Creationism at the Causeway


I should, I suppose, write today about our outstanding natural wonder, the Giant’s Causeway. This isn’t prompted, or at least only indirectly, by the ongoing row about the planned visitors’ centre, although I notice I haven’t covered this and it’s worth briefly recapping.

In a nutshell, environment minister Arlene Foster (DUP) announced that she was “minded” to award the £20m contract for a new visitors’ centre to developer Seymour Sweeney. Arlene said she had no knowledge of Mr Sweeney, but it subsequently emerged that he was a member of the DUP and well acquainted with both Papa Doc and Baby Doc. This could well be entirely innocent, but it doesn’t look very good. It has also gone down badly with local DUP councillors, who have been agitating for a publicly funded visitors’ centre.

Anyway, what piqued my interest was an item on yesterday’s Talk Back. This was connected not to the contract for the visitors’ centre, but to its potential content. Dunseith had on some punter purporting to represent the Causeway Creation Committee. It emerged that the punter was demanding that the visitors’ centre, in addition to the geological explanation for the Causeway (the basalt columns resulting from an ancient volcanic eruption) and the Fionn mac Cumhaill mythological explanation, should also give prominence to the creationist explanation. I wasn’t entirely clear what the creationist explanation for the Causeway was.

This could be tied in to the recent action of Lisburn ‘City’ Council in supporting a DUP motion calling for Intelligent Design to be taught in local schools. Perhaps fortunately, the council has no powers over the curriculum. Meanwhile, we may ponder the theory posited by Oscar Kiss Maerth in the 1970s, that the human species had devolved from a race of brain-eating apes. Is it possible that some devolved further and found their way onto Lisburn council?

Rud eile: While on the subject of property developers, I am informed that the Andytown barracks site was reclaimed by the community at the weekend. This amounted to sixty dispirited children, thirty dispirited adults and a bouncy castle.

Update 17.10.07: I notice this letter in the Belfast Telegraph from the Causeway Creation Committee, arguing that the famous basalt columns are in fact a direct result of Noah’s Flood, and demanding that the visitors’ centre includes the biblical perspective.


  1. October 13, 2007 at 9:02 am

    […] the DUP found itself mired in controversy over Northern Ireland’s largest tourist attraction, the Giants Causeway, after Environment Minister Arlene Foster announced that she was minded to award the contract for a […]

  2. December 2, 2007 at 6:28 am

    […] issue has been discussed on several blogs in the area — see here and […]

  3. June 12, 2010 at 8:15 am

    […] Sunrise comments on the story here. In a nutshell, environment minister Arlene Foster (DUP) announced that she was “minded” to […]

  4. Rabelais said,

    June 12, 2010 at 8:35 am

    There’s something interesting going on with the assertion of a creationist agenda in NI at the moment. They strike me as NI’s very own little neo-cons. The wee province has been catapulted from a world of dependency, subvention and the old work house economy into a frightening new world of global capital where all that is solid melts into air. Creationism is a way for the DUPes and their ilk to try to hold onto something stable and meaningful in an environment that has swept away much of what they once held dear.

    My own response to previous Nelson McCausland demand that creationism be included in the Ulster Museum was to say: give them a glass cabinet and let them present the evidence in it. Call their bluff. I suspect the cabinet would lie empty exposing the vacuousness of the creationist myth.

  5. June 12, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    […] are always good of course, and it’s been pleasing to see the resurfacing of a story covered here way back in 2007. Yep, those creationist boys are at it again, and once again the controversy […]

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