L AST week was a momentous one for science, and not because we finally discovered the Higgs Boson particle was more than just theoretical, but because we learned that the Giants Causeway was actually the result of a cataclysmic geological upset caused by God getting angry and flooding the planet.
Yes, as insane as it seems in 2012, the National Trust has pandered to the wacky beliefs of creationists who believe that the Earth is just a few thousand years old, that dinosaurs and man co-existed Flintstones-style, and that evolution is a commie, Satanist plot to dispute the good word of God. In their new visitors’ centre, they have given a nod to the creationist version of events, claiming there’s a “debate” about the age of the earth. Although thankfully insisting they believe the truth, even referring to a ‘debate’ – which exists only in the mind of a fundamentalist religious minority – is enough to prevent me paying the £8 entrance fee.
As a believer in free will I have no problem with people choosing to ignore stone-cold facts and following pseudo-science, but the minute it’s presented in a public museum as if it carries equal weight with the truth – that in this case the basalt columns are millions of years old, and the result of natural volcanic phenomena – then that’s when a healthy dose of insults need to be doled out.
The creationists who demanded the Noah’s flood “theory” to be presented in a UNESCO World Heritage Site visitor’s centre, should be forced to explain how – if they take the Noah story as literal fact rather than allegory – a bloke could build a boat big enough to hold two of every animal in existence in its hull.
Not just that but keep them there, fed and watered, and stop them from devouring each other, all the while being tossed about on mile-high tsunami waves. And let’s not even mention the tons of manure to deal with, or the logistical nightmare of herding deadly black mamba snakes onto the ark while at the same time juggling randy baboons, and hunting for the pair of fleas (checking to make sure you had both a male and female flea must have been difficult without microscopes, but if you believe cavemen dodged T-Rexes of an evening, then why not believe the ancient Hebrews knocked a primitive microscope together… with creationism, you can believe whatever you like!).
If they can prove all that with evidence and data, and get a doctor to verify it, then maybe there’s a place for this “theory” at the Causeway…and by doctor I mean someone who earned his qualifications at a university studying geology and science, not a “Bob Jones” doctorate awarded for the ability to preach scripture and persecute Papists.
The National Trust bods behind this rotten decision ought to bash their heads against one of the causeway’s hexagonal stones until a bit of sense returns to their brains. The story that Finn McCool built the causeway to get to Scotland carries more scientific weight than Noah’s flood, and that’s before you ask why a giant would mess about with what would be for his mammoth fingertips, little fiddly rocks, instead of just jumping across the Irish sea.
If unproven belief based solely on blind faith can be put alongside undisputable science, then why can’t any old causeway creation myth be given an airing at the centre? Perhaps it was built by a three-headed deity called Brxiphanigoshun, who intended it as a trophy cabinet to display his numerous backgammon awards at slightly different heights.
If I put enough pressure on the National Trust, they ought to include this “debate” at the centre too, right?
Or maybe it helps if various politicians in influential positions actually believe the pseudo-science behind creationism, and can add a little weight behind the demands to delude visitors and make the North look even more backwards than it already does.