Published Wednesday, 04 July 2012
An exhibit in the new Giants’ Causeway Visitors’ Centre acknowledges the creationist view of how the world-famous stones were formed.
The National Trust said it wanted to “reflect and respect” the fact that some people contest the views of mainstream science.
Its state-of-the-art new complex, which opened on Tuesday, features an interactive audio exhibition showcasing the stories and the science behind the Giants’ Causeway.
It looks at the origins of the basaltic columns on the Co Antrim coastline.
The trust said that the exhibit gives recognition to the fact that, for creationists, the debate about the age of the Earth is still ongoing.
A statement read: “The Giants’ Causeway has always prompted debate about how it was formed and how old it is.
“One of the exhibits in the Giants’ Causeway Visitors’ Centre interpretation tells the story of the part the Giants’ Causeway played in the debate about how the Earth’s rocks were formed and the age of the Earth.
“This is an interactive audio exhibition in which visitors can hear some of the different debates from historical characters.
“In this exhibition we also acknowledge that for some people, this debate continues today and we reflect and respect the fact that creationists today have a different perspective on the age of the Earth from that of mainstream science.”
The National Trust worked alongside the Caleb Foundation, which represents mainstream evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland, during the development of the centre.
Its chairman, Wallace Thompson, said he is pleased with the result of the engagement and the inclusion of the creationist view.
“We have worked closely with the National Trust over many months with a view to ensuring that the new Causeway Visitor Centre includes an acknowledgement both of the legitimacy of the creationist position on the origins of the unique Causeway stones and of the ongoing debate around this,” Mr Thompson said.
“We want to thank senior National Trust officials who have worked closely with us over a prolonged period, and we are pleased that this constructive engagement has helped to bring about such a positive result.
“This is, as far as we are aware, a first for the National Trust anywhere in the UK, and it sets a precedent for others to follow.”
Over 600,000 visitors come to see the Unesco World Heritage Site every year.
The Â£18.5m new centre, which takes the form of an underground complex with a sloping grass roof hiding it from view, opened its doors to the public some 11 years after the previous one was destroyed in a fire.\
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