Christians must fight atheist giant: Causeway furore is alarming

Former Blanket columnist John Coulter with his creationist take on the Giants Causeway dispute. This piece first featured in the Irish Daily Star on the 16th July 2012.

Well done the National Trust for having the guts to face down militant atheists and humanists and have Biblical Creation as part of the famous Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre display in north Antrim.

Evangelical Christians across the North should take heart from this recognition and now campaign for a Creationist point of view to be given equal status in Belfast 's Ulster Museum and Armagh Planetarium. And with Stormont Education boss John O'Dowd launching his review of school reforms, now is the time for Christian Churches to ensure Creationism is a fundamental part of the curriculum.

What is really alarming is the hysterical reaction to the National Trust's very sensible Causeway decision on Creation from the weird band of anti-Christian militants. They are not interested in the debate on how the famous Causeway stones were formed. As a staunch Creationist myself, I faithfully believe the Biblical Genesis account. If these militants had their way, Christianity itself would be banned.

Christian Churches should be prepared for the terrible outcome that the National Trust could recant, surrender to the anti-God militants and remove the Creationist display.

Our churches need to face the bitter medicine that the fate of this display is a battle for the very future of the Christian faith in Ireland. Lose the Causeway battle, and the war is over.

The erosion of Christian values will then continue unabated. This was clearly demonstrated in a rather sinister Facebook site which has appeared in recent days called Remove Creationist Display From Giant Causeway Visitor Centre.

I made the mistake of thinking that it could be a site for reasoned debate. So I joined the site and gave it two of my Fearless Flying Columns criticising evolution and calling on the Christian Churches to halt the rot in our faith.

I have never encountered such hatred and bile against the Christian faith as I endured as a result of these two articles, culminating in a telephone call to step up my personal security.

If ever Irish Christianity needed a wake-up call, it came from some of the viciously anti-God reactions. Here are some of the more violent reactions I got from across the world. So much for the concept of free speech.

"But are we not all sick to death of the f**king religious freaks on this planet. I for one can only take so much of the idiotic fairy tales and bronze age mythology without wanting to run up and punch one of them square in the forehead. I have fantasies that imposing that velocity of a knock to the brain might knock some sense in the f**kers."

"Bring back the Coliseum. There are many starving lions in Africa. Please donate a Christian today."

"This man speaks and raises awareness of a debate in our society. Not Creation, abortion. Is it too late to abort him now?"

"Silly backward John. May try being born again, this time by reading a book or two that isn't the Bible."
"You're a deluded cretin."

Who needs Islamophobia when we have such anti-Christian hatred? Such hysterical rantings from militant atheists have made our Emerald Isle the laughing stock of the globe again.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, it is probably the most sensible commentary to date that I have read on the entire matter - cheers for the awesome belly laugh

  2. AM.

    Very interesting, to some there is no explanation, to others , it is a sign from God, But, in this day and age, there are those of us who still has a free will, we choose to believe, or , disbelieve. One could say, They are the only ones who can get blood out of a stone, there has to be a logical explanation, looks like someone shot her in the Left temple and the bullet is still in her because there is no exit wound, I reckon it was a sniper rifle!.

  3. John,

    prepare for an onslaught. Even the National Trust is forced to state that"There is clearly no scientific debate about the age of the Earth or how the causeway stones were formed,"


    I just found it laughable.


    it is simply head in the sand stuff.

  4. The Twenty-Fifth Day of December

    Taken From "The Roman Martyrology"

    In the year, from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine; from the flood, two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven; from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen; from Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand five hundred and ten; from the anointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two; in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome; in the forty-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since His conception, is born in Bethlehem of Juda, having become Man of the Virgin Mary.

  5. John McGirr.

    wow, thats a lot to take in, what part of the Martyology Bible is that in?. Now everyone gas their own thoughts on the Birth Of Jesus, Oh yes, He is mentioned in every Holy book of all religions, we cant deny he was born, But were I differ is, I believe it was artificial insemination which gave rise to Jesus being born, because a Ghost ( changed to Holy Spirit) does not have any living organs to perform with, so the only logical explanation can be, "An angel from another planet" , Maybe?, Possible? ,what would your views be on that possibility John?, I say , everyone to their own beliefs as to the conception of Mary and the the birth of Jesus.

  6. Itsjustmacker,

    both Johns are sound spuds. But what was not reasoned in will not be reasoned out

  7. AM.

    Deborah got over what she had to say, I didn't know the Earth wasn't flat?, are Unicorns not real?.

    To be creative, you need a pencil and paper to write down that which you would love to create, Like myself, when I write a computer program, It goes down on Paper, even before I go near the keyboard, all things great started from a thought, then, that thought went unto paper, and, from that paper, you created your piece, I for one am against religion in schools, to me religion is the root of all evil, we should be allowed to decide for our own children which school to send them to, there are to many multi national schools, there is a lot of money to be made from it, and, all with different religions, they are all on a winner. I was asked What is pi, I say steak and kidney, My better half says, an never ending number, seems she was right, 3.142857>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>. Its all none stop and never ending.

  8. AM.

    LOL, Ive had plenty of spuds today, with bacon and cabbage, but i do get your drift.

  9. AM,

    'both Johns are sound spuds.'

    So long as you don't call us prataí!

  10. itsjustmacker,

    Curiously the only one I know who of who thinks that we might come from outer space is Richard Dawkins.

    The Martyrology is part of the Divine Office, prayed by generations of monks, nuns and priests for nearly two thousand years, not to mention the rest of the world.

    Nothing in all history is attested so much as the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

  11. Anthony,

    'prepare for an onslaught.

    You've captured the fulminatory nature of the debate over this issue very well. Surprised to find you amongst the censorial mob!

  12. John McGirr.

    Lol, I did not state that we all came from outer space, I said that the only way Mary could have conceived was by artificial insemination because Ghosts do not have any earthly parts, artificial insemination was unheard of in those dark old days, but now its common knowledge, so, if a ghost didn't penetrate or someone not of this earth, as for they day of rest, the 7th day, did he , "Jesus", not lose his temper on that very day and wreck all the stalls because they were selling on that 7th day. Thanks for the info on the ,"Martyrology" thing, I misread it, I thought it said Martyology as in Martin McGuinness. lol.

  13. Wow - I really thought this was somewhat satirical, given that many within the church have been reacting this way to opposing viewpoints for years. I must be losing touch with reality.

  14. John Coulter,

    I hold that it is you who does not wish for a debate. I dont believe that you don't want to reason out the matter but rather wave a bible much like John McGirr.

    Regardless, the rational world isn't hosting a debate on wether the earth is older than a few thousand tears old nor should it need to with unreasonable young earth creationists. If you believe the earth is so young then the burden of proof is on you and a bible will not do sir.

  15. Rob,

    you make a good point. The arguments for YEC come across as such acts of self-parody that it is all too easy to view it as satire. It is pointless getting into a discussion with its advocates because 'the bible says'... it is 6 inches from Ireland to America or whatever, does not allow for intelligent discussion. All the evidence, which in this case is overwhelming, must be denied in deference to biblical literalism.

    The sad thing is that some of those who advocate it are intelligent people who have surrendered their reason. They actually know the hard evidence mocks any biblical claims but put themselves in the stocks all the same.

    And we know from the Intelligent Design movement in the US that creationists can be the greatest of liars. The judge in the Dover case remarked on that aspect of it when he threw their bunkum out of court. I see it as Intelligent Deception.


    the censorial mob is forever dangerous and I will evade them as I understand only too well that I too will be lynched by it.

    While we feature creationist views here because we acknowledge the right of people to believe whatever they want - even though we find these views ridiculous in the extreme - this is just a place where all manner of opinions mingle. We ask more for civility than sense. There is no censorship involved in keeping demonstrable nonsense away from centres of learning and science. Religion should be in the RE class. Astrology should not be on display at the Armagh Planetarium. Witchdoctor services should not be advertised in hospitals. These things that fail the test of science have no place in scientific discussion. The golf club's view of the origins of the universe has no place in the Causeway, even if the club guide book claims the earth is really just one big golf ball blasted into space 10000 years ago. And if there is a golf ball there has to be a golfer and a book called Golfer's Travels that explains it all!!

    Education, knowledge, learning, intellectual exploration, free inquiry are all so central to human development. It is a well we only get to drink from once. I think it so essential that we protect it from the pollution of evidence-denying faith.

  16. Now it may be true that among those writing on this subject there are scientists and it may be that there are not, but either way you have to put your faith in their findings, and they have to put their faith in their predecessors’ findings, who have to put their faith in a million and one other things. All of these things on the hypothetical that everything has remained relatively constant.

    The leap of faith that some members of the PQ have made, (to believe that the earth is millions of years old), is unavoidable when a Creator is denied. Those who don’t deny a Creator can happily sit back and wait for more evidence to come in.

    Personally I am happy to accept either outcome, if the world is less than 10,000 years old or if it is more. At the moment though I trust God as a witness more than I do atheists. Although even taking God as a witness we are not constrained to a literal Six day creation. My opinion is that the world was created instantaneously and that it was broken up in the biblical account for didactic purposes. If it could be established tomorrow, beyond all doubt, that the world was a billion years old, I would change my opinion.

    At the moment my ‘default position’ is that of the Roman Martyrology and as literal to Genesis as possible, until overwhelming evidence dictates otherwise.

    I have noticed that no evidence has been presented that the world is millions of years old, so it is hard to counter it.

  17. As daft as people sometines tend to be, when we like them it is uncomfortable to watch their intellects self implode. Human empathy leads us to share in their humiliation or at least feel something for them.

  18. John McGirr-

    " In the beginning God created Heaven and hell "

    Was hell just an after-thought then-

  19. It was this kind of hyper-literalism that convinced me of the surrendering of reason by proponents of this movement. If nonsense and poor interpretation is going to be read into a book they cherish, then i feel this will also be applied to other spheres of learning that are less than cherished.

    The piece of writing was by a well known advocate of creationism called Ken Ham, who has peddled his views in Ireland on many an occasion:

    "At Westminster Abbey, I could not find Darwin’s grave, so I asked an attendant. I found that I had been walking over it. Darwin was buried in the floor (the foundation) of the church.

    Tears came to my eyes. I thought, ‘A man who popularized a philosophy that is a direct attack on the foundations of the Church is honoured by being buried in the foundations of a church.’

    What a picture! As the Scripture warns, ‘If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’"

    The full text can be found Here

  20. I will try that one again-

    John McGirr-

    " In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth "

    Was hell just a after thought-

  21. Anthony,

    'Education, knowledge, learning, intellectual exploration, free inquiry are all so central to human development.'

    More reason then not to ascribe to the idea that a scientific elite has the exclusive authority over areas of thought. In successfully lobbying for the inclusion of a creationist viewpoint at the Causeway, the Caleb Foundation has secured the provision of an alternative interpretation. You may not like that interpretation and consider it daft but people, at least, should have the freedom to decide what is or is not nonsense free from protectionist sentiment and the totalitarian intellectualism so epitimised by Dawkins et al.

    'The sad thing is that some of those who advocate it are intelligent people who have surrendered their reason.'

    Using the golfing example you provide, which I enjoyed by the way, we can reason from experience and observation that the golf course did not raise itself from the sludge. It has an order that someone designed and others tend to maintain. No matter how long we wait, the 9th hole will not self replicate or undergo a process of evolutionary self improvement. Above all else it's origins are relatively new. Moreover we can reason that evolutionary/old earth ideas do not make it impossible to be anything other than an atheist.

  22. Rob,

    I have one of his books in the house - 'Why won't They Listen?' A full on whack job.

    The minimum of effort is all that is required for them to familiarise themselves with the evidence yet they insist there is none and has everybody ridiculing them. Seriously could they be the product of an Intelligent Designer? The 'slow creationists' who like to distinguish themselves from evolutionists cut the Young Earthers to shreds.

    One of the funny things I find is that they some of them find evidence for angels but none for an earth older than 6000 years. Copernicus and Gallileo had their work cut out with that type of mind. I don't even discuss the matter with them, preferring to have a bit of banter around the subject. With their bible thumping zeal they perfectly embody the Thomas Szasz observation that 'when a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.'

    It just gets a touch sad when you know them and like them and observe the humiliation that their self parody brings.

  23. Rob,

    "What a picture! As the Scripture warns, ‘If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’"

    Look again, the foundation remained intact, and consider the words of Frederick Turner:

    "The evolutionarily later always subsumes and includes the evolutionarily earlier"

  24. Robert,

    This so called scientific elite do not function as a body dictating what we know. There is such a diversity of perspectives within it. Nor is it free from the input of Christian thinkers. Scientists like the rest of us can be bollixes but the craft of science and its methods of verification and authentication are unrivalled and to be admired.

    Many believers appreciate the value of science as a source of knowledge and want to protect it from the mythomaniacs. This is why we have old earth believers so scathing of YEC.

    Science does not have an exclusive authority over all areas of thought. Nor can it claim to know everything. Yet it is unrivalled in terms of discoveries. What has religion discovered in the last century compared to the massive range of scientific discoveries? Science can claim authority over major areas of thought which have been tried and tested such as the distance from America to Ireland. If you choose to believe it is six inches should you be teaching that in schools on the basis of it being an alternative and that children should be able to make their own minds up? I want my children to have the best education possible, to have the opportunity to grow up learning things contrary to the views I hold. But they would not be sent to a school where they were taught that the earth was flat, 6000 years old or that the sun orbited the earth.
    As the National Trust itself argues there is no debate within the scientific community about the age of the earth. It has been so well settled. Just as there is no debate in it about whether the earth is flat or not.

    Your argument only works if the views of the Flat Earth Society, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the geocentrics should also be reflected at the Causeway. Have they any less a right to be there than the Caleb crew?

    ‘You may not like that interpretation and consider it daft but people, at least, should have the freedom to decide what is or is not nonsense ...’

    They should be free. But that hardly amounts to a reason for smuggling myth into an educational centre. The same freedom has to apply then to the Flat earth Society and the Church of the FSM. I would never impinge on people’s right to hold a creationist view or a geocentric one. If it was banned you would find me on the protest march against the ban! They must have that freedom but when it comes to presenting their findings the same rules apply as do to the rest of us. The price to believe is vastly different from the price to present. We have a right to speak but people also have a right not to listen.

    ‘we can reason from experience and observation that the golf course did not raise itself from the sludge.’

    It is like the Boeing 747 argument. The implication suggests a lack of familiarity with non theist evolutionary ideas.

    ‘Moreover we can reason that evolutionary/old earth ideas do not make it impossible to be anything other than an atheist.’

    Evolution and old earth ideas are at the heart of much modern Christian thinking on the matter. The ‘slow creationists’ as they term themselves believe in a creator. In fact the strongest arguments for a creator come from those capable of embracing a scientific view and then finding a creative influence behind it (Hans Kung for example). While I don’t believe it I do feel that evolution/old earth simply do not cancel out the role of a god.

  25. michaelhenry.

    I'm sure this is written somewhere.

    I shall make a Hell on Earth for you.

    Maybe John McGirr could help me with that saying, I'm not sure if it's in the Bible, and, I couldn't be bothered getting it out and checking for it.

  26. This is a comment on the Facebook page from Jon Pierson which is worth producing:

    'Wow! I've just found out that this site is "rather sinister". At least, that's according to John Coulter in the Irish Daily Star. Coulter, a self-confessed creationist, seems to think that only "militant atheists and humanists" are against the nutcase, ignorant creationists who think that the world – and, therefore, the basalt honeycomb of columns formed by volcanic eruption into a cold sea 60,000,000 years ago – are only 6,000 years old (just 59,994,000 years, or so, out, then) and want this madcap garbage to remain as a legitimate theory of creation in the, otherwise educational, visitors centre at the Giant's Causeway.

    Obviously, along with his cuckoo denial of scientifically proven fact, he thinks that only "militant atheists and humanists" are intelligent enough to understand big, scientific words but, of course, even a lot of religionists now accept that the biblical creation myth is just that, a mythical allegory based on the latest scientific research... of 4,000 years ago.'

    I have a lot of respect for John but most definitely not for his ideas

  27. michaelhenry,

    " In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth "

    Was hell just a after thought-

    No, it was created by the action of the fallen angels.


    'I'm sure this is written somewhere.'

    "I shall make a Hell on Earth for you."

    Doesn't sound much like the good Lord, but then we Catholics don't read the Bible much! Maybe it was said by a Protestant deity or Allah, or maybe it is Talmudic!

  28. They are now objecting to being included in the myths and legends section. Alongside those who believe in unicorns and mermaids would seem to be the place for them

  29. If the Causeway had placed this psuedo-debate more adroitly, they could have commemorated a local context instead of a creationist kerfluffle. Why not display how Archbishop Ussher back in 1648 for the C of I published his chronology over in Armagh, starting at nightfall (not (9 a.m.!) before 23 Oct. 4004 BCE of course? Then, you deftly enshrine an Ulster-centric mindset that mattered in the 17c. but you keep it (safely?) historical. It'd fit neatly into a chronicle without asserting an antiquated model (obviously) as today's fact. That's my semi-serious suggestion.

  30. AM,

    'They are now objecting to being included in the myths and legends section.'

    Surely that is where 'evilution' should be classified, that 'great fairytale for adults'!

  31. Psst John,

    do not disturb. It is Sunday and I am praying to Mary the Mermaid in the hope that she will overturn the laws of nature and work a bit of magic by changig the result of the Kerry-Tyrone game yesterday!

  32. Mackers,
    How do you speak about valuing free inquiry and then use scathing terms like mythomaniacs-it just doesn't fit.
    I agree with everything Robert said on this, it is actively censoring opinion and it is being done in an elitist way.
    My son is atheist in outlook and while he would roll his eyes and smile in relation to the creationist argument, he brings a lot of tolerance and understanding to his arguments.
    Creationists might be responsible for peddling the odd bit of bunkum via a reigious curriculum, but in my book it is less disturbing than torturing hunddereds and thousands of defencless creatures daily in the name of God knows what? (no pun intended)
    I know which of these two causes would encourage me to the raise the black flag, definitely not creationism.

  33. Nuala,

    ‘How do you speak about valuing free inquiry and then use scathing terms like mythomaniacs - it just doesn't fit.’

    It fits like a glove for the following reason. Free inquiry is amongst other things about having the freedom to use descriptive terms like myth for matters that merit being scathed. If somebody believes the myth of the earth being flat then mythomaniac does not seem too harsh a term.

    When I write about the peace process being in need of its myths and mythomaniacs few complain. I guess you would have to object to its application to the peace process in order to have a consistent position in the round. Although it would still strike me as strange if you did given that you know as well as I do that the peace process is surrounded by myths and mythomaniacs. And I doubt if I will be found complaining no matter how scathing you wish to be of it.

    I disagree entirely that it constitutes censorship in any way. Were I to feel it were censorship I would raise objections. The Interpretive Centre is not a place where ideas are supposed to merely mingle, none being any better than the other, no more than in a university medical school. Its purpose is one of awareness raising. Myths don’t raise awareness other than awareness of their own existence. We are already aware that creationist myths exist. If they are allowed into the centre outside of the myths and legends section then those who believe the earth is flat should have their views on display also otherwise that is censorship if we accept your definition of censorship. Should flat earth or geocentric theories be taught in schools or universities as possessing any authenticity?

    As for tolerance and understanding I think even the fiercest critics of this blog are all too willing to admit they have all the tolerance and understanding in the world to express their views. Even if some of them are self proclaimed advocates of book burning and idea killing. John Coulter freely uses up whatever space he likes to expound on his creationist views or whatever else comes into his mind. John McGirr comments voluminously and has never yet had a comment pulled.

    ‘Creationists might be responsible for peddling the odd bit of bunkum’

    Even if I appreciate your desire to be diplomatic that is still something of an understatement.

    As for your views on the maltreatment of animals, you are more than free to write about it here. You will probably find a lot of agreement.

  34. AM,

    "But what was not reasoned in will not be reasoned out."

    After spending countless hours engaging with creationists on the PQ and getting nowhere, I have reluctantly come to accept this.

    Scientists look at all the available evidence and contruct theories that fits it best. If new evidence is found which undermines a given theory, then that theory is rejected or qualified in some way.

    Creationists, on the other hand, look at the Bible and try to contruct the evidence to fit with the Book of Genesis.

    That is the crux of the issue and no highfaluting metaphysical mumbo-jumbo from John McGirr or fact-free whingeing from "Dr" John Coulter can change that.

  35. Alfie,

    I don't bother trying to debate the point with them. There is nothing to debate as even the National Trust say that much. Out of courtesy I discuss the issue of censorship with people like Robert and what role myths might play in society. As for the earth being flat, young, geocentric, there being unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, fairies at the bottom of the garden, or mermaids, these things interest me no more than the Beano or Dandy. I am hardly going to discuss the merits of a comic as an explanation of the universe.

  36. Mackers,
    I think free inquiry is a very inviting term.
    It lends itself to the idea, that opinions whether they are perceived mythical or otherwise are valued.

    I don't think that came across very well in the first blog in relation to Creationism, in fact I as a person felt that unless you are all scienced up, you had no right to comment. I actually felt that. those writers who were being scathing of creationism had lost the arguments because their comments were so 0ff putting.
    The Peace Process for me is very different it is current it is happening, therefore I know the myths because they unfold around me daily.
    I did not agree with so much of Tommy Mc Kearney's article, but I did not feel that it was condesending in the way some of the anti-religion articles come across.

  37. Nuala,

    ‘I think free inquiry is a very inviting term. It lends itself to the idea, that opinions whether they are perceived mythical or otherwise are valued.’

    Not as such. It lends itself to the idea that opinions are permissible not necessarily valuable. This is why I think there should be respect for a person’s right to hold an opinion, but not automatic respect for the opinion held. Why should you or I respect an opinion that thinks nationalists are second class citizens?

    Where did it ever come across that there might be no right to comment? Has any comment on this matter been suppressed? John Coulter or John McGirr don’t claim (as far as I know) to be ‘scienced up.’ They have never been denied the right to comment. To the credit of John McGirr he acknowledges that he has been given more latitude to comment than he would give to others.

    ‘those writers who were being scathing of creationism had lost the arguments because their comments were so off putting.’

    What argument – about the age of the earth? There is no argument about that. It has been as comprehensively settled as the shape of the earth. There are other arguments to be had about censorship and the status of myth etc and I guess readers have to make their own mind up about that.

    ‘The Peace Process for me is very different it is current it is happening.’

    As is the earth and scientific exploration and discovery.

    ‘therefore I know the myths because they unfold around me daily.’

    As do others the creationist myths. It can hardly be appropriate for you to label big Percy a mythomaniac (which he is) and insist on YEC types being spared the description. Myths are myths whatever their genre.

    ‘I did not agree with so much of Tommy Mc Kearney's article, but I did not feel that it was condescending in the way some of the anti-religion articles come across.’

    That is a different issue and may or may not have merit. I haven’t thought about it deeply enough.
    Nobody gets spared on this blog, neither me nor anybody else. No opinions are sacred and afforded protection.

  38. Nuala,

    Some of the most scathing critiques of Young Earth Creationism have come from Christian scientists like Brown University's Ken Miller and UCC's William Reville.

  39. Alfie,

    Kenneth Miller has been particularly effective

  40. Mackers,
    I think Creationists are entitled to their beliefs bottom line.
    If people choose to believe otherwise that is their entitlement also.
    Nothing in this world is value free or objective not even science, therefore I don't think it is right for people to be pilloried because they chose to believe God created the world.
    As I asked in an earlier post, if they are so insane and illogical why are people so bothered about them?
    The point I was trying to make in relation to Tommy Mc Kearney's article was, although I did not agree with the bulk of what he said I did not feeled peeved by it.
    I did however feel that way when read the first comments on Creationism which I thought were scathing and elitist.
    I don't get the connection between Sinn Fein lies and betrayal and religious myths.
    Irish folklore and some religious bunkum maybe but not political lies and spin. I think if anything that theory of similarity minimizes what sinn fein have done in Republican terms and I think to reduce it to the odd myth and spoof lets them off the hook.

  41. Nuala,

    ‘I think Creationists are entitled to their beliefs bottom line.’

    No argument against that.

    ‘Nothing in this world is value free or objective not even science.’

    Science is by far the best system of knowledge we have. We know so much as a result of it.
    ‘I don't think it is right for people to be pilloried because they chose to believe God created the world.’

    A completely different argument from what is being addressed here. The best advocates for belief in a creator are those creators who are able to blend science in their theology. A believer arguing that the universe is about 16 billion years old and the earth about 4 billion and that behind it all is a creative intelligence which has fine tuned the lot can be a formidable Advocate in a way that somebody who ignores science and argues that the world was created after the Sumerians invented glue is most definitely not.

    ‘As I asked in an earlier post, if they are so insane and illogical why are people so bothered about them?’

    As you were answered in an earlier post when they try to pollute knowledge, present their myths as fact, demand parity, want to bunk in without the credentials, and develop the power to coerce, then it is a problem. These people used to tie up the swings in parks on Sunday because of their bonkers beliefs. Do you not have a problem with children being taught as fact what clowns like Edwin Poots, Nelson McCausland and Mervyn Storey hold to be true? My children will never have that inflicted upon them.

    I thought Tommy’s article was refreshing but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

    ‘I don't get the connection between Sinn Fein lies and betrayal and religious myths.’

    The connection is very clear. When you challenge their myths you legitimise myth challenging and cannot restrict it only to the myths you don’t like.

    Young Earth Creationism is a falsehood and is used for political purposes. Irish myths and legends as myths and legends are fine. YEC likewise. But if somebody wants a truth status afforded to Finn McCool and his exploits that is a falsehood greater than any produced by the peace process.

  42. Mackers,
    We were all treated to bible stories, myths if you like and I don't think we ended up dysfunctional people.
    In this day and age people-children can make up their own minds what they choose to believe, I think to choose for them is control.
    I don't think myths can be equated with lies.
    Religion has a lot to answer for, but again I don't believe creationism for all its faults is one of them.

  43. Nuala,

    ‘We were all treated to bible stories, myths if you like and I don't think we ended up dysfunctional people.’

    If we ended up believing they explained the world we live in we could not possibly be functional.

    ‘In this day and age people-children can make up their own minds what they choose to believe, I think to choose for them is control.’

    We want them to know what we know to be true and what we know to be myth presented to them as such. I don’t want my children thinking that witches fly and planes don’t. Nor will anybody fill their heads with nonsense that if they are ill they should do a magical dance, sprinkle holy water over themselves, or attend a witch doctor rather than a health professional. I don’t mind my kids knowing that there are people out there who believe that that the sun orbits the earth, that people can survive their own death, that women and black people are inferior, that there was no holocaust against the Jews, that the Israeli state does not murder Palestinian children. I don’t want them being told that such rubbish is true or that it is on a par with the view that it is nonsense.

    ‘I don't think myths can be equated with lies.’

    They can if they demand equal status with what we know to be true like what the Caleb crew is demanding at the Causeway. We know the earth is older than 6000 years, that it is not geocentric, that it is not flat, that it does not rest on the back of a giant turtle. Any assertion - purporting to be true rather than a myth - to the contrary is a lie.

  44. Fionnchú,

    that was one great waste of human effort by Usher. Imagine all the things he could have done for humanity and he frittered his time away with that.

  45. Mackers,
    I think in relation to children a bit of myth and magic is what its all about.
    What is so wrong with children believing that witches fly?
    This is where I have the problem, this is where it becomes problematic and heavy.
    This is where both sides of the argument appear equally ridiculous.

    I am confounded as to where the rest of the paragraph fits with Creationism?

    Myths and lies the oxford dictionary seems to have a different take on what constitutes myths and lies?

  46. Nuala,

    as a temporary thing, like Santa, I guess there is not much wrong with it. I would not want them taught it in a science class at school however.

    I see nothing ridiculous about the scientific argument. I might see a lot of ridiculous scientists but that is another matter. Watch a guy like Brian Cox who explains things with such compelling logic, separating fact from speculation, explaining why we have to be speculative on some things - the grounds for being anything else not having the evidence - delving into the universe and how it is dated at around 16 billion years. Then listen to Nelson McCausland explain how it is only 6000 years old and it all began in a magical garden with a talking snake.

    I want my kids to learn from people like Brian Cox. They can question him and reject what he is saying and perhaps through their own investigation come up with something stronger. I don't want them being told that Nelson McCausland's myth is on a par with the science of Brian Cox.

    The rest of the para equates very well with creationism because it is on a par with creationism. A flat earth etc is the intellectual equal of a 6000 year old earth.

  47. Nuala,

    forgot about the dictionary. I haven't checked it so have no idea what it says.

    In my views myths that deceive are lies.

    If creationism is explained outright as myth then it would not constitute a deception. It would be just like the tooth fairy myth rather than the tooth fairy lie. The problem is that Nelson and the gang want this presented as something other than a myth, as a real alternative explanation.

    It has the same explanatory power as say big Percy going up to the Causeway and arguing that the peace process caused the earth to come into being in 1969. It is an alternative explanation to the scientific one; he is more than capable of trying it. But who would argue for it to be there?

  48. Mackers,
    I don't think we will ever have a meeting of minds on this.
    But I am great believer that children should be just that.
    I think their lives should be packed with myths and magic because reality and life kicks in too quick.
    As for witches on broomsticks, I think my son is a firm believer thats how I have always gotten around.

  49. Nuala,

    no, a meeting of minds is unlikely. I am one of those science illiterates who nevertheless loves to learn from it and view it as unrivalled in terms of the knowledge it has to offer.

    My kids believe in Santa and I would never destroy that. They have the tooth fairy as well. But I would never want them growing up thinkig that rain was Mary weeping.

    Mythology has its place. I would no more burn the bible than I would Robert Ludlum books. As books I would have an equal regard for both but in terms of the truth status of their contents they both go into the same fiction category.

  50. AM,

    Even Ratzinger had to sack this freethinking apostate.

  51. John,

    This is an interesting point. I don’t know if the guy was sacked but would not doubt it. I know he denied it and I don’t think the Vatican confirmed it. But that all might be a diplomatic veneer. Freethinkers have always been attacked by the Church hierarchy which is shameful.

    But where Ratzinger disagreed with Coyne is not on the question of evolution or the age of the earth. It is about the role of god in that evolution. And the disagreement was wrongly presented as Ratzinger supporting Intelligent Design. ID is a religious movement in the US that fell out with the Thomists because they refused to support Intelligent Design. The Thomists felt it was not the scientific body of thought it claimed to be. ID is hugely discredited because of its pseudo scientific claims. But the Thomists were certainly not rejecting a creator god.
    The difference between Ratzinger and Coyne is not one of religion versus science, but the role of god within the scientific narrative.

    I think the debate would have been better described not as one using the term Intelligent Design but one arising from differences over Intelligent Intervention. Both Coyne and Ratzinger believe in evolution, that god created the evolutionary forces – they seem to differ on god’s role once the process of evolution began. A does god intervene or does he not? type of thing.

    But even to call the guy a freethinking apostate for refusing to behave in an intellectually servile manner is to take us back to the days of persecution of Gallileo and Copernicus.

  52. Itsjustmacker

    ‘I didn't know the Earth wasn't flat? Are Unicorns not real?’
    As real as biblical truths, mermaids and fairies.

    I don’t have a problem with religion being taught in schools so long as a religion is taught about and not taught as truth. It should be taught in the sense of ‘there are people who believe this ....’

  53. An e mail came through this morn from Michael Dowd at EvoChristian recommending this book.