NORTHERN Ireland’s Culture Minister has called on the local Ulster Museum to put on exhibits reflecting the view that the world was made by God only several thousand years ago.
Nelson McCausland, a born-again Christian who believes that Ulster Protestants are one of the lost tribes of Israel, has written to the museum’s board of trustees urging them to reflect creationist and intelligent design theories of the universe’s origins.
The minister, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party, said the inclusion of anti-Darwinian theories in the museum was ”a human rights issue”.
Mr McCausland defended a letter he wrote to the trustees calling for anti-evolution exhibitions at the museum. He claimed around one-third of Northern Ireland’s population believed either in intelligent design or that the universe was created about 6000 years ago.
Mr McCausland denied he was trying to dictate the content of material on the origins of life to the Ulster Museum, saying he was merely calling for the museum to reflect the diversity of views on how the universe was created within the province.
His call was condemned by evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins. ”If the museum was to go down that road then perhaps they should bring in the stork theory of where babies come from. Or perhaps the museum should introduce the flat Earth theory.”
Mr McCausland’s party colleague and member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Antrim, Mervyn Storey, has been at the forefront of a campaign to force museums in Northern Ireland to promote anti-Darwinian theories.
Mr Storey, who has chaired the Northern Ireland Assembly’s education committee, believes in the theory that the world was created several thousand years ago, even though the most famous attraction in his constituency – the Giant’s Causeway – is, according to geological evidence, millions of years old.
Last year Mr Storey objected to notices at the causeway stating that the rock formation was about 550 million years old.
The belief that the Earth was divinely created in 4004 BC originates with the writings of another Ulster-based Protestant, Archbishop of Armagh James Ussher, in 1654.