My Visit to the Grand Canyon

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This is a report of my trip to Grand Canyon on May 4, where I assisted NCSE‘s Eugenie Scott in her investigation of sightings of a creationist book in Grand Canyon bookstores. First, though, I gave Dr. Scott advice on her powerpoint talk to interpreters. She had been invited to address them during their annual training session before the Grand Canyon National Park gears up for the summer season.

She spoke about the history and current status of the creationist movement and gave the rangers some ideas about how they might handle antievolutionism from park visitors. Some of their questions were about a book by a young earth creationist, Tom Vail, that the Grand Canyon Association (a private organization that raises money for Grand Canyon National Park) sells at its bookstore.

When the talk was over, we checked out the bookstores run by GCA, and sure enough, we found the book in three of them. The book is called ‘Grand Canyon: A Different View’. It sure is.

After speed reading the book (a skill I was forced to learn at the University of Ediacara – otherwise I’d never be able to keep up with the huge amount of ID literature, however repetitious) I can see why the rangers didn’t like it. Vail claims that there are scientific data to support the creation science view that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, and that the Canyon was formed from the sediments from Noah’s Flood. It also argues that the Canyon was cut over a short period of time. Really wacky stuff – and definitely not the scientific view that the Park interpreters are trained to tell the visitors. It’s too bad that the Park Service allows the work of its interpreters to be undercut by unscientific literature sold in its own park.

We then got a quick tour of the overlooks on the South Rim – Grand Canyon is fantastic! You won’t believe the view unless you see it yourself.

Our ranger guide showed me a really cool fossil, but I don’t remember what it is. Maybe one of the PT readers can identify it for me.

I’m hoping that this summer Genie (I call her Genie now, after helping her with her talk) will let me join NCSE’s ‘creation and evolution’ tour of Grand Canyon. I understand that she gives the creationist view and Dr. Alan Gishlick – NCSE’s ‘Gish’ – gives the evolutionist view, and the rafters can decide for themselves which view is correct. I told her that now that I’ve read Tom Vail’s book, I could help her give the creationist point of view. I am, after all, an expert in creatoinformatics and all other forms of creationism. With luck, I’ll post from down inside Grand Canyon in late July.

51 Comments

Our national park system, supported by our tax dollars, has been BUSHwhacked!

I should also be considered an ID expert, because no one has published more ID Theory in the peer-reviewed science journals than me.

Perhaps a warning label (required) on a book such as this:

Warning: The contents herin are not scientific fact. Purely conjecture on the author’s part.

Before anyone says that we should be smarter than this, I ask you to look no further than Kansas and Dover.

Isn’t there a creationist theory that Noah’s ark actually cut the Grand Canyon, while going down the Colorado?

“Our ranger guide showed me a really cool fossil, but I don’t remember what it is. Maybe one of the PT readers can identify it for me.”

it’s a brachiopod.

:)

I certainly hope that Mr. Vail gives equal time to the hypothesis that the canyon was formed by the head of Paul Bunyan’s axe dragging along the ground.

It’s important to teach the controversy, you know.

I firmly believe that *I* made the Grand Canyon. So they damn well better teach that, too.

Arden Chatfield said:

“I firmly believe that *I* made the Grand Canyon. So they damn well better teach that, too.”

I firmly believe that you are telling the truth. After all, an insane person would not be able to post such a thing (working a computer is hard) and no liar would make up such an unbelievable claim. Since Arden is not a liar or insane this must be true.

Let the truth be revealed! Don’t let those closed minded scientists and theologians repress the truth.

Hey! If Arden is the alter ego of Paul Bunyan then two different sources confirm the theory.

Comment #31681

Posted by Arden Chatfield on May 23, 2005 12:24 PM (e) (s)

Isn’t there a creationist theory that Noah’s ark actually cut the Grand Canyon, while going down the Colorado?

Yeah, if Noah’s Ark was doing mach 48. ;-)

I wouldn’t doubt it. It’s no more unreasonable that what Wagner, FL, Cordova, Heddle, etc, say.

The fossil is a broken open productid brachiopod. They are rather common is some of the Carboniferous and Permian formations near the top rim. Back in the mid-1980’s I went on an interpretive “fossil walk” at the Grand Canyon led by a very young Park Service interpreter. She was telling people that crinoids were plants. I took her aside and did my best to explain their being echinoderms. I’m not sure I was understood. Hopefully today’s interpreters do a better job.

“crinoids were plants”

yeah, i see lots of people confusing that because the common name of “sea lilies” is often used.

As an AZ resident I’m sorry to have missed the opportunity of meeting Prof. Steve Steve. I hope your infusion of Panda Power (you should trade mark that) was useful. Was there any discussion about how the creationists explain away the aging string of volcano’s south of the Grand Canyon or that big hole in the ground SE of the canyon? Ooops didn’t mean to bring up science.

It’s not just the volcanoes and the “hole in the ground”: Have you ever seen creationists get flustered when you point out that the ground slopes the wrong way for flood waters to have carved the Grand Canyon? A river runs through it, sure – but the river flows opposite the slope of the Colorado Plateau at that point. Had we relied on a flood to carve the thing, no canyon. If no canyon, no Hoover Dam. No Hoover Dam, no Las Vegas. No Las Vegas, no Wayne Newton.

Creationism can’t explain Wayne Newton, but science can. That’s informative power for you!

now THAT is an example that should be included in a textbook.

lol.

“crinoids were plants”

yeah, i see lots of people confusing that because the common name of “sea lilies” is often used.

That and they look like plants to the average Joe. And then there is the term “crinoid stem”.

———

Last November I found copies of the Vail book in the main visitor’s center bookstore, the in-park grocery store, and one other store: the one near the the Bright Angel trail if memory serves. Given just how many places there are in the Grand Canyon that sell books that is likely an underestimate. Store across the street from the National Geographic IMAX theater also has the book though since that store was not connected with the government that does not have any First Amendment issues.

– Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

>> Isn’t there a creationist theory that Noah’s ark actually cut the Grand Canyon, while going down the Colorado? > Yeah, if Noah’s Ark was doing mach 48. ;-)

Come now. Everyone knows the Ark had warp drive capability.

When the talk was over, we checked out the bookstores run by GCA, and sure enough, we found the book in three of them.

Which section was it in? They were supposed to have been taking it out of the science sections of the bookstores, I thought, and putting with the inspirational or gift books or something.

Not to mention that a world-wide flood wouldn’t carve one isolated canyon. It’s effects would, instead, be, shall we say - world wide? That’s why mention of one particular canyon in this context has never made any sense to me.

Henry

That’s why mention of one particular canyon in this context has never made any sense to me.

Several reasonable explanations spring to mind. For instance, it could be the only canyon creationists have ever heard of. Alternatively, the Grand Canyon’s overwhelming display of Deep Time may seem a threat to be neutralized. Then again, since the flood was magical, one would naturally expect its results to be equally miraculous. Finally, all of these may be true at the same time!

Hey Steve Steve,

Did Eugenie talk about the progess in the spurious liable suit filed against her?

Several reasonable explanations spring to mind. For instance, it could be the only canyon creationists have ever heard of. Alternatively, the Grand Canyon’s overwhelming display of Deep Time may seem a threat to be neutralized. Then again, since the flood was magical, one would naturally expect its results to be equally miraculous. Finally, all of these may be true at the same time!

Yes, but there’s always that “Don’t show your lack of faith” injunction at the back of it. We often are amazed at the credulity of the “faithful”, yet it’s really the old Monty Python sketch of people living in incredibly cheap flats that were erected by conjuring and held up by the beliefs of the residents. One doubt expressed, and the whole edifice is screeching toward the ground. Then the doubter says, “well, no, of course it’s all real” (something like that). I do think that Python were playing off of religion plus the whole gooey sixties phenomenon of being “open” to Uri Geller and whichever other frauds were running around at the time.

As a “believer” you just don’t express doubts, not even to yourself if you can help it. You hope for a neutralization of every threat. You certainly don’t go looking for problems, since that’s what doubters and atheist scientists do. The whole aim is to keep one’s belief system whole and to tear apart the untruths which threaten it, and you already know (perhaps with a some repressed doubts) that there will always be answers to any other doubts raised by the faithless.

And I’m not writing this to attack them. I thoroughly disliked Humburg’s article and said so on Talkorigins, because I think that its identification of “fear” was only shallow and did not deal with the injunctions against doubt, the wishes for the religious system to guarantee an eternal life with one’s friends and family, and a whole host of other factors related to fear and to other drives and instincts. I do believe, though, that the biggest problem even in getting across the skeptical scientific method to at least the fundamentalists is that they “know better” than to even entertain doubt that the latest YEC or ID apology for any problem at all is in fact true, or at least done with the “proper” desire to support truth. The typical IDist and creationist doesn’t think about any problem that hasn’t been brought up, and few actually think about the ones that have been thrust in their faces (most try to find a way around it at best).

Again, this is not to attack them. I’m far too philosophical to think that they believe “Lies” while we believe “Truth”, and in one sense I don’t mind if they maintain their worldview as they do. It’s when they try to enshrine it in the schools and the next generation at large that I wish to point out how really opposite of the scientific method they really are at any point where they believe they are supposed to have “faith”.

Steve Steve is away on another trip so he doesn’t have time to answer, but of the three Grand Canyon Association bookstores in which we saw the Vail book, only one was large enough to have the books compartmentalized into sections. Thus in only one store was Vail’s book in the “inspirational” section.

Indeed,there are plenty of places to buy the book in the GCNP area – there is no shortage of bookstores and gift shops both within and right outside of the park. No one is saying the book should not be sold anywhere, but selling the book in Grand Canyon Association bookstores, which have an association with the Park Service (though they are not government themselve, but a private nonprofit) is ill-advised.

Wes and I had a pool on how long it would take for PT readers to identify the fossils. 2 1/2 hours. You guys rock!

When I was living in Arizona, I met a man named Munroe who seriously believed that God carved the Grand Canyon with a “Martian laser crystal” that had since been broken into several pieces and scattered about Earth. He also thought I was an angel sent to monitor him as he searched for these pieces. He was a very scary man, had a glass eye, and he held a pencil Bob Dole-style. But his sister and her husband also believed the story, so that’s three people… obviously the Martian Laser Crystal theory must have some merit.

(My anecdote really happened… make what you want of his…)

Is Wayne Newton proof of Intelligent Design?

“Several reasonable explanations spring to mind. For instance, it could be the only canyon creationists have ever heard of. Alternatively, the Grand Canyon’s overwhelming display of Deep Time may seem a threat to be neutralized. Then again, since the flood was magical, one would naturally expect its results to be equally miraculous. Finally, all of these may be true at the same time!”

i think the first reason is closest. I suspect the basic reason is that the Grand Canyon is the most important canyon in America, and thus the only important canyon for creationism to account for. These are very provincial people we’re talking about here. People who basically think that God is American and looks just like them.

But what I’m curious about is, if Noah’s ark was available to slice a hole in the ground clear on the other side of the earth from Mount Ararat, was it actually responsible for carving *every* other big hole in the ground? Did it hack out Olduvai Gorge? Cheddar Gorge in England? What about undersea stuff like the Marianas trench?

“Noah’s Ark- It’s Everywhere YOU Want To Be!”

“Is Wayne Newton proof of Intelligent Design?”

I think Wayne Newton is proof that if there is a God, he has very very strange sense of humor indeed.

A Creationary Epiphany!

I went fishing last weekend. I wore chest-high waders for nearly 5 hours. By the time I got out of them, my bladder was about to suffer catastrophic failure. After determining that I was out of public view, I spent about 90 seconds in one of the more enjoyable micturation events of my life.

Now the bit of the Earth’s surface which received this human-scale flood was a sloping, sandy bank. After applying the voluminous stream to a confined locale for several seconds, I noticed that a pit was formed in the sand, from which a newly-created flow proceeded down-slope. As it did so, a steadily deepening, sinuous channel was formed.

It seemed clear that had this experiment continued, the resultant channel would have continued to deepen and lengthen. But alas, the requisite fluid was soon exhausted.

Now consider: –Humans are created in God’s image, which we know must be LITERALLY true, –therefore God must have human organs and appendages and metabolic processes (otherwise “in His image” would not be literally true), –and (here is my only major assumption, but I can provide biblical justification for it) God is REALLY BIG, –so when He goes, He really GOES!

It don’t take no perfesser to put 2 + 2 together and see the obvious! God is far beyond human scale. Therefore everything He does is way bigger and more powerful than what we puny people could manage. A worldwide flood is obviously ridiculous for carving a Grand Canyon: where was all that water supposed to be going in such a hurry that it carved the greatest canyon on Earth? And why aren’t there others if the flood was worldwide? If any atheist still refuses to admit the Truth, I have only one thing to say: Valles Marineris.

“I think Wayne Newton is proof that if there is a God, he has very very strange sense of humor indeed.”

I don’t know about Wayne Newton, I hear that He has an inordinate fondness for the Beatles.

I just looked up the ncseweb page on Grand Canyon: A Different View, and I notice that it mentions a Steve Austin as one of the coauthors. Would this be the Six Million Dollar Man, or Stone Cold Steve Austin of the WWF?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Bill

“Wes and I had a pool on how long it would take for PT readers to identify the fossils. 2 1/2 hours. You guys rock!”

*bows*

so did you win the pool?

“But what I’m curious about is, if Noah’s ark was available to slice a hole in the ground clear on the other side of the earth from Mount Ararat, was it actually responsible for carving *every* other big hole in the ground? Did it hack out Olduvai Gorge? Cheddar Gorge in England? What about undersea stuff like the Marianas trench? “

of course it was! it was even on Mars so it could carve out the Valles Marineris.

“But what I’m curious about is, if Noah’s ark was available to slice a hole in the ground clear on the other side of the earth from Mount Ararat, was it actually responsible for carving *every* other big hole in the ground? Did it hack out Olduvai Gorge? Cheddar Gorge in England? What about undersea stuff like the Marianas trench? “

of course it was! it was even on Mars so it could carve out the Valles Marineris.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

“But what I’m curious about is, if Noah’s ark was available to slice a hole in the ground clear on the other side of the earth from Mount Ararat, was it actually responsible for carving *every* other big hole in the ground? Did it hack out Olduvai Gorge? Cheddar Gorge in England? What about undersea stuff like the Marianas trench? “

Nah, them don’t matter…Them’re foreign. God only carved out stuff in the good ole’ US of A - y’know, the Promised Land.

of course it was!  it was even on Mars so it could carve out the Valles Marineris.

Excellent point! How do young-earth creationists explain the canyons on Mars? Did the Flood extend out there as well, as STJ asserts? Or did they have their own flood, with some local guy piloting the boat? Are there young-Mars creationists??

And how would the Marianas Trench be explained? I assume that by definition there wouldn’t have been water in the MT until the flood, but after the flood, it would have been, well, at the bottom of the ocean. So would the ark have cut the MT in like the first half hour or so, before it had too much water in it?

A Creationary Epiphany!

I went fishing last weekend. I wore chest-high waders for nearly 5 hours. By the time I got out of them, my bladder was about to suffer catastrophic failure. After determining that I was out of public view, I spent about 90 seconds in one of the more enjoyable micturation events of my life.

Now the bit of the Earth’s surface which received this human-scale flood was a sloping, sandy bank. After applying the voluminous stream to a confined locale for several seconds, I noticed that a pit was formed in the sand, from which a newly-created flow proceeded down-slope. As it did so, a steadily deepening, sinuous channel was formed.

Bob you make perfect sense.

However, I’m really worried. There has not been a sponataneously created grand canyon on earth for quite some time now. When do you think God’s 5 hours is up and where is his next “sandy bank”?

More importantly, where and when will he be going for some peace and quiet to read his newspaper?

I just looked up the ncseweb page on Grand Canyon: A Different View, and I notice that it mentions a Steve Austin as one of the coauthors.

Some folks may find this bit about Austin, from my ‘Creation “Science” Debunked’ website interesting:

In the January 1996 issue of Acts and Facts, the ICR’s monthly newsletter, the following small article appeared:

“TULSA ZOO REMOVES EVOLUTION EXHIBIT”

Tulsa architect Dan Hicks, supported by a petition signed by 2000 area residents, plus a scientifically conducted poll showing that over 2/3 of the city’s population believed the zoo should not promote evolution, was able recently to persuade city officials to remove exhibits depicting horse evolution and human evolution from display at the zoo. Hicks and his co-workers credited the influence of ICR materials with playing a significant part in this action and also suggested that citizens in other communities could undertake similar projects.”

However, when I wrote to the Tulsa Zoo to ask about this, I found that things were not at all as the ICR was attempting to paint them. A copy of a memo dated January 8, 1996, was sent to me. It reads:

“RECOLLECTION FROM THE 1995 ORIGINS ENCOUNTER:

Early in 1995, a private citizen (and member of Tulsa Zoo Friends) by the name of Dan Hicks approached the Zoo staff with requests that some Zoo signage be modified. He stated that he was offended by some text, and confounded by that fact that said text contradicted beliefs that he had instilled in his child at home. He specified (a) graphic reference to a common ancestor for chimps and man; (b) ‘straight-line evolution’ as represented by Equus models in one of our displays; (c) another display’s reference to the age of the Cosmos. He offered to replace some of the signage at his own expense, as well to provide a ‘disclaimer’ attesting to the ‘non-factual’ nature of evolutionary ‘theories’. He was thanked for his interest and input, assured that some thought woul dbe given to his comments about horse evolution, and told that his offer to provide new signage at his own expense would not be necessary.

During the next six months, Dan frequently wrote to me and others with the same basic requests. He appealed to ZooFriends’ Executive Director and President, the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, the Chairman of the Park Board, City Council persons, and the Mayor of Tulsa. Many letters of protest were received from private citizens; most of these were based on a form letter, and many seemed to be affiliated with fundamentalist churches in our area. Letters were written to the editors of local newspapers as well. Petitions were submitted with up to 2,000 signatures; to my knoweldge, these were not prepared or conducted by an independent agency. Our City’s population is about 380,000; the metropolitan area is 745,000, and I am unaware of a ‘scientifically conducted poll’ representing two-thirds of either population number.

In September, City and PArk officials met with Dan Hicks and his associate to discuss their concerns. Although we did not feel it was appropriate to honor all of his requests, we did agree to the following: (a) to place a sign at the Zoo’s entry which states, ‘There are many views on the origin of biological species and their behaviors. The information that accompanies our displays is based on compelling evidence of the natural sciences. Because scientific knowledge is subject to change, these displays may be revised as new informatin becomes available.’ (b) to reword one line of signage from our chimp exhibit from ‘Scientific blood tests show that chimpanzees are man’s closest biological relative, branching off from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago’ to ‘Scientific blood tests, including DNA analysis, show a biological similarity between chimps and people’. (c) to modify the exhibit on Equus ancestry to more completely reflect current sicentiifc thought, using the writings of Dr. Bruce McFadden.

Although Mr Hicks volunteered to work with us on copy for the latter modification, we declined his offer. The general tone of our meeting expressed a need for sensitivity to the beliefs of different groups, but confirmed that established scientific principles could not be ignored or watered-down.”

David G. Zucconi, Director

Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum

In a personal note to me, Director Zucconi says:

“Lenny–thanks for your letter; it made my day! As you can see from this ‘recollection’, we did not remove any exhibits nor turn our backs on basic biological information. We are trying to avoid an ‘in-your-face’ attitude (this is, after all, the Bible Belt), but not at the expense of objective interpretation of data. The City (Mayor et al) has been supportive and helpful. Your interest and support is appreciated.”

A letter I sent to ICR, asking them to provide the name, methodology and results of the person who conducted their “scientifically conducted poll” (as well as asking them bluntly why their Acts and Facts article claims that exihibits and displays were removed when in fact they had not been) has so far gone unanswered. Hmmm.

It therefore appears that nearly every sentence in the ICR’s newsletter article was blatantly untrue. There was no “scientifically conducted poll” done by ICR or anybody else. The Zoo did NOT remove any exhibits depicting horse and human evolution. In fact, the distinct impression given by the Zoo is that they considered the creationists to be a huge pain in the neck, and wished they would just go away. They apparently dealt with the ICR’s minions by politely brushing them off and making a few cosmetic changes.

If one were cynical, one would suppose that the ICR’s inaccurate story concerning this “victory” was deliberate, with the unacknowledged goals of (1) rallying the cretinist troops (“see, we won this time!”), (2) making sure those donations to ICR keep coming in (“we can win elsewhere too”) and (3) encouraging other supporters to get out there and fight for the Lord. Thus, ICR’s newsletter article can best be viewed as a flat-out falsehood which was told in order to keep those checks coming.

One would THINK that ICR would have learned a lesson from having this lie exposed. Alas, they have not. In the December 2003 issue of “Acts and Facts”, we find:

“A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY Grand Canyon National Park invited Dr. Steve Austin, ICR geologist, to speak to rangers about his discovery of an extraordinary fossil deposit within Grand Can- yon. The talk to uniformed rangers and science research coordinators occurred on the south rim of Grand Canyon. Dr. Austin illustrated the mass kill and burial bed containing billions of large nautiloid fossils within the Redwall Limestone. Discussion followed about how limestone strata could be deposited in minutes. The rangers expressed interest in improving geologic lectures to the public and changing signs which consider only uniform sedimentary process oper- ating over millions of years and wanted to explore other creationist thinking on Grand Canyon.”

Since this spiel sounded so similar to the earlier Tulsa Zoo lie, I had my suspicions that ICR was fibbing yet again. A quick email to the National Park Service’s Grand Canyon office confirmed that my suspicions were indeed correct. The Park Service responded:

“Hello Lenny,

Thanks very much for bringing your information of Steve Austin to our attention. Steve Austin was one of the 100 or so Research Permit holders in our park. All Permit holders are obligated under the Permit requirements to submit articles or presentations to the park for the purpose of educating interested park staff on the nature of their research. Steve came to present his research under the guidelines of discussing only his study methods and results (the same constraints for all research presenters) - and that is exactly what he did without one reference to Noah, Noah’s flood, or any other creationist ideas.

I don’t know what individual rangers said to him privately after his presentation regarding his study; however during the public question and answer period he was scrutinized and questioned very rigorously by a few of the Park Interpretive Rangers. No one at any time expressed interest in changing our interpretive signs to include creationist views.

I am sorry to learn Steve Austin is not being truthful about the circumstances of his research presentation. Our policy is to allow all researchers an opportunity to present their data in a public forum at the Park; however, if researchers abuse this privilege by false proclamations to further their own agenda, we will have to take this into consideration when selecting speakers in the future.

Sincerely,

Emma

Emma P. Benenati, Ph.D.

Ecologist / Research Coordinator - Grand Canyon National Park”

So ICR is lying yet again.

How typically creationist.

Bob you make perfect sense.

However, I’m really worried. There has not been a sponataneously created grand canyon on earth for quite some time now. When do you think God’s 5 hours is up and where is his next “sandy bank”?

More importantly, where and when will he be going for some peace and quiet to read his newspaper?

Holy crap! (excuse me – Crap).

The millennialists are right! They just have the mechanism of destruction wrong. It won’t be fire!

Hi all. Where did all the energy come from that caused the “Big Bang” ?

Well “Db,” maybe the Big Guy in whose image we are supposed to have been made down to all the veriest details of organs and bodily functions had been “holding” a whole bunch of hot air for an awful LONG time…

Flint asked whether the Grand Canyon gets all the attention because it’s the only one that Fundies have heard of, and it seems to be true. More on that a bit later.

There have also been questions about canyons on Mars. Let me remind you that canyons on Mars, like the so-called mountains on the Moon, are theory, not fact. Have you ever been there? In fact, Mars and the Moon are both perfect spheres with no irregularity whatever (Does this “irregularity” relate to recent postings about the end of the world?), as Aristotle told us; though it is possible, as Galileo suggested, that the perfect and featureless outer surface is a perfectly transparent substance wrapped around those canyons. But I digress.

In real fact, the canyons were produced by the same cataclysmic event, rather earlier than Noah, in which the Martian highlands were rendered uninhabitable: the rebellion of the Prince of This World against the Lord. It’s all in C. S. Lewis. (Prize for the first one to identify the allusion here.) Out of the Silent Planet. (To relieve the strain on the irony meters here: that was a work of imaginative fiction, not history or prophecy. Good book, but please don’t read it, as it will merely annoy you, especially the mad scientist.)

But seriously, folks, the Grand Canyon is the only one they’ve heard of, and I have a plan to change that. It’s that really annoying entity, the book that Someone ought to write.

It’s called “Old Canyon, New Canyon”. The cover has two gorgeous glossy photos: The Grand Canyon and the Columbia River Gorge. Get the picture?

A big advantage: You can sell it in more than one place. The gifte shoppe at Multnomah Falls would sell tons of them. After all, Oregon is a state in which there is actual literacy.

The text, of course, would describe the histories of these canyons in nice layperson’s terms. It would happily describe the creation of the Columbia Gorge by a cataclysmic event – all right, a few of them – and show some of the differences that make it clear that one canyon is new and the other is old. The most obvious is Multnomah Falls where the literate people are buying the book: tributaries that drop out of hanging canyons are temporary, which is why you don’t get them in Grand Canyon.

Equally of course, the book would mention J. Harlan Bretz, who first figured all this out and had a hard time convincing scientists of such an odd proposition, but succeeded because science is reality based.

I’m not competent to write it, but NCSE or somebody–?

I agree; that could be an interesting book. I would recommend extending it to the formation of all major canyons in the world. it would fill it out a bit and be even more interesting.

You’d also get to show beautiful pictures of Multnomah Falls:

http://trips.stateoforegon.com/multnomah_falls/

OK - censor that book and keep it out of the Grand Canyon bookstore.

But why stop with one book - censor all books that are written by Creationists.

And keep those books out of ALL book stores and libraries - after all, the scientific community has to protect people from that sort of thing.

Don’t stop with only creationist books, however - censor all books that are written by religious believers - they may raise questions about the limits of science that could be difficult for science to address. It might ‘undermine’ science and the scientific community can’t risk that, can it?

So I ask - why would censoring THAT book be any different from the censorship of a science book by the creationist crowd, assuming they had the power to do so?

Maybe the folks are right who are claiming that this isn’t a question of science at all but a question about who has the most political clout.

Poly:

I think you missed a little detail: whether or not the State is presenting, and therefore selectively recognizing and promoting, one particular religion. Nobody here wants any censorship, and there is no complaint about the same book being offered by the private store across the street. The issue is that creationist religion is being pushed using tax dollars collected from people whose religious beliefs do not coincide.

So the principle is simple: Get books of religious preaching out of state-supported bookstores. (And I notice some people are even more accommodating, finding no problem with our tax dollars being used to push creationism provided they are in the “inspirational” rather than factual section of the State bookstore.) Basically, the request is that the US Constitution be used as our guide.

Excuse me, Poly, but aren’t you forgetting ONE little factoid–the Grand Canyon bookstore isn’t your neighborhood private enterprise bookstore which is free under the First Amendment to sell whatever tripe it wants, whether pushing religion, attacking science, or otherwise…it’s a GOVERNMENT-owned, tax-supported bookstore which, under the same Non-Establishment Clause as applies in public classrooms, should not be promoting specifically-religious views of the Canyon’s “creation.”

This simply is not a “censorship” issue.

I think Just Bob is probably correct in attributing the Grand Canyon and the Valles Marineris to the effluent of God’s bladder. But I think he misses a further point. That God did it on both Earth and Mars means He probably did it on the other planets as well. He was just manifesting a behavior He bequeathed to many of His animal creations, territorial marking. It’s just that in His case the volume leaves a rather large scar in the landscape. Furthermore I’d assert that He even did it on the Sun creating a huge explosion, when all the effluent flashed to steam, that caused at least one of the great extinctions on Earth. And we have further proof of the truth of this in the wide distribution of methane and other organic compounds in space. They could have come from only one source—God. Ergo God exists. Now we only have to locate His spoor, either original or as coprolites to sew up the argument.

It is precisely because that bookstore is publically supported that we must be careful it does not censor ideas, even when those ideas don’t “coincide” with what we would like to hear.

Since when has conformance to a particular ideology been the deciding factor for freedom of expression?

Aren’t public libraries government-owned and tax-supported, too? So why are they different from that particular government supported bookstore? Would it therefore be justifiable in your view to remove that book from public libraries as well?

Going further, would it be justifiable in your view to remove all religious books from public libraries? After all, they certainly do “push” and “preach” religion same as this book does - and some of them may even openly “attack” science.

In your view of what our Constitution says, it would seem that all those books ought to be removed from publically supported locations.

Look, I’m not a creationist and I would just as soon that people didn’t feel obliged to express those ideas. But since they do, I will fight like hell for their right to express them.

In our libraries, in our bookstores, wherever - so long as they are not coercing others into listening to them (as would be the case in a public school, for example).

DON’T JOIN THE BOOK BURNERS

Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.…

And even if they think ideas that are contrary to ours, their right to say them, their right to record them, and their right to have them at places where they’re accessible to others is unquestioned, or it’s not America.

—Dwight David Eisenhower

From the remarks of the President of the United States at the Dartmouth College Commencement, June 14, 1953.

Of course, if we start banning books , I guess we will have joined the book-burners.

Poly:

When people answer you, why do you just ignore them and repeat your complaint? The creationist books should not be censored. Neither should religion be presented AS SCIENCE by the state. The state is constitutionally prohibited from endorsing any particular religion. Placing religious screeds in the science section of the bookstore OR the library is an endorsement. Placing religious screeds in the “inspirational” second of the books store or the religious section of the library is fine. In the case of libraries, I would gladly join you in protest if these books were removed from the shelves.

The issue here is endorsement of a religion. Where the state is doing it, the state must stop doing it. If the library places a creationist book in the science section, the library is guilty of State Endorsement of a religion. Leaving it there is just as bad as banning it.

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It is precisely because that bookstore is publically supported that we must be careful it does not censor ideas, even when those ideas don’t “coincide” with what we would like to hear.

Speaking of which, why is it, do you suppose, that every single ID blog in existence DOES NOT ALLOW ANY PUBLIC COMMENTS, and promptly kicks out people who are critical of ID?

Is there anything in that which strikes you as being, uh, pretty close to “censoring ideas, even when those ideas don’t coincide with what we would like to hear” . … ?

IDers, in general, don’t want to ban censorship — they want to practice it.

Don’t believe me? Just TRY to get a comment onto DI’s blog that is critical of ID. Just TRY. Compare that with your ability to psot whatever you want to, here.

Explain the difference to me.

Re “Explain the difference to me.”

Well, if they linked to science sites, some of their audience might follow the links and get confused by facts. So out of consideration for their audience’s feelings, they try to avoid that.

Does that help?

Henry

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This page contains a single entry by Prof. Steve Steve published on May 23, 2005 10:45 AM.

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