Creationism and the future of fundamentalism

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AIMING UPEdwin Poots has announced his intention to stand as a potential successor to current DUP chief and Prime Minister Arlene Foster, who will be stepping down from both posts soon.Photo : Twitter / @ edwinpootsMLA

On the edge
ine ryan

During this decade of centenarians, isn’t it difficult to understand how six counties of our beautiful island are still swallowed up by sectarian division? Ironically, the last battle lines to be drawn lie within the Democratic Unionist Party: a party whose tribalism has ensured the persistence of extremist views. (Sadly, these views are most often expressed in the most disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland, such as nationalist and Republican extremism.)
This is now compounded by the potential rise of Northern Assembly Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, an outspoken creationist. He ran for election as head of the DUP in the aftermath of the uprising against Arlene Foster.
Even though On the Edge graduated from this great stronghold of Irish Catholicism, now called NUI Maynooth, the idea of ​​believing the world was created on a Sunday 4,000 years ago is too far an imaginary bridge. That is to say, notwithstanding the fact that my degree in philosophy introduced me to Aristotle’s theory of a “motionless first motor”. Unfortunately, the rather seductive notion of a benevolent grandfather with a big beard sitting on a fluffy cumulonimbus cloud no longer cuts the mustard with this aging agnostic.
Of course, no more than here in the south, Northern Ireland is structured around democratic principles and claims to be a pluralistic society. Unfortunately, the deep division caused by plantations and partition fostered fundamentalist tendencies that permeate many aspects of its culture, blurring the lines of its political and religious discourse.
Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole described it succinctly last week in his article “The Earth Calls Edwin Poots – We Have a Problem”: “As a believer, Edwin Poots has a right to his own. faith. As the future prime minister of Northern Ireland, he is not entitled to his own facts. “
O’Toole was referring to a BBC radio interview in 2007, when William Crawley (Sunday Sequence) asked Poots, “How old is the earth?” My point of view is 4000 BC.
So if that’s the case, it all started around the beginning of the period when these famous early farmers were about to cultivate the fields around Belderrig in northwest Mayo. Or, indeed, when the King of Corn was ritually sacrificed alongside Croagh Patrick (then called Cruachán Eagle) in thanks for the panoply of deities for that year’s harvest.
Using a very simple example in his article to illustrate the core tenets of Poots beliefs, Fintan O’Toole writes: “On a bend in the Shannon in County Limerick there is a cemetery with three graves. One of them was dated by radiocarbon analysis to 7530-7320 BC. another around 7090-7030 BC. the third around 6610-6370 BC.
However, he argues, if you are Mr. Poots, the scientifically proven radiocarbon dating above is fake news, an “elaborate hoax.”

Democratic speech
Frankly, it’s all too easy to caricature and ridicule bizarre beliefs. Much of our national media narrative these days is post-religious and more often than not smugly pokes fun at this type of believer.
However, as O’Toole rightly argues: “This is not about intolerance of religious beliefs. It is about the need to recognize that the discourse in a democracy must be based on rationality and respect for evidence. “
Even the late Reverend Ian Paisley – a hero of Mr. Poots – realized, after years of spitting hellfire and brimstone, that a sparkle of progressive and pragmatic policies was needed to create a future. sustainable for the people of Northern Ireland. Why else did he take this leap of faith with his former enemy, the late Deputy Prime Minister of Sinn Féin, Martin McGuinness? In the end, the unlikely union of the Chuckle Brothers gave us all some hope.
With the ongoing fallout from Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol, now is certainly not the time to reflect on regression.


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