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Wrong to impose religious beliefs on our young

The members of the Belfast Humanist Group are concerned by the activities of the Caleb Foundation and by the criticisms of the Ulster Museum that Nelson Mc Causland has made (Comment, June 7).

Caleb and McCausland are trying to impose their evangelical religious beliefs on public institutions and the education system of Northern Ireland.

They are wrong to do so because the Bible cannot be taken literally.

The first book, Genesis, which was allegedly written by Moses, contains several references to the "firmament".

The firmament was thought to be a huge container in the sky, full of water which fell down through holes in the base onto the ground beneath.

The notion of the firmament was a crude attempt to explain familiar phenomena like rain. The firmament is part of a Flat Earth cosmology. People in ancient times had no idea that the world is a sphere. Moses held the primitive beliefs of early civilisation and so he believed that the world was a flat surface with a firmament suspended above it.

In their campaign to promote Genesis cosmology, Caleb and Mc Causland are trying to overthrow the established academic teaching of geology, astronomy and biology. Their antics would be merely laughable, were it not for the serious damage that could be done to science education in Northern Ireland if such out-dated notions were imposed on our schools and colleges. Our young people need a proper science education - not ancient theology.

LES REID

Chair, Belfast Humanist Group

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