Re: Grand Canyon Tears America Apart in Battle Between Science and Faith

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Thu Jan 15 2004 - 18:27:57 EST

Here's how today's Nature (
)is reporting on this:

National park's sale of creationist book draws geologists' ire


[SAN DIEGO] A slim volume of creationist views on how the Grand Canyon
formed has sparked a legal review of books on sale in US national parks.

Lawyers for the National Park Service (NPS) began the review late last
year after leading scientists objected to the sale of the creationist
book, Grand Canyon: A Different View, in the bookstore at the Grand
Canyon National Park in Arizona.

The review is intended to help the NPS to develop a policy for the sale
of such material. "The book has raised issues much broader than this book
and the canyon," explains David Barna, a spokesman for the NPS.

The beautifully photographed book was compiled by Tom Vail, a river guide
with no scientific training. It features a collection of essays by 23
creationists who argue that the towering canyon walls are a record of the
six days of creation which, they say, took place about 6,000 years ago.
Most geologists say that the Colorado River cut out the canyon between 4
million and 6 million years ago, exposing 1.8 billion years' worth of
geological formations.

Wilfred Elders, a geologist at the University of California, Riverside,
who first complained about the book's sale at the park, called the volume
a collection of "absurdities" that scientifically is "an extraordinary

Complaints from Elders and others caused seven leading Earth-science
organizations to write to the NPS on 16 December asking for the book to
be removed from the shop — or at least for it to be separated from
legitimate scientific texts with which it had been placed last August.

"The book is not about geology, but rather advances a narrow religious
view," says the letter signed by presidents of the organizations, which
included the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical

The 104-page book has subsequently been moved from the science section,
but remains on sale in the bookstore. Nearly 300 copies have been sold,
according to the bookstore.

Vail says that an alternative to evolutionary science should be offered
to members of the public visiting the canyon. "Who is to say whose
material should be or shouldn't be in the bookstore?" he asks. That's the
tricky question that the NPS review will seek to answer, as it weighs
issues such as the display of sound science, the right to free speech and
the avoidance of censorship charges.
Received on Thu Jan 15 18:30:04 2004

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