Monday, January 15, 2007


The Grand Canyon Association (GCA) is a non-profit organization that publishes, sells and gives away a range of publications related to the Grand Canyon. Operating since 1932, the GCA has provided over $20 million in financial support to the Grand Canyon National Park. Perversely, the GCA has drawn the ire of book and freedom of speech loving progressives who object to Grand Canyon: A Different View being sold at the park. The book is, you see, a collection of essays written from a creationist perspective; and if there's anything guaranteed to rile committed lefties, it's creationism.

So contentious is the sale of the book at the park that New Scientist has seen fit to comment:
The Grand Canyon was formed a few thousand years ago by Noah's flood, and not a few million years ago by geological forces, right? So says a glossy book still on sale in Grand Canyon National Park, despite scientists' protests.
The campaign against the book is, however, being championed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER):
“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’”
Park officials have defended the decision to approve the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, claiming that park bookstores are like libraries, where the broadest range of views are displayed. In fact, however, both law and park policies make it clear that the park bookstores are more like schoolrooms rather than libraries. As such, materials are only to reflect the highest quality science and are supposed to closely support approved interpretive themes.
That first paragraph is a bit tricky because it notes that the "official position of the national park" on the canyon's age is "no comment." The official position of park management is irrelevant to park visitors; what counts is the information provided by park rangers who actually come into contact with visitors:
If asked the age of the Grand Canyon, our rangers use the following answer.

The principal consensus among geologists is that the Colorado River basin has developed in the past 40 million years and that the Grand Canyon itself is probably less than five to six million years old. The result of all this erosion is one of the most complete geologic columns on the planet.

The major geologic exposures in Grand Canyon range in age from the 2 billion year old Vishnu Schist at the bottom of the Inner Gorge to the 230 million year old Kaibab Limestone on the Rim.
The GCA sells a wide range of scholarly canyon books and the park's official website specifies that some of the canyon's features are a non-creationistic 1,800 million years old so there isn't really anything for lefties to get all excited about.

Lefties opposed to non-scientific creation theories should give equal time to the official Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park site which states unequivocally:
We, the traditional land owners of Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park, are direct descendants of the beings who created our lands during the Tjukurpa (Creation Time). We have always been here.
Nah, that would be politically incorrect. Not only that, Aborigines are predominantly lefty voters.
Update: Tim Blair has more on this story.


Anonymous leftvegdrunk said...

Gadget, I'll tell you a secret. I am a bit of a lefty, and I don't believe in banning books or national socialism. Nor do I rant and rave about creationism. Shh.

3:44 PM  

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