Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Let evidence of science speak for itself

The opening of the Giant's Causeway visitors' centre has been overshadowed by the controversy on creationism, which continually causes passionate debate on both sides.

Its success will provide a new focus for many visitors from this province and further afield and it is a welcome addition to the list of tourist attractions in Northern Ireland.

However, many will question the National Trust's motive in introducing creationism to its presentation of the possible origins of the Giant's Causeway.

It is one thing to refer to the mythical Finn McCool, but it is another to bring creationism into the discussion because it challenges well-founded evidence of the scientific community.

There is nothing wrong with people having a belief in creationism, but that is a tenet of a religious faith which should not be confused with a huge body of scientific evidence.

The National Trust may have created a dangerous precedent, and if people are prompted to consider creationism seriously, what national monuments will be next to be challenged - perhaps Stonehenge itself?

Many people may also be wondering why the National Trust felt the need to bring creationism into the discussion, and whether or not the charity was put under pressure to do so.

This would unacceptable, because our political leaders are expected to govern for all of us, with a policy determent by objective needs. Therefore, no politician should attempt to foist religious beliefs on others.

The row over the Giant's Causeway may seem a small squabble compared to the serious daily problems which many people face, but it is important to challenge views not based on fact.

If this is allowed to continue there is no knowing where it might end, perhaps even in our classrooms. Maybe this is the only place in Europe where such a row could take place, and while we must try to be tolerant of other views, scientific facts should be allowed to speak eloquently for themselves.

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