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Faith-Based National Parks
December 24, 2003 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Faith-Based National Parks? The National Park Service has recently approved the display of three bronze plaques bearing biblical verses at the Grand Canyon, as well as the sale of a creationist book on the canyon's origins (here's a review of the book by a professor of geology,) while at the same time blocking park rangers from publishing a scientific rebuttal to creationism. The NPS also wants to remove images of gay rights, pro-choice and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations from a videotape shown at the Lincoln Memorial, though they may be relenting.
posted by homunculus (45 comments total)

 
I would object if the creationist book wasn't allowed to be sold in the bookstore; that would be religious discrimination. But I do think displaying the plaques is inappropriate, and editing people out of the video and blocking rangers from rebutting creationism with science is completely ridiculous.
posted by homunculus at 3:37 PM on December 24, 2003


"For years, as a Colorado River guide I told people how the Grand Canyon was formed over the evolutionary time scale of millions of years. Then I met the Lord. Now, I have "a different view" of the Canyon, which, according to a biblical time scale, can't possibly be more than about a few thousand years old."

This must be some inside joke with the park rangers, who are intelligent enough to know that this is akin to putting on blinders.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:45 PM on December 24, 2003


Proselytizing park rangers.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:51 PM on December 24, 2003


"All contributions have been peer reviewed to ensure a consistent and biblical perspective."

Creationist texts are peer-reviewed as well, now? ;)

By the way, has anyone out there done the calculations on how many generations would be required to increase the global population from 2 to 6 billion? Any idea how well that would fit inside 6,000 years?
posted by Jimbob at 3:57 PM on December 24, 2003


I'm glad they relented because of the uproar over erasing history, but I don't get how they could possibly put images of Promise Keepers rallies and pro-Gulf War demonstrations on the video if the events didn't even occur at the memorial. I hate to say it, but 1984 gets more and more real.

And someone needs to sue to get the bible quotes removed--pronto...
posted by amberglow at 4:03 PM on December 24, 2003


It seems obvious to me that the national parks of this country should be open and accessible to all citizens, of this country and the world. As such, I find it horribly insensitive to have any sort of religious plaque or message spoiling the enjoyment of the real majesty of creation, however one believes it occurred. No true believer needs a plaque to remind them of God or his creation when one of the most majestic and inspiring wonders is in plain and very real sight.

And homunculus, I don't know how your interpret the First Amendment, but this seems pretty obvious. They are selling a book offering a creationist, read Judeo-Christian, interpretation of the Grand Canyon. How is this not discrimination against every other faith in the world? To really avoid religious discrimination, they shouldn't be selling religious books (especially as science), period.
posted by nave at 4:22 PM on December 24, 2003


I would object if the creationist book wasn't allowed to be sold in the bookstore; that would be religious discrimination.

homunculus, this is a great fpp, but I disagree with your assessment about religious discrimination. In fact, I would argue the opposite -- the appearance of creationist texts in a state-sponsored gift shop at a state-sponsored national park raises serious church-state questions.

If the First Amendment requires government neutrality on religion, as I believe it does, allowing one faith tradition to sell books with their theological perspective at the Grand Canyon is inconsistent with the Constitution.

It's not about whether one thinks the Canyon was created over millions of years or created over 6,000 years. Individuals are free to believe what they wish. This scenario, however, is about the appropriateness of the government offering its imprimatur to religious texts in a pubilc setting.

Consider a hypothetical: Let's say another religious group believes space aliens carved the Grand Canyon with giant lasers as a way to provide a topographical map to their homeworld. The group sincerely believes this to be true, it is reflected in the group's holy documents, and the group's followers have published books with "proof" to bolster their claims.

Should the National Park Service allow this group to sell their publications at the Grand Canyon gift shop? I would argue that it should not. Is this religious discrimination? No, it's simply a way for the government (specifically, the NPS) to remain neutral on theological questions altogether, as the law appears to require.
posted by evening at 4:23 PM on December 24, 2003


Selling creationist books in a national park service book store isn't necessarily a violation of the first amendment. The sale of a book in itself doesn't endorse a religion. The endorsement, and hence violation of the first amendment comes about if the bookstores don't allow the introduction of other religious texts. Sticking plaques over natural features and explaining that it was created over 100's of years by the will of God would be a very obvious violation of the first amendment.
posted by substrate at 4:33 PM on December 24, 2003


What substrate said.
posted by homunculus at 4:37 PM on December 24, 2003


I would object if the creationist book wasn't allowed to be sold in the bookstore; that would be religious discrimination.

Myself, I'm wondering why any books not based on legitmate science or history are being sold by the National Park Service. I wasn't aware the Park Service was in the religion business.
posted by cedar at 4:49 PM on December 24, 2003


Hmm. What do the legends of the local Amerindians, assuming there are any left, say about the origins of the canyon?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:53 PM on December 24, 2003


And what does Dr. Carl Wieland, CEO, Answers in Genesis, Australia, and editor of Creation Magazine, say about the book?  "It is an absolutely STUNNING product.  I am VERY EXCITED about it, truly."

Wow! I'm convinced!

This ain't religious discrimination, this is idiocy.
posted by hoskala at 4:58 PM on December 24, 2003


The road to hell is paved with religious plaques.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on December 24, 2003


My first visit to the canyon, and the old dude next to me on the railing is dumbstruck for a while, then says "...Musta' been the flood".
It took me a few to realize what he was implying. The irony nearly outweighed my awe at the geologic wonder before me.
posted by pekar wood at 5:19 PM on December 24, 2003


Who started to politicize the Park Service, anyway?

Seems like everybody with an axe to grind.
posted by kablam at 5:19 PM on December 24, 2003


Um... why is this offensive? I don't see how the plaque is particularly a problem, any more than a plaque with a particularly poetic Sagan quote, or expression of awe in keeping with native american cosmology.

The larger problem would probably be deciding where to put all the plaques if we let this sort of thing go on, not worrying that somehow our rights to believe what we please are somehow being threatened...
posted by namespan at 6:31 PM on December 24, 2003


...editing people out of the video and blocking rangers from rebutting creationism with science is completely...

BUSHALICIOUS.
posted by quonsar at 6:57 PM on December 24, 2003


kablam:

As a long time subscriber to the Museum magazine, and a long time supporter of the museum itself, I can only laugh when I see Air & Space portrayed as somehow "anti-American." Bollocks through and through. The Air & Space Museum is pro-America, pro-military, pro-Government, pro-business, pro-technology, pro-individual innovation, and run by professionals. Does anyone without an axe to grind think otherwise?
posted by Ptrin at 7:23 PM on December 24, 2003


Never let the truth get in the way of a good axe grind. The congress was inundated with hostile-grams from all sorts of individuals when the Smithsonian first wanted to show the Enola Gay as a weapon of war. I'm talking about lots of people who are still mad at the Japanese and feel they got what was coming to them. (The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor still plays to sold out audiences every day of the week, in 15 minute increments, all day.)

Ironically, now that they changed the exhibit, the survivors of H-N are roundly complaining that their side is being ignored. Unfortunately for them, Japanese citizens do not yet have the vote in the US, so they lose.

But the bottom line is that there are plenty of people on both the left and the right willing to capitalize on anything. Taste be damned. History too.

The second example, the Civil War, has also excited passions. First by "de-militarizing" Civil War battlefields, and putting slavery exhibitions at their public centers. This caused consternation two ways, firstly, why go to a battlefield if not to learn of the battle?; and second, the battle had almost nothing whatsoever to do with slavery--there weren't any slaves there, so what is a slavery exhibit doing there?
Southerners still remember reconstruction, and how the North lorded it over them, one reason they so strongly cling to their version of events.
posted by kablam at 8:18 PM on December 24, 2003


I visited the Grand Canyon in 1963, and again, in 2003. It hadn't changed much. Although, it was bigger thatn I'd remembered it. Usual, with childhood memories, I guess.

We encountered an apparrently Christian group at one of the lookover spots. I couldn't believe my ears.

I mean, it's pretty obvious, right? Like, it took a long time and so forth?

Of course, this is why these tour groups gawk at The Canyon: as evidence of a Lord so Ominiscient that he could make a world so perfectly conform to Satanic Darwinism...oh look! it's as if a river eroded rock, and the earth rose, and then more erosion...Praise Jesus!
posted by kozad at 8:33 PM on December 24, 2003


What irks me is that, as a guidebook author, I know how hard it is to get your books on the shelves in the national parks. It's really hard to pass muster - they turn down most of them, for whatever reason.

At least, usually.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:22 PM on December 24, 2003


Sticking plaques over natural features and explaining that it was created over 100's of years by the will of God would be a very obvious violation of the first amendment.

I can kindof see the point, but it's hard for me to think that people aren't wigging out more than necessary here. Whether or not you hold it in esteem as a sacred text, the Bible has cultural significance for most of Western Civ. Freaking out over the appearance of words with a biblical source seems tantamount to worrying that we have a government holiday for Christmas.

Yes, there are differences, and there are some issues here, but be fair: there's also a difference between leaving a plaque there (placed as a response to experiencing awe at the canyon, in a time when Christianity probably had a deeper hold on people/culture of the region) and the government officially issuing a statement saying the Grand Canyon was molded by God in seven days (and anyone who believes otherwise can step off).
posted by weston at 9:26 PM on December 24, 2003


Just to clarify here, in the above phrase, I don't mean that anyone who disagrees with me can "step off" as it were, but that a hypothetical sectarian government, towards which I think we have not yet even started to take a distinct drift, might in fact say such a thing. Merry Christmas. :)
posted by weston at 9:37 PM on December 24, 2003


What do the legends of the local Amerindians, assuming there are any left, say about the origins of the canyon?

Here's a brief account of the Havasupai legend on another creationist website. Gotta love the way they interpret it.

there's also a difference between leaving a plaque there and the government officially issuing a statement saying the Grand Canyon was molded by God in seven days

What if the government is blocking rebuttals to the creationist view, as is alleged in the main link? If they're censoring the science then we've drifted farther than you think.
posted by homunculus at 9:56 PM on December 24, 2003


The only anomaly I noticed when I visited the Grand Canyon, somewhere around 1988, was that the soda machines had stickers on them depicting a cartoon soda machine toppling onto a cartoon stick figure, and there was a heavy black line going diagonally across the sticker. This was supposed to convey some sort of important information, I think.

Things 'round there have changed, it seems.
========================================
START RHETORIC GENERATION MACHINE
========================================

Here. in the USA, we have many who doubt the theory of Evolution - and I suspect that this is part of a larger trend of skepticism which will turn citizens of industrial nations into neo-primitives who use technology in utter ignorance of how that technology actually works; they will become like the South Pacific Cargo Cultists dressing up as American GI's and performing rites in order to charm inscrutable forces into delivering fat planeloads of "cargo". They will be as aborigines prostrating themselves, and worshipping before transistor radios.

How is it that so many scientists who study basic earth processes could be so wildly wrong about Paleontology, about Tectonic theory, about radiocarbon dating?.....

How indeed when science - as an overall venture - is so stunningly successful at producing an ever grow cornucopia of miraculous insights and inventions? Science delivers the goods - so why is this not so in the aforementioned areas?

Is it necessary to believe in science to function in modern society? I have a relative who sends his children to a school which teaches that the world was created, by the Christian god, about 6,000 years ago and that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time! These children are being taught accurate science even - in certain highly restricted areas far from evolutionary theory or paleontology - and so may achieve good jobs one day as, say, chemists or wastewater treatment managers.

At a certain point, as our beliefs about the world decouple from what science teaches, we become reduced to the status of aborigines gawking at radios or of pacific island cargo cultists dressing up as US GI's to bring down planeloads of goods. We become less than those "primitives" who tend to have - at the very least - pragmatic views and religious cosmologies far more sophisticated and nuanced than our own.

We become delusional.
========================================
END RHETORIC GENERATION
========================================

Jimbob - 6 billion? About 700 years, assuming 4 surviving and fertile children per mating couple, with generations spaced 20 years apart.

Bishop Usher calculated that the Earth is exactly 6008 years old, according to Genesis. A liberal interpretation but for those pesky scientists.

I'm suspicious of an overall plot, on the part of religious fundamentalists, to reimpose Flat Earth theory or - at least - to reject the Copernican model:

Theologians, Christian and otherwise, used to get around the contradiction between Biblical (or other religious) narrative and emergent scientific theory by just dispensing with literal interpretation. This was more workable in the Catholic Church because of the existence of the Pope - who is defined as God's voice and arbiter on earth. Because the Pope is defined as, essentially, a divinely inspired agent of God who has ultimate, unquestioned authority to interpret Biblical text, he has the right to, by executive fiat, declare that "despite the Biblical description, we now know that the Earth revolves around the Sun". But when the Catholic Church finally accepted the Copernican model of the Solar System (Heliocentric rather than Earth-centric) this did not result in Catholics running morally rampant for the lack of Biblical certainty. Why not? Because the Pope was there to assure the faithful that, while the Bible was NOT to be taken literally concerning the question of whether the Earth revolved around the sun or vice versa, the Ten Commandments still stood as God's word to be taken quite literally. Presto! ~ No moral dilemma!

Protestants, on the other hand, have much more at stake in the question of Biblical literalism. They have no Pope. And this can lead in rather weird directions, such as to the refutation of the Copernican Model.

In an interview with New Scientist magazine (April 22, 2000 issue), Tom Willis, [who " is one of American 'Creation Science's' movers and shakers. He heads the Creation Science Association for Mid-America and masterminded the recent school science curriculum controversy in Kansas"] comes out, at the end of the interview, to say that he does not believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun: (Interviewer) -"Just for the record, do you believe the Sun goes around the Earth or the Earth goes around the Sun?" (Willis) - "I'm sure your readers will love this, but I don't know. Every physicist who's looked at it seriously has realized that we don't know for sure."

I'm curious about which "physicists" Willis is talking to! Maybe he defines "physicists" differently from the rest of us. I imagine that the Round Earth Hypothesis will be next on the list of targeted scientific theories......and maybe the earth rests on the back of a Turtle. Maybe it's turtles all the way down....


Bottom line : this subset of religious conservatives - who deny science wholesale - is perhaps the most aggressive moral and factual relativist ideological group now walking the Earth. "Liberal Humanists" cannot hold a candle to the sophistries of these wilfully solipsistic cynics.
posted by troutfishing at 10:03 PM on December 24, 2003


Damn, trout, you write well. Longwindedly, but well.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 PM on December 24, 2003


that was brilliant. I'm not being facetious when I say that will probably prove to be a defining point in my post-adolescent life.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:23 PM on December 24, 2003


mcsweetie - I'm deeply flattered but - as someone deeply wary of the power of words (for both good and evil) - I have to ask : so what direction did my post send you off in? Or what did you think was significant in it?

fff - Thanks. I'm longwinded alright, and you'd better not be downwind either.

meanwhile - back to homunculus' post - "The plaques were made and donated by the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Phoenix, who live in a convent called Cannan in the Desert. The convent was founded in 1963 by Mother Basilea, who visited the Sinai where said said she conversed with the Supreme deity about the moral decline of the western world.

The nuns' website warns that "avalanche of moral decay is upon us... our society is disintegrating. As evidence, the nuns point to the removal of Judge Roy Moore's monument to the 10 Commandments in the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court and to the appearance of the Dalai Lama at the National Cathedral-"another illustration of how God's commandments are pushed aside, step by step. May Jesus help us and guard our hearts!"
" "
- This is blackly funny to me because I tend to agree with the sisters up to the point where they try to affix blame. Then, I feel, their religious beliefs distort their perceptions. Removing a statue? The Dalai Lama visiting the National Cathedral? Are they serious? What about massacres in Columbia, police state repression in Burma, or billions of humans around the world living on less than $2 a day?....and then there's the ongoing degradation of God's creation....what do those nuns believe it is to become evil, anyway? Is it about terms, symbols or affiliations - Buddhism, or removal of a courthouse statue ? Or is it about real acts done to living humans - who endure unspeakable suffering?
posted by troutfishing at 12:26 AM on December 25, 2003


It would be just maybe ok (but probably not) if there were a variety of religious quotes viewable at the canyon, and not just ones from the new testament...Why not have some native American, and Buddhist, and Muslim, etc? If it's really awe-inspiring, isn't it awe-inspiring to all people of many religions or none?

And kablam, the Civil War actually did have freed, runaway, and former slaves fighting as soldiers, and slavery was one of the reasons the war happened--why shouldn't it be part of the learning centers at battlefields?

And the story of what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and what led up to it, is very complex--a federally funded educational institution is not the place to whitewash (so to speak).
posted by amberglow at 5:57 AM on December 25, 2003


This is an aside. and not meant to derail the argument, which I largely agree with:

(The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor still plays to sold out audiences every day of the week, in 15 minute increments, all day.)

I may be entirely imagining it, but when I was there (as the son of a Japanese concentration camp survivor, but a very liberal one) the supporting materials were quite critical of the American command. I was really impressed.

As another aside, I was also sent to a Christian school where they taught me creationism and other such bollocks. I don't believe a jot of it, am completely atheist, and came to think of Jesus et al as just another set of fairy tales. Kids are smart enough to think for themselves if you let them.

And maybe we shouldn't have a government holiday for Christmas?
posted by bwerdmuller at 6:19 AM on December 25, 2003


Christmas is celebrated in a wide variety of ways around the world.
posted by troutfishing at 8:01 AM on December 25, 2003


amberglow: while slavery had a big part to play in the Civil War as a whole, the objection was twofold: why did they remove information about the battles at the battlefields, even downplaying that *violence* had happened there; and second, why have a section on slavery at *every* Civil War battlefield?
It is as senseless as putting a European Holocaust memorial on Iwo Jima. And Burma. And the Phillipines. After deleting what happened there.
An no, just because you believe that the battle for Iwo Jima, or Burma, or the Phillipines was important, it doesn't mean you think that the Holocaust was any the less important.
posted by kablam at 12:04 PM on December 25, 2003


...why did they remove information about the battles at the battlefields, even downplaying that *violence* had happened there; and second, why have a section on slavery at *every* Civil War battlefield?
Judging by the official websites, it's almost entirely about battles. And you'd think that one of the most important causes of the Civil War (and definitely the most important cause for millions and millions of us Americans) would be important enough to mention at every national parks site where a battle took place, no? Or doesn't it matter that people were owning other people and willing to tear this country apart over it? I realize that gets in the way of Southern sons of the confederacy or whatever worshipping their fighting ancestors (who lost, btw), but too damn bad for them--our tax dollars should be spent telling the entire story of the civil war, and not just what white southerners want to see.
posted by amberglow at 12:24 PM on December 25, 2003


It is as senseless as putting a European Holocaust memorial on Iwo Jima.

It might not be the most appropriate place, but at least it would be documenting actual history. Selling creationist textbooks at the Grand Canyon makes about as much sense as selling revisionist books at a Holocaust memorial.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:13 PM on December 25, 2003


"Just for the record, do you believe the Sun goes around the Earth or the Earth goes around the Sun?" (Willis)

Well, troutfishing, technically they both revolve around a common centre of gravity at some point in between them, so his reply was probably a very diplomatic one.

It's obviously possible to reach a population of 6 billion in 700 years (or 6,000), but if this happened in reality we'd currently have a population somewhere in the trillions by now. I'm just interested to know how Creationists explain the current global population if we've only been here 6,000 years. And the divergence of different races within that time, if we came from a single pair of people. But I won't go too much further into this because it's off-topic and not very intellectually stimulating.

Someone brought up native american legends - I assume that they are included in park literature the same way Aboriginal legends are a part of learning about natural history here in Australia. How do people feel about this? I mean, the creation myths and practices of native americans are, in reality, a religion too.
posted by Jimbob at 2:06 PM on December 25, 2003


Good question jimbob -- I guess there's more to the story than what we learned from the Brady Bunch's visit to the canyon : >
posted by amberglow at 2:15 PM on December 25, 2003


amberglow: WWII was not entirely about the holocaust and the Civil War was not entirely about slavery. Slavery was a factor, yes, but it was *not* at the forefront of everyone's hearts and minds for the duration of the war.

The objection was not web design, it was the tourism information centers at the various battlefields. Where before were observation platforms, exhibits of the uniforms and equipment used, stories of the people involved and tactical and strategic information about the battle, NOW was a display about slavery, with almost no description at all of what the big open area next to the center was about. They even took down the observation towers.

"Welcome to the Battle of Chickamauga Tourism Center. The Confederacy almost defeated the Union Army here. Now I'd like to show you a short movie about 'Alex Haley's Roots', which while not historically accurate had very good Nielson ratings, and then we can look at other exhibits about slavery."

"But what about the Battle of Chickamauga?"

"Go read a book, you republican."
posted by kablam at 5:44 PM on December 25, 2003


Chickamauga Battlefield features an 7 mile self-guiding auto tour, monuments, historical tablets, hiking trails and horse trails. The visitor center contains exhibits and a 26 minute multi-media program, the Battle of Chickamauga, that provides unique orientation to this Civil War battle. - from here

I haven't been to Chickamunga, but I trust the description the parks service puts out about its facilities. I don't know where your info comes from, but they're being run by Republicans, and have been for 3 years now, including the very guy-- Murphy -- who put the creationist books in the bookstores and wanted to eliminate gay rallies and pro-choice rallies from the visitor center videos. I don't think he's purposely pushing a slavery-focused agenda, and minimizing the fact that battles occured at battlefields. If this was a concern to more than just some white southerners upset at what they see as disrespect to their ancestors, I don't see it anywhere. Please provide some evidence.
posted by amberglow at 5:56 PM on December 25, 2003


oops...make that Chickamauga : >
posted by amberglow at 5:59 PM on December 25, 2003


furthermore, there's this: "We have had a tendency to concentrate mostly on the military tactics and battles themselves," said John Latschar, the Gettysburg superintendent. "We can appeal to a whole lot more people and provide a whole lot better understanding of what the battles are all about, if we put these battles into context and describe why they were fought."
Gettysburg hasn't yet adjusted its museum programs. But Latschar says ranger programs this summer will emphasize the causes of the war, the meaning of the Gettysburg Address, the life of the common soldier and the impact on the home front when the breadwinners left to fight. "We need to put a human face on these soldiers," said Latschar. "The time is right."

posted by amberglow at 6:03 PM on December 25, 2003


Will you be having fundamentalist fantasy or scientific fact today sir?

And here I thought Babe the Blue Ox (Paul Bunyan's friend) was responsible for the Grand Canyon. Another favored childhood fairy tale vanquished!
posted by nofundy at 6:33 PM on December 25, 2003


amberglow: what you discovered is accurate. *Now* the Civil War battlefields are getting back to the battle, as it were. However, this was based on a lot of protest by those who rejected the "de-militarization" of those sites, that had been made in years previous, which goes to my point in this thread.
This is comparable to how the Enola Gay exhibit is being shown *now*, rather than the first time it was exhibited which *also* elicited so much protest that it was forced to change.

And my original argument was that these federally managed parks, battlefields, museums and other facilities have long both been manipulated for politics, and conversely, have been forced to change what they present based upon protests by other interest groups.

While I do not approve of trying to present an unrelated and offensive theme at such a place, and the deletion of important history, I also resent their being used for patently sectarian themes.

So, do plaques belong at the Grand Canyon? I would agree with the recent Federal Judge's decision that "only if they had a historical significance". Otherwise they should be seen as a private attack on a public site, no more respectable then some kids' graffitti.
posted by kablam at 2:16 PM on December 26, 2003


kablam, everything is manipulated for politics, but sometimes there are good and valid reasons for it--if the battlefields are now talking about both the battle and the reasons for the battle now, that's all to the good. If they're not, then that's presenting an incomplete story. (Until recently, many groups never had a say in how their and our history was presented--thankfully, they now have a voice.) And slavery is not an unrelated or offensive theme--it's one of the major and central themes of US history, and its legacies continues to affect all of us.
Well, at least we agree on the plaques at the Grand Canyon : >
posted by amberglow at 2:32 PM on December 26, 2003


"Just for the record, do you believe the Sun goes around the Earth or the Earth goes around the Sun?" (Willis)

"Well, troutfishing, technically they both revolve around a common centre of gravity at some point in between them, so his reply was probably a very diplomatic one....." - Jimbob, very, very diplomatic indeed. I don't think the Earth has enough mass to deflect the Sun more than a few inches. So while that it may be technically true (I hadn't thought of it in exactly those terms before) that the Earth, the Sun, and all the other planets, asteroids, space junk, and so on co-rotate - it's nonetheless an absurd mischaracterization to say anything along those lines but : the "Earth 99.9999999999% rotates around the Sun, but since the Earth has mass, it effects the Sun, in the overall orbital equation - the teensiest, tiniest little flyspeck of a bit...."
posted by troutfishing at 3:07 PM on December 26, 2003


more on this from Signorile, including the cast of characters leading the campaign about the video.
posted by amberglow at 2:33 PM on December 30, 2003


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