A range of statements and other media comment in relation to the current creationist v evolutionist debate.
NOT ALL SCIENTISTS HOLD OLD EARTH VIEW -Wallace Thompson, letter, News Letter, 20 July 2012
In his column (July 16) Alex Kane turned his attention to the recently revived creation verses evolution debate. Although he was every bit as readable as ever and we welcome the fact that there is now an ongoing debate around the issues, Alex's assessment fell short in a number of key areas.
It was fairly obvious that fundamental to his overall approach was the influence of his own openly-avowed atheism on his contribution to the discussion. Indeed, he appeared to allow this atheistic predisposition to shape his stance on the scientific data.
It is unfortunate that he failed to take into account the scientists who dissent from the majority position on the age of the earth and origins of life. The fact is that across the scientific disciplines today - in areas such as geology, palaeontology, physics, genetics, biology, astronomy, biochemistry, geophysics, microbiology, chemistry, nuclear physics, botany, astrophysics and anatomy - there are scientists who hold to a young earth view. There are also examples of scientists who abandoned the old earth view on the basis of the evidence and only subsequently became Christians.
That reality might be uncomfortable for some and unwelcome to others. Perhaps some people would want to dismiss it or wish it away. More worryingly, there are those who want to conceal it from the general public and only allow the public access to those scientists whose stance is in broad agreement with their position.
Alex, sadly, gave every indication of being one of those people. It is very unfortunate that he seems to want to categorise scientific evidence - and endeavour that dissents from the prevailing position - as being tainted by faith and hence unreliable. He, very unfairly, placed the Caleb Foundation on the same level as those who, over the years, have sought to use the Bible to prevent or obstruct public discussion on, or dissemination of, important scientific facts such as the shape of the earth and earth's orbit around the sun etc. Is it not ironic, therefore, that it is people like Alex who seem so opposed to more scientific information being made available to the public?
If there is a modern day inquisition comparable to that which opposed Galileo, it is to be found among those who would deny the public access to the full breadth of scientists and scientific opinion on this issue.
That is why the Caleb Foundation has campaigned, and will continue to campaign, for all the evidence to be made available to the public who then can debate the issues and come to their own informed conclusions.
CREATIONISTS MUST BE LISTENED TO - Wallace Thompson, letter, Belfast Telegraph, 12 July 2012
In her column (Life, July 9), Nuala McKeever said, of those who hold to a younger earth model, that "some views just don't deserve parity of esteem". She also described us as "loony".
CALEB FOUNDATION WELCOMES NEW VISITOR CENTRE - 3 July 2012
Northern Ireland evangelical umbrella group, the Caleb Foundation, has welcomed the opening of the new Causeway Visitor Centre. Speaking on behalf of Caleb, its Chairman, Wallace Thompson, said:
"Caleb congratulates the National Trust on the opening of its brand new state-of-the-art Visitor Centre at the Giant's Causeway.
As an umbrella organisation which represents the interests of mainstream evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland,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. We are pleased that the National Trust worked positively with us and that this has now been included at the new Visitor Centre.
We fully accept the Trust's commitment to its position on how the Causeway was formed, but this new centre both respects and acknowledges an alternative viewpoint and the continuing debate, and that means it will be a welcoming and enriching experience for all who visit.
This is, as far as we are aware, a first for the National Trust anywhere in theUK, and it sets a precedent for others to follow. We feel that it is important that the centre, which has been largely funded out of the public purse, should be inclusive and representative of the whole community, and we have therefore been engaged in detailed and constructive discussions with the Trust in order to secure the outcome we have today.
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."