Trust amends creationist exhibit

Published Wednesday, 03 October 2012
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The National Trust has amended an exhibition which included creationist views at the Giant's Causeway Visitors' Centre following a review.

Trust amends creationist exhibit
The National Trust have changed the presentation following a review. (© Pacemaker)

The £18.5m multimillion centre opened three months ago and has received over 250,000 visitors.

UTV revealed in July that the Trust had worked Caleb Foundation, which represents evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland, in the development of an audio presentation.

As well as detailing the science behind the Causeway's formation 60 million years ago, the centre's presentation included the biblical view that the world is just 6,000 years old among debates from historical figures.

The Trust said they began a review of this presentation on 18 July following a "wide and mixed response".

Having taken on board a wide range of feedback, and commissioned interpretive specialists to develop a suitable reflective piece, the National Trust has now amended the existing exhibit.

National Trust

During the original interactive audio exhibition, the historical figures of the rector of Clonfeacle Reverend Doctor William Richardson and geologist James Hutton debate the formation of the Causeway. The rector declared in the debate that the earth is 6,000 years old.

An alternative view remains in the presentation, but a new piece of audio, approximately 20 seconds in length, replaces the previous recording which makes the Trust's views completely clear.

Graham Thompson, Project Director for the Giant's Causeway, said: "This change will help clear up any misunderstanding there may have been.

He added: "The National Trust is content that this review is complete and thank all for their feedback on the matter."

The National Trust only endorses the scientific explanation of the origins of the stones yet recognises that others have alternative beliefs.

Graham Thompson

The new version of the audio presentation states the following:

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

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

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

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

Although we do not accept that all the scientific evidence points to a 60 million year time span, we note that the revised exhibit still retains an acknowledgement of the existence of an alternative viewpoint. The National Trust has therefore set a precedent for others to follow.

Caleb Foundation

A spokesperson for the Caleb Foundation has said they are disappointed by the outcome of the review.

"When the new Visitor Centre at the Giant's Causeway was opened in July 2012, Caleb congratulated the National Trust on the inclusion of an audio exhibit which acknowledged both the legitimacy of the creationist position on the origins of the unique Causeway stones and the ongoing debate around this," they said.

"We were disappointed when the Trust decided to review the previously agreed wording in that exhibit as a result of pressure. We are also disappointed that the outcome of the review has led to a revision of the wording, but we are very pleased that the exhibit has not been removed, as demanded by some."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Sir Henry Whirlpool jnr. in Belfast wrote (841 days ago):
If Finn Mc Cool were alive today,he would be spinning in his grave.I want the National Trust to put that on a big stone somewhere up near the Giant's Causeway.Goose,Gander,Sauce and all that good stuff.We love to wallow in ignorance,myth,half/un truth and sheer knuckle munching stupidity on this little patch of Earth.I have concerns for the little innocent school kids on day trips to this "National" Heritage site."What is National and who is Caleb Miss....."
Joseph in 4th Green Field of Belfast wrote (841 days ago):
Those Young Earth Creationists are dinosaurs........Oh! I forgot.They don't believe they ever existed.Strange wee 6 County,6000 year old Planet we live on.
Giles Torvey in Belfast wrote (843 days ago):
The giant's causeway is an interesting geological feature, and since geology is a science there is no place here for "alternative" viewpoints unless there are genuinely multiple possible scientific explanations. Religious explanations are not scientific and should not be included. Alternatively, perhaps we should include myths and supernatural matters in all our sciences. Why not let astrologers have a say in our economic policy? Maybe we should ensure that our healthcare policy gives proper consideration to the patient's aura. Both would obviously be ridiculous, as was the inclusion of creationist fantasy in this exhibit.
patto69 in Belfast wrote (843 days ago):
Totally embarrassing and holds this narrow backwater up to further ridicule. Whoever decided to seek the views of the 'Caleb Foundation'should be signing on this morning.
Stevo the Magnificent in Newtownabbey wrote (843 days ago):
As a Creationist myself, I have absolutely no problem with the change in wording for this exhibit (despite the fascistic tactics of the evolutionary movement forcing said change); it still (rightly) acknowledges the Biblical viewpoint held by many as a legitimate alternative view, but also appropriately removes the 6, 000 year-old date for the Earth's supposed existence, that date is not universally agreed upon by Creationists worldwide, and therefore doesn't need to be held up as the sole prevailing opinion within Creationist circles... the age of the Earth doesn't matter a jot, that God made the Earth in six literal 24-hour days (thereby upholding the Bible's divine infallibility) does matter however!
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