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Thread: Bush administration: Grand Canyon created by Noah's flood

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    Default Bush administration: Grand Canyon created by Noah's flood

    http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=801

    HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY — Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

    Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today 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.’”

    In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.

    In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon 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 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.

    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. Moreover, unlike a library the approval process is very selective. Records released to PEER show that during 2003, Grand Canyon officials rejected 22 books and other products for bookstore placement while approving only one new sale item — the creationist book.

    Ironically, in 2005, two years after the Grand Canyon creationist controversy erupted, NPS approved a new directive on “Interpretation and Education (Director’s Order #6) which reinforces the posture that materials on the “history of the Earth must be based on the best scientific evidence available, as found in scholarly sources that have stood the test of scientific peer review and criticism [and] Interpretive and educational programs must refrain from appearing to endorse religious beliefs explaining natural processes.”

    “As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan,” Ruch added, pointing to the fact that previous NPS leadership ignored strong protests from both its own scientists and leading geological societies against the agency approval of the creationist book. “We sincerely hope that the new Director of the Park Service now has the autonomy to do her job.”

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    That's fucking ridiculous.

    Sorry your sky fairy bullshit interferes with REALITY, but get over it. Maybe it's about time you put down the bible and opened your fucking eyes.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Dean James's Avatar
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    lol, my sister sent me this today- it's so stupid. If it were 2002, I would cry but since his ass is gone SOON, I'm laughing!

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Absofuckinglutely egregiously ridiculous and beyone the pale!!! WTF???? This is just beyond insanity and disgraces this nation! Fuck Bush and his skyfairy Christofascist motherfucking Jesusfreaktards!!! The whole world looks on at us as a nation of foolish bibletards cause of shit like this.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    That's fucking stupid. I'm stunned I don't even know what to say.
    "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers."

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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    HOAX!!!!

    Fact Checking 101
    How Skeptic magazine was Duped
    by an Environmental Activist Group


    by Michael Shermer
    In last week’s eSkeptic , we published highlights from a press release issued by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), a Washington D.C.-based environmental watchdog group. That press release, dated December 28, 2006, was headlined:
    HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY
    Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology
    The first sentence of the release reads:
    Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.
    Unfortunately, in our eagerness to find additional examples of the inappropriate intrusion of religion in American public life (as if we actually needed more), we accepted this claim by PEER without calling the National Park Service (NPS) or the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) to check it. As a testimony to the quality of our readers, however, dozens immediately phoned both NPS and GCNP, only to discover that the claim is absolutely false. Callers were told that the Grand Canyon is millions of years old, that no one is being pressured from Bush administration appointees — or by anyone else — to withhold scientific information, and all were referred to a statement by David Barna, Chief of Public Affairs, National Park Service as to the park’s official position. “Therefore, our interpretive talks, way-side exhibits, visitor center films, etc. use the following explanation for the age of the geologic features at Grand Canyon,” the document explains.
    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.’
    Understandably, many of our readers were outraged by both the duplicity of the claim and our failure to fact check it. One park ranger wrote us:
    You’re a day late and a dollar short on this one. As a national park ranger, I found most of PEER’s findings to be bogus. So have others: http://parkrangerx.blogspot.com
    A Grand Canyon park interpreter wrote:
    This is incorrect. I have NEVER been told to present non-science based programs. In fact, I received “talking points” demanding that Grand Canyon employees present programs BASED ON SCIENCE and that we must use the scientific version supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. As an interpreter I have shared the “creation” story of the Hopi people and the Paiute people because it is culturally relative. I used these stories as a tool to introduce the scientific story. Be confident there are good people running government, too.
    One of our readers directly challenged Jeff Ruch, the Executive Director of PEER:
    When I challenged that PEER guy to show me some evidence and provided him evidence to the contrary, he didn’t have much. I would say PEER did more than jump the gun. I’d say they are spreading misinformation.
    Another Grand Canyon park interpreter offered this explanation:
    Ruch’s attempts to insinuate a conspiratorial link between the NPS and organized religion are misguided and founded in fervent anti-Christian opposition, not reason or the law. Ruch’s anti-Judeo-Christian bias is evidence by his lack of opposition to GCA’s selling of Native American creation myths. His misinformation campaign aims to tarnish the reputation of the NPS to leverage his position that creationism books should not be sold in the GCA bookstore. I’ve emailed a few of my contacts at GRCA, and so far, all deny any conspiracy and all freely give the canyon’s age in education programs (as does all official GRCA print material). I’ll post updates as information becomes available. Until then, don’t believe everything you read.
    The reference to the creationism book being sold in the Grand Canyon bookstore — Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail — is true. It is sold in the “inspiration” section of the bookstore, alongside other books of myth and spirituality. In any case, the story is an old one now, and completely irrelevant to the claim that NPS employees are withholding information about the age of the canyon, and/or are being pressured to do so by Bush administration appointees.
    Embarrassed and angered by all of this, I promptly phoned Jeff Ruch myself and inquired what evidence he has to support this claim. He initially pointed to the creationism book and the fact that the NPS has failed to address numerous challenges to the sale of same in their bookstore. When I pointed out that this is irrelevant to the claim in the press release, he then reminded me of the biblical passages that have been posted at places along the rim of the canyon. Again, I admonished, this is not evidence for his central claim. We went round and round on the phone until I finally gave up and hung up, convinced that he simply made up the claim out of whole cloth.
    Not wishing to simply call Ruch a liar, and allowing myself to calm down a bit, I emailed him and asked:
    Can you tell us who in the Bush administration put pressure on park service employees? Can you name one person in the GCNP staff who says that they are not permitted to give the official estimate of the age of the canyon?
    He responded:
    1. I do not know — it is at the Director’s level or above. We have been trying to find out for three years.
    2. Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times.
    I contacted Julie Cart at the Los Angeles Times, who was out of town on assignment, and got her editor, Frank Clifford, on the phone. Clifford knew all about the creationism book and the biblical passages on the rim of the canyon, but said that he had heard nothing about this new claim of Bush administration appointees silencing park service staff, and that if Julie knew of such a thing the Times would be most interested in following up with the story. I then reached Julie by email, who said that she too knew of no such silence on the part of park staffers regarding the age of the canyon.
    Once again outraged and enraged , I emailed Ruch to ask him why he referenced Cart, who denied his central claim. He responded:
    I referred you to Julie because of the response she got from the superintendent’s office when she covered the issue earlier — not for any new claim.
    Thanks a lot. I wasted several hours tracking down that false lead. Now at my wit’s end with this guy, I point blank asked him if he made it all up. He responded:
    The interpretive staff at GCNP we are working with do not want to be identified and have gone into deep underground as the atmosphere at the park is now somewhat volatile.
    Well, it would have been nice (not to mention ethical) if he would have said so in the first place. (I have now wasted about 10 hours of research time on this instead of other projects.) The referencing of sources who wish to remain anonymous is quite common in journalism and, in fact, there are laws protecting whistleblowers . The fact that no such reference was made until I pointedly accused Ruch of flatout lying makes me, well, skeptical of this explanation. His final statement to me doesn’t make me any less skeptical:
    We are issuing an amended release today that
    1. deletes reference to what interpretive staff can and cannot say and
    2. features the NPS official statement that they provide geological information to the public.
    Then why did PEER issue that statement in the first place? In my opinion, this is why:
    PEER is an anti-Bush, anti-religion liberal activist watchdog group in search of demons to exorcise and dragons to slay. On one level, that’s how the system works in a free society, and there are plenty of pro-Bush, pro-religion conservative activist watchdog groups who do the same thing on the other side. Maybe in a Hegelian process of thesis-antithesis-synthesis we find truth that way; at least at the level of talk radio. But journalistic standards and scholarly ethics still hold sway at all levels of discourse that matter, and to that end I believe we were duped by an activist group who at the very least exaggerated a claim and published it in order to gain notoriety for itself, or worse, simply made it up.
    To that end I apologize to all of our readers for not fact checking this story before publishing it on eSkeptic and www.skeptic.com. Shame on us. But shame on you too, Mr. Ruch, and shame on PEER, for this egregious display of poor judgment and unethical behavior.
    Michael Shermer
    Publisher, Skeptic magazine
    Executive Director, the Skeptics Society
    mshermer@skeptic.com
    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-01-17.html

    I fail to see what their point was.

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    Aww dammit

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    ditto - we coulda had a field day with this!

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