring the work of geologists on site today, a virtual microscope showing thin sections, an animation showing the basic geological succession sequence at the Causeway, and a virtual coffee cup to stir
  • ‘Basalt investigation’ (this and the following exhibits are in the more historical part) ‘basalt investigation’ is aimed more at younger visitors and helps them to look at the properties of basalt just as the first investigators did when they were working out what the Causeway columns were made of (shape, density, colour and texture) using actual pieces of rock. In particular it busts the idea that many visitors have before they arrive, that the columns’ formation somehow involved the sea.
  • ‘Ball and socket’ jointing – a full sized section of column demonstrates how ball and socket jointing formed in the columns
  • ‘Travelling column’ – tells the story of how columns and rock samples were removed over the years and have ended up in institutions all over the world

Lastly there is the ‘debating characters’ exhibit, which sparked the discussion. This exhibit consists of five different audio samples triggered by buttons. It is designed to give a flavour of the historical debates there have been over the Causeway’s formation – starting with arguments between Sir Thomas Molyneux and a mystery correspondent (probably George Ashe) over whether the columns were fossil or mineral. The next clip sets out a flavour of the argument between Vulcanists and Neptunists. The next clip details how James Hutton’s work opened the way for definitive proof of an ancient earth. The fourth clip mentions a theory published in the 1800s that the Causeway was fossilised bamboo. Then the final clip states that Young Earth Creationists exist who wish to continue the debate today, as they believe the earth is only 6000 years old.

Once again we urge all those who can visit the Causeway to do so. We believe we have approached this topic fairly, proportionately and entirely scientifically, and hope you will agree once you come to the Causeway in person.

National Trust statement and transcript of ‘debating characters’ exhibit

If you feel you have a question which has not been answered sufficiently here please direct it to enquiries.ni@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Or you can write to: Giant’s Causeway Interpretation Issues, The National Trust, Northern Ireland Regional Office, Rowallane House, Saintfield, Co. Down, BT24 7LH, and will do our best to answer your enquires there.

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340 thoughts on “An update from the team at Giant’s Causeway

  1. The wording of your Young Earth Creationist section is misleading and inaccurate, and the use of the phrase ‘mainstream science’ frankly offensive.

    Please remove this pandering to the ignorant and stick to the actual debates – the other sections are an accurate portrayal of the then state of the geological sciences. Young Earth Creationism plays no part in the current scientific debate and has no place in it.

    I am deeply offended that the National Trust persists in this patronising defense of the indefensible and once again request that this section be removed, assurance given that the other scientific sites curated by the Trust will not be defaced in a similar manner.

    Please note, I will not be spending any money in any of your sites until this is removed. And to be honest, I’d quite like a refund for all the money I’ve spent already.

    • “and the use of the phrase ‘mainstream science’ frankly offensive”

      “Young Earth Creationism plays no part in the current scientific debate and has no place in it.”

      Quoted for truth.

    • Well done to the National Trust for putting all view points across and not taking sides.

      Young Earth Creationists have just as much right to have their view expressed as modern scientists do and I praise the National Trust for doing this.

      Anyone who objects to all views being expressed and dismissing those which they do not agree with are merely showing their arrogance and inability to show understanding and acceptance of other people and thier opinions.

      In Britain we believe in free speech – that means everyone has the right to have view and opinions expressed. The National Trust seems to be doing just that – expressing everyones view and opinion. (after all isn’ the National Trust ‘Forever, foreveryone’ – not just scientists but creastionists as well.

    • Hi Mary,
      I am sorry to hear that you have found even the briefest of mention on this National Trust site of a viewpoint that differs from yours so “offensive”.
      It is abundantly clear that the National Trust are not promoting Young Earth Creationist views, but simply mentioning that some people do not accept the view that is promoted by the majority of secular scientists on the age of the basaltic columns or the age of the Earth in general.

      It appears that you and many others posting here, do not have any tolerance at all for people that have opinions that differ from yours. It also is apparent you and many other people such as the fundamentalist atheist Richard Dawkins, would like prevent those that hold a different opinion on this matter, from even having their opinion voiced. It appears that many people posting here would rather have the opinions of others censored, rather than being open to discuss the differing opinions in an open and adult manner.

      I think that this is a shame, that even the mention of a different point of view rattles so many people that they want to ban even the mention of it!

      It is also ironic that even those that accept the evolutionary story and the unproven assumptions upon which the billions of years are founded are happy to have the tale of Finn McCool presented, but complain so vehemently when their ‘beliefs’ about the age of the Earth are challenged by others that hold a different opinion.

      As it appears that the National Trust has not presented the view of the Young Earth Creationists as ‘accurate’ in their opinion, but simply mentioned that some people (myself included) hold the opinion that the Earth is much younger than the majority of secular scientists believe that it is, your reaction seems to be highly intolerant and a considerable over reaction.

      Is it not possible for you and the others posting here to behave in a more adult manner towards those of us that do not share your beliefs, and towards the National Trust which has done nothing worse than showing a little tolerance of a viewpoint that they do not share!

      Brian

      • Secular scientists? What group is that? I’m pretty sure some of them are “religious” too, but they still don’t “believe” that the earth is as young as some, mostly non-science folks “believe”. As long as the young earth creation “belief” is given as much place as the Finn MacCool idea of how the causeway got there, how bad can it be? But please don’t give me the freedom of speech stuff; this is happening because a religious group is forcing a minority opinion to be presented. Does anyone else see the irony that it’s “conservative” Protestants forcing this issue, and they have the same “belief” as the “conservative” Roman Catholics on this issue?

      • David,
        That is exactly what happened in the last century. The non-believing minority shoved their interpretation of the evidence down the throats of the believing majority. Now they do not want to give believers the time of day. Hypocrisy of the grandest scale!

      • >>> “some people do not accept the view that is promoted by the majority of secular scientists”

        Some people are ignorant and uneducated. Some people are indoctrinated by religious superstition and the lies of the church. Some people are wrong. There is no point of theory or debate within this matter on which to have a view: you either understand the facts, or you do not.

        “The view that is promoted” by secular scientists – whoever they are – is neither a view nor a promotion. It is simply fact. If the evidence and knowledge garnered by such people that are expert in the fields of geology, cosmology, and evolution differed to what it does, if it supported the mythical tale of the Earth being 6,000 yrs old, then don’t you suppose they would say so? It isn’t a political ideology you know.

        >>> “It appears that you and many others posting here, do not have any tolerance at all for people that have opinions that differ from yours.”

        We don’t have tolerance for the ignorant and superstitious trying to foist their ridiculous fantasy onto us, our children, or anyone else’s children for that matter. As above, this matter is not one of opinion, but simple fact. Your repeated characterization of the issue as a debating topic simply betrays your own total lack of understanding.

        >>> “the evolutionary story and the unproven assumptions”

        The theory of evolution is absolutely proven, beyond all reasonable doubt. It is a simple fact. If you don’t like it because it conflicts with the fantasy your preachers have lied to you about your whole life, that is a pity but nonetheless of no consequence to the facts.

        Take your lies, your superstition, your anti-science, your ignorance, and relieve the rest of us from them.

        The National Trust position is indefensible and utterly shameful.

    • Do you realise how arrogant this makes you sound? for years religion had a major part in science, it’s a recent thing to split them apart!
      The national trust have done nothing but show their maturity in being inclusive of a religion that came to Ireland long before the sciences. Its not as if the Creationist viewpoint has in anyway taken the limelight here either, as you can read above it has a small slot in a single exhibit.

  2. Debate? What debate? There is no debate. It’s called Science. Look it up.

    And what about every other nutty myth out there – surely if you’re going to represent any you have to represent them all to be inclusive.

    You have been suckered, big time. I am embarrassed to be a member and await my full refund as you have lied to me. I thought you were guardians of history. I was wrong.

    • Hi Bev.

      All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

      The exhibit at the Giant’s Causeway is specific to that site and tells the story of the part the Causeway played in the historical debate which took place about how the earth’s rocks were formed and about the age of the earth.

      • As you can see Steve, the debate is anything but historical. On the contrary it is all too present.

        Your organization should not be confusing an interesting matter of geology with the feeble and dull fables of our own dark and ignorant past. If you are going to mention them at all, then it must be in the context of pointing out how ridiculous they were, and still are, in contrast to what is now known.

        Doing so in a style of “respecting others’ views” is a disgraceful position, because it lends credibility where none whatsoever is deserved. Such views should not be be respected; on the contrary, our future existence as a technological society depends on organizations such as yourselves doing precisely the opposite. I believe it is this that has gotten people excited.

  3. How on earth can you say you approached this “scientifically” when the Creationist statement is there – they are anti-science.
    There is no scientific debate over the age of the universe, to expose visitors, especially children to this is bizarre.
    In the interests of fairness why dont you add the creation theory from every culture, starting with Bunjal in Australia?
    There is no logical reason to include this Creationist bunkum, your society has been well and truly compromised.

    • Why do people get so angry when God the Almighty Creator is brought into things? I am not anti-science as a lot of science is proving the Bible…. If this tiny section at the Causeway causes so much anger then I am reminded of the wee quote ‘the truth hurts’…. I say the truth shall set you free….and as the Scriptures tell us …’He who the Son sets free is free indeed’ :) I love the Causeway… lets all enjoy it together :)

  4. Perhaps you should repeat the ‘(Chorus of laughs)’ sound effect that you use after Morton’s fossilized bamboo suggestion after you say ‘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.’? You know, if you’re not shy of mocking ridiculous ideas that contribute nothing to the ‘debate’ given our current understanding of geology, be even-handed about it.

  5. It is a shame you felt that they needed a platform. A institution I respected has allowed itself to be used by an ignorant religious minority to place into an educational setting an unscientific and unevidenced point of view. You have an enormous responsibility to the children and students that you are educating. This view point has no place in this setting and in schools is heard nowhere but the RE room.

  6. How is the human race going to address problems such as global warming, mass extinctions and the depletion of natural habitats and resources if organisations like the NT persist in lending credence to idiotic crackpot dogma that misjudges the age of the earth by a factor of almost one million?

  7. The problem is using the word “debate” in this context. There is no debate, and to suggest there is is frankly irresponsible.

  8. If you are going to introduce 3rd world superstitious drivel like creationism then what’s next? Tom Cruise on xenu and the the thetans? As a NT member I am disgusted.

  9. Unfortunately you have somewhat legitimized their anti-scientific beliefs, by actually letting them in to the so-called ‘debate’, that has been closed a long time ago by factual evidence.
    State bodies like the NT, should never let non-factual beliefs allow to be part of an educational scientific debate.
    I am not sure why the NT has buckled under the pressure of this particular pressure group.
    But it would be well advised to not try to confuse education with beliefs.

  10. “Then the final clip states that Young Earth Creationists exist who wish to continue the debate today, as they believe the earth is only 6000 years old.”

    If that was exactly what was being presented it wouldn’t be so bad. It would be even better if you pointed out that belief in a 6,000 year old Earth is denial of reality, and no longer a subject for debate by rational people.The very fact that the Caleb Foundation are crowing about the inclusion of a creationist point of view, and claiming that it legitimises their view this should be enough to make you realise that they have duped you. WAKE UP!

  11. I have not seen a single tweet, comment or reply in support of what the NT has done here. The view appears to be unanimous that the Trust has allowed itself to be conned by a small, but vociferous bunch of crackpot charlatans. This issue should be addressed urgently and at the highest level to save the reputation of the Trust. Given its response to date it seems clear that it just doesn’t get it. Let us have some sensible action asap from the Chairman.

  12. Just listen to your membership. Sometimes you get these things wrong and you need to react. You are in that position. NOW.

  13. Well I for one am glad I have already visited Ireland and do not have to go back to waste my money on such drivel. I just do not understand how you can have a scientific discussion and include religion, because that is all the creationist have is a beleif based on a book and offer NO scientific evidence to back their claim so how is it scientific? Where is the Flying Spaghetti Monster opinion on how his noodly apendages created the formation? In your concession stand do you offer a cup of tea from Russels teapot? Reality is what science is based on and until the creationist have repeatable scientific evidence of their claim then it is just a hypothesis not a proven theory.

  14. The BBC today reports a spokesman for the Caleb Foundation as saying:

    “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.”

    1. Is it true that the Trust has worked closely with the Caleb Foundation over many months?

    2. If so, why, and who within the Trust worked with them, and who gave permission for this?

    3. Does the Trust accept the assertion that the new visitor centre includes an acknowledgement of the ‘legitimacy’ of the creationist position on the Causeway?

    4. Does the Trust accept the assertion that the new visitor centre includes an acknowledgement of the ‘legitimacy’ of the ‘ongoing debate’ around the creationist position?

    5. If the answer to 3 and/or 4 is ‘no’ wil the Trust issue an immediate statement refuting these assertions which have been made by the Foundation?

      • ‘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.’

        http://ntpressoffice.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/giants-causeway-visitor-centre-interpretation/

        Unless I get my elves thesis represented, I’m still of the opinion that this goes beyond what might be considered either reasonable or fair. At the very least, it’s elvist. Seriously, would it be ok to say that there are people who ‘have an understanding which is different from that of current mainstream science’ as regards the earth not being flat or going around the sun? If I go to Egypt, will the visitor centre tell me there is an ongoing debate as to whether they were constructed by extraterrestrials?

    • Please provide a citation for this so they have no excuse to prolong their response… I am more scared that one of our great institutions like the NT have been duped by a group of crack-pot smoking lunatics that, as of yet do not obviously know there ass from their elbow! An imediate press release MUST be issued, I for one am for a Boycott of all NT grounds and/or attractions until the above has been made… Thanks

    • Hi Nick

      1. No – Caleb were one of a number of groups consulted on the exhibition. We do not support their views and none of the language in the exhibition came from them.

      2. As above

      3. No – The National Trust fully supports and promotes the science in relation to the formation of the Giant’s Causeway and the age of the earth. All of the information presented to visitors clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

      4. No

      5. No we won’t be – but we are reaffirming our position to anybody who will listen.

      • Steve’

        Re 5) more like trying to save face, is it not possible for the NT to be wrong and have made a misjudgement? Ironically there seems to be something of a god complex about your stance, ‘we must not listen.. we are infallible’

        So where can i find evidence that the NT listens to its long time supporters? Or do we not matter now and have to simple accept everything you do as the attitude seems to be that NT always knows best? Some times it takes pride to be removed from a situation, i suggest that this is one such occasion.

      • Thank you for your response. It is extremely significant because it means that the Trust has now unequivocally confirmed that the Caleb Foundation has indeed misrepresented the Trust’s position in the statement which appears on its website and as quoted by the BBC.
        The only part of your answer that does not satisfy me is your answer to Q5. Given the statement issued by Caleb it is surely essential that the Trust now issue a public statement putting the record straight in accordance with your answers to my Q1-4.

      • Dear Steve
        Just to underline all my comments, and those of many others, I think you should take a look at the following article by a spokesman for the Caleb Foundation in today’s Belfast Newsletter:

        http://www.newsletter.co.uk/community/columnists/david-mcconaghie-causeway-creationist-feature-promotes-healthy-debate-1-4038102

        You will see that what we have all been saying is very much the case, and that the Caleb Foundation is using the Trust to give legitimacy and respectability to its ridiculous ‘flat earth’ views with the object, amongst others, of teaching schoolchildren about them. I’m afraid I think this is all rather disturbing. Hence my wish that a statement is issued by the Chairman dissociating the Trust from the claims made about it by the Caleb Foundation.
        They are prefectly entitled to their views, but they are not entitled to claim that the Trust has worked ‘closely’ with them and that it has acknowledged the legitimacy of (1) the creationist position concerning the Causeway, and (2) of the ongoing ‘debate’ around the creationist position, as you have already confirmed in your post yesterday afternoon.

      • OMG.

        ‘This new feature at the Causeway Centre also has another wider significance. Every church group, Sunday school, youth fellowship etc can now go to the Causeway Centre, take on board what is said about the continuing debate and, from that starting point, tell children, young people, men’s groups, ladies’ fellowships or senior citizens about the wealth of evidence in all branches of science – evidence that some would seek to suppress – in all creation, that points to the hand of a sovereign God in this world’

        As a parent of two girls, I find this chilling reading.

        The remainder of the article is equally so.

        And the NT line that they have no responsibility for it and aren’t going to do anything about it is making me more cross with every passing day.

      • As Jimmy Cricket might have said…..but wait…there’s more….

        (from the Newsletter article)

        ‘The inclusion in the new centre of an acknowledgement of an alternative explanation of its origins, and of the continuing debate about it, is an encouraging step. We’ve had collective hysteria from those who would conceal evidence, suppress facts, withhold data, obstruct enquiry and stifle debate – but that was expected….’

        Words fail me.

  15. As a scientist and National Trust member I’m offended by your reference to “current mainstream science”, it’s just plain science, and any implication that there is still any real scientific debate over the YEC position is laughable at best…and a craven surrender to vested interests at worst.

    Pklease, please, please emove the words “current mainstream” from the statement, and unless you’re also gointg to include the creation myths of other religions you would be wise to remove the paragraphs on YEC beliefs that follow it.

    As my namesake above said “WAKE UP!”

  16. The new press release is simply a restatement of yesterday’s press release in slightly different words. People understand that the creationist ‘viewpoint’ represents a small part of the exhibition. They’re saying it’s wrong for it to have been included at all. Utterly and completely wrong headed and foolish. Please tell me there is someone at the National Trust who understands this and you are all simply being obtuse. This entire debacle gives the strong impression that the National Trust were forced to include religious extremist views by political pressure and were clearly instructed to display them in a favourable light. The Trust were presumably operating under the delusion that no-one would notice and that they wouldn’t be dragged into the cold light of day to explain their reasoning and answer questions about which National Trust site would be next for application of the Young Earth Creationists’ non-mainstream alternative message.

  17. Hi all. We’re working hard on answering your questions and are aiming to post something very soon. Thanks for your patience.

    • Steve
      The comment from Nick Hanna on July 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm quoting a BBC report demonstrating how the Caleb Foundation are using the NTs inclusion of this highly questionable part of the exhibit to legitimise their position should be enough for the NT to remove it.

      • Agreed. You have made a mistake now ‘fess up and apologise and remove the creationist nonsense

      • Hi Richard

        We are not validating Caleb’s views – which they should realise.

        The exhibit at the Giant’s Causeway is specific to that site and tells the story of the part the Causeway played in the historical debate which took place about how the earth’s rocks were formed and about the age of the earth. All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old

      • I don’t agree with all those who have said that they wish to resign their membership of the NT because of this matter. That is taking things too far, particularly where the Trust is the victim rather than the perpetrator. They should stand their ground and argue for sense to prevail.
        However the Trust must recognise the huge strength of adverse feeling which it has generated among the ranks of its members and followers over this issue. It has allowed itself to be duped and used. As a matter of urgency it really does need to stand up and state publicly, clearly and unequivocally that it rejects what the Caleb Foundation is currently saying (ie that the Trust has recognised the legitimacy of the debate, and of the Foundation’s views about the origin of the Causeway stones). These people are crowing that the Trust has given them legitimacy and respectability.
        The Trust’s failure to issue such a statement before now is beginning to make me wonder whether there may not have been some agreement or ‘understanding’ between the Trust and some NI Executive Minister sympathetic to the Foundation and/or the creationist viewpoint that in return for a helpful approach to public funding for the new Visitor Centre, the Trust would agree to do what it has done. I have no evidence that this is the case, but I think we need clarification one way or another asap.

      • @ NT Steve,

        ‘We are not validating Caleb’s views – which they should realise’.

        ‘Which they should realise.’ It’s a lovely, ideal world you live in. Meanwhile, in the real world, you’ve handed them all the validation they need. These guys send kids into school with little booklets so’s they can ‘counter’ their biology teachers. Guess what’ll be in the booklets now? ‘Oh, the NT have taken us seriously. We have raised challenging questions’.

        Seriously, Steve, you may feel that the blurb specifically states that it’s only these guys who hold these views, and that you’re not validating them, but the reality is that you are. The language and tone is all wrong.

      • @ NT steve,

        Regarding creationist booklets, I don’t mean this abstractly. My wife, a teacher, saw them only last term.

        Meanwhile, my own daughters feel they can’t express their secularism for fear of ostracisation.

        Thanks again, NT.

      • @NT steve.

        It has been put to the NT many times that their take on what they think they said and why they said it just doesn’t add up.

        ‘The Debate continues today’

        Which debate? The one you subsequently said doesn’t exist?

        ‘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.’

        The dubious reference to ‘mainstream’ science has been highlighted.

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

        More than a tad patronising, even if true,. You gonjna put something similar on the explanations for the White Cliffs of Dover? Why not?

        ‘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.’

        Never mind debate, what ‘challenging questions’ are there, Steve?

        All in all, I’m not surprised very few here are buying your clarifications.

        And, why, for goodness sake, not do elves while you’re at it.

    • I know why you have succumbed to this nonsense. Becaue Northern Ireland is ruled by a super conervative religous oligarchy and you wouldnt want to upset religous people in northern Ireland now would you – not after the troubles and all – best keep everyone happy eh ? Absolutely pathetic I’m sorry – this is the sort of insanity you’d expect in Iran or America but it has no place in the UK and Ireland.

  18. National Trust – you have made yourself look extremely foolish here. To say ‘continue the debate’ about creationism is ridiculous – there is no debate to be had without supporting evidence, of which there is none for these religious views. Are you now planning to place similar notices alongside all your sites which have a natural landscape formed over millions of years. This is a dangerous precedent and you would be advised not to pander to religious crackpots in this way.
    NT – We are in 2012, so please stick to the science!

    • Hi Lance

      The exhibit at the Giant’s Causeway is specific to that site and tells the story of the part the Causeway played in the historical debate which took place about how the earth’s rocks were formed and about the age of the earth.

      All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

  19. Pingback: Mis-Representation for a cheap headline « The Geography and Environment postgraduate blog

  20. I dislike creationism as much as anybody but the fact is that the causeway has been central to a historic debate about the origins of the planet. It is a place that inspired people to speculate, both scientists and creationists. It’s probably important to explain this to visitors.

    Looks like the Caleb Foundation being partiularly egregious with their spin as well.

    • I don’t think anyone’s worried about the sections on myths and historic debates.

      It’s the implication that there is any serious debate about the age of the rocks and the Earth that’s so ridiculous in a NT exhibition.

  21. I hope that the NT has received no other ‘assistance’ from CALEB or any other organisation that promotes the young earth belief. Who took the decision to allow this view point to be shared and why? what debate are the NT responding to?

    The NT needs to take account of its members feelings on this and remove this ridiculous final clip, or alternatively allow any half wit and crackpot to put up their ‘back of a fag packet’ theory on the film, to allow the ‘debate’ to be shown for what it is.

    • Hi Andy

      Caleb is an organisation which expressed interest in our plans for the Visitor Centre interpretation. As part of the consultation process on the development of the Interpretation we met with a wide range of groups – international visitors, community, funders, scientific community and Caleb was only one of those groups. We met with Caleb and discussed our plans for visitor centre interpretation as we did with many groups. None of the language in the interpretation came from the Caleb Foundation

      • Hi Steve

        The NT is being curiously naive in their management of this, surely any organisation should foresee the difficulties of dealing with religious non-scientific viewpoints amongst the general population. The creationists are having a field day with NT’s ‘support’ of their viewpoint. I suggest that you carefully look at what they are claiming you are doing for them (use the web). I’m certain if the comments related to political organisations, potential commercial interest or many other religious views then changes would already have been made, i am at a loss as to what is so special about Caleb.

        Also NT have been very ambiguous about this, the comments and updates have been clear in stating time and again that ‘the debate continues….’ when it doesn’t. if you were to offer numerous different viewpoints to science you could try to defend it by claiming that you were throwing in anything and everything, but to offer one suggests that NT views this as a viable alternative when it is not.

        I like many others want nothing to do with pseudo-scientific religious theories and therefore want nothing to do with the NT if they support them by propagating them.

        A straightforward question, are you going to change the film or not?

        It seems that many, many people are very uncomfortable with this, including yourselves given the numerous statements, clarifications etc, but not enough to listen to your members. If others want to say that the world was created yesterday then they can, there are churches, sects, forums everywhere. what i expect from a national organisation is that they stick to science and not place ne religious view over another.

        If, as you say in answers, you understand that the causeway is 60million years old and that is the NT line, then why the need for the extra comment and the validity this brings to it? After all you could merely say that other people view the age of the causeway differently and refer us all to the internet if we were interested to see more, no need to specifically support one theory (by highlighting it) above all others and then have to spend days clarifying ‘exactly’ what you think and probably lose much needed financial and volunteer support as you are doing.

        And yet still the determination that nothing will be changed, why? that scared of the reaction of Caleb?

        Poor management, lack of thought and complete disregard of long time supporters.

        Andy

  22. Pingback: Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre: “The National Trust fully supports the scientific explanation for the creation of the stones 60 million years ago” « Slugger O'Toole

  23. If the YEC version of the Causeway creation myth is retained at all it should be made clear that it is a culturally-based myth carrying no more legitimacy than the myth of Finn McCool and not an alternate scientific explanation open to debate.

      • Hmm, not specifics given to you yet. Just name calling about real scientists who have real evidence of a young earth. Reminds me of the middle ages when EVERYONE believed in the doctrine of signatures or spontaneous generation. Their observations “proved” those theories so they must have been true. Science, based upon mankind’s observations, always changes. It is not ever settled. Now let the roaring begin.

  24. Now that the National Trust has managed to damage its reputation by including this indefenseable drivel, only one question remains. How long will they continue to undermine their reputation befor they remove this feature and apologize to their many former contributors?

  25. I’m pleased to see the National Trust taking this issue seriously.

    I very much hope that they remove or at least re-do the last audio titled “The Debate continues today”. A debate about the age of the Giant’s Causeway does not continue today. There are just some people who still believe myths about them, and are impervious to the actual evidence.

      • Cool. Nice to hear what you think you meant. Great that you parse it that way. Meanwhile, others don’t agree with you on that, and have spent a lot of time articulating exactly why.

  26. Not good enough National Trust, I reproduce my blog post to explain why:

    Given that the National Trust tells us that the age of the Giant’s Causeway is still being debated to this day, here’s another debate that ‘s still raging.

    Germ Theory – The Debate Today.
    Like many natural phenomena around the world, diseases have raised questions and prompted debate about how they are caused, why people get them, and how to treat them.
    This debate has ebbed and flowed since the discovery of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and antibiotics, and historically, has been part of a global debate about how to deal with people who are sick.
    This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of disease which is different from that of most school children.
    Christian Scientists believe that “false beliefs are the procuring cause of all sin and disease” and that if you pray hard enough, you can cure any disease. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and the book Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures by Mrs Eddy. Some people around the world, share this perspective.
    Christian Scientists continue to debate questions about the cause and treatment of disease. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps sickness will continue to arouse debate and prompt challenging questions for as long as people get ill.

    Perhaps the National Trust should put such info up in Claydon House, with their information on Florence Nightingale? Surely this would be as fair, proportionate and entirely scientific as the Giant’s Causeway.

    http://furtherthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.com/2012/07/germ-theory-debate-today.html

    • It might be helpful for me to point out that the name Christian scientists refers the cult mentioned here started by Mary eddy and they do not refer to Christians who are scientists

  27. You are an embarrassment and have capitulated to pressure from an extremist religious sect The Caleb Foundation. An organisation with an express ambition to see Northern Ireland become a fundamentalist Protestant theocracy. Caleb’s position can be seen in its response to the Bill of rights for Northern Ireland.

    http://billofrights.nihrc.org/submissions/submission_355.pdf.

    In it they claim that “The right of the state is delegated by God and the responsibilities of the state are to govern in accordance with the will of God.”
    They are a fascist organisation that advocates ‘Dominionism’ , a political philosophy of politically active and reactionary Christians who seek to control secular and civil government through political action with the ultimate goal of establishing a nation governed by biblical law. Well done NT by offering your support to that project.
    No centre is better than this travesty.

  28. I have read your explanation that you still support ‘mainstream science’ and that the controversial part of the Visitor Centre is there only to reflect upon the history of the debate. I’m afraid this explanation is not sufficient. In this context there is no justification for using the term ‘mainstream science’ as opposed to YE, because YE is in no way science, and it cannot be placed even on the furthest fringes of research.

    Science, mainstream or not, is supposed to be based on observation and experience, and any sort of speculation that follows is based on those two basic elements of scientific approach. The YE theory is in no way based on observation or experience, as it is pure speculation. I am frankly shocked that a national institution responsible for such a spectacular geological heritage allows itself to form such conclusions that the YE movement has anything to do with science at all.

    But the worst lapse in your exhibition, the related materials and the approach in the media is that you consistently suggest that ‘the debate still goes on’. No, it does not. No one in their sane mind debates the age of the Earth. Placing the YE theory alongside the one of a fossilised bamboo makes it look better, I admit. But If you have not made that absolutely clear in your YE theory exhibit that it is just one of the folk traditions and in no way does it relate to the truth, you have fallen below any scientific standards.

  29. The problem is that it is clear from the wording of the bit about YEC that they have influenced those words directly. I have never seen the phrase “mainstream science” used, for example, at the Science Museum in London. That’s because the idea of there being two types of science helps groups like YEC create an illusion that there is still a possibility of an alternative. Secondly, it appears that the YEC part has been hacked on with no actual relevance to the history of the site. It’s enough to include the quotes from historical figures, as this sets the ‘debate’ in its historical context. To say ‘the debate continues’ is misleading in the extreme. To imply the idea of the earth being 6000 years old is popular in the area is also insulting and patronising to those people.

  30. The fact that a bunch of yahoo’s may want everyone to think there is a debate over this is no reason for the NT to provide support for that position. I might believe that the causeway is actually shed horns from the invisible pink unicorn or a manifestation of the noodly apendages of the Flying Spaghetti monster, other people (sane ones) will disagree. That does not mean we’re having a debate, it just means they’re not loonies.

  31. This is ridiculous, how has a reputable educational establishment like the National Trust been conned by this group of charlatans? There is no possible way you should be representing beliefs alongside facts. Furthermore if you are trying to pass this off as being ‘inclusive of alternative beliefs’ then you need to include ALL alternative beliefs, not just the ones of local pressure groups.

    I will be ceasing future financial support of the National Trust in light of this outrageous error.

    • And whose image is on that coin? Give to Ceasar what belongs to him, and to God what belongs to Him. Look in the mirror and see whose image is there.

  32. It seems totally bizarre that this organisation would give a platform at one of the most important geological sites in the world to a politically motivated special interest lobby group representing a tiny number of people. An organisation that is anti science. An organisation that tried to get exhibits in the Ulster Museum banned. An organisation that thinks they should have the right to control access to scientific information they dont like. What has happened here is a well known strategy employed by creationists all over the world known as teach the controversy. The views of the NT on this matter have already been misrepresented by the caleb foundation and you shouldnt at all be suprised. The inclusion of this idea in the display will be used further as evidence in defence of increasing their representation into other areas and this will go on until they have access to science education, to censor it and to use education as a vehicle of indoctrination. This is hot hyperbole, it is just the uncontroversial fact of their openly stated aims and intentions. Go look, read a creationist website/messageboard or two! I hope the national trust is looking forward to being exploited for the gains of the creationist movement. Your acceptance of their demands for inclusion will now be the basis of an appempt to control our childrens science education. It cant be stated strongly enough that this is a tactic of their “wedge strategy” and that the the national trust has been duped.

  33. For an organisation such as yourselves to even entertain the idea that the earth is only 6000 years old is frankly beyond belief.

    I thought that with recent events (Higgs boson) it is more than apparent that the earth is millions if not billions of years old.

    I cannot express my anger enough at this. You should be educating people with facts and not creationist nonsense.

    I will look at how this story evolves in the coming weeks but I for one will certainly not be donating whilst your organisation panders to the thoughts of these people.

    2 quotes from the Caleb Foundation: -

    1.We are pleased that the National Trust worked positively with us and that this has now been included at the new Visitor Centre.

    2. This is, as far as we are aware, a first for the National Trust anywhere in theUK, and it sets a precedent for others to follow. We feel that it is important that the centre, which has been largely funded out of the public purse, should be inclusive and representative of the whole community, and we have therefore been engaged in detailed and constructive discussions with the Trust in order to secure the outcome we have today.

    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.”

    The quotes above show how the Creationists have played you on this. They are publicising how you worked closely (sic) and that this will set a precedent for the future.

    SCIENCE PLEASE – NOT FAIRY TALES

    • Hi Philip

      The consultation process was with a wide range of stakeholders. Caleb responded in the consultation process. We simply reference in a small part of the interpretation that they hold a different view from science but the National Trust does not support or endorse this view in any way. None of the language in the interpretation came from the Caleb Foundation.

      All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

      • Philip, the display does not say a different view from “science”, it says “mainstream science”. That’s the point. The Caleb Foundation are not fools. They know perfectly well that the NT doesn’t agree with them but it doesn’t matter. All they need is the raw material they can quote out of context on DVDs they can sell to their customer base. Alas, by now even if the NT were to label such ideas “bonkers” it would be to no avail. Creationists all over the world can now claim that a UK national institution validated the view that the world is only 6000 years old whether the NT intended to or not.

      • Sadly the point made by David in his last sentence is absolutely at the heart of this whole issue. That is why it is so important for the Trust to urgently, publicly and loudly disassociate itself from the malign way in which it has been used and misrepresented by the Caleb Foundation.
        Why can the Chairman of the Trust not issue a public statement/press release at least by the end of the current week, if not today? That would go a long way to restoring many members damaged trust in the Trust.

  34. Looks like lots of people got here before me so I’d merely be repeating what has already been written. NT, you have been disgraced and you should be mortified for allowing this utter nonsence to be exhibited. I will no longer visit any NT properties until you remove this irrelevant, anti-scientific drivel.

      • Exactly how open is YEC / creationism to alternative viewpoints, surely they censor other peoples viewpoints don’t they? You know by saying gods word is final. Censorship to me. Now stop being silly.

  35. NT, if you remove the creationist nonsense and reference to “mainstream science”, my disapproval and I expect that of almost everyone else posting here will disappear instantly and you will have my respect for being able to admit to making a mistake. It is quite clear that the Caleb Foundation have been somewhat disingenuous with the NT. I’ll be very happy to reinstate my support for the good work you do if you can show yourselves to bold enough to admit to making a mistake and correcting the damage.

  36. I would also suggest that in future the best way to show respect to all religious beliefs is to give only the secular views. That way, there can be no argument of favouritism.

      • Thank you Greg, you’ve just demonstrated how important it is to be careful with one’s wording when dealing with zealots. I did of course mean that no favouritism would be shown towards irrational views.

      • Too true Greg!!
        It’s interesting how so many of these posts are filled with venom…. Let’s replace that with the love of Christ

    • Greg, you are highlighting just how carefully one has to be when dealing with creationists.I do of course mean, show no favouritism to any of the competing irrational views. For the most part I view the National Trust as a benevolent organisation, but one which through careless judgement has allowed its reputation to be dragged into the mud by giving creationists a chance to misclaim some sort of minor victory.

  37. There is a basic matter of principle that needs a clear answer. What is the official National Trust policy about allowing narrow pressure groups to influence displays when other similar groups are excluded. For instance if the owner of a stately home had been involved in the emancipation of slaves who the National Trust have a display that says there is an active debate about his policy and included a picture of three hooded men and a reference to the work being done by the Klu Klux Klan. If such a thing would be forbidden why was something very similar allowed in on the Giant’s Causeway.

    What is needed is not a slightly revised waffling answer from the press department. A clear statement TODAY by the chief executive clarifying policy is needed today – with the matter being referred to the full board. I am sure that that the mess was caused locally by someone who didn’t realize that it was the National Trusts duty to report history (including geology where relevant) and to avoid taking sides in contention modern issues of a religious or political nature.

    • Another example – and very pertinent – is that the NT must state that the White Cliffs of Dover (subject to a major fund-raising campaign by the NT ) were formed only during the Cretaceous period.

    • Whilst the creationist aspect in the centre is very small (and very wrong), people need to look deeper into the history of the funding and approval of the centre.

      The NT received public funding, part of which was authorised by Irish politicians e.g. Nelson McCausland – Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure who requested that Ulster Museum display a range of Creationist and other anti-Evolution material. As well as his colleague NI Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster who has also said that “Geologists generally agree that the Giant’s Causeway is some 60 million years old. As you will be aware, however, there are alternative views in relation to the age of the Giant’s Causeway.”
      So when you have a minister for tourism and a minister for culture who both espouse anti-scientific views and hold the pursestrings, is it any wonder that the NT had to bow to their demands to receive any funding!

      Unfortunately, the NT were held to ransom and forced to subscribe to this bilge. I only wish they had the courage and dignity to stand up to this bullying.

      Because of this I am cancelling my family membership.

      PS I dread to think what the White Cliffs of Dover exhibition centre is going to be like as the Answersingenesis.org website states that “Both areas along this coastline are a testimony to the Flood of Noah’s day, when ocean waters rose up onto the continents and deposited these sedimentary layers full of marine fossils”
      Since the NT have to present a balanced approach, they must surely have to include this view.

    • Geologists were aghast when Mt. St. Helens blew and there was formed a miniature Grand Canyon 1/45th the size of the original. It took only a few days! Now that’s science turned on its head!

      • Greg, it is simply not true that any science was turned on its head. Vulcanologists would not be at all surprised to see a channel carved out of volcanic ash by a violent surge of mud. This is soft ash, not rock like the Grand Canyon which has much more complex features. There are meanders in the Grand Canyon. Do you imagine meanders being created by a huge surge. Sadly, you are being lied to by spin doctors passing themselves off as scientists.

      • Dave, the main-stream geologists were shocked to see such short-time reshaping of the topography at that time. They held to the ‘millions of years’ mantra like a giant security blanket. They would not admit to the catastrophic effects of the world-wide Biblical flood. “Scientists” will not entertain the thought of God doing anything because they are trained to follow the herd mentality. The bullying oppression and name-calling put on otherwise-minded scientists shows the insecurity of the main-streamers. There are many YEC scientists who believe like many of the early ground-breaking scientists over the centuries, that God did create the vast universe (man can’t create anything – only modify what has already been created by Him.) and are in awe of what is seen. There are two types of sciences here. One is operational science from which we get our medicines, computers, and an unending stream of gadgets. The other is Origins science which cannot be tested, or falsify the one-time creation of all things seen. Origins science is divided into a world-view paradigm. The creationist theory is much more believable because they have an eye-witness account of what happened in the beginning and is much more logical and believable. Please soften your heart against the possibility! :)

      • Greg, there is another school of thought that puts God at the centre of creation and says that the people of biblical times were much less knowledgeable of the world than we are now but did their best to explain creation in a spiritual sense rather than a scientific sense. Over time science (real science, the science of the 14 billion year old universe) has served to show how much more complex and amazing God’s creation is than the people of biblical times would have been able to comprehend.

      • Dave
        The so-called real science of 14 billion years is based on untestable assumptions that are not scientific at all. They are guesses. At least today there is realisation of time being slowed down by gravity, especially over great distances.

  38. I have commented once, in more or less the terms shown in the posts here. The point is that ‘Steve’ is, I’m afraid, too low on the totem pole to be able to do anything about this. However, the National trust is very careful not to make it obvious how to contact just who are running the organisation and who should be called to account for this nonsense. Members now need to demand this information to be made more easily available.

  39. I see the various views represented here have an overwhelming bias toward the unprovable, idiotic idea that the world as we know it evolved by some mere micro evolutionary process that led to the amazing and varied representation of natural life existing in the earth today. A word used in one of the comments is ignorant, of course the individual involved must have first hand experience of the kind of theory being so militantly propagated; otherwise to proclaim millions in our world as ignorant would in fact be the biggest example of ignorance one can consider. How this ludicrous, quite frankly proposterous theory of an uncreated world can even come close to explaining the glaring realities, such as the undeniable, gargantuan difference between the human race and every other example of mammalian lifeform to be observed on our planet, is even considered at all by clear thinking open minded persons beggars belief. So in conclusion I wish to say well done on allowing fact to have some place in your exhibition, not religion just plain fact. Also thank you for representing not a few pre-historic relics of a past harrowing lack of information, but perfectly intelligent and free-thinking people who have based their understanding of the world on careful contemplation of the best information available.

    • Steve – you simply do not understand – or refuse to understand – what ‘facts’ are. The facts are very clear. Young Creationism is nonsense, a farrago of unscientific fairy stories. 200 years of research into geology, biology, palaeontology and the rest has put together a clear, causal, scientifically based narrative showing just how ancient the Earth is and how Darwinian descent-with-modification led to the world we have today – and that includes the descent of Man, who, despite what you are desperate to claim, does NOT display “gargantuan” differences from other mammalian lifeforms – we share almost all our DNA with other mammals, and we certainly show no “gargantuan” differences between us and the past species of homo found in the fossil record, from Homo habilis right through to our cousins, the Neanderthals. So even the “glaring reality” you try to propose to bolster your argument with is not true. Anyone who really had “based their understanding of the world on careful contemplation of the best information available” without trying to distort their conclusion to bolster a particular viewpoint could only conclude that creationism is nonsense on the order of arguing that the Earth is flat.

      • The DNA is “information” that cannot not be created by noone. He is bigger than closed minds.

      • Greg, are you suggesting that complaining about the YEC inclusion in the causeway information is equivalent to denying god? That’s a bit much, if i understand you correctly. The closed minds comment is also interesting, who has a closed mind, those that takes the words of the bible literally and will not move from that stance or those who believe that facts and science (which always evolve, yes my choice of word) and are willing to accept that we don’t know everything…

      • andyoakley,
        Science is always evolving with excuses to deny their responsibility and obligation to a merciful and all-knowing God. I stood behind the so-called origins science for years before I came clean with God. He truly is compassionate and loving. Yes and I can feel his presence and his peace that only he can give. So, I have no problem believing in what else He says in His Word!

  40. Personally I couldn’t give two hoots about the loons and minority groups etc that spimn their spin… but in this case its exactly that spin that is the issue here.
    The ‘debate’ element of the exhibition (which is a very small part of the over all spread) is relevant to the history surrounding the causeway but the CALEB foundation are taken advantage and over spining that it is been referenced to.THEY are the ones who have over stepped the make and I hope that NT public correct them & put them in their place when it comes to what the foundation are now saying this inclusion represents. (which is no mor than a passing referenc to the obsurtity of a ‘dying belief’)

    The other aspect is that why is everyone even giving them the foundation all this publicity. This is exactly what they wanted!!!

    On the flip side I had a great time at the new center :)

  41. To approach this topic ‘entirely scientifically’ as you put it, would be to NOT incluce the ridiculous theory that the causeway and indeed the earth is a mere 6000 years old. There is no ‘fair’, there is no ‘proportionately’, there is fact. To teach visitors to N.I’s most recognisable landmark and attraction(especially children) that it is possible to debate fact with nonsense is a very dangerous thing to do, and quite frankly, makes us look like uninformed, ignorant amadan.

    I request it removed.

    • Hi Paul

      All of the information on how the Giant’s Causeway was formed and how old it is reflects science: i.e. that it is around 60 million years old. The interpretation in the Visitor Centre is very child friendly and suitable for education visits. The National Trust fully supports and promotes the science in relation to the formation of the Giant’s Causeway.

  42. I am sorry but I am not prepared to fund claptrap creationist rubbish. i will not vel renewing my membership next month.

    I suspect that the NT bigwigs thought they could get away with foisting this nonsense over here in NI – we’re too busy fighting each other to care you might be thinking! I dare you to try the same nonsense in England.

    I am deeply offended by this move and disgusted that this insane minority view is being presented as somehow valid – it is not. your role should be to educate and preserve not to give a leg up to a few nutters that even the majority of Christians would acknowledge as wrong.

    Get rid of this insult and apologise and then maybe people can ‘trust’ you again. you have lost me though and my cash.

    • Hi Colin

      We are not validating this view – all of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

  43. It is precisely the point that this statement about creationism was presented in the context of the history of a scientific debate – as if it were part of that debate. It is not. It is a claim to truth based on entirely different principles. It is misleading to present the material in this way, as if both sides of this ‘debate’ should be presented in a conversation about science. No one would expect editions of the bible to carry a disclaimer that “Scientists challenge the events and beliefs presented in this book.” By all means, give visitors a copy of the bible – just don’t call it science!

  44. This is a disastrous event for the Trust of which I have been a proud member for a number of years. I have always found NT to be painstaking in their presentation of history and science at their sites. This YEC nonsense cannot be permitted. There is only ‘science’. Anything else belongs under ‘myths’. How could you be so dim as to be suckered into providing comfort to the Creationists. They are entitled to their views, but the NT as a serious organisation is not obliged to agree with or pander to them. Please listen to your members, admit the error and change the display at the Giants Causeway straight away.

  45. Hang on guys. There IS a debate about the age of the earth: Is it 4.6 or 4.7 billion years old?

    The debate does not include 0.000006 billion years old.

  46. Supporting YEC rubbish, is just reprehensible. There is NO debate, there is NO evidence, there isn’t any historical link to these morons, and yet you support it?

    I’m sorry, but with an attitude like this I have no compunction in withdrawing my support from you, as you are supporting this nonsense.

    To think I was even trying to get my friends to join.

    I hope you feel a depth of shame equal to my disappointment.

    • Hi Leon.

      We are referencing that Creationist have a different perspective – we do not explain, support or justify those views.

      • ntsteve Can I just ask precisely why are you referencing the fact that Creationists have a different perspective? Modern creationism has had no real input at all into any early or later debates about how the Giants Causeway was formed. They produce no science at all and do not accept any of the genuine explanations about which there is now no debate. Modern creationism with its science denial and reality denial has played no part in the long history of science that led to modern geology.

        Creationists are not part of the mythology surrounding the causeways formation as that is down to Finn McCool not the Caleb foundation. The Genesis story does not reference the Giants Causeway nor does local mythology reference the Genesis story – it references Finn McCool.

        Creationists are not unique to NI particularly, they exist in small pockets all over the UK. Nor does the Caleb foundation represent the people of NI generally. So why are you referencing their particular perspective and not say Hindu myths or scientology’s opinion?

        Will you be referencing the creationist view at all of your other UK sites to satisfy regional creationists? And will you also be referencing all other strange and irrelevant ideas as well based on whatever odd local groups are around..

        In short I cannot see any point at all in referencing the fact that creationists have different perspectives. It seem irrelevant to the Giants Causeway, in fact it is irrelevant outside of their own churches and heads. So why reference their different but irrelevant perspective and not the equally pointless and irrelevant views of every strange sect that turns up at a focus group or writes a letter?

        So what exactly was the point of referencing their different perspective other than they were there?

  47. Dear National Trust,

    As an occasional volunteer for your organisation, I would just like to let you know that I will henceforth cease all association with the organisation, and convince everyone I know to cancel subscriptions and donations, until such time as the National Trust ceases to promote Christian Fundamentalism in the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.

    Have you gone completely mad? I can imagine the Caleb Foundation are delighted that you caved in to promote their ridiculous viewpoints which have no place outside of their churches, and less still in a publicly funded UNESCO World Heritage site. I was horrified to see the National Trust representative saying that they wanted to indicate that there is a “debate”. Is there a debate that dinosaurs existed over 65M years ago, and not side by side with humans? That the white cliffs of Dover are the fossilised remains of sea creatures? That the Earth orbits the Sun?

    You have probably opened the floodgates so that these fanatics make demands that the creationist viewpoint be portrayed at all of your sites. The Caleb Foundation representative almost said as much. Are you going to pander to their every desire from now on? The long term goal of these groups will be to have creationism in our children’s science books, as already happens in the US. You have given them their first step to victory on this path.

    I would have expected this kind of grossly irresponsible and illogical action in Kentucky or Afghanistan, but not here. Rectify it before it is too late.

    Yours, Graham Burns

    • Hi Graham.

      All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

      This is not a creationist exhibition. We undertook an extensive consultation process with a range of stakeholders, including the local community, international and domestic visitors, the scientific community and political stakeholders. These consultations informed the National Trust’s decisions on the interpretive content of the entire exhibition. We the National Trust took the decision to include the exhibit in question in the interpretation.

      We did not only consult with Caleb in the process. The consultation process was with a wide range of stakeholders, including radio and press adverts to stimulate awareness. Caleb responded in the consultation process. We simply reference in a small part of the interpretation that they hold a different view from science but the National Trust does not support or endorse this view. None of the language in the interpretation came from the Caleb Foundation and we received no funding from them.

      I hope this clarifies things somewhat.

      • Steve, I feel or you honestly I do, But there is no point continually repeating that the NT acknowledges the age etc of the Giant’s causeway. One of the unusual problems you face is that you are dealing with a audience who are perfectly capable of understanding that this is a tiny part of the exhibition. We know, we understand. Unfortuntely for you, and i presume your role is to try and pacify the website and the PR damage, I suspect we all also know – like I assume you do, that including this was against all NT precedent, was poorly worded – and frankly was put in carelessly and without enough thought about the importance a few carelessly thought out words can have. Maybe one day there will be an exhibit about how exhibitors can write copy that leads to unforeseen PR disasters.

        Good luck with all the fun responses you are going to have to make, and please accept my sympathies, whoever your boss is clearly has it in for you!

  48. Pingback: National Trust includes Creationist "explanation" of the Giants' Causeway

  49. You have included a creationist myth along side scientific fact. I fear you may have set a precedent and I am truly shocked and disappointed. I will discourage anyone from visiting the centre which promotes such nonsense and in doing so lends it legitimacy. The last statement saying the matter has been dealt with ‘entirely scientifically’ is, quite frankly, horrifiying.

  50. I read today that the Caleb foundation is welcoming the fact that the young earth view has finally been recognised by a scientific body as legitimate. I hope the the trust is ashamed giving these views any attention. Was booked to go next month, I’ll bin the tickets as I wouldn’t expose anyone to this balls. Unlike the national trust, I have ethics!

  51. The only explanation I can find for this bizarre capitulation to fanaticism is that several Democratic Unionist Party MLAs (MPs for Northern Ireland) are known creationists and have been linked to the Caleb Foundation and that you caved in to political pressure. The only other, more worrying,,explanation is that you actually accepted funding from these groups in return for promoting their fundamentalist views.

  52. As a new member to National Trust I am horrified to read that they appear to be giving the account of the creationism in regards to the Giant’s causeway. I am a member of the NSS and the BHA

  53. Is the National Trust now engaging in a policy whereby historic buildings and trees will include the disclaimer: “Some people believe that carbon-dating methods are wrong, so the age of this tree is still a matter for debate” or maybe: “this may or may not be a bronze age settlement, we can’t really say for sure”. I’ve been an ardent supporter of the National Trust for many years, but a capitulation to the forces of reaction simply cannot be reconciled with the National Trust’s commitment to evidence, reason and scientific investigation. I’m sorry, but my family won’t be heading up the Giant’s Causeway anytime soon. I was very much looking forward to viewing the new centre.

  54. I’m delighted to see that everyone who has posted here, can see this for the nonsense it is. Hopefully common sense will win out, in this instance & we shall see the swift removal of this offensive mumbo jumbo.

  55. Don’t downplay this, hold your hands up, you’ve messed up, kow-towed to the lunatic fringe. Say oops, remove it and regain the moral high ground.

    To imply there is doubt over a proven scientific fact is a dis-service to education, science and truth.

  56. Please could you add a sign at fountains abbey saying that some people think it was built in 1972 by an alien called Bob?

  57. The people who are kicking up such a stink about the very brief and low-key mention of an alternative theory for the Giant’s Causeway are extremely intolerant. Indeed, I think their anger has more to do with their philosophy of life than science. What on earth are they scared of?

    • Quite frankly, I’m worried about the fall of western civilisation into a new dark age. This instance may seem fairly trivial but we’ve seen how much power the creationist movement holds in the US. It frightens me to see the thin end of the creationist wedge being applied on UK soil. Next time, the creationists will be a little more demanding.I think it is absolutely crucial to be vigilant about any erosion of scientific literacy if you don’t want to live in a land run on ignorance, along with the cruelty such ignorance brings.

  58. I know why you have succumbed to this nonsense. Becaue Northern Ireland is ruled by a super conervative religous oligarchy and you wouldnt want to upset religous people in northern Ireland now would you – not after the troubles and all – best keep everyone happy eh ? Absolutely pathetic I’m sorry – this is the sort of insanity you’d expect in Iran or America but it has no place in the UK and Ireland.

  59. Just in case anyone thinks this creationist nonsense has been added on the spur of the moment, note that the creationists have been pressing for its inclusion for over six years:
    “Published on Tuesday 6 June 2006 11:10

    The platform piece (June 3) by the Rev Dr Robin Greer, of Tandragee Presbyterian Church, is most timely.

    Over recent months myself and colleagues, David Simpson MP and Mervyn Storey MLA, have been pressing government on the need to ensure that interpretation at the new Causeway interpretive centre is inclusive of the views expressed by Rev Dr Greer and elaborated upon in the article by Dr Tas Walker.” That’s from George Dawson, DUP MLA East Antrim
    Looks like they’ve prevailed, then.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/community/letters/the-views-of-all-must-be-taken-on-board-1-1839367

  60. The National Trust’s response to the anger and offense they have caused by promoting the rhetoric of a fringe religious group is fishy fishy fishy. I asked how this decision was made on their facebook page and got their stock response, which didn’t answer the question that I, and many others are asking.

    Makes one wonder what the true nature of the Trust’s relationship is with the Caleb Foundation that they sway so much power. Public relations FAIL.

  61. Amazing that the proven science gang are on the rampage, of course it is the big bang and the “proven” Higgs Bosun, lets throw another two hundred million at these researchers to prove what they know about, what they think they know already and have proof off…. Science my ****. Ooops sorry, shouldn’t pffend the scientific world! That wouldn’t do would it. I think the NT deserve a round of applause for opening the subject and getting you all with your knickers in a twist! Get a job!

  62. If the National Trust “have approached this topic fairly, proportionately and entirely scientifically”, why does the outcome have the opposite qualities? I don’t see how consulting with, and giving credence to the Caleb Foundation squares with your aims “to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland….through educating and informing”. Please think again and amend this exhibit.

  63. The NT should take a look at the various creationist websites to see just how much they’ve been used. The creationists are laughing their socks off and promoting this as a significant victory for their creation pseudoscience cause. Unfortunately for the NT there are not enough creationists to make up for all the intelligent members they have upset and will lose.

    I will not be renewing my families membership. There is no debate to continue, it was resolved years ago. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the Giants Causeway was NOT formed by Noah’s flood 6000 years ago. So why would I waste money supporting an organisation that seems to be suggesting there is.

    • Hi Kate. We’re sorry to hear that.

      There is no debate on the age of the earth. The National Trust fully supports and promotes the science in relation to the formation of the Giant’s Causeway and the age of the earth.

      All of the information presented to visitors in relation to how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, and how old it is, clearly reflects science and that the Causeway stones are 60 million years old.

      • Steve,
        I understand that you have to keep repeating the NT stock response, but that response does not address the NT’s use of language – “debate’; “mainstream science” etc. – which does not “clearly reflect science”, but rather reflects an anxiety to appease anti-science propagandists.
        If “there is no debate on the age of the earth”, why does a section of your exhibit directly suggest that there is ?

        The NT needs urgently to rethink its response to the understandable public outcry.

  64. I just joined the NT last week. I will cancel my membership and demand a refund if this is not removed. We are talking here about a world heritage site of immense importance, which receives visitors from all over the world who have travelled especially to experience it. I am not anti-Christian, but you embarrass and humiliate us before a world audience by including this unashamed piece of local narrow-minded proselytising piffle. Either remove it forthwith, or include the Animist, Baha’i, Hindu, Jainist, Sikh, ,Anthroposophical, Theosophical, Muslim, Ayurvedic, Buddhist (including Zen Buddhist, Japanese Buddhist and Green Tara Buddhist), and mainstream non-evangelical Christian views on the age of the earth in the name of equality, justice and intelligence.

    • So some people are going to cancel their membership over this? How pathetic! What about being tolerant of the views of other people? There’s something weird about the apoplectic reaction of some of the objectors. To quote Shakespeare, “They doth protest too much, methinks.” I think it’s because their secular worldview is threatened. I may not agree with all the N T says or does, but I don’t threaten to withdraw my memberhsip because of it.

      • You assume that I have a secular worldview which is quite incorrect. Many religious and spiritual people belong to the NT and are rightly angry at the politics of this. I disagree that my decision to cancel my membership is pathetic. It is a measure of the strength of my feelings on this issue. I’m interested to see that you replied to my comment but not to any of the others who also want to cancel their membership.

      • Judith – I wasn’t replying specifically to your comments, but to all those who threatened to cancel their membership. Many of us belong to organisations which don’t necessarily reflect our views in everything they say or do. But we don’t try to blackmail them by making threats. If you, and others who object, are so sure that the alternative view of the Giant’s Causeway is nonsense, why can’t you credit people with the intelligence to decide for themselves whether that’s the case, rather than trying to stifle debate?

    • In response to ‘Geoff’, once again you use the phrase ‘trying to stifle debate’ what debate is this exactly? A debate about the age of the earth does not involve the figure 6,000 years. It’s simply rubbish. there is no debate to be stifled, the idea that we allow any old religious group to legitimise their views (as they are claiming) is ludicrous. and if NT can’t see that then many people will decide (using their individual intelligence) that this is not a group they wish to be aligned with).

      Remove the creationist rubbish now!

      Andy

      • Of course there’s a debate Andy. That’s what we’re engaged in now! In my opinion, dismissing the other people’s views as “rubbish” is just an easy way of avoiding mature discussion. Have you seriously considered the arguments of creationist geologists? There are many of qualfied geologists who take this view, and they have produced many books and DVDs in which they present their case. The latest documentary is “Set in Stone”, which features the Giant’s Causeway. I recommend that you, and others who are so upset about this matter, should investigate these claims before writing them off as rubbish.

      • Geoff

        I’m sorry, but backing up creationist non-science with Creationist non-science DVD’s does not in any way inform or shape an argument. It’s like me saying that scientology is a genuine religion and backing that up with the words of L Ron Hubbard, justifying nonsensical ramblings by quoting a liar does not make a scientific argument.

        We could rebut the contents of that DVD one at a time (i note you assume that I have no knowledge of this, which is interesting), but that would be terribly boring for others to read and also, what’s the point? Do we take the time to deconstruct fairy tales, because that is what we are talking about. As you know religion is used to many ends, some of them make no sense whatsoever, but they will be clung to by those who believe they are ‘in the know’, those of us who just rely on science and fact can never convince and nor (in most part) would we want to. But that doesn’t mean that these crackpot ideas should be given credence by being used in national trust literature and films. Which is why it should be removed.

        Andy

      • Andy – so the views of scientists you don’t agree with are “non-science”? Calling then “liars”, dismissing their views as “crackpot”, and likening them to fairy-tales” amounts to cheap mud-slinging, and an attempt to use intimidation to silence them. Did you know that all the pioneer geologists believed in catastrophism? And have you read books by the late Prof. Derek Ager, a geologist who had no time for creationism, but insisted that geological formations were formed rapidly?

      • Geoff, yes it is non-science when people need to justify their religious beliefs and ignore the areas of science that don’t fit. I am a critic of that, because sometimes things don’t just fit religious ideology. Again you make numerous assumptions about what i do / don’t know. ‘Intimidation to silence people’, ‘mudslinging’ makes me sound like a Scientologist (which i’m not) and i don’t want to silence anyone, there are plenty of forums where people can have as many zany ideas as they choose to, good for them, it’s just that the national trust (that i contribute to) should not be one of them.

        and no, I haven’t read the works of every geologist, sadly i don’t have the time, but the wide range that i have come in to contact with tend to suggest that we are nearer 4.5billion years of earth than 6000, care to declare where you sit on that question?

        Or alternatively, they should welcome and equally promote any religious / ideological idea that any of us have, so we were created by martians on a day trip from zog, or that Northern ireland should not exist as a nation state, or that we are in fact all part of a dinosaurs dream. Which all bear up to scrutiny as well as young earth creationism.

        Andy

      • Well Geoff, perhaps we should say ‘there is no meaningful debate’, and yes, I have considered the creationist ‘case’ and not found anything worthwhile.

        By the way, it’s not just geologists (and I seriously doubt your claim that there are many on the creationist ‘side’) but every brach of scientific enquiry.

        For example, setting geology aside momentarily, how did both freshwater and saline water marine life survive the supposed flood? ‘Answers’ I have heard include the ‘waters’ not mixing. This despite the suggestion that the fountains of the earth erupted.

      • You asked how freshwater and saline creatures would have survived a flood. You must be aware that fish like eels and salmon survive happily in both fresh and salt water, since they migrate from one to the other.
        You say you doubt there are geologists who take the creationist view. I can confidently assure you that there are many, some of whom I have met personally.

      • Hm. Here is Ian Fuller, geologist and author of ‘Set in Stone’, telling us his ‘first’ reason for thinking about creationism:

        ‘…… First was personal belief. I became convinced through reading the Bible and understanding that, as originally written, it is the infallible word of God. So I came to believe that God created all things in six days because that is what He says in Genesis, i.’

        http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?

      • Geoff,

        Is the comment about eels and salmon meant to be an explanation of some kind? What about the vast number of species adapted to one environment or the other. How did they all survive?

  65. Well I tried to contact the NT, but their website didn’t seem to have any link to do that. So I put my request for a full retraction and the dismissal of the officers concerned here in the very faint hope that some human being with a conscience in the NT will read it.

  66. Pingback: Beatrix Potter and the National Trust: for science | Edinburgh Eye

  67. With Ken Ham on his way the NT have given a greater platform to this creationist BS.

    What really, really worries me is that we are on the slippery slope of allowing credence to such thoughts at other NT establishments.

    The NT need to act now – realise that the Caleb Foundation has pulled a fast one on them, apologise and remove the creationist claptrap.

  68. Allowing this was sheer lunacy , whoever is responsible should be emptying his/her desk before the end of the day. The tradition and reputation of a valued institution ruined in one act of pure stupidity.

  69. To suggest that YEC is part of a contemporary debate is ridiculous, misleading and offensive. Certainly YECs would like to legitimise their ‘beliefs’ and have them acknowledged as part of a debate. But the whole point of YEC is that it is ‘faith-based’ – a literal interpretation of the bible. Their views are fundamentalist, not knowledge-based, but faith-based. For them there is no debate, other than around the words in Genesis.

    This is not a storm in a teacup. YECs would like their views legitimised and included in the schools’ curriculum. Nelson McCausland has already tried to get the Ulster Museum to do what you have done. Perhaps you were leant on? How did you select their particular religious view from all the ‘beliefs’ available?

    Your actions have entirely unnecessarily strengthened their cause. How on earth could you
    have been so naive?

  70. Your statement “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.” is just nonsense!

    It should read “The overwhelming scientific evidence is denied by some people, who claim to have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is derived from a literal reading of the Bible.”

    I am appalled that you have been duped by the Caleb foundation, a bunch of extremist bigots whose opinions have no place in a scientific exhibit, and have today cancelled my direct debit to the NT. That’s a long standing joint membership you have lost for good unless you withdraw all mention of creationism from the Giant’s Causeway centre.

  71. It could be solved with a single word. Where the final clip “states that Young Earth Creationists exist who wish to continue the debate today, as they believe the earth is only 6000 years old.” just add “, wrongly,” after believe. Then the creationists get the publicity they crave and the ridicule they deserve.

    • Totally agree, its not that ANY of us mind there ‘point of view’ is aired here (just as the giants legend is etc) that’s TOTALLY acceptable and nearly go as far as needs to be there just as other myths and legends…. it just needs to be CLEAR that its just as wrong… and ONE simple word would correct this issue just as Brian J says …

      its Laughable how the creationist try an ‘prove’ there view ! all they do is refer to other people or books or DVDS, and not to ANY kind of direct fact…
      how can they deny that dinosaur bones are clearly older than we are ! and totally EXIST ! and that LIVING fossils are UNDER the stones thus OLDER than the stones …

  72. Why can’t alternative viewpoints be shown? Then people can make their own mind up surely? Why such anger at one small section of a very large exhibition which over 95% of which is based around what the majority of us think. However I am not so ignorant as to ridicule and mock others who may think differently to me. There are many cultures around the world which do not hold such allegiance to a Westernised, scientific view and we should show respect for that. I applaud this exhibit and hope it encourages a much wider audience to the Giant’s Causeway, and maybe make others think when they are creating public exhibitions to think of their whole audience.

      • If you can find a qualified geologist who believes ‘elves created the Causeway’ then yes, why not include it?

      • You say “If you can find a non religious geologist who supports creationism, then we can talk.” I think the implication that the views of scientists who have a religious belief are untrustworthy, is, quite frankly, insulting. All the founders of our modern scientific disciplines believed in God as Creator. Your secular bias is showing rather badly!

      • I’m not saying that science and religion are always incompatible at all, but if you hold certain deeply entrenched very specific religious view, say for example that the earth was created 6000 years ago, then it’s highly unlikely that any science by that person would suggest that creationism was wrong, would it.

        What is talked of here (Young Earth) is reminiscent of the 1950′s when chocolate manufacturers paid for scientific research to be done that showed that chocolate helped keep your teeth clean and strong.

        There is such a thing as bad science and selective science, at it’s very best creationism is both bad and selective, at worst it has no basis in any recognised truth whatsoever. It has no scientific basis beyond that created by those that believe in creationism. It’s has no place in the NT.

        Everyone has bias, i’m happy to be open with mine, what’s yours?

    • Why should I respect people for being wrong? We teach children facts in school and we do not say we respect their belief that 2+2=5 we tell them they are wrong and why they are wrong. The earth is not 6000 years old and anyone that believes this is wrong. If we go around respecting peoples views regardless of evidence we will get nowhere as a race or in education.

      • @ geoff chapman

        ‘ I do know that Paul Garner has been part of a team that has been undertaking extensive field and laboratory studies of the Coconino Sandstone in central and northern Arizona for the last five years, and some of our initial results have been presented at the Geological Society of America annual meetings — which is certainly not a pro-creationist society. However, they were willing to give a platform to genuine scientific research, even when it didn’t support the majority view – and it was well received.’

        If a paper which included support for a 6000 year old earth was well received by the Geological Society of America, then I think it is incumbent on you to verify this, or at least point me somewhere I can verify it. I have chased down a lot of such apparently credible claims before, only to find that they are nothing more than the product of a fevered mind. :)

        So, details please.

      • How sad that you can’t resist insinuating that people who don’t agree with you are guilty of deception! This is underhanded, not rational debate. For the record, Paul Garner (whom I know personally) and his fellow-researchers presented their paper, with evidence for the catastrophic deposition of the Coconino Sandstone, at the Geological Society of America’s annual convention in October 2009. It was one of four papers presented by “young-earth” scientists. It’s encouraging that the GSA is more open-minded than you!

      • Geoff, you already said that bit. :)

        Now, do you have details of the paper, and the response from The American Geological Society, or not? Because, hard as you may find it to believe, I’m willing to read it, presuming it has something to do with the earth being 6000 years old, or you presumably wouldn’t have mentioned it.

      • Having googled a bit, still nothing indicate either that (a) the paper on the Coconino sediments was presented as part of an argument that the earth is 6000 years old or (b) that it was ‘well received’ by the GSA in any case.

        No doubt Geoff can shed some light on this, having brought it up.

      • David: you persist in ignoring the usual rules of debate, which include showing respect for those whose views you disagree with, and not implying that they are dishonest. I’ve told you the facts about the presentation at the GSA, but you still seem unwilling to believe it actually happened — I presume because you don’t want to. I’ve made my point, so I’m bowing out. I really have better things to do, so we must agree to differ, if you can bring yourself to do that.

      • Geoff Chapman

        Sorry, but i couldn’t hold back on a guffaw at your comment that ‘you persist in ignoring the usual rules of debate’ from someone who continues to ignore the usual rules of science and legitimacy! I’m sorry but you are misrepresenting the facts in what you say and you are doing it consistently. Its only fair that the comments you make are scrutinised, if you feel that incorrect implications are being made then prove those that are making them wrong. Ah, yes, of course, there lies the problem. Can that be done? You state that a presentation was made, was it? And what was in the presentation? Did it mention 6000 years? It’s not unreasonable for that question to be asked is it? Do you really think it is??

        What i have learnt in the last couple of weeks is that those who seek to defend the 6000 years theory do so by using carefully selected pieces of ‘evidence’ that stand up to little scrutiny, they name geologists who, whilst sharing their beliefs, do not mention the central tenet of those beliefs to every audience but pick and choose when to share their ideology. Because, simply put, the broader scientific community does not accept the theory in any way, shape or form, very much like the rest of the world.

        Nothing has been said that changes the view that YEC uses bad and selective science (at the very best) to support its arguments, i have been informed of many scientists (famous and deceased) who were also christians. Apart from that having nothing to do with what we are on about, but hey, let’s go along with this, the inference is that they were creationists at heart. Again no proof of this is offered and who is to say that as science has developed they would have declared that their opinions had changed (but again its seems that YEC only need to make bald statements, not actually have to back them up).

        That’s the point with science it evolves, we learn more, sometimes we have to accept that what was once believed is no longer correct. Any ‘scientist’ who’s methodology contains their conclusion (for example the earth is 6000 years old) is not approaching the task with an open mind, therefore its bad science, if science at all.

        So Geoff, before you ‘bow out’ why not try answering some of the questions you have been asked. Otherwise it looks as if you came, you saw, you were thoroughly debased, you left. Its a good job that others feel able to take some critique or else science, the arts, let’s be honest here humanity in general, would never have been able to progress and we would never have learnt anything. Maybe that’s how some feel it should be? Geoff? Should we just take all our knowledge from the one book? Burn the rest?

        Anyway, NT. change the exhibit, creationism has no place in scientific debate. I do hope that you have seen, through some of the comments posted, the lengths that creationists are using your ‘support’ for them to justify all sorts of things, why i even saw it mentioned in an article about the opening of ‘creationist free schools’ (surely an oxymoron).

        Like Geoff, i have other things to do, but i will still make time to defend science and argue for the future of a non-religiously affiliated NT, even though i’m busy. I hold some beliefs strongly, you see ;)

        Just saying.

      • Perhaps you are too wise and knowledgable for God. Perhaps you, long ago made that choice not by going to God himself, but by judging someone who wasn’t as intelligent as you or who failed you. Christians are not perfect, but they have humbly come to know the abundant grace afforded with a relationship initiated by God Himself. That knowledge cannot be earned. It is received freely by anyone with a ‘mustard seed’ of faith in the real author of the Bible. The real “mystery of the ages” is referred to in the Bible. It’s not a thing, it is a person – the Way, the Truth, and Life itself. Get to know Him and know real peace, and love that lasts beyond anything you can try to imagine. Go ahead, He’s patiently waiting with outstretched arms. Yes, even you. :)

      • davidjohnmills perhaps I can help here, by filling is some of the details Paul and his pals often forget to include!

        I think the paper Geoff may be referring to merely suggests that part of the cocconino sandstone may be marine in origin. Which is debatable, but possible as many desert areas can meet marine ones..

        However Paul Garner is NOT presenting that as evidence for a global flood to any geological society, nor is he presenting it as evidence for a 6000 year old Earth to any geological society. No age nor suggestion of a flood will have been presented. He knows he would be laughed out of the room for making such a ridiculous leap of imagination with NO supporting evidence. .Because in the unlikely event he is right about part of the cocconino sandstone being marine in origin it does not in any way support a global flood 4500 years ago. A flood by the way that carved out the Grand Canyon, wiped out all life yet left fossilised footprints in the cocconino sandstone in question amongst other problems!

        However you WILL find Paul Garner implying to his creationist fans like Geoff that the fact he presented the suggestion that a part of the cocconino sandstone may be marine really actually means he presented it as evidence for a global flood (Noahs). He will imply this to any creationist that will listen to him – which is most of them.

        And he does clearly state that this vague bit of cocconino sandstone confirms a global flood to his creationist pals. He did a recent talk for them on it, the title of which was recent research confirms a global flood..

        And as part of that talk I’d be willing to bet he mentioned the fact he’s presented it to a geological society. The only fact he will miss out is the rather important one that at no point will he have presented it as being in any way connected to a global flood or a 6000 year old earth. They will not have been mentioned to real scientists. That is a new creationist tactic by the way.

        He has also done a dvd for schoolchildren called set in stone. This has been roundly scientifically demolished by a Dr Steven Moreton on the Amazon.co.uk website. Paul is now refusing ot engage with Dr Moreton anymore for some reason. Mainly scientific and factual ones.

      • Kate: You are making the same mistake as David John Mills – questioning the integrity of those you don’t agree with. As a friend of Paul Garner I regard this as a disgraceful tactic, which is why I am taking no further part in this debate.

      • Geoff, but you question our integrity, our beliefs, our world view, why is it so wrong to question yours?

        By the way, you’ve already ‘bowed out’ once, you’re doing more come backs than… (thinks carefully) oh, Elvis, that’s safe, isn’t it..

        AA

      • Any good scientist should be prepared to have their competence challenged. This should not be seen as a personal attack. In science veracity is everything and faith is nothing. Anyone who avoids or rejects scrutiny has no business calling themselves a scientist.

      • After all these years not ONE case of increasing DNA. No case of any transitional forms outside of their own kind. That is
        what Darwin feared most. And there is no help for any such changes

      • What is a “Kind” precisely?
        When you say “Increasing DNA” do you mean like…extra chromosomes? Or just mutations?

      • Greg

        Any chance of explaining to me what this has to do with what is being discussed here? Somehow i don’t see the fact as you state it makes one bit of difference to the claims of the YEC. After all, as we seem to say every day, science evolves, things are proven, changed, lost in time. The only people who don’t accept this are the creationists, because their whole religious tenet would be destroyed if they accepted what is widely accepted as the truth.

        One day, you know, science may develop a new theory, it’s possible. I don’t know, but i do know that it will be based on methodology, evidence and numerous trials, rather than one document put together a couple of thousand years ago.

        its rather like me saying that you follow one of about 2,500 deities so why should we care about yours? It has nothing to do with what is being discussed here.

      • There is an abundance of evidence showing how earlier species have branched off over vast amounts of time into other species. Visit the natural history museum. As for there is no new dna, what is that even supposed to mean? Not that Darwin would have had any fears about dna, as he knew nothing of it. If you know so much about dna, where did Jesus get his dna from? How could he be male yet produced asexually from a female?

      • Doesn’t everyone know the holy ghost was male, can’t have women sitting on right or left can we.

        But would be nice to suspend pointless argument over creationism, let’s focus on the NT getting it right this time.

      • Those are pure guesses and assumptions. Like the artists imaginations when a fragment of bone is found. All the supposed transitional evidence of the last century have been debunked ( Peking man, Piltdown man, Haeckel’s embryo drawings). All frauds trumpeted by even the British Museum of Natural History for decades. Again no proven transitional forms. You really have no idea how great, powerful and loving God is. But you could!

      • The God of a 14billion year old universe where we are less than a speck of dust in an incomprehensible large universe, where life has developed over billions of years through an elegant evolutionary process is a much grander God than the one who just clicks his fingers and there it is.

      • As has been said before it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God. He opens a relationship with those who come clean with Him Evolution does nothing for you. It certainly adds nothing to real operational science.

      • There are lots of species but they are all still within their same kind. They don’t change into something else . Dogs are still dogs, cats are still cats etc.

      • Cats have never turned into dogs. However, there are fossils of common ancestors of both. You are ignorant of what the true facts are because you have been indoctrinated by charlatans.

      • Greg, can you find one fossil that shows a dinosaur with contemporary damage from manufactured hunting or butchery tools. Just one, would throw a spanner in the works for us non creationists. But not one example has been found.

      • The article itself makes the point that it is unusual, but does explain how traces if collagen could have survived intact. Now where are the tool marks on dinosaur bones?

      • .how traces of collage COULD have survived ? Now that is scientific! Almost all of the assertions of evolutionists are pure guesses wiyh biased assumptions. The truth train is going in the opposite direction just like DNA.

      • If you believe the Bible is literal inerrant truth of God, you’re not even on the same line as the truth train, you’re hanging around on the platform of a disused station on a closed down branch line, going nowhere.

      • @ Geoff.

        Don’t bother (yet again) to attempt a conflation between ‘paper presented on Coconino stones’ with ‘paper presented supporting or purporting to support YEC’ and/or ‘well received at/by GSA Conference’, because, as yet, you haven’t provided evidence for either of the latter. From what I can tell, the reason for this is that neither is the case. Whether you ‘bow out’ or not is up to you. I can’t say it surprises me.

      • Geoff perhaps you’re asking Paul Garner the wrong questions? What you should be asking is how the possible marine footprints in the coconino sandstone remotely support a global flood and a 6000 year old earth? Because by any stretch of the imagination – especially when taken in conjunction with everything else real science has discovered – they don’t! Or ask him exactly how they throw even a smidgeon of doubt on all the findings of real science which produces mountains of evidence daily that is consistent with an ancient earth and evolution from a common ancestor.

        I’ve asked him myself but he just disappeared or ‘withdrew from the debate’ when asked for relevant details and explanations. .

        The other thing you could ask is where is the positive, scientific evidence and data that would not only positively support his beliefs but explain away satisfactorily the findings of real science and all the associated problems thrown up by a global flood and 6000 year old earth – like where did all the water go.

        When I asked him for that he disappeared and again ‘withdrew from the debate’, seemingly in a bit of a huff. But as a friend you may have more luck and can persaude him that that is what real science is like?

      • @ Kate,

        Yes, that is what seemed to me to be the case.

        Not that it has prevented YECs from proclaiming ‘YECs influential at GSA conference’ on certain websites. A clear case of disinformation if ever there was one, with echoes locally and recently.

      • Of course, it’s not really the creationists who are bothering me at the moment. Fortunately, they have about as much chance of prevailing as I have of a passionate menage-a-trois with Leona Lewis and Sheryl Cole this weekend, but as things stand the NT has a section of an exhibition entitled ‘the debate continues’ and at the same time have confirmed here that there is no debate?

      • @ greg,

        Hate to be the one to break it to you, man, but the evidence strongly suggests that ALL species, past and present, are transitional, including American creationists, yes greg, you are transitional! :)

      • No evolutionist has ever show a transitional form. You love to sound pontifical. But, pride cometh before the fall.

    • Greg there are NO geologists, religious or otherwise who think the earth is 6000 years old. There are professional creationists like Paul Garner and Andrew Snelling who may have once studied it and know enough of the jargon to confuse, but no real geologist is a creationist.

      Has it never occurred to you that the figure of 6000 years is not calculated using science, it is calculated by adding up the geneologies in the bible. That is not geology or remotely scientific. As the real scientific evidence against that date and a global flood grew, creationists ignored it and resorted to totally underhand methods to confuse and con anyone they could. And remember the real geologists that originally started the genuine debates that led to the conclusion the earth was far older than 6000 years were originally looking for evidence for the Genesis story. They didn’t find it.

      There is no debate and your views should not have been included in any way that suggested there was, however it was worded, because they are no more valid than Davidjohnmillls one that it was created by elves. He may not be able to find a geologist to support him but neither can you.

      So if your view is included as a suggested debate and alternative to ‘mainstream’ science, so should his. You may think it silly but it is totally on a par with yours. Your view is just as silly. So if your view is included so should his and indeed so should views like the moon is made of cheese. After all Wallace and Grommet believe it and they seem to be far more scientific than any young earth creationist I’ve met.

      • Sorry, but Dr. Stephen Austin and others disagree. Realise too, that for the last century, our public schools have censored out anything that relates to even say the word “God”. That is a fact! Dewey’s dream was to have a totally “Godless” education system. The problem was that he merely brought in the “Godless” religion of “secular humanism”. In the 1950s the worst problem you had in schools was spit balls and notes being passed around in classrooms. There is not a teacher around who would not give anything to have a class like that. With the corruption in politics, government, banking ,etc. we’re seeing the flowering of secular Humanism. What do you think of your moral bankruptcy with no moral foundations!

      • The NT is a UK organisation so most vistors to this web site will be British. This posting appears to use American terminology so I hope you’ll forgive a little tweaking to the language to prevent misunderstandings.

        Where you say “public school” I think you mean “state school” (in the UK, a public school is somethere like Rugby or Eton, whose pupils are typically drawn from the upper classes who can afford the high fees.) and where you say “have censored out anything that relates to even say the word “God” I think you meant to point out that the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 says “each pupil … shall on each school day take part in an act of collective worship” that is “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character” and that RE (Religious Education) is a statutory subject that all schools must teach.

        I realise you may not wish these facts to be true but nonetheless, they are – I bear in mind the Decalogue’s observations on bearing false witness.

        If I have misrepresented you, please accept my apologies.

      • You have no right to make such a sweeping statement. There most certainly ARE scores of professional geologists who believe the earth is only 6,000 years old.The fact that you don’t like what they say, or don’t agree with them, doesn’t alter the fact. Both Paul Garner and Andrew Snelling (whom you mention) are professional geologists. I’ve met them both, and they are men of integrity. You can surely dissent without smearing them or implying they are not real geologists.

      • @ geoff chapman.

        Could you supply me with details of any peer reviewed papers by Paul Garner on the topic of creationism ‘science’ and details of when and where he has practised geology professionally? Peer reviewed papers by Snelling would be useful too.

      • I suspect that what you mean by “peer-reviewed scientific journals” are journals committed to the evolutionary, billions-of-years theory of origins. You know as well as I do that these journals censor out anything that doesn’t comply with the “party line.” However, I do know that Paul Garner has been part of a team that has been undertaking extensive field and laboratory studies of the Coconino Sandstone in central and northern Arizona for the last five years, and some of our initial results have been presented at the Geological Society of America annual meetings — which is certainly not a pro-creationist society. However, they were willing to give a platform to genuine scientific research, even when it didn’t support the majority view – and it was well received.
        Andrew Snelling has a PhD in geology from a reputable university and worked professionally as a geologist for many years. He also has a number of publications in the mainstream literature. Bpth he and Paul Garner have had many scientific articles published in journals such as the Creation Research Society Quarterly, and Creation Journal. Both are peer-reviewed by people with science degrees, but of course, you won’t recognise them because they are not evolutionists! What would you say if I rejected every article scientists had written that had not been published in creaitonist journals? If famous pioneer scientists like Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Henri Fabre, Carl Linnaeus and Michael Faraday were around today, would you reject their research because they were Bible-believing creationists? True science doesn’t begin with a bias against the beliefs of those who do the science.

      • By the way, finding a few people ‘with qualifications’ isn’t even the point. Jacques Benveniste had the neccessary qualifications in immunology and yet still managed to come up with a (demonstrably flawed) theory about ‘water memory’ which homeopaths (no doubt some of whom have scientific qualifications) are still waving around today, despite being well aware that it has been flushed down the toilet long ago. If you think scientific debate is about who has qualifications, then that’s just another thing you’re missing the point about. :)

      • I have every right to make that sweeping statement Greg. Dr Steven Austin is also a professional young earth creationist- not a working geologist. Snelling did many years ago, produce some genuine peer reviewed work. And in that genuine peer reviewed work for an oil company he clearly dates rocks at hundreds of millions of years old. This was at the same time as he was producing stuff for the creationist group Answers in Genesis stating the whole universe was 6000 years old. Now by any margin of error hundreds of millions and 6000 do not marry up, even Snelling must have realised that..

        If there are professional creationist ‘geologists’ where did the figure of 6000 years originally come from? As for moral bankruptcy, I have to say that the only consistently morally bankrupt group I have ever come across are the young earth creationist organisations. You only have to compare what the NT are saying about what is in the Giants Causeway with the claims being made by Caleb and the other YEC groups to seee that. Greg creationists are just not honest.

  73. If the National Trust has a policy of selecting one non-scientific view (out of many possible alternative religious views) and then specifically publicising that view as if it were the one “valid” alternative one must ask where it stops. If they have responsibility of looking after a former synagogue would they give a group of holocaust deniers the right to claim that the N.T. thinks their views deserve to be singled out for special mention. Could the Klu Klux Klan end up boasting they have an exclusive position in the display in a N.T. property that had been the home of someone who had fought against slavery. This would be completely in line with their policy on the Giants Causeway.

    If the N.T. believs that the number of Young Earth Creationists in Northern Ireland is sufficient to justify their being singled out as of specific religious significance, they really should be even-handed on another issue which I suspect there is a much bigger minority

    So where in the exhibit is there a sign that clearly says that “many people believe that the Giants Causeway should be in Eire.” perhaps going as far as to name a terrorist organisation that supports that position.

    If the N.T. gave way to totally inappropriate religiously motivated pressure from DUP politicians perhaps the answer is for Great Britain to wash its hands of Northern Ireland altogether. Is that what the D.U.P. politicians wanted when they set out to pressurise a formerly responsible organisation (of which I was once proud to be a member) into making a fool of itself. They should realise that their bigotted religious ideas have already antagonised many U.K. taxpayers – and the more stupid they make the Northern Irish look the less support they can expect from the rest of the UK.

  74. I think what many of you need to understand is that it is totally pointless arguing with most (not all) creationists. They are not interested in evidence or the truth they are interested in maintaining their viewpoint at all costs.
    The reasons for this are multiple. Firstly they have had religion ground into them from birth – religion comforts them when they face lifes challenges and gives them a psychological defense against the howling unkown void that looms towards us all (in the form of death). It provides an emotional support system which reaches deep into their psyche – to give up on this one aspect of their belief (young earth) threatens to unravel the rest which they fear would leave them naked and terrified screaming before the abyss. If only they realised that it is quite possible to believe in some sort of God and science, that they do not necessarily conflict – as Richard Dawkins is happy to accept and as do many Christians who believe in the scientific theory that the world is billions of years old – the world would be a less ignorant place.

    • Hi Gus

      I think that most of us would agree that arguing with creationists is indeed pointless, as religious beliefs are unlikely to be swayed. That’s fine by me, but i’m arguing with the National Trust for allowing this in the first place. I wasn’t aware that i was joining a religious organisation, i wouldn’t have done so had i been informed. And if it isn’t then i do not understand why they would propagate the musings of creationists in the first place.

      Yes i agree god and science are not mutually exclusive its a shame more cannot see that.

      • oh I couldn’t agree more – the national trust have made a mistake. No doubt they were terrified of being burnt at the stake for heresy if they didn’t include the “alternative view” .

  75. Ouch! the well organised and very touchy materialists are clearly rattled at the very mention of the existence of any inconvenient questions or blasphemous suggestions!

    If the science is so unequivocally on their side, why can’t they leave it to speak for itself?

    The truth is that the accepted billions of years old age of the earth is based on many assumptions that can’t be independently verified, above all the denial of a Creator who has revealed himself to us. A very old earth is a necessary but not suffient condition fotr the Darwinian molecules to man evolutionism which has been amply and repeatedly falsified. This scares atheists so badly they are forced to resort to the tactics of the Inquisition.

    Geneticist John Sanford’s excellent study ‘Genetic Entropy: the mystery of the genone’ and Dr Vij Sodera’s ‘One Small Speck to Man: The Evolution Myth’ (amngst other evidences) finally wrap it up for the Darwin mythos, check them out if you dare. I sympathise with those who have built their world view on materialism, but if they go on about science, shouldn’t they go where the evidence points? I appreciate that organised rhetoric and the repetition of Dawkinist slogans is less intellectually demanding.

    Darwin mega fail.

    • You see, this is the difference. Creationists ignore 99% of the evidence, and (primarily because of a prior religious belief) flag up the occasional exception.

      A book by a Medical doctor invalidating evolution. I’m terrified. :)

      • Who ought to know better. To quote Dobzhansky (who was a Russian Orthodox Christian btw) “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”. Given that medicine is patently a branch of biology I suspect that the good doctor is spouting spherical objects …

      • I think the last two chapters of that book get into why the reader should accept Jesus in his/her life. Or maybe that was the other book, by the Geologist. I’d need to check.

    • I am not a materialist – I do trust science as one humanities best hopes of reaching the truth however – many findings in physics show the reality of a non material world – this does not support religous dogma however. Think about it – the computer we are exchanging messages on is a product of the findings of science – religion has never produced cars, or computers, or any other sort of technology. Thats how we know who is likely to be talking the truth even if we aren’t scientists ourselves – because the evidence of the truth and robsutness of scientific thought is clicking and whirring all around us.

    • well after watching the 1st 3 parts so far all they have done is studied their bible, and clung onto the fact that Living fossils prove that evolution hasn’t been happening !!! that’s just being ignorant to the all the other fossils that show the living things that have evolved FROM them, just because the the original is still there, just means its still doing well in its environment !!! they completely turn a blind eye to all the fossils that ARE a slight variation on them… again showing there complete ignorance to the world around them !!!
      Ya gotta do better than that to disprove evolution, and peter bell even said himself that Dinosaurs where about millions of years ago anyhows, unless i heard wrong !?

      (ps, molehunter, you look exactly like a family friend, called michael living near lowestoft)

    • I hope the NT can see from this posting the nature of the mistake they have made. Science is a difficult subject to master and explain but poking fun at it is quick and easy.

      This post is a pretty standard creationist approach. First of all, we start with an opening statement that implies that scientists are all emotional and insecure and that science is just as much a religion as creationism.

      Next, an appeal to common sense. “If the science is so unequivocally on their side, why can’t they leave it to speak for itself?” seems all very reasonable to most people. After all, isn’t that how we make political decisions and how we decide the winner of x-factor?

      Science isn’t a matter for debate however. The theory that best predicts the results of experiments wins. General Relativity beats Newtonian Mechanics every time even though live would be much easier if it didn’t. Alas, we won’t be seeing “1 + 1 = 2″ being put up for a phone vote for a while.

      Next we get a quick moving of the goalposts from the age of the planet to evolution. Trying to convince anybody that the world is 6000 years old is next to impossible, especially when . But with evolution makes it easier to appeal to people’s egos – surely we’re different from other animals aren’t we? Surely we’re special?

      In debates, a common technique used by creationists is the “Gish Gallop”, a quick rattling-off of dozens of reasonable questions that take seconds to ask but any one of which will take the scientist his allotted debating time to answer. Here, do we deal with the age of the earth so Mr Molehunter can claim he was right about evolution or vice versa?

      The current problem that the NT needs to deal with is that they have been manipulated by experts into stating a position they do not hold. They need to make it clear that science tells us the planet is billions of years old and that creationism is a myth. Of course, most people visiting the centre will not have the mathematical or scientific background to follow most of the dating methods used so I suggest two approaches:

      1. We have a tree-ring record that goes back over ten thousand years. Matching tree ring patterns is something that is easy to understand. An interactive exhibit that let visitors build their own tree ring record from samples would be easy to develop.

      2. There are several living plants (Mojave Desert creosote bush, eleven thousand years) and a Norway spruce (eight thousand years old). Displays explaining this would be simple.

      Either one of these cases can be the single counterexample the disproves Young Earth Creationism and neither requires any greater mathematical ability than the ability to count over six thousand.

      I’ll wait a week or two to see if the NT will fix this blunder but in the meantime I’d like to ask the Trustees and members of the Council to make their positions on this issue clear.

    • You make the mistake of thinking this is scientists/atheists/materialists versus Christians. Not so. I am not a scientist, nor an atheist (though I used to be) nor am I materialistic. I dislike dogmatic empiricism as it can deny or dismiss spirituality. Everyone is entitled to believe what they believe as it often comes from deep personal experience. But if one reads back through the many, many objections to this inclusion of a specific creationist view, one can see clearly that it is a political issue, and that it is about injustice, inequality, and abuse of political power. I object in the strongest possible terms on principle.

      • i like this new spin on it Judith :) saying its wrong without upsetting either side a new and totally true angle :)

  76. There is a rational scientific debate and it relates to the evidences for catastrophism. Were the Giant’s Causeway rocks formed rapidly over short timescales, or should they be understood as stretching out over thousands of years. This is not just a creationist issue – it is an issue that relates to geological science generally. Obviously, the creationist approach involves short timescales of Earth history, but the issue here is really whether the Giant’s Causeway rocks were formed rapidly or over a long period of time. To answer that, we must discuss evidences. Have any of those denouncing creationists brought appropriate arguments to the exchanges above?

    • Whether they formed rapidly or or over 1000s of years – they still formed millions of years ago – so it is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    • David Tyler aren’t you one of the Uks leading young earth creationists? Don’t you run or have significant involvement in the pseudoscientific Biblical Creation Society? And are you the David Tyler that is constantly pleading to get young earth creationism taught as an alternative to real science (NT please note the term real science as opposed to mainstream science) in UK schools? Obvioulsy using the more confusing mantra of wishing to just have evolution taught more critically (ie by pretending there are problems with it).

      Are you the David Tyler who was recently involved in promoting a young earth creationist dvd for schools and colleges called Set in Stone? Which claims to disprove all modern geology and refuses to accept all the findings of the worlds earth scientists by suggesting all of the earths geology was caused by a very recent catastrophe, which you and your peers believe is Noah’s flood? A dvd which was produced by a professional young earth creationist and never sent for review to any working geologists?

      As for what you have written, this is not a place for you to try to challenge people about young earth creationism. There is NO debate about the age of the earth and from previous experience you do not listen to any evidence to the contrary anyway! And IT IS a creationist issue as only creationists deny the actual science. No real scientist whether they be a believer, atheist or, agnostic remotely buys the nonsensical idea that the earth is 6000 years young. And the reason for that is because creationists have produced absolutely nothing credible to support that notion at all..

      This site is for asking the NT why they pandered to your unsubstantianted beliefs and to ask them to remove the offending words. And one of the reasons for that is the fact that you and your peers keep demanding that schoolchildren who do not know enough science be taught that there is some debate and science is just a matter of personal opinion. That is the main reason for my objection to the National Trust giving your unsubstantiated opinions any credibility – the poor unfortunate schoolchildren who are then misled into thinking you may have a point because of the NT..

      No matter what the NT do now, the very fact they used the words debate and mainstream science, no matter how mildly, will be siezed upon by creationists as suggesting there is a huge debate and some kind of alternative science. They will misuse it to try to persaude schoolchildren and anyone else daft enough to listen! Your peers at the Caleb foundation have conned the NT and now all creationist groups are capitalising on it. Including your own website.

      And even if the NT give in to reason – creationists will still capitalise on it by stating it was under pressure from hardline atheists, ignoring your lack of science. Because that is how creationists work, by exploitation rather than evidence. But you have placed the NT in a lose/lose situation.

      There is no debate and the stuff you are trying to claim about catastrophism and a 6000 year old earth is not geologically sound or remotely scientific. And I just felt it worth warning everyone here that you are a leading young earth creationist and best ignored. A tactic the NT should have adopted when approached by the Caleb foundation!
      .

  77. So the National Trust has given validity to the young earth creationists. Hang your heads is shame as this is a betrayal of science and common sense.

    They need to immediately reconsider this international press boost to the enemies of reason and education and remove this act of support.

    • The thought police get rolling out again.
      Why should we restrict beliefs to one view, It is decreed by the party !!!

    • Robert, acknowledging that creationists have a different take on the evidences is NOT giving validity to their position. Your complaint has no substance.
      If there is a betrayal of science and common sense, it is a failure to reason from evidences on the part of most of the contributors to these comments. Mostly we are getting rhetorical responses and emotional assertions about creationism.

      • David, whatever the NT may think the YEC are taking the inclusion of this aspect of their doctrine in the information as giving validity to their position, they are broadcasting this validation as much as they can, therefore all of the complaints do have substance (in my opinion).
        The NT should not be an organisation that mentions one religious viewpoint over another, it would be best presenting facts, 6000 years is not remotely a fact and it appears that the quote may be incorrect in the first place, making inclusion even more perplexing.
        It appears to me the NT have been influenced at a political level and are too humiliated / embarrassed to admit that as they are aware that many supporters of the organisation do not want it to affiliate itself in any way with any religious group.

        Back in 1895, we were founded with the aim of saving our nation’s heritage and open spaces. 116 years later, we’re still working hard to uphold these values.

        that is what the National Trust does, it does not support, promote or validate any one religious stance. this is where it has gone wrong and this is why it should remove the YEC information. after all we have the internet now, if anyone wants to find any other view point its all there…

      • andyoakley: “The NT should not be an organisation that mentions one religious viewpoint over another, it would be best presenting facts”.
        I have no problem with affirming this – but the issue is ultimately not a religious one. There are, however, contradictory views on the interpretation of scientific evidences. I should also point out that the word “fact” is ambiguous. What many regard as a “fact”, others perceive as “interpretation”. Why can’t there be a rational discourse about this?

      • There can be a discourse, not sure that the NT is the correct place for it to happen.

        This particular issue is truly about ‘religion’, as you know its a specific interpretation of the bible we are talking about here. so i don’t really see your point.

        If you want to talk about science then thats fine, but this isn’t science, this is creationism, pure and simple.

        Include one religious viewpoint, you have to include every single other one, or else the idiots amongst the group you ‘choose’ will celebrate their validation, as they have done.

        Own goal for NT, about time they corrected it, or alternatively said that they aren’t going to alter a thing come what may and those who want to can’t take their support elsewhere.

      • David Tyler this is a religious issue. You are a young earth creationism you will not accept anything that contradicts your interpretation of the book of genesis. Stop pretending creationism is driven by science. It isn’t.

      • David Tyler you state that this is not a religious issue, but where exactly did the figure of 6000 years come from? Creationists calculated it by adding together the geneologies of all the people iin the Bible! So in what way does that make the belief that the earth is 6000 years old NOT a religious position?

        There is no contradictory position using just science that gives any figure for the age of the earth or the Giants Causeway remotely close to 6000 years! There is not a single person who believes the earth is 6000 years old who is not also a biblical literalist from the extreme fringes of religion. So it is a religious position, and not even a mainstream or majority religious position.

      • @ Kate,

        Thank you for clarifying who David Tyler appears to be.

        @ David Tyler

        Please read the following statements from the NT, made on this webpage:

        ‘We are not validating Caleb’s views – which they should realise.’

        ‘There is no debate on the age of the earth.’

        Now, I only wish they would come out more publicly and respond to what is being said by the Caleb Foundation and others, who are, clearly, mistaken in what they are claiming the debate section of the exhibition represents. In fact, now that you have read the above, I presume that you personally would not make a claim that creationism has been legitimized as an option, at least by the NT.

        Whether the NT come out and say it more publicly, and/or amend the exhibition, is another matter. I sincerely hope they do both, if only for the sake of children, among others, not being fed incorrect information. I hesitate, slightly, to use the term ‘brainwashed’, but since myself and my wife have some first hand experience of same, and the consequences, perhaps I shouldn’t be so hesitant.

      • On reflection, it may be that the NT have gone a tad too far in correcting themselves by saying ‘there is no debate’. It might be more accurate for them to say that there is no meaningful or legitimate debate. There is debate, but those on one side are, IMO, essentially on a par with those who suggest elves are the cause of mischief, which, and this may surprise some, is widely believed to be the case in modern Iceland, where, as I understand it, planning permission can be turned down if it involves removing a rock where ‘elves live’. :)

      • @davidjohnmills. David Tyler is a leading young earth creationist. He is one of the more savvy ones that will try and wrap it up in scientific jargon. But he is a major player and part of organisations such as the Biblical Creation Society (BCS) and Truth in Science. The main aim of Truth in Science is to get creationism and intelligent design taught in schools, though they do disguise that aim by pretending it is to just get evolution more critically evaluated.

        They are delighted with the NT. David Tyler has linked to pro creationist articles about it on his BCS site.

  78. I have drafted a detailed letter to the National Trust at http://trapped-by-the-box.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/national-trust-creationism-and-giants.html

    In it I look at the background to the “fictional” conversation between the Rev. Richardson and James Hutton – and while I don’t have access to the relevant 1802-1812 papers by Rev Richardson – it seems that he “asserted not to subscribe to any theory or belong to any faction” – and I suspect that he may never have explicitly mentioned 6000 years. There were plenty of things the N.T. could have got him to say but were they presented with a distorted version of his views which they swallowed hook line and sinker.

    I also raise the general issue as one of “product palcement” by a pressure group and ask about the N.T policy.

    I have not raised matters which other people have already raised as I feel it mofe important to concentrate on new objections.

  79. “Lastly there is the ‘debating characters’ exhibit, which sparked the discussion. This exhibit consists of five different audio samples triggered by buttons. It is designed to give a flavour of the historical debates there have been over the Causeway’s formation.” – - – The execution of the design has worked, although most of the people who’ve posted here have missed the purpose you intended. Stating the historical debates is in no means legitimizing any of them. It’s clear that NT does not ascribe to YEC, and yet not including it would be an omission of historical facts.

    The fact is YEC theory exists.
    The fact is you may not agree with it doesn’t change the fact that YEC theory exists.

    • Many theories exist, not just the YEC. There is no debate, as the YEC are not willing to debate the credence of their view are they? God says it so its true is not part of science or a debate is it.
      I note that the YEC followers are being rallied today, NT take note, this is what you are encouraging, YEC and NT becoming entwined, well done, bonuses all round.

    • “The fact is YEC theory exists.” – I respectfully disagree. You cannot present a theory of Young Earth Creationism.

      Science is an experimental subject. Scientists build models that predict the results of experiments. These models are called theories.

      If you genuinely know of a theory of YEC, all you need to do is describe an experiment we can perform where YEC and existing theory predict different results. We then simply perform the experiment and see which theory is the better.

    • No Sherry YEC theory does not exist! YEC belief exists! It is a religious belief that the earth is 6000 years old based on calculating all the geneologies in the bible – theory is a scientific term, you can not apply a scientific term to counting the people in the bible.

      If the NT wished to honestly include it it could have done so by stating that a tiny fraction of Christians, some of whom are in NI, still reject ALL science because of their religious belief that the earth is 6000 years old. That would have represented the Caleb foundations position perfectly, though I’m still unclear why their view required referencing at all.

      • Kate,
        There are more than you think who believe in creation. And no, Christians are not anti-science. The scientific method has its foundation developed by Christians. Christians have no beef with real operational science. The real beef is with origins science that is untestable.
        The evidence is the same for both camps. The interpretation is different. Christians have been censored out of academia. Some evolutionists have even admitted to backing evolution to justify their immoral (sinful) lifestyles. Let all sides be heard and let the people decide for themselves which is the most logical and consistanf.

      • Greg there are more many people who believe in astrology than believe in creationism. That does not make it true or scientific. Science is not a popularity contest.

        As for your comment about Christians, creationists do not represent Christians or Christianity, they represent a small sub sect of Christianity called Biblical literalists. Christians do not necessarily reject science – many accept in full, evolution, ancient earth and so on. And many work as real respected peer reviewed scientists, I suggest you check out Francis Collins or Ken Miller for Christians who accept ALL science.

        However all creationists reject ALL science. This is not a Christian v atheist issue this is a science v anti science one.

        Origins and historical science and all the things you are trying to bring in related are things invented by creationists to try and give some kind of credence to the view that some things are open to interpretation and they are just interpreting them differently. Scientific facts are not open to interpretation though.

  80. Good to see the NT is brave enough to publish different perspectives. Sadly the evolutionists are on their band-wagon of rhetoric again. Hold to your guns, they’ll find some other cause to be offended at soon enough.

  81. The exhibit clearly demonstrates the view of “mainstream science”. What you are all objecting to is the acknowledgement by the National Trust that although this is the mainstream view, it is not the only one. It simply acknowledges the existence of creationists. How can you guys be so blatant in your attempts to censor even the idea that there are millions of people in the world who just don’t agree with you!? I think it’s quite clear to see who the real bigots are here and it’s not the creationists or evangelicals! In Northern Ireland, we have the freedom to believe what we want to believe and my understanding is that a third of the population of Northern Ireland accept the creationist view that we live in a young earth and not in one which is millions of years old. Why are you insisting that the National Trust ignore such a widely held view? Is it bigotry or just insecurity in your own beliefs?

    You are all attempting to fool people into thinking that this debate is between religion and science. It is not. The people you see above are the sort of people who exist in the science world today who will do anything to suppress any opposition to their own Godless religion – atheism and secular humanism. Science does NOT prove that the earth is many millions years old. The “science” used by the securalists to date our surroundings is flawed and because it is an invention of man, it is fallible. I for one will not be bullied by anyone into believing something just because it is a widely held view. I’d rather put my trust in God’s unchanging and infallible account of our beginnings than man’s fallible and ever changing “scientific” interpretations and calculations of the age of our universe. Creationists are NOT anti-science. We are anti flawed science.

    Don’t be bullied into going with the flow. We are constantly bombarded by secular “science” on TV, in our schools and now they are even bullying the National Trust for acknowledging that there is any other view but theirs (eventhough the NT holds to their view)! This should alarm anyone in what’s supposed to be a free country with free speech. The following website is very good if you are open-minded enough to see the other side of the debate:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/wog/giants-causeway

    • Oh please, Nigel, stop trying to turn this in to some sort of little guy against nasty society rubbish. i am happy for anyone to say anything they like on a personal basis, why not, as you state its a free country, which is fortunate for us all. what i object to is the NT supporting one particular religious group over another, millions support creationism you yell, billions support islam, hinduism, catholicism, and there many offshoots and groups, where are there views on this and the formation of the earth? That is the problem, not what is being said, but the fact that the NT is being used to say it.

      There are billions who disagree with you, but i don’t see them being given there chance to speak on the website you refer us to, why not, is that because of insecurity in your views and bigotry in your views, surely not!

      Then you say that science does not prove… oh sorry, drifted off there, that is not even an argument worth following.

      I would very much doubt that NT supporters fit very well in to the ‘bullying’ and ‘bombarding’ stereotype that you seem to be trying to build, but i’m not surprised that you’re doing that, because that is all you have, freedom of speech you yell, whilst not acknowledging others views, god is right you say, whilst overlooking that your god is one of many.

      I just don’t think that the NT should support any particular religious view over any other, that is all. If you want to believe anything then great, why not, good luck to you, but not in my name.

      Time for the NT to act, instead of prevaricating.

      Oh, and no, i’m not going to go away.

    • Your response is useful, it shows the NT just how creationists are exploiting them and it links to the ridiculous pseudoscience produced by creationists such as Answers in Genesis. The fact there are thousands of creationists is irrelevant. They are just plain wrong and nobody should suggest otherwise by even remotely suggesting their is a debate.

  82. The NT seem to be missing the point. We know full well that the NT understand how old the Earth really is and how the Causeway was really formed. We also understand that anyone actually visiting the centre will come away with no illusions on the matter, as the exhibit overwhelmingly presents the correct scientific view with only one trifling part mentioning creationists. Those aren’t the people being duped. As anyone who has seen how creationists operate could have predicted, what these liars-for-Jesus have done is to persuade the designers of the exhibit to include key words like “debate” and “mainstream science” in what would appear to be a tiny conceptual corner. This has already allowed such slime as Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, as well as the Caleb Foundation themselves, to practice their favourite tactic of quote mining (aka contextomy) and use this wording to claim that the NT believe there is a real debate. This is a habitual lie of omission that they use, removing any caveats and denials from the original context and using only the wording which could be interpreted as they wish. Millions of people around the world who will never visit the exhibit will think that it shows support for creationist idiocy because that’s exactly what the creationists are claiming it does.

    The cat is out of the bag now, and damage has already been done. Simply pointing out “to anyone who will listen” that the exhibit doesn’t say what the creationists claim won’t reduce the damage. The only sensible option is to issue a press release categorically stating that the Trust does not believe there is any debate over the age of the Earth and that the statements from Caleb and their creationist friends are wrong, coupled with either a removal of the section about a “debate” or relabelling and redoing it so it’s clear that it’s a section about some people today continuing to believe rubbish in the face of all the evidence. If all you do is issue a release but not alter the exhibit, the creationists will use this as “evidence” that the release is only a response to public backlash, but the Trust actually sides with them.

    • Actually, what the Caleb foundation says seems totally fair and reasonable. To quote it “We fully accept the Trust’s commitment to its position on how the Causeway was formed”. It seems like they’re more than happy just to have a mention.

  83. As a long-term supporter and member of the National Trust I welcome the debate being waged on this blog about the interpretation centre content at the new Causeway exhibit and visitor centre in Northern Ireland. However what I find amazing about the majority of the comments is the total lack of respect for anyone or anything that holds an opposite view to those who believe in a pro-evolution view of the earth’s history and make-up. Frankly, I find some of the views dis-respectively, ignorant and arrogant.

    I would like to make a point as a Christian and a member of the National Trust. I believe the Bible to be God’s word and that it reveals to us the truth of all matters concerning His creation. I don’t see a contradiction between science and the Bible, rather the Bible complements science. In relation to being a member of the National Trust, I often get exposed to views presented by the Trust that I believe to be totally wrong, and the current view expressed by the Trust that the Causeway formed 60 million years is one that is not fact but based on a hypnosis with no observational based evidence or experiment to justify the claim. While I, and many others I’m sure of a similar mind and belief as myself, disagree with this statement made by the Trust, we don’t go wildly shooting of demands for retraction; issue threats to with draw membership if the Trust don’t make amendments to suit my/our way of thinking; demand apologies and “corrections” from the CEO, belittle public representatives and make wholly disingenuous statements about those who have a different mindset. If I thought the National Trust was deliberately going out of its way to marginal me I would not be a member. I wouldn’t resort to bully boys tactics demanding my right to be the only voice/opinion expressed. I accept, some what reluctantly, that the Trust was right to include the wording it did about creationism and Young Earth, because there is an alternative view to evolution theory i.e. creationism as mentioned in the Bible.

    I say reluctantly because I would have liked the Trust to be more explicit about creationism and take onboard the views of Christians who believe in the Biblical account of creation. Alas, and while the ferocity and intolerance of the comments racked up over recent days by those who have a different viewpoint, “Steve” and the press office have consistently repeated the line about 60 million years so on and so on, which means the Trust’s view, apparently, won’t be changing soon on the matter.

    I have tremendous respect for the aims and objectives of the Trust. I’m glad it isn’t run on the narrow-minded and bigoted ideology that appears to be the mindset of some on this comments board. Psalm 115 verse 15 and 16 “Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”

  84. Pingback: Memo to the National Trust… « Slugger O'Toole

  85. I am a past member of the NT and am also extremely concerned.
    Having read your update, I am still not satisfied with this exhibit. Your ‘debating characters’ are all (but the last) HISTORICAL characters who, not yet understanding how the Causeway was formed, had many and varied opinions on the subject. It is fascinating to read/listen to the ideas people in the past came up with, before a scientific, factual explanation was available. Similarly, in a NT historic hospital we might be entertained to read about the belief in ‘bad humours’ and ‘phlegm’ until human anatomy and medicine were properly understood. But I would not expect to find a display there on how ‘debate still goes on today’ as to whether bile should be inspected, or urine tasted. Or whether a man has one less rib than a woman. It has no place. It would be wrong, because we know differently now.

    The same applies here. If you must refer to creationist views, by all means do, but bung them in with Finn McCool where they belong. A rather silly story that entertains but is not worthy of ‘debate’ as to its truth!

    • Not sure the creationist views are even worthy of a mention alongside Finn McCool. He was part of the original explanation. Genesis was not. And people are not trying to get Finn McCool taught as science, nor are they pretending there are special Finn McCool geologists. The only way the creationist veiw could be represented is as people who reject science. But Im not sure why that view should be referenced anywhere.

      • Not that long. The time frame for the “events” chronicled in the fianna cycle of Celtic mythology is between 100 BCE and 400 CE (and written about in the 9th century). The council of Nicea to decide which parables/myths/poems/books were going to be in the bible was in 328 CE
        I’m not sure if you’re aware, but a scientific theory (like evolution, gravity, germs etc) is not the same thing as the colloquial meaning of the term “theory” (like the tooth fairy). The layman’s “theory” is would be closer to “hypothesis” in scientific terminology.

      • But not before evolution. :)

        Seriously, how can you trust a book in which the writers can’t even make up their mind whether they think the other animals were made before or after man?

      • Greg said “Genesis was there long before Finn or evolutionary THEORY existed.” But Kate never said it wasn’t. Her point was that Genesis doesn’t say anything about the Causeway and so had no reason to be included or implied. Anyway, since when did age validate a hypothesis? It’s usually the opposite.

  86. It is interesting to read the level of hysteria in most of these comments. A truly unbiased observer would note that is those OPPOSED to creationism who do the screaming – because it is those opposed to creationism who are narrow-minded, bigotted bullies, who cannot stand the thought that not everyone agrees with them.

  87. When this first kicked off, I was actually supportive of the National Trust and felt that some people were over-reacting. Having only seen the transcript text and the NT statements, I was satisfied that (a) taken in its entirety, the text makes it clear that YEC is a religious position, not a scientific one, and (b) the NT is neither endorsing nor promoting Creationism. At that time, I had not seen the context. Having seen where the full nature of the exhibit, I find myself having to withdraw that early support.

    The problem here is that the first four debates seem to be genuine scientific discussions of their age. Young Earth Creationism is NOT. It WAS a genuine scientific discussion of a by-gone age but the age question is one long-settled by science and the YEC stance is wildly inaccurate. To suggest that “the debate continues” IN THIS CONTEXT does imply it is a scientific debate. IT IS NOT. The fact that the audio subsequently makes it clear that the debate only continues for “some people … based on a specific interpretation of the Bible” does not entirely undo this initial error. Although I am willing to believe that this is an accident and the NT did not mean to imply that the scientific debate continues, the fact that some people interpret it this way is reason enough, in my book, to change it. This was the first big mistake.

    The second big mistake was the use of the word “mainstream” in the sentence: “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.” Again, although this is immediately followed by a sentence that makes it clear that these people have a different understanding for religious (not scientific) reasons, I find myself agreeing with those commentors who see this sentence as implying that there is some other kind of science that disagrees with the current “understanding of the formation of the earth”. There isn’t. This is misleading and, even if not giving YEC legitimacy, it reduces the legitimacy of the NT exhibit.

    I stand by my original view that the words themselves are true but it is clear that the context and exact choice of phrase – whether deliberate or accidental – is not giving an impression that is consistent with the Trust’s stated position on this topic. For this reason alone, you MUST revise the wording of the exhibit, even if you do not drop the YEC reference altogether. Given the context of that exhibit, though – as a present-day continuation of legitimate debate rather than an historical view that is still held by some folks despite the evidence to the contrary – I find it hard to justify how you can keep the exhibit at all. When it comes to educational resources, good intentions ultimately count for nothing, I’m afraid. It’s the consequences that count.

    I am a Trust member and will not be cancelling my membership THIS TIME as I still believe this to be a genuine mistake. If the situation is not rectified, however, I cannot see anything but lasting damage to the Trust. Furthermore, if this happens again and it is clear that the lessons have not been learnt, my academic integrity will leave me unable to continue to support the Trust. I will wait a week or so to see if changes are forthcoming but, if not, I will be joining the many that have written to complain.

    Please, please, listen to your members and the scientific community and, at the very least, remove the phrases (1) “the debate continues”, and (2) “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.” If you HAVE to keep the YEC part of the exhibit for some reason, I suggest using (1) “continuing to raise questions” and (2) “Some people continue to hold an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of science.” in their place. This would be damage limitation rather than damage repair but it would, at least, show willing and demonstrate action that matches your stated position. (The question that continues to be raised is “how can anyone genuinely believe in YEC?” The Giant’s Causeway DOES continue to play a part in THIS because it is a clear illustration of just how wrong the YEC position is.)

  88. For those interested in what creationists actually say about the Causeway, Australian creationist Tasman Walker has written about it, trying to interpret it as a product of Noah’s flood. His two articles are to be found here: http://creation.com/a-giant-cause and here: http://creation.com/the-inter-basaltic-bed-at-giants-causeway These are used by Northern Irish creationists in their propaganda.
    I researched and debunked the claims in these articles and caught Walker out lying. And I mean lying. See my article “Facts meet fantasies at the Giant’s Causeway” 2009, Earth Science Ireland Issue 6, p. 37-9. On-line: http://www.habitas.org.uk/es2k/ click on “magazine” and the whole issue will download as a pdf. Although there were other criticisms of the creationists’ attempts to get into the visitor centre, including some harsh words in “Earth Science Ireland” mine is unique in that it is the only one that actually addresses their technical claims, and debunks them.
    After publication I made sure the creationists knew about it as I posted links on their websites and told Walker directly. Now go to Walker’s recent report about the current visitor centre debate: http://creation.com/giants-causeway-visitor-centre-opens
    You will find that he cheerfully points to those other criticisms and dismisses them as a “battle of worldviews” but he does not mention the one critique that actually demolishes his case on technical grounds and shows it to be a load of rubbish. Now that’s what I call lying by omission. There is a comments section following his report. I submitted a comment politely pointing to my article. It has not appeared. Old habits die hard I guess.

  89. Looking forward to seeing the new Centre. Regardless of what narrow-minded people may think, there is another very viable alternative. Thanks for pointing this out. According to the other side, The Giant’s Causeway is said to be 60 million years old, based on radiometric dating. But radiometric dating depends on assumptions and is not the absolute certainty we are led to believe it is. Even geologists will accept radiometric dates only if they agree with what they already think the age should be as they do with the Causeway.

    Radiometric dating gives many surprises. Basalts from Hualalai in Hawaii, observed to have erupted in 1800–01, gave potassium-argon (K-Ar) ages ranging from 160 million years to 3,300 million years.1 A lava dome on Mt St Helens in USA, observed to form since the 1980 eruption, gave K-Ar ages between 350,000 and 2,800,000 years.2 Lava erupted from Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, between 1949 and 1975, gave K-Ar ages up to 3,500,000 years.3 Starting with appropriate assumptions, there is no reason to reject the biblical age of about 4,500 years for the Causeway rocks.

  90. As someone from Northern Ireland who has grown up in a very young earth creationist centred environment, it really is a breath of fresh air that at least a slight acknowledgement of the position is given there. I’m not a young earth creationist, but I think it is important not to pretend the view does not exist.
    For the sake of education, I’m sad that the National Trust hasn’t told us more about the young earth creationist view in the exhibition. I’m not saying I support the views, but it would be a good thing to include simply to show the cultural beliefs of the area. Lets not forget that education about culture and history are as important in a tourism project as science.

  91. I have 2 books in front of me. One is ‘Cosmos’ by evolutionist, Carl Sagan – he wrote “Ten OR twenty billion years ago SOMETHING happened – the Big Bang… why it happened is the greatest MYSTERY we know… All the matter and energy n…ow in the universe was concentrated at extremely high density – a kind of COSMIC EGG… In that titanic cosmic explosion, the universe began an expansion which has never ceased… the origin of life happened PERHAPS around 4 billion years ago… lightning and ultra violet light from the sun were breaking apart the simple hydrogen-rich molecules of the primitive atmosphere…the products of this early chemistry were dissolved in the oceans forming a kind of ORGANIC SOUP… until one day QUITE BY ACCIDENT a molecule arose that was able to make crude copies of itself using as building blocks other molecules in the soup’.

    The other book in front of me is ‘In six days: Why 50 scientists choose to believe in creation’. Dr Jeremy Walter wrote “The concept of a living, volitional, personal and loving First Cause is willfully rejected (by evolutionists) even though it is completely compatible with both science and the Bible… The principles and observations of TRUE science do not contradict a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 but in fact offer support for the creation of all things in six days”. Dr Ariel Roth wrote “it seems to me that it takes a greater degree of blind faith (where there is no evidence) to believe in evolution than in the creation model of the Bible…Science would do well to return more towards the broader, open attitude it had several centuries ago when the foundations of modern science were laid down, and noted scientists such as Kepler, Boyle, Newton, Pascal and Linn believed in God as the Creator who established the laws of science… When I consider the great questions of origins from a broad perspective, the biblical model makes the most sense to me for it leaves fewer unanswered questions”.

    Those views of Dr Walter and the closing comments by Dr Roth are echoed by the contributions in the book from the other 48 scientists and I commend the National Trust for their initiative at the new centre.”

  92. My wife and I plus my son’s family have been members for some time. I am deeply offended by the bitterness and contempt displayed in some of the comments. The core purpose of the NT is “of promoting the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest and as regards lands for the preservation (so far as is practicable) of their natural aspect, features and animal and plant life.”
    It is not surely to insult and ridicule large groups of fellow members. Those who ridicule the loudest must be very insecure in their beliefs. The exhibit is only stating that there are Creationists who take a different viewpoint it does not give equal space to Creationist/ young earth viewpoint.
    Surely those posting offensive (to such as me) comments will not try to deny that there are a growing number of distinguished of sceintists in that group,

  93. Funny how people forget their past so quickly, one politician once said something along the lines of if you forget your history your doomed to making the same mistakes over and over again. Glad to see the NT is looking at our Christian heritage and being brave in including info on creationism, after all, the so called scientists are still only theorising and guessing about the past none of them were there….. Amazing how people love to attack Christians and Christianity for their views but will accept everything else as live and let live…

    • Sorry David, Intended to respond before, but they cut off the comments. I would make clear that for me personally there is no intention to attack Christians / creationists at all. I’m attacking NT for mixing up theology / science and here-say. At no other NT project / location that i can find has there been any mention of debate regarding science and religious theory, NT is not a religiously affiliated organisation. My questions to them revolve around the sudden change in stance.

      This may even end up being a political issue as there are claims that funding and the input of creationism were somehow entwined, which is perhaps unsurprising given the stance of the minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Please do not labour under the misapprehension that this is ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘christianity bashing’ issue.

    • I’ve not seen anyone attacking Christians or Christianity here. The sorts of modern creationism her is not part of our rich Christian heritage at all. It is a modern American invention made up by extremists and fundamentalists. Please do not conflate christianity with creationism.

  94. Well done the National Trust. I’m delighted that another view and interpretation of the evidence is being represented at the Causeway Centre. It really is disturbing how so many have been deceived and assume that the (flawed) theory of evolution is now scientific fact, without checking the evidence for themselves. Evolution is merely (flawed) man’s interpretation of the evidence which has been tainted and soiled by his own predetermined, atheistic mindset. In truth we are all born atheists due to our sinful, rebellious and unbelieving hearts. But the good news is that Jesus Christ died to save sinners. All we have to do is to repent and trust the Lord Jesus as our all sufficient Lord and Saviour. It is by grace that we can be saved, through faith, and it is definitely not through any good works we can do. We each need to humble ourselves before God and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

  95. National Trust….you are to be commended for this bold move….all you did was state some facts in a manner which is to be seen in many exhibitions around the country, the only difference is this has rattled the cages of the vociferous God haters.

    If anything, it shows a certain confidence in your beliefs in the Theory of Evolution, that you present possible alternatives.

    Someone who didn’t have much confidence in their interpretation of the evidence, wouldn’t want any alternatives to be given airtime, so, well done again NT!

  96. Hi all

    Sorry to bother you once again, i am putting together a couple of articles regarding this issue, i have read through the responses and followed the links, would be interested to hear any more information about MLA’s views on the inclusion of creationist theory in the exhibit. Also any information about Caleb / NT meetings would be welcomed, plus anything more that may allow me to shine a light on whatever could be behind this particular NT decision.

    I’m also in direct contact with NT about this (well, those who are ‘available’), but it is fair to say that, to this point, they are refusing to discuss the background to the decision or examine whether the quote attributed in the ‘film’ is actually correct.

    The lack of transparency, from a charity let us not forget, means that your help would be much appreciated.

    Kind Regards

    Andy

    • Hi Andy

      I’d suggest a freedom of information request for details of the meetings this is information we’d all like to see. For discussions of the issues and the feelings of those opposed to this exhibit I’d suggest you visit the protest group on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/263351503764526/. I would also suggest you speak to the National Secular Society, they are watching this with interest too.

      Good Luck
      Caroline

      • Hi Caroline

        Thanks for the pointers, unfortunately as NT is a charity they do not fall under FOI act, so they can legally refuse to reveal any details of their interactions with YEC, which is what they are doing. In fact that is the only definitive answer i have had from NT, that they wont be releasing any information about what was discussed with YEC.

        To this point all my questions are being stonewalled, with each answer referring back to the statements previously issue, which when i’m asking for clarification of sections of those statements is rather tedious. But i think that is the way the NT intend to deal with this, they’ve tried ending the debate, claiming that all questions have been asked and then backtracked hastily (presumably under a hail of emails / contacts, despite assertions that there hadn’t been a lot of feedback on this). Now they are answering every question (that they deign to answer) by referring back to their statement, making the whole process circular.

        One other statement i have is that ‘there was no requirement’ in terms of receiving funding to include creationism in the exhibition. That is probably my fault as i specifically asked about ‘requirements’, maybe i will ask next about ‘contractual obligations’ and we can climb on the semantic merry go round :)

        I have received enough information to strongly suggest that there is more to this than we are being told and intend to continue to dig (I can use FOI to get information from MLA’s for example) and i will contact the National Secular Society. And also check out the facebook page.

        Thanks again

        Andy

  97. Hi all

    Given the levels of interest we have decided to switch the option to comment on these articles back on.

    We had originally switched off the option as we felt most questions had been answered and the conversation was drifting away from the National Trust.

    Where we spot a new question we will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

    Comments are approved in office hours.

    You can email our Northern Ireland team on enquiries.ni@nationaltrust.org.uk or write to them at

    Giant’s Causeway Interpretation Issues, The National Trust, Northern Ireland Regional Office, Rowallane House, Saintfield, Co. Down, BT24 7LH

    • ‘Most questions had been answered’. We didn’t want answers, we wanted action.
      The words had serious defects and undermined confidence in the NT. The changes needed were fairly minor, but they were not (unless I have missed something) done.
      One begins to wonder if there are some creationists within the NT unable to separate their loyalties. Has it been escalated up the management chain? What level is the most senior manager involved?
      Rather than giving a substantial sum to the White Cliffs appeal I tried to give 1p in protest but the minimum was £3 so that was given. Put things right and a larger donation will appear.

      • Hi Beney

        Yes, all members of the executive team and board are aware of the issue.

    • Hi NTSteve, given how you have acknowledged that the Caleb Foundation have made false claims about NT support, will the NT be refusing to involve this organisation in any future discussions about sites and exhibits? Given the damage they have caused the NTs reputation, I sincerely hope the answer will be yes, no further dealings with Caleb Foundation.

      • Hi YetAnotherDave

        We’ll need to ask the local team about that – will get back to you after the public holiday.

    • Thank you. It is good you have done this.

      I will raise on challenge though, from all the responses I’ve seen, you’ve consistently failed to address any of the significant points raised.

      Additionally the NI office is being very slow at responding at the moment, can do give an indication as to how long a response will take? I’ve been waiting four days. Please don’t say “as soon as possible” as its meaningless.

      • Hi Ged

        We know the team are working hard to answer people in a timely fashion. They’ve had a fair amount of correspondence, and they are making sure they are reading and responding accordingly wherever possible. There also might be a bit of a delay because of the public holiday.

    • Hi ntsteve can I ask a couple of questions. Now you have seen some of the replies from creationists, have you got more of a handle on the ways they are exploiting you?

      They are seizing on the words ‘debate’ and ‘mainstream’ science to suggest their is a debate and an alternative to ‘mainstream’ science. No matter how you phrased it they were always going to claim that, and that claim is going round the world.

      You can deny your support for them all you want, but they will claim they have it no matter what you say. And they will continue to do so as long as you refuse to very publicly and very clearly disociate yourself from them and state very clearly and very publicly that the Caleb foundation has misrepresenting everything you meant to convey and has conned you.

      Is there any chance you will point point out the fact they have conned and manipulated you, though obviously more diplomatically?

      They are now using (unsucessfully) this comments section to spread the idea that creationism is ‘science’ not religion and are also using it to promote creationist books, websites and pseudoscientific ideas. They are trying to confuse issues by bringing in all their usual irrelevant points such as blaming atheists or Richard Dawkins for the fact scientists do not support them and they are exploiting the NT to do so.

      So could your moderation process recognise what you say your visitor centre does and add an automatic disclaimer that YECism is a religious and not a scientific view and not supported by the NTor by any real (not mainstream they will misuse that) scientist or geologist in any way, to each creationist posting? Or even to every posting? To save the rest of us time.

  98. Today the National Trust finally, after days of questioning, gave me the beginnings of an answer (quoted below.) In the light of your now definitive rejection of Young Earth Creationism and your statement that there is no debate today about the formation of the causeway, I trust that you will start taking steps immediately to either remove or completely rewrite and record the audio and title on the offending exhibit. If your intentions as stated to me were the same as when this section was designed, then it was at best poorly and naively written, and I am sure you will want to rectify this. We would also appreciate a public statement to the press of the information you gave me, as quoted below, in order to stop the twisting of the presence of this exhibit into implied support for their position by the Caleb Foundation and other Young Earth Creationists. Thank you for listening at last.

    “Hi Caroline, thank you for your questions, it’s important for us to hear what people think of our exhibition. The phrase ‘the debate continues’ refers to a part of the final clip within the exhibit in question, where we outline that Young Earth Creationists wish to continue a historical debate today. We do not support this view. In fact, exactly the opposite – our interpretation at the Giant’s Causeway does in fact refute creationism, because it sets out the science about the age of the Causeway and the age of the earth across all of the exhibition and outdoor audio guides, i.e. that the Causeway is around 60 million years old. We agree that there is no debate on the age of the earth today. Creationism was included in a small section of the exhibition as one of five themes featured in the historical debate; because along with the arguments between Sir Thomas Molyneux and George Ashe, the debate between Vulcanists and Neptunists, James Hutton’s work and an 1800s fossilised bamboo theory, it represents one of the historical debates there have been over the Causeway’s formation. As part of this exhibit we refer to the young earth creationist viewpoint, not because we support it, but because it is the only theme within historical discussions about the formation of the causeway that a small minority people still believe in today. If there was an existing modern movement backing the fossilised bamboo theory, we would have referenced this in the same way. Similarly, if other religious viewpoints had played a major part in the causeway debate, and if there was a movement today which continued to believe in these historical viewpoints, we would have referred to them. To conclude, there is no debate today on the age of the earth, but there was a historical debate in which creationism played a part. Young earth creationists would still argue for this theory, but we fully support and promote the science in relation to the formation of the Giant’s Causeway and the age of the earth, as can be seen from the information we provide in the visitor centre. If you’d like to discuss your concerns further with the local team, please write to: Giant’s Causeway Interpretation Issues, The National Trust, Northern Ireland Regional Office, Rowallane House, Saintfield, Co. Down, BT24 7LH, and we will do our best to answer your enquires there. Thank you in advance for your patience & time.”

    • Yes, Cariline. At the moment, there is a disconnect between the NT agreeing ‘there is no debate’ and (a) not publicly saying so and (b) still having an exhibition which says there is a debate (perhaps np ‘meaningful debate would be better though).

      One small thing, which may or may not be affecting NT reluctance on this issue. It’s ‘the Glorious Twelfth’ holiday here. I wouldn’t blame the Trust for not wanting to (perhaps literally) enflame local tensions and risk getting sucked into something much bigger than just the age of rocks. I’m hoping (optimistically perhaps) that the Trust will shortly come out and both respond to Caleb and indeed amend the wording/phrasing of the debate section of the exhibition.

      Still not sure why there is a debate section at all, mind you. Presumably there isn’t one in descriptions of the White Cliffs of Dover. Can’t understand the need for such a precedent, if that’s what is is. Caleb are certainly making hay on the basis that it is.

    • Just a quick point about the NT response, they use past tense for the creationist argument, then in the present tense that the debate continues (for some). If its past tense then get rid, as the trouble its causing isn’t worth it. If its present then you have no excuse for not including all views on how the earth (and therefore the causeway) was formed.

      There are other viewpoints out there in the present, not just creationist, but they don’t have the support of the DUP and certain high ranking MLA’s. A bit of honesty from NT needed, you have been told to insert this, told to speak to the YEC and will not be removing this section of the exhibit in case you jeopardise future funding from the NI assembly.

      Is that not the case?

  99. “Where we spot a new question we will do our best to answer as soon as we can.”

    As opposed to the “stonewalling” you’ve been trying up until now …

    Ok lets see how you can do …..

    Question …How do we ,as members of the Trust get hold of the details of the consultations held between the Caleb Foundation and the National Trust ?.

    Or failing that …

    Where can we find the details of the compilation of the information included in the centres presentation ?.

    • Hi Watchman

      We consulted with hundreds of different groups but worth me highlighting that we received no funding from Caleb nor did any language they put forward make it into the final exhibition.

      The only reference to creationism in the exhibition is referred to in the transcript we have provided on this blog.

      • ntsteve

        I fear you have made watchman’s point by not answering the questions he asked.

  100. Four debates?
    1) fossil or mineral
    2)Vulcanists and Neptunists
    3) Hutton v Richardson
    4)…er, what debate? Just the creationists saying the universe is 6000 years old. Nothing about the Causeway, not even their claim that it was deposited by Noah’s flood.
    So why are the creationists included? Surely any 4th debate, if necessary, would be better about whether the “giants did it” hypothesis is valid.

  101. There are several issues which the National Trust (and ntsteve) are carefully avoiding.

    The first is the whole issue (well know to all competent charities) of “product placement” where an organisation expresses interest in a well-known Charity for no better reason that it wants a free ride on the charity’s coat-tails – to boast sales (if it is a commercial organisation) or to get its views publicised if it is a pressure group (including religious organisations, political parties, etc.). The National Trust, if the Board is competent, should have a policy on this and I have asked what it it – and whether the Giant’s Causeway case falls within its policy or outside its policy and there has been no reply.

    The fact the the Young Earth Creationists are a religious group is irrelevant. What seems to have happened is a clear case of product placement. After all, if the National Trust felt they needed to mention the issue they could have done so using neutral words which did not blatantly advertise one particular group over others (particularly in Northern Ireland where religion is such a hot potato). Would they have mentioned the words “Young Earth Creationists” at all if the subject had not been raised in the consultation by an organisation which was trying to find ways of publicising its views. May I suggest that the following wording would have have covered most of the objections:

    “Despite the scientific evidence there are still some people who reject the facts presented here on religious grounds”

    This covers all possible creationist explanations from any religion, without giving any support to any particular pressure group.

    If the wording of the exhibit falls outside the current National Trust “product placement” policy there can be no question about changing the wording immediately on these grounds alone – irrespective of the turmoil that has been created.

    If what is on the exhibit falls within the N.T. rules this means that, for example Joe Blogg’s Fish Bar could have joined in the consultation, and try and get the N.T. to include a statement in the exhibition pointing out that “while some people disagree, Joe Blogs’ fish bar says that fish caught off the Giant’s Causeway are particularly tasty.” If this is the case the N.T. rules need urgently revising by the Board – and many of us require assurance that the matter will properly be addressed at this level, as otherwise any Tom, Dick or Harry can start using the National Trust as a free advertising billboard.

    NO such assurance has yet been given that the issue is being competently handled at this level.

    The other issue relates to Dr. Richardson statement which indicates that he adhered to the idea that the earth was 6000 years old. Did he explicitly say so in his writings between 1802 and 1812? (Sorry I don’t have access to a suitable library or I would have looked for myself.) He had plenty of other objections to James Hutton’s views on the geology – which appear to have little to do directly with the “Deep time” issue. Even if Richardson he objected to “deep time” this does not mean that he automatically considered Bishop’s Usher’s calculations were the last word on the matter. I am simply asking for assurance (with a proper citation) of one of Richardson’s papers which explicitly mentions 6000 years – and if not that part of the exhibit misrepresents him – and should be altered to accurately reflect his published views.

    This is a matter of whether the National Trust is accurately reporting history – and if it is not, perhaps because it took advice from someone who was not a competent geologist – it is prepared to change what is written to more accurately reflect history. It should be a very easy matter for someone with access to the publications to check and report here – and if the National Trust is competent it will already be doing so – as it would end up with even more egg on its face if it turns out that they have misrepresented the Rev Dr Richardson and failed to check when the matter was pointed out to them.

    All I am asking is for a reply which says that in the paper ~~~ published in ~~~ Dr Richardson wrote “~~~~” which justifies us using the term 6000 years – as such a reference SHOULD be in the research documentation drawn up in designing the exhibit. If there is no such reference in the pre-exhibition documentation, and no such reference can be found, it is clear that the National Trust research was not competent.

  102. Good answers Steve …but ,as “freelancewriter” pointed out …… just not answers to the questions I actually asked .

  103. There is the question of finance. The National Trust says they received no money ear-marked to include the Young Earth Creationist views, and I accept this. However they received money from the Northern Ireland Government, and would have known that some government ministers shared such views. Even if there is no formal agreement it is very easy to fall into the trap of doing what the paymaster would like. The Trust has now got itself into a position where it has either to look incompetent in front of the whole scientific community worldwide – or be accused of censorship by leading figures in an organisation which made a significant contribution to the building of the centre. Whether they like it or not, the National Trust have accepted the 40 pieces of silver – but could easily have avoided doing so by not including a statement favouring a particular group.

  104. Please can I ask again ntsteve as you seemed to have missed my question before, why the Caleb’s creationist view was even referenced? NI is a region with an unfortunate history of religious sectarian troubles so why did the NT include the unsubstantiated views of one side?

    There is no obvious link between creationism and the Giants Causeway, it is not referenced in Genesis, nor do the local legends reference Genesis – they only reference Finn McCool. The only link between creationists and the Giants Causeway is that some of them live nearby? That is not a valid reason to reference their views is it?. I’m sure creationists live near the Natural History Museum but their nonsense is not represented there.

    Does the NT not think that if anywhere needed a neutral, secular, purely factual site for all sides to visit it was NI? So please answer WHY the Calebs view was actually referenced?

  105. In case anybody has missed this new thread (I had):
    “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.”

    http://ntpressoffice.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/giants-causeway-visitor-centre-interpretation-statement/

  106. Pingback: National Trust to review Giant’s Causeway exhibition « The New Creationism

  107. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

    • The UK doesn’t want this American brand of idiocy, we’ve already got rid of a large amount of the display and when the rest of the information on the corrupt governmental departments comes out then we shall be pushing again for complete removal of the display.

      • That wasn’t American idiocy, it was American Spam. For cosmetics. (They were lying about following the blog.)

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