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Update On Northern Ireland

[If you want to disagree, discuss, add to or comment on this research, feel free to do so on our community forum. That's what it's there for.]

Northern Ireland is the creationist capital of Europe

"One of the most shocking aspects of life in Ulster for the outside visitor, is the grip fundamentalist Christianity has upon the Protestant community. I arrived here 2 years ago as an aspiring Physics student from England and quickly settled in, making friends on both sides of the divide. However, as a staunch fan of science and the so called ‘new atheist’ movement launched by people such as Professor Richard Dawkins, I was shocked to find out how many of my new friends were literal Christian believers." - Daniel Gillen, student Queen's University Belfast, The Gown, May 2010 (http://www.thegown.org.uk/2010/05/31/opinion-ulster-says-no-to-creationism)

[This is a November 2010 general update on our research into creationism in the province. The politics is dealt with in an older report at Paisley's Party Backs Creationism in Schools. This report on the Caleb Foundation and Caleb Foundation Part 2 from the BCSE should also keep intelligent people awake at night. Our new report on the Centre For Intelligent Design is a must read for those concerned about science in the province - everyone from just bright citizens through to academics, school teachers, business people, the clergy, students, doctors, public servants and development agencies through to smarter politicians. You've got a really big problem with creationism which is destroying your credibility.]

There is little doubt that Northern Ireland is the creationist capital of Europe, almost certainly because religious practice still remains widespread there, the predominance of Calvinism amongst the province's Protestants and as another manifestation of its "troubles". The moderating effect of Anglicanism has never been high amongst Ulster Scots. Many (especially in England) take the view that the widespread acceptance of creationism reflects its social and political backwardness. Religion is a very real badge of social, political and cultural identity in the deeply divided and segregated province. If someone in Northern Ireland standards up and says “I am a creationist” or "I don't agree with Darwin" it means they are Protestant.

Of the several hundred creations in Northern Ireland that the BCSE has identified, not one is Catholic and every single one looks to be to be a practising Protestant. There are no Catholic creationist organisation in the province and no Catholic churches (or any other Catholic organisation) have endorsed it. Not one.

The is an alternative explanation. Northern Ireland is poor and has been racked by violence, mayhem and insecurity since it was established in 1920. “A growing body of research....has found that socio-economic factors play the leading role. The higher the level of financial and economic security — as measured by the presence of universal healthcare and job security, plus lower rates of income disparity, poverty, lethal crime, incarceration, STD infections, abortion, teen pregnancy, divorce, illicit drug use and mental illness — the less religious a country is. It turns out then when the majority of a modern population is ensured a comfortable, safe and stable middle-class lifestyle, they lose interest in organized faith and soon lose their personal faith as well.” Gregory Paul, Los Angeles Times 27th October 2010. (see http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/27/opinion/la-oew-paul-religion-secularism-20101027)

In other words, people in Northern Ireland are religious (and, by implication, creationist) because they are scared. They see their jobs, culture, way of life, prosperity and influence threatened all the time by the “other side”. There's always been a very real streak of violence in Irish politics (you can blame the English for that if you like).

However, BCSE's man on the ground in the province disputes this analysis, pointing out that a huge problem in the province is that education remains very, very segregated. There are strong vested interests who would like to keep it that way.

He takes the view that the basic problem of creationism in the province is the same as on the mainland of Britain. Answers in Genesis, and more recently Creation Ministries International, have basically infiltrated all evangelical denominations over the last 15 years or so. Because church attendance is so much higher than the mainland, the problem is therefore much greater in the province. That, though, doesn't explain why church attendance is much higher in the province.

However, some of the claims about acceptance of creationism in the province look to be widely off target. A 2009 Theos public opinion survey found that 25% of the population were creationists in some form or other. That looks to be basically badly wrong. About 45% of the population in the province are practising Christians of some sort. (Tearfund gave the figure as 45% as at 2007 but this looks to be an over-estimate as it is based on a public poll sample rather than a headcount of who is in a church. Christians tend to exaggerate how often they are in church.). Of those roughly half are nominally Catholic and the other half nominally Protestant. Basically creationism is not accepted by the Methodists and Anglicans in the province. It's confined to the Calvinistic sects. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that about half of Calvinists accept creationism. If we assume that half the population of the province are nominally Protestant and half of those are religious and half of those that are religious are creationist - that means about 12.5% at most of the population are creationist. In fact the figure looks to be more likely to be around 8 -10% as maybe only about 35% of people actually attend church regularly. Either way, the percentage is half or less than the Theos estimate.

(Church attendance in the province has fallen sharply (although from a high base) in the last 20 years or so. If the Republic of Ireland in anything to go by, church congregations are disproportionately made up of old people, past retirement. They also tend not to be well educated by today's standards.)

Still, what differentiates Northern Ireland from elsewhere is that its politicians (Protestant) are all too often unapologetic unreconstructed young earth creationists. It's also a hard fact of life that with few exceptions, such politicians have very limited education by the standards of today. It's as if the brains of the province can't get elected or have fled the place years ago.

Nelson McCausland (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_McCausland), a fundamentalist (Independent Methodist) who is also Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the regional Northern Ireland government, has claimed that some one third of the population of the province believe in creationism or Intelligent Design. So what? Sound sciencc isn't decided by public opinion (or obscure politicians or the Caleb Foundation) and it certainly isn't decided by a tiny backwater like Northern Ireland. It's not as if the province is noted for any significant ability in science.

Nelson McCausland Nelson McCausland MLA, politician and creationist

McCausland is himself both a creationist and a fundamentalist and also believes that the peoples of Ireland are one of the lost tribes of Israel (again, we're not making this up). McCausland has called for the main Ulster Museum to put up anti-evolution material (he got told to push off by the museum and was ridiculed by Richard Dawkins). (See http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/uk-ireland/museums-chief-slams-interference-14820787.html#ixzz0p3ZK58Qz)

The issue, though, is that creationism is strong amongst Protestants in the province. It's on a par with the USA. Moreover, it's an issue that is deeply politicised. It is, in essence, the semi-official policy of the province's largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party to promote creationism in schools and museums. It's not helped that the DUP was originally the political party of a church, the Free Presbyterians founded by Ian Paisley. We've detailed this elsewhere on our wiki but the roots of creationism run deep in the province.

Nevertheless, there is a problem in the much bigger Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the biggest Protestant denomination in Ireland. As far as the BCSE can make out the main training college for the clergy of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Union Theological College in Belfast, is now well and truly infiltrated with creationism. The leading creationist in the province, Robin Greer, is an ordained Presbyterian minister (see http://richviewpresbyterian.org/minister.aspx).

Our man on the ground has suggested that 90% of ministers graduating from the Union Theological College are nowadays YECers even though young earth creationism is not the official position of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Even the church's outreach arm, Belfast City Mission, seems to be pushing YECism and both Monty White and Robin Greer have both spoken there. if he is correct, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has, in effect, been captured by YECers. It's a huge scoop for them.

The Free Presbyterian Church founded by Ian Paisley has always been creationist but it is small - perhaps some 12,000 members in the province - and is widely disliked by many Protestants. It's basically a working class/lower middle class denomination which has long exploited base instincts and crude prejudices. It's real influence (and damage many would argue) has been through politics.


The QUB Creation Society

Northern Ireland's Queen's University is, as far as we can make out, the only university in Europe that has its own creation society, unimaginatively called the QUB Creation Society. Moreover, it's a very active society, all the more surprising in that a huge proportion (maybe over half) of the staff and students in QUB are nominally Roman Catholic. It's a very sad advertisement for Queen's which is one of Britain's better universities.

Amongst the outside speakers listed for the Autumn of 2010 were Norman Nevin, Michael Behe, Robert Beckett (a leading Ulster pastor) and Ryan Patterson of the local creationist organisation Creation Outreach Ministries (see below). Nevin is the President of the Centre for Intelligent Design and Behe is on a tour of the UK promoting it. It appears that past speakers have included John Mackay who has had a long term obsession with necrophilia (I'm not making this up).

Nevin is, of course, a former academic at QUB. But, of course, he's President of the Centre for Intelligent Design which has nothing to do with creationism, no siree Bob. So precisely why has he been involved with the QUB Creation Society?

The society's executive (as listed on its Facebook Group front page) are

Nathan Anderson, President

Matthew Mills, Vice-President

Colin McManus, Treasurer

Paul McAdam, Secretary

Mark Ballantine, Events Co-ordinator

Peter Gray, Public Relations Officer

Clearly this is not a small, informal group. Moreover, it has a direct connection with Northern Ireland's local creationist operation, Creation Outreach Ministries. QUB Creation Society President Nathan Anderson sits on its committee. Anderson is also VP for Education of the QUB Students' Union. This is a sabatical position.

Anderson appears to have been one of the sixth form students involved in getting a petition up to get creationism taught in schools and universities. He has at the time (2006/7) a student at the Methodist College in Belfast. See http://www.newsletter.co.uk/Register.aspx?ReturnURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsletter.co.uk%2Fletters-to-the-editor%2FStudent-deserves-support.1440810.jp The petition appears to have been the basis of the Caleb Foundation's campaign on the issue.

It looks clear that Anderson has placed himself in a position where he will, in future, attempt to influence education in the province to allow creationism into the science classroom if not the lecture theatre. A man to be watched.

Anderson is not the only well known creationist to have come out of the Methodist College; Cecil Andrews of Take Heed Ministries also went through it.

The American atheist blogger and activist PZ Myers has had a run in with the QUB Creation Society. From what can be made out, Myers was speaking to Anderson who takes his entire science from the Answers in Genesis web site. Myers' write up of the encounter can be read at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/it_isnt_an_exclusionary_filter.php. Myers describes him as a "lying weasel".

What must be more worrying is that the Facebook site for it lists an astonishing 365 “members”. These are Facebook rather than society members and clearly include a lot of teenagers still at school. All of the “members” are clearly teenagers and people in their early 20s. It is also of no surprise that very few of the surnames are what one might expect amongst nationalists. This is clearly a very Protestant group. I must add that the vast majority of the names seem not to be participating in the Facebook discussions.


Creation Outreach Ministries

One of the features of the creationist movement is the sporadic appearance of local creation groups. They very rarely survive because they can't attract interest and, probably, because the members fall out with each other. Examples that have come and gone in Britain include the North Wales Creation Group (made a lot of noise but only consisted of two people before they fell out over treating gays see Other Creationist Organisations), Creation Link North (again see Other Creationist Organisations), The Bishop's Stortford Creation Group, the Bradford Creation Science Group, the Guernsey Biblical Creation Society and, most recently the Mumbles Creation Society (http://www.castletonchapel.co.uk/creation.html).

Northern Ireland has not been exempt from these local operations – the Causeway Creation Campaign was another of the here-today-gone-tomorrow operations.

What must be worrying to anyone with any brains is that, uniquely in the UK, Northern Ireland (which has a Protestant population an eighth the size of London) has a permanent and well connected creation society of its own. It's called Creation Outreach Ministries and its web site is at www.creationoutreachministries.com

It is openly an evangelising organisation and makes no secret of it being religious and Protestant. It was set up in 2006 but the Caleb Foundation had been bragging before that of setting up a creationist organisation for the province. COM openly brags that it is getting at children in schools. One of its founders, Phil Robinson openly claims on his bio on the COM web site that it involves “giving talks and PowerPoint presentations in churches, to youth groups and school classes.”

No wonder that leading nationalists in the province don't want to see desegregation of schools if this sort of anti-science Protestant fundamentalism is being pushed in what are supposed to be secular institutions. You can take it for granted that Protestant clergymen have an iron grip on COM.

What is really frightening about this organisation is that it is British. The entire setup, though, has all the feel of something out of the rural Deep South Bible Belt of the USA. British it may be; English it is not. It's uncompromising and assertive.

A goodly proportion of the committee are well educated, having up to and including post graduate qualifications. Two appear to have PhDs although one is in aeronautical engineering. This is unusual for local creationist groups.

COM appears hell-bent on making Northern Ireland the laughing stock of Western Europe. At the time of writing (Nov 2010) it has a petition to get creationism into the Ulster Museum. (The chief organisation that has been putting pressure on the Ulster Museum appears to be the Caleb Foundation.)

COM is also closely connected to other creationist groups. For example, Phil Robinson “worked for Creation Ministries International as a full time speaker/writer from February to August 2009, principally as the UK’s “Darwin Film Coordinator”” and now works for CMI as an unpaid volunteer. He's also a graduate of the Presbyterian Union Theological College. However, Robinson is simply not a scientist. He's a PE teacher.

The committee members of COM are :

Philip Robinson, Chairman (also of Creation Ministries International)

Stephen Gilkinson, Deputy Chairman (Agricultural Research Scientist, Masters, QUB)

John Watterson, Secretary (PhD Engineering Cambridge)

Nathan Anderson, Position Unknown (Head, QUB Creation Society)

Keith Walker, Treasurer (Ambulance driver)

Ryan Patterson, IT Coordinator (BSc University of Ulster)

Alan Campbell, Position unknown (Joiner/Cabinet Maker)

Philip Knowles, Position Unknown (Retired BT Engineer)

Richard Baxter, Position Unknown (Occupation/Qualifications Unknown)

Philip Robinson appeared on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live programme on 21st November 2010. He was in a debate about creationism; also debating were Andy McIntosh and Anne Atkins (against creationism), Dr. Jeremy Pritchard (against) and the Scottish crime writer Val McDermid (against).

Phil Robinson The corporal in charge of COM - He will shout you down.

It isn't entirely clear why the BBC invited Robinson onto the programme. He's a PE teacher from obscurity and appears to have no knowledge of evolutionary biology or geology apart from what he has gleaned from populist creationist web sites and tracts (very, very bad science, in other words). He appeared unaware, for example, of the difference between radiometric and "radioactive" dating.

Robinson resorted to shouting down one of his opponents' Val McDermid. One BCSE member described him as "a rude and arrogant robot...impenetrable to reason of any kind." Val McDermid deserves an apology.

Phillip Knowles, with his wife, runs the Creation Resources Library attached to Portadown First Presbyterian Church (see http://www.firstportadown.org/information/crl-new.php).

Gilkinson is responsible for the COM trailer which appears to be towed round to various outdoor events in the summer months and which is used to sell creationist material.

Watterson is a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, a tiny "strict" (as distinct from fundamentalist) sect. He's convenor of the church's Committee for the Instruction of the Young. Watterson is understood to work at the School of Aeronautical Engineering at Queen's University Belfast. He's an aeronautical engineering thus raising the issue of Salem's Hypothesis. (It was originally proposed by Bruce Salem who noticed that, in arguments with creationists, when the creationists claimed to have a science background, they almost always turned out to have engineering degrees.)

Past members of COM include Dr David Stephenson, a hospital doctor and Stephen Smyth employed by Northern Ireland Water Limited as a Chief Microbiologist and Laboratory Manager.

The Board of Reference also has well connected names on it. Precisely what some of them know either about creation science or real science is beyond us. None of them appear to be mainstream Anglicans or Methodists (and certainly none are Catholic). This is far from being a broad church representing Christians in general.

Reverend Dr Robert Beckett: He's pastor of the North Belfast Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He holds a PhD in animal genetics. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ireland is yet another breakaway church from the main Presbyterian Church of Ireland and is best described as "Strict" rather than fundamentalist. Reverend Robert Beckett has also branded Catholicism as an "unchristian religion…that is an offence to Jesus Christ” (see http://www.iol.ie/~pfc/sattacks/dec01aatt.html).

Robin Greer is probably the most active and prominent young earth creationist in Northern Ireland. He formerly worked for Answers in Genesis.

David McConaghie is well known to the BCSE. He's one of the founders of the fundamentalist Caleb Foundation and is a pastor in Ian Paisley's fundamentalist and creationist Free Presbyterian Church. He's also up to his neck in politics (DUP) in the province. We strongly suspect that he was a driving force behind setting up COM. Caleb is politically well connected and counts DUP politician Mervyn Storey as one of its many leaders. The Caleb Foundation is a pretty frightening organisation.

Pastor Sam McIlwrath: Another well known Protestant pastor (Elim Pentecostal), he runs the Forestside Christian Centre in South Belfast. McIlwrath has been involved in organising the visits of creationist John Mackay to Northern Ireland. However, the web site of his church appears to be silent about creationism. See http://www.amen.org.uk/cr/update/

Reverend Professor David McKay is Professor of Systematic Theology, Ethics and Apologetics at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast. This is the training college of the small Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Rev Dr Ken Patterson is believed to be the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Londonderry.

Despite some grand titles, there are a couple of members of the board of reference we are unable to find much about. These are Pastor Peter Smith (Elim Pentecostal) and one Stephen Wright.

Amongst the topics COM presents to its audiences are: How Genesis impacts on all Theology; Dinosaurs and the Bible (the mind boggles on what rubbish is presented in this); The Dangers of Evolution (presumably Catholicism); The Age of the Earth (6,000 years); Noah's Flood, the Ark and Fossils (eyes roll); What is evolution and how is it supposed to work, and, specifically aimed at children, Adam's Rib (children's creation gospel talk whatever that is).

Perhaps the saddest thing about all these creationist organisations and individuals operating in the province is that so few are standing up to them. At times it appears that the only voice against them is the BBC's Dr William Crawley (a former ordained Presbyterian minister – he describes himself as a lapsed Protestant). The churches that aren't creationists look to be sitting on the sidelines as the creationists undermine the very credibility of religion in the province – indeed the very credibility of the province.

William Crawley The only Protestant in Northern Ireland with a brain and courage? (BCSE members there excepted)

One might take the view that creationist DUP politicians are provincial backwoodsmen but they reflect the culture and society they live and work in. It's their job – they are politicians and it's why they get elected. Nevertheless, they are no advertisement for Northern Ireland. Mervyn Storey (a Free Presbyterian), who is chairman of the Northern Ireland Education Committee, appears to favour getting evolution (and therefore, presumably, any reference to the old age of the earth) entirely out of secular education in Northern Ireland (see reference at end of this article).

Mervyn Storey DUP politician and young earth creationist with responsibility for education

According to Storey’s bio on the web site of the Northern Ireland Assembly and that of the DUP, he appears to have not received any formal full time education beyond secondary school level (leaving at 16). He's scientifically illiterate. He's also vice chairman of the Caleb Foundation.

There's a big creationist mafia at work in the province and it's not going away.


Standing up to the Creationists

Perhaps one of the more astonishing events in the last couple of years was the reaction by Northern Irish creationists again a BBC TV programme, Blueprint, on the geological and natural history of Northern Ireland. The programme was first transmitted in 2008. It took a scientific rather than a creationist viewpoint. The three part programme was fronted by William Crawley (who isn't a scientist).

Crawley has some very serious theological qualifications – not for him unearned PhDs from the Bob Jones University or the European Theological Seminary (£500 each or two for £750) which seem so socially acceptable in the province. His PhD is from an Ivy league university, Princeton. Crawley has no truck with young earth creationists which, perhaps, partly accounts for the staggering reactions against the programme by YECers in the province.

Then Stormont Culture Minister Edwin Poots (DUP), openly a young earth creationist (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/12/are_religious_politicians_nutt.html and http://www.edwinpoots.co.uk/biography.html) apparently asked the BBC just before transmission of the first programme why creationists across Northern Ireland were about to have their religious views trampled over.

Edwin Poots Edwin Poots MLA, former culture minister and creationist

Poots himself has no theological training and not even a degree in science.

I'm not making it up when I say that Edwin Poots objects to the use of semi-colons because they are lewd. (This is Northern Ireland we are talking about.)

According to Wikipedia "He is a member of the Calvinist Congregation of Lisburn, a strict sect of Presbyterianism distinguished by its insistence on the orthographic purity of scripture. Scriptural passages reproduced in print by the Congregation may not include certain forms of punctuation, notably the semi-colon, that it regards as lewd in appearance and disruptive to the immediacy of the divine word."

Poots is not the only one complaining – the BBC was subject to an organised systematic barrage of complaints using, amongst other things, standardised letters demanding that the BBC produce an equivalent creationist programme. It also apparently received a solicitor's letter threatening an injunction and was concerned that its Northern Ireland broadcasting centre would be picked on the day of first transmission (it wasn't). It also appears that the creationists asked for costs of the programming and details of how much Crawley was paid, using the Freedom of Information Act. The BBC's lawyers told them (in no uncertain terms) to go take a running jump in the off the Giant's Causeway (see http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/decisionnotices/2009/fs_50202422.pdf).

Here looks to be a pretty bog standard whine from a creationist who blogs under the acronym PTL: “I usually blog on the Will and Testament site [William Crawley's blog], because I like to take on the devil in his own back yard, but I see you are debating the evolution of the world here. There is no scientific evidence either for evolution or for the claim that the world is millions of years old. William Crawley has been pushing this ridiculous pseudo-science for a long time, but those of us who believe in creation are taking a stand. We have written letters of complaint to the BBC and there will be more. The BBC has no right to use my license fee to defend atheism. They refuse to tell us how much money was spent on this programme, but we can assume that hundreds of thousands of pounds have been wasted making a case for Darwin. When will they make a case for Moses?”(PTL is possibly the acronym of Praise The Lord.)

The posting appeared on the excellent Slugger O'Toole blog in April 2008. It goes without saying that the programme had nothing to do with atheism. Sadly the letter reflects one of the less obvious sides of Northern Ireland life. The hard-liners are obsessed that any gain by their opponents must be a loss to them. It's the “not an inch, no surrender” mentality again. There's no mention of what others might believe or whether the programme was entertaining, popular or well appreciated by the viewer. Just the sheer utter small minded meanness that someone may be slightly getting the “upper hand”. Not even an inkling of generosity or open mindedness. This was an exercise in bully boy tactics from ministerial level downwards.

He wasn't the only one whinging in public. CMI's Philip Bell (who thinks dinosaurs roamed Northwest England in the 15th Century) whinges at http://creation.com/once-upon-a-time-in-northern-ireland. Northern Ireland is fertile grounds for the likes of Bell and the pals he fell out with at Answers in Genesis.

Blueprint stated that the island of Ireland “was once split in two and that both halves of the island were on separate continents". Rather surprisingly no one claimed after it was broadcast that this is still more or less true.


Consequences for Northern Ireland

I'll stab at an economic forecast and suggest that the next wave of innovation in the world's economies is going to centre on genetics - just as the last one centred on electronics - and healthcare. It's probably unrealistic to expect, today, that anywhere in the UK is going to prosper off of further growth in the electronics sector (it's a declining business in terms of employment in the communications sector, for example). There is a very good case that the current economic doldrums in Europe and North America are a result of the electronics revolution having run its course about 10 years ago.

Northern Ireland, though, has a serious credibility problem when it comes to science. The next generation of growth inducing economic activities are going to be run exclusively by people with degrees and post-graduate qualifications. Nobody is going to invest in such activities in Northern Ireland when the boneheaded politicians running the largest party lack basic qualifications like degrees, where two thirds of Protestants (and half of all students) who go to university do so outside of the province and never come back, where young people believe evolutionary biology and geology to be rubbish, where "scientific knowledge" comes from tin pot creationist web sites, pastors with degrees from the European Theological Seminary and trailers hauled around dodgy Orange Order parades.

Entrepreneurs, business managers and graduates are not going to either work in or move to a province were probably its best known two top scientists are creationists and where its top university has the only student creationist society in Europe. Nobody with any brains is listening to the idiotic sectarianists claiming that Catholic are not Christians because they accept evolution. It's a massive, massive turn off.

As it stands, the Northern Irish economy is a basketplace, grossly over-dependent on public service jobs and tax subsidies from Westminster. "Entrepreeurship" in the province all too often consists of running corrupt, criminal rackets.

Slab Murphy Even Ulster's most famous entrepreneur; prefers to invest in Manchester.

The issue is not about getting jobs into East or West Belfast or boneheaded nonentities on either side of the divide turning back to violence. Northern Ireland's problem with creationism is about "top" people running the show. It's backward and wants to tell the world it's backward.

All of Ireland is a very attractive place for tourists of the more discerning type. Do the creationist knuckle draggers really think such tourists will flock to Northern Ireland when its museums and other tourist attractions are pushing young earth creationism? For years tourists rightly avoided the province - who wants a welcome than consists of a grimace and a gun? The welcome of the creationists if they get own way? - grim hard line bigoted ignorant fundamentalism.

Lisburn is a pretty prosperous leafy sort of place, exactly where many people in the province would like to live and work. How on earth does it ever expect to attract the next generation of businesses based on genetics (and well qualified employees) when there are creationist clowns running its city council? The Dublin government and the IDA must be right chuffed at this idiotic ability to shoot one's self in the head.

One upon a time PIRA and the Shinners thought it a very good idea to wreck the Northern Irish economy. They don't have to bother any more, The creationists will do it for them, all for free. And send business people and graduates scurrying down south on the first available train.

Darn decent lot, those creationists. They'll do anything to help their neighbours. The next thing you know they'll all be joining the AOH.


Britain's only creationist geologist.

Many creations swear blind that they have numerous scientists on their side. Not in Britain they don't. In the key areas fo evolutionary biology and geology there are no practising scientists who are either young earth creationists or Intelligent Design advocates. The only geologist in Britain we can find who is a creationist, lives and works in Northern Ireland. However, he's not really a scientist but an assistant manager at a roadstone quarry.

He is Angus Kennedy, employed by Maxwell Quarries. When "Earth Science Ireland" (http://www.habitas.org.uk/es2k/) carried articles critical of the Causeway creationists in issue 3 he popped up in the next issue whining about the "anti Christian" tone and saying that "the geological facts fit the young-earth creation model best". He also appears on creationist websites.

You can find Kennedy's "complaints" detailed at http://creation.com/earth-science-ireland-chastised-over-anti-christian-anti-creationist-attitude. It is basically bog standard, badly argued, creationist boilerplate. Verbose hot air, in essence. It isn't even remotely a scientific argument.

In essence, Kennedy seems to think that his creationist views should not be criticised and anyone who does is being "anti-Christian". That's just bogus rhetoric - the martyrdom complex at work again. Most Christians accept mainstream science and such people are often the most severe critics of creationism, as Kennedy is well aware from living in Northern Ireland where some half of Christians are members of a denomination that has wholly rejected creationism and Intelligent Design.

If Kennedy has a case, then it has nothing to do with religion. It can be presented as a scientific theory that can be tested by the scientific method. after all the creationists in the USA have been telling the courts for years that creationism has nothing to do with religion (or were they lying under oath?). Instead Kennedy tells everyone what his religious opinions are - and how wrong everyone else's are, repeatedly.

You can see his views discussed on the BCSE community forum at http://www.forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2256&p=20314&hilit=garner#p20314


Other references:

The Growing Visibility of Creationism in Northern Ireland: Are New Science Teachers Equipped to Deal with the Issues? Conor McCrory & Colette Murphy Published online: 24 June 2009 Evolution: Education and Outreach, Volume 2, Number 3, 372-385, DOI: 10.1007/s12052-009-0141-4 # Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009 See http://www.springerlink.com/content/j4x3h0n022576644/fulltext.pdf

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