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The Loom

October 13, 2004

Ignorance For Sale, Thanks To Your Tax Dollars

David Appell points to some depressing news about how our government deals with science.

In August 2003, the Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent tried to block the sale of a book in National Park Service stores. The book claims that the Grand Canyon formed in Noah's Flood. No vague ambiguity of the sort you hear from Intelligent Design folks--just hard-core young Earth creationism, claiming that the planet is only a few thousand years old. The folks at National Park Service headquarters stopped the administrator from pulling the book. Geologists cried foul, and NPS promised to review the situation. Meanwhile, the book remained for sale at NPS stores.

And then months passed with nothing. Today a public employees activist group that first publicized this sorry situation announced that it has documents showing that the administration has decided to let the book stay. In fact, there wasn't even any review.

I haven't seen any news pieces yet on this shamefulness, nor have I seen any statement from the National Park Service. From the information we have at hand at the moment, there's only one good conclusion to draw: your government is indifferent to even the most basic facts of science. If it doesn't care about something as well-established as the age of the Earth, you have to wonder what other science it is willing to ignore.

Posted by Carl at 8:04 PM
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A few weeks ago I remembered an awesome article I read maybe 5 years ago or so on the science of dating in National Geographic, when I looked it up I was pleasantly surprised to see who wrote it. ;)

Posted by Jason Malloy on October 14, 2004 01:19 AM | Permalink to Comment

A couple of weeks ago I remembered an awesome article I read in National Geographic maybe 5 or so years ago on the science of dating; when I looked it up i was pleasantly surprised to see who had written it. ;)

Posted by Jason Malloy on October 14, 2004 01:22 AM | Permalink to Comment

G'day, Carl [and All]
In hopes of cheering you up a bit on this issue, you might consider attending my Creation Day Party on the 23rd if you're in Ottawa. I've no doubt you're aware of Jimmy Ussher's "begats" calculation placing the creation of the universe on 23 October 4004 BC at 09:00h. So Saturday after next, the Cosmos will be 6000 years old!

I'm throwing a massive celebration. All Loombers are welcome!


Posted by the bunyip on October 14, 2004 06:22 AM | Permalink to Comment

4004 BC... was 6008 years ago? But that's no reason not to partay.

Posted by bazzargh on October 14, 2004 07:29 AM | Permalink to Comment

How about the address of someone we can write to in order to deluge (no pun intended) them with emails expressing our outrage.

Posted by Phil Sheridan on October 14, 2004 12:10 PM | Permalink to Comment

Not to be a nitpicker.. but since there was no year 0... wouldn't that mean that it is really 6007 years ago?

Posted by Paul on October 14, 2004 12:49 PM | Permalink to Comment

Mr. Sheridan, here's the main NPS "Contact Us" page:


Posted by Linkmeister on October 14, 2004 03:54 PM | Permalink to Comment

Do they have a "fiction" section in National Park Bookstores? I don't think so, but that would solve the problem. I just did send the NPS a email.

Posted by Carl Buell on October 14, 2004 07:57 PM | Permalink to Comment

They have reviewed the situation, and the book
stays. Vail's website documents this.


A letter to the Department of the Interior
opposed to the book, and a letter documenting
the legal issues involved, also sent to the department. The decision has been made.

What are you looking for, congressional hearings?

Do scientists censor every book with which they have a difference of opinion?

Posted by joel on October 15, 2004 12:56 PM | Permalink to Comment

The process of education constantly reinforces the supremacy of correct information. You pass the test, youfail the test, you know the answers, you don't.
Life doesn't mirror that prefectly. This controversy, and the larger battle it symbolizes, isn't only about being right, it's biological. The rallying point isn't truth, it's similarity. A flag for the dull-witted if you want it put harshly. The ferocity and the stubborn refusal to see what's plainly evident stem from something much deeper than obstinant pride, it's a refusal to accdept inferiority. And that's Darwinian - inferiority means marginality, and that means a lessening of chances for survival.
It's important to resist the idiocy, but pretending that it will only be a matter of winning intellectually is naive. This isn't about ideas, it's about survival, physical, genetic survival.

Posted by vernaculo on October 15, 2004 03:20 PM | Permalink to Comment

Do scientists censor every book with which they have a difference of opinion?

It's not simply a matter of a "difference of opinion" -- it's modern scientific knowledge being displaced by religious trash with the official imprimateur of the US government.

There's nothing scientific or inspirational about creationism. It is nothing more than pre-enlightenment ignorance.

Posted by caerbannog on October 15, 2004 10:34 PM | Permalink to Comment

typo correction: imprimatur

Posted by caerbannog on October 15, 2004 10:36 PM | Permalink to Comment

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