Thursday, December 28, 2006


Canyon Capers

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has complained to Mary Bomar, the Director of the National Park Service, that, since 2002, the Park Service has, at the insistence of Bush appointees, blocked publication of a pamphlet providing guidance for park rangers and other interpretative staff at the Grand Canyon National Park as to the lack of any scientific basis for creationist estimates of the age of the canyon.
As a consequence, NPS staff has no official guidance as to how to answer questions from the public concerning topics such as creationists’ "young earth" claims. Further, media inquiries to the Grand Canyon superintendent seeking an official statement on the geologic age of the Canyon have produced replies such as "no comment" and referral of the reporter to NPS Headquarters.
The very idea that the park staff has to deny knowledge of the science of geology and refer queries to that font of scholarship, Washington D.C., would be comical if it wasn't merely a part of a pervasive political attempt to "dumb down" America to avoid hurting the sectarian sensibilities of the Administration's political allies.
In addition to the politically imposed ignorance, the park bookstores continue to sell Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale.
As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan.
In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale of this book but NPS Headquarters intervened and overruled him.
To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters and members of Congress that there would be a high-level policy review of the issue.

According to a recent NPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PEER, no such review was ever requested, let alone conducted or completed.
PEER charges in its letter that:
According to responses PEER obtained from NPS under the Freedom of Information Act, NPS deliberately avoided conducting the review in order to let the controversy die down.
Having succeeded in ducking the immediate outcry, the issue was, in typical political practice from time immemorial, allowed to quietly die.
Maybe it's time for its resurrection.
Maybe you should write that geyser book as satire and get it published...

Think about it: you could either have a decent additional income, or get the parks people to seriously re-evaluate their view on allowing bogus crap to be sold as educational books.

Either way, you have to admit it'd be a hell of a good time.
I'd be too [cough] tempted to make it a different orifice ... it would set off too much of a stink once people got wind of it.
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