National Park Service Embraces Creationism

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Thu Feb 26 2004 - 14:48:03 EST


Washington, DC - The leadership of the National Park Service is
ignoring calls by its own senior scientists to withdraw approval for
a creationist book now being sold in park facilities, according to
documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER). Instead, the book, which claims that the
Grand Canyon is only 6,000 years old, has been re-ordered and is
being marketed on the web as "natural history."

A review by Park Service geologists not only found the book wildly
inaccurate but that its sale violated agency policies and undercut
its scientific education programs. On January 25, David Shaver, the
Chief of the Park Service's Geologic Resources Division sent a memo
to Headquarters calling for removal of the book, concluding -

"Our review of .NPS policies and Grand Canyon: A Different View,
lead us to conclude that this book: does not use accurate,
professional and scholarly knowledge; is not based on science but a
specific religious doctrine; does not further the public's
understanding of the Grand Canyon's existence; does not further the
mission of the National park Service.and finally, that this book
should not have been approved for sale in NPS affiliated book

This past summer, the Park Service initially approved Grand Canyon:
A Different View, by Tom Vail, for sale in park bookstores and
museums one week after Deputy Director Donald Murphy had ordered
bronze plaques bearing Psalm verses replaced at Grand Canyon.
Murphy also wrote a letter of apology to the plaques' sponsors, the
Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. In August, the Grand Canyon
National Park superintendent appealed to Headquarters, raising
questions about the "appropriateness" of offering a book claiming
that the central feature of the park developed on a biblical rather
than an evolutionary time scale.

Despite the controversy, the top leadership of the Park Service has:

Approved ordering hundreds more copies of a book and offering it
for sale on the Grand Canyon Association's internet site as "natural

Blocked publication of guidance for park rangers and other
interpretative staff that labeled creationism as lacking any
scientific basis; and

Stonewalled requests by the Grand Canyon superintendent, agency
geologists and others for a ruling on whether the book violated Park
Service rules.

"In order to avoid offending Christian fundamentalists, the National
Park Service has been forced to adopt a position of geologic
agnosticism," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that
the Grand Canyon National Park no longer offers an official estimate
of the age of the Canyon. "On the same basis that public schools do
not approve creationist books as science textbooks, the National
Park Service has no business promoting Christian ideology
masquerading as science."

Read the memo from the head of the NPS Geological Resources Division

See the Grand Canyon's online promotion for the book in its "Natural
History" section

Learn more about the growing "Faith-Based Parks" movement within the
top echelons of the Bush Administration

Visit the Press Release online

Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
Received on Thu Feb 26 15:18:01 2004

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