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Park Service Says Grand Canyon Created by Biblical Flood

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Park Service Says Grand Canyon Created by Biblical Flood

Old 10-21-04, 09:17 PM
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Park Service Says Grand Canyon Created by Biblical Flood

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Park Service Sticks With Biblical Explanation For Grand Canyon
Promised Legal Review on Creationist Book Is Shelved
By: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
Published: Oct 14, 2004

The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Despite telling members of Congress and the public that the legality and appropriateness of the National Park Service offering a creationist book for sale at Grand Canyon museums and bookstores was “under review at the national level by several offices,” no such review took place, according to materials obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act. Instead, the real agency position was expressed by NPS spokesperson Elaine Sevy as quoted in the Baptist Press News:

“Now that the book has become quite popular, we don’t want to remove it.”

In August of 2003, Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, by Tom Vail, a book explaining how the park’s central feature developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters that there would be a high-level policy review, distributing talking points stating: “We hope to have a final decision in February [2004].” In fact, the promised review never occurred –

· In late February, Barna crafted a draft letter to concerned members of Congress stating: “We hope to have a final decision on the book in March 2004.” That draft was rewritten in June and finally sent out to Congressional representatives with no completion date for the review at all;

· NPS Headquarters did not respond to a January 25th memo from its own top geologists charging that sale of the book violated agency policies and undercut its scientific education programs;

· The Park Service ignored a letter of protest signed by the presidents of seven scientific societies on December 16, 2003.

“Promoting creationism in our national parks is just as wrong as promoting it in our public schools,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, “If the Bush Administration is using public resources for pandering to Christian fundamentalists, it should at least have the decency to tell the truth about it.”

The creationist book is not the only religious controversy at Grand Canyon National Park. One week prior to the approved sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, NPS Deputy Director Donald Murphy ordered that bronze plaques bearing Psalm verses be returned and reinstalled at canyon overlooks. Superintendent Alston had removed the bronze plaques on legal advice from Interior Department solicitors. Murphy also wrote a letter of apology to the plaques’ sponsors, the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. PEER has collected other instances of what it calls the Bush Administration’s “Faith-Based Parks” agenda.
What's next, pi equals 3?

FWIW, I don't mind the Psalms being placed on display.
Old 10-21-04, 09:18 PM
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Everyone knows it was Paul Bunyan anyway

birrman54
Old 10-21-04, 09:25 PM
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People can write books about whatever they want.

But how is the goverment "approving" this exactly?
Old 10-21-04, 09:27 PM
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So, this is all about allowing the sale of one book, presumably along side many other books about the Grand Canyon? And exactly how is it the Bush administration doing this?
Old 10-21-04, 09:45 PM
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Well, in all fairness it's hard to prove it wasn't caused by a flood of biblical proportions. The flood mentioned in ancient scriptures could in fact be valid.
Old 10-21-04, 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by DVD Polizei
Well, in all fairness it's hard to prove it wasn't caused by a flood of biblical proportions. The flood mentioned in ancient scriptures could in fact be valid.
It's also hard to prove that it was not not caused by a big flood.
Old 10-21-04, 09:56 PM
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Originally posted by DVD Polizei
Well, in all fairness it's hard to prove it wasn't caused by a flood of biblical proportions. The flood mentioned in ancient scriptures could in fact be valid.
Tell that to a geologist. Its hard to prove it wasn't created by the Almighty Space Chicken scratching the earth looking for food, should the Park Service sell a book on that?
Old 10-21-04, 09:57 PM
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Brain Stew,

Exactly, so what's the big deal.

Noah's Flood is the same thing as a Big Fat Huge Leviathon Scientifically-Proven Flood. They both require large amounts of water. They both can be destructive to land.

I fail to see how a scientist can disprove a scientific action which was caused by a possible ET being, when science regularly comes up with theories that rival any Bible Story I've heard.

Duran,

Like sciencists don't come up with stories that make your head scratch? I don't see much of a difference between Science and Religion, when it comes to determining an event which allegedly happened thousands of years ago.

The NPS is also funded by religious taxpayers, so I don't see why they can't share a different POV other than a scientist and his own wild theories. Forcing ONLY evolutionary tales to the public is just as bad as forcing only religious tales.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 10-21-04 at 10:02 PM.
Old 10-21-04, 10:02 PM
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Originally posted by DVD Polizei

Duran,

Like sciencists don't come up with stories that make your head scratch? I don't see much of a difference between Science and Religion, when it comes to determining an event which allegedly happened thousands of years ago.
I do. Evidence. Testable theories. Peer review. You know, science.
Old 10-21-04, 10:14 PM
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You're science has historically made several mistakes. Some of them are quite funny.

"Rail travel at high speed is not possible, because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."
- Dr Dionysus Lardner

Don't get me wrong, I rely on science, but not 100%, and especially not something that happened thousands of years ago. The farther you go back in time, Science and Religion become basically the same.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 10-21-04 at 10:24 PM.
Old 10-21-04, 10:41 PM
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I could care less about hte national parks selling this book. It doesn't sound like the Bush admin is forcing the National Parks to adopt this as their official story, just that the book will be available. if that's so, mark this as a big who cares for me.
Old 10-21-04, 10:42 PM
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Originally posted by DVD Polizei
You're science has historically made several mistakes. Some of them are quite funny.

"Rail travel at high speed is not possible, because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."
- Dr Dionysus Lardner
Absolutely correct, but how many people still believe this?

The problem with "creation science" is that they try to make the theory fit the conclusion they want. Science works from the other end. That's why theories are changed or abandoned as more knowledge becomes available.

I recently watched a 2 hour program on Noah's Ark on our local religious station. The first part was very interesting, talking about historical ark sightings and giving a pretty detailed account of the biblical story. The second half fell apart for me because it was a parade of creation "scientists" with the most outlandish theories I had ever heard. I won't go into all the details, but basically the flood was caused by rapidly escaping underground water when the crust of the earth split in two and forced the water 20 miles into the air. Continental drift took place at a rate of 45 miles per hour, and the erosion from the escaping water caused a layer of silt which made the entire fossil record.

The problem with this is not only that it ties up every loose end too nicely, but that it was designed to support an idea that is unsupportable by science. They literally have an answer for everything, and it's all designed to fit their conclusion that the earth is only a few thousand years old. The conclusions of creation "science" are unchangable because the conclusion is the foundation of the fact (they would never call it a theory) rather than empirical research.

As for the government connection, the article says that the request of the Grand Canyon administrator to stop selling the book was ignored by the park service in Washington. I'm sure the park service is tied in to some cabinet position (Secretary of the Interior?) which sets the agenda, and the cabinet follows the agenda of the administration. And this just sounds like the kind of thing that bush would latch onto.
Old 10-21-04, 10:55 PM
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Well, I also tend to believe Creation Scientists have issues as well. I just think the GC Admin had his own agenda, and those on the other end, such as Donald Murphy, who reinstalled plaques with Psalms versus. It was a clash of ideological extremes, and it appears as if there is an internal struggle in these governmental offices.

You're correct, few people believe Dr. Dionysus Lardner today, but back then, they did. Who knows what people will believe in regards to "today's science" when the 22nd Century comes around.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 10-21-04 at 10:57 PM.
Old 10-21-04, 11:22 PM
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I thought that idea was basically shot to hell because floods don't create single big canyons, but dozens of smaller canyons. There's plenty of documented instances of floods creating canyon systems and indeed whole rivers, but the Grand Canyon ain't one of them.
Old 10-21-04, 11:24 PM
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It works both ways, there are some scientists who throw out anything that might point to creation...
Old 10-21-04, 11:25 PM
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Bill Mahr, on a recent Larry King interview, made a remark that has stuck with me. He said there are basically two camps of people: those who make their decisions with a compass, based on magnatism and scientific principles, and the other camp, who seem to prefer a Magic 8 Ball and tea leaves. He wanted to be with the compass people.

Ron Reagan, son of the late president, made remarks along these lines in an Nat'l Public Radio interview a couple of months ago. As an atheist, he knew a run for public office would never be successful for him, because, as he said, the American electorate would never vote for an atheist.


I throw my lot in with the compass camp, too...

Perhaps The Smithsonian can have new brochures debunking all the faked dinosaur skeletons on display....
Old 10-21-04, 11:29 PM
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Although the idea that the Grand Canyon was created by one big flood is a crapload of hooey, I really don't see a problem with selling this book as one of many. Government owned land (or schools or whatever) is "everybody's land" (that's the nice fiction anyway) and "everybody" has as much right as anyone else to decide what's done with it. That's why there are constant "wars" over "public" property. As long as it's done this way, I can't see that selling books taking any particular point of view (no matter how stupid) should be forbidden.
Old 10-21-04, 11:33 PM
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And what does a compassman do once a magnetic storm hits, rendering his instrument obsolete?

Why, he gets on his knees and prays, of course.
Old 10-21-04, 11:43 PM
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Originally posted by DVD Polizei
And what does a compassman do once a magnetic storm hits, rendering his instrument obsolete?

Why, he gets on his knees and prays, of course.
No, I'd take my lumps like a man...
Old 10-21-04, 11:45 PM
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So, lets clearly ask the question. Is this one of many books (with different viewpoints) sold there, or is this the official Park Service explanation of how the Grand Canyon was formed? You really can't take a position without knowing this for sure, and the article (which is selling a particular viewpoint) is unclear.

If it is one of many, are liberals really in favor of book banning? Could preventing its sale be construed as interference with free practice?

Of course, if it is the official explanation of the Park Service, it is establishment and must be overturned in court.

Our system struggles (like a drunk) to walk the narrow line between these two concepts.
Old 10-21-04, 11:53 PM
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Having been to the Canyon, I'd say that it's fairly clear that this sort of thing is *not* the official line.

My opinion: I think it's a little foolish to cater to this particular sort of nonsense at a National Park, but I don't think they should be prevented from selling such things at the park. They sell a bunch of "hippie crap" around the park too, so I'm inclined to let it go. In any case, if they make money off it to support the park and keep the place up, then that's great, IMO.

There's other things that you could more easily consider to be establishment, this is a waste of effort.

Last edited by Otto; 10-21-04 at 11:56 PM.
Old 10-22-04, 12:05 AM
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Originally posted by phraseturner

I throw my lot in with the compass camp, too...
So do I. But there are places on the earth where a compass will not take you north.

I think the idea of the book is silly but I think this is blowing it out of proportion as well. And personally, I don't think it would hurt to have the Smithsonian actually have an intelligent look at the evidence for evolution.
Old 10-22-04, 12:15 AM
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Originally posted by Duran
Tell that to a geologist. Its hard to prove it wasn't created by the Almighty Space Chicken scratching the earth looking for food, should the Park Service sell a book on that?
Now that's a book I'd like to own.
Old 10-22-04, 01:55 AM
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Not all creationsits are equal:

This Old Planet

Grand Canyon I - Young earth proponents like to disprove popular belief that the Grand Canyon is the result of millions of years of erosion by saying the Great Flood carved out the steep canyon walls in a few days. There are several problems with this simple explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is not the product of flooding. It was formed by the uplifting of a plateau by mountain-building events. The narrow inner gorge of the Grand Canyon and its many tributaries are the antithesis of the erosion that would be found as part of a broad floodplain.

Grand Canyon II - The Grand Canyon example is a two-parter in order to also account for all those thousands of layers of sedimentary rock that give the Grand Canyon its beauty. Creationists often say the Great Flood laid down the layers and in its aftermath, the receding waters dug out the gorge. One of the more prominent formations in the Grand Canyon is the Coconino Sandstone. This layer is found only a few hundred feet below the rim. Geologists have described this sandstone as originating from an ancient desert. Remnants of sand dunes can be seen in many outcrops of the formation in a phenomenon called cross bedding. Many footprints in this sandstone have been recognized as those of lizards scurrying across the desert. It's ridiculous to think there could be a sandy desert formation wedged between a series of layers that were all formed by the same flood event.
So it is possible to be a creationist and still reasonable about the whole thing.
Old 10-22-04, 02:36 AM
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So, ah...anyone buy this plate tectonics thingy? Me either.

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