Reader chrisquartly called my attention to this post by Britain’s National Secular Society on the famous Giant’s Causeway, a formation of hexagonal basalt columns in Northern Ireland that is the remnant of an ancient volcanic eruption (see here for more information). It’s a UNESCO National Heritage site and is owned by the National Trust. Here’s a photo (I’ve never visited but would love to):
The report says that the Causeway Visitor’s Center now includes an exhibit suggesting that the causeway formed as a result of the Biblical Flood:
Creationists believe the stones, which emerged from the sea-bed following intense volcanic and geological activity 60 million years ago, were in fact formed around 4,500 years ago as a result of Noah’s Flood.
Actually, this formation occurred 50-60 million years ago when extruded lava cooled quickly, forming the cracks that separate the tidy columns. Why is the National Trust lying about this to visitors? Creationist pressure, of course:
The National Trust had been under pressure from evangelical Christians to give equal prominence to its religious viewpoint in the new £18.5m (partly publicly funded) visitor centre at the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Northern Ireland’s north Antrim coast. . .
Wallace Thompson, chairman of the creationist Caleb Foundation said he was pleased with the inclusion of the creationist view:
“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.
“This is, as far as we are aware, a first for the National Trust anywhere in the UK, and it sets a precedent for others to follow.”
In a statement, The National Trust said that the exhibit gives recognition to the fact that, for creationists, the debate about the age of the Earth is still ongoing.
Here is the cowardly language of the National Trust exhibit, uncovered by reader Paul Braterman:
This debate has ebbed and flowed since the discovery of the Causeway to science and, historically, the Causeway became part of a global debate about how the earth’s rocks were formed.
This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science.
Young Earth Creationists believe that the earth was created some 6000 years ago. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and in particular the account of creation in the book of Genesis.
Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective.
Young Earth Creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant’s Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it.
Despite the fact that they do mention “mainstream science,” this is absolutely ridiculous, and does severe discredit to the National Trust. Yeah, maybe among creationists the debate about the age of the Earth is “still ongoing,” but for the rest of the world—including all scientists and people not blinded by faith—that debate was settled decades ago. To give it any credibility in such an exhibit is shameful.
Britain is supposed to be far less infested by creationists than is the U.S., and while fighting creationism at home, I want to keep the UK clean. I urge readers to contact the National Trust (information here) and register a protest. I’m sure that if they get a few thousand complaints (include your title if you’re a scientist or geologist), they’ll remove the exhibit. Well, at least I hope so.
To reach them by email, just write to firstname.lastname@example.org I’ve already sent them an email. Please tell them not to teach lies to visitors. I have sent the email below, and if you’re pressed for time you’re welcome to copy and paste it. It will take only 30 seconds.
It has come to my attention that you have an exhibit in the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre promoting the creationist view that the lava formation might have resulted from the Great Flood described in the Bible.
This is, of course, completely wrong. As all scientists know, that formation is 50-60 million years old. To teach that it’s 10,000 or so years old, and resulted from the great flood, instead of from an ancient eruption of lava, is simply teaching lies to your visitors. Don’t you want them to know the truth about the Causeway’s formation?
Regardless of any debate among creationists about the age of the earth, there is no debate among real scientists about that age, which is about 4.6 billion years. I urge you to remove all the creationist lies about the age of the Causeway from your visitor’s centre. Please—do this in the interests of science and truth.