Friday, 28 May 2010

More comment from Northern Ireland

From here;

It's not hard to imagine the jaws dropping onto desktops when the letter arrived from Culture Minister Nelson McCausland asking museum heads to pay a bit more attention to matters of vital concern to him like the Ulster Scots heritage, the Orange Order and the origin of the universe.
On reflection, museum managers might have considered a range of options short of telling him to get stuffed.
Mr McCausland's view is that a museum should reflect the culture and beliefs of the community it serves. In seeking to refute this, the museums might seek to actively explain the world to a community with reference to the gaps in the understanding of even its leading cultural funders.
In short, if Mr McCausland wants the museum to offer discussion of intelligent design theory, let them do it. There are a lot of people among us who believe that religion can still hold out against scientific discovery. They would have been on the side of the Pope against Gallileo and they still think they can refute Darwin.
They want to retain the conviction within scientific institutions like universities and museums that God created the world in seven days. Well, let them try.
The first comfort for museum heads is that intelligent design theory is already a concession to science. It is a relaxation of the demand by religious creationists that the Book of Genesis be taken as a sufficient account of the emergence of the universe, life and consciousness.
The court cases in the United States, around the demand for the teaching of intelligent design, were attempts by religious fundamentalists to argue science with scientists, conceding, in effect, that there was no point in trying to impress them with scripture.
. . .

The usual experience of religion in the contest with science is that literal interpretation of scripture loses every encounter. Then those who continue to insist that religion retains lost ground begin to sound more desperate and absurd in the secular world.

. . .

I suspect he would want to see models of humans hunting dinosaurs, but it is easy to deny him myths for which there are no evidence.
But just because we have a crank for a culture minister doesn't mean that the unexplained universe shouldn't enthrall us.
And some smarty-pants in the museum is bound to agree that a serious discussion of intelligent design theory would tick the right box to get Nelson off his back.

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