PARK SERVICE STICKS WITH BIBLICAL EXPLANATION FOR GRAND CANYON
January 4, 2005 7:36 AM   Subscribe

PARK SERVICE STICKS WITH BIBLICAL EXPLANATION FOR GRAND CANYON 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).
posted by Postroad (88 comments total)

 
And the Bush Administation is simply the tools of Satan.

Explains so much.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:40 AM on January 4, 2005


Anyone dumb enough to believe that the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood deserves the government they elected. The rest of you are just stuck with it, and them.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:41 AM on January 4, 2005


RTFA.

it doesn't say anything about anyone saying they believe that the grand canyon was created by the floods. it just says that they approved the continued sale of a book in the gift shop which posits that the canyon was created by the floods.

still an annoyance, but not the same issue.
posted by glenwood at 7:44 AM on January 4, 2005


I'm sorry, I'm a little slow today, can someone remind me about the physical processes behind the the biblical flood creating the Grand Canyon?
How did it work again?
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:46 AM on January 4, 2005


RTFA

"a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces"

So PEER "believe that the grand canyon was created by the flood(s)"
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:49 AM on January 4, 2005


The article is a little misleading in that it implies the Bush Administration endorses the creationist explanation for the canyon's (well, the Earth's) creation. In fact, it just permits sale of a book in their gift shop.

When I was there a year or two ago, I overhead a busload of Christians listening to their leader espouse the usual Creationist twaddle, and didn't think that they had any less right to see the Canyon like that, and, by extension, I think they have the right to go into the bookstore and buy a book that explains how Noah's flood created the canyon or whatever they believe.

Still, the appearence of endorsement is there...
posted by kozad at 7:50 AM on January 4, 2005


Ninja: I think it has to to with the fact that the earth has only been around for about 6000? years according to the bible if you count all the begats.

That's why there's the beef with biology, geology, astronomy...I forget how dinosaurs are explained away.

The book in question should be sold...in the fiction section.
posted by MrMulan at 7:51 AM on January 4, 2005


In a related story, turns out The Rocky Mountains are made of Pixie Dust.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:52 AM on January 4, 2005


Thanks Middle America. I hate you.
posted by orange clock at 7:54 AM on January 4, 2005


The Ark had two paul bunyans aboard - but - quarrelling over a babe, one fell out, cracking the Earth open, creating the geoform we know now as the Grand Canyon. This also explains the sad lack of bunyans today, as without a mate, the race went extinct.
posted by 31d1 at 7:55 AM on January 4, 2005


Of course. Silly me.
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:59 AM on January 4, 2005


dinosaurs = jesus horses
posted by slapshot57 at 7:59 AM on January 4, 2005


The book is called "The Grand Canyon: An Alternative View" so it's not like the park service's official line is creationist. I see no reason why this shouldn't be available to people who want to buy it.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:01 AM on January 4, 2005


Agreed - but a nice sticker on the front would perhaps be fitting?
posted by 31d1 at 8:03 AM on January 4, 2005


We're about five minutes away from an Erich von Däniken comeback, aren't we?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:03 AM on January 4, 2005


Nothing in the story suggests the Bush administration believes the "Noah" theory, and frankly banning the book undermines freedom of the press anyway, so who cares if the book is floating around out there among hundreds of more prominent scientific texts? The whole article deserves a big ol' shrug.

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.”

In other news, Jeff Ruch is a preening, alarmist nitwit who is deliberately misconstruing the events to make himself sound more politically righteous.
posted by dhoyt at 8:07 AM on January 4, 2005


Beautiful.

What say some of us get together and write a few hundred books claiming different ways it could have been created?

I'm taking Thor's hammer splitting open the Earth. Someone else can take the Indian migration from Asia wore it down with their feet as they proceeded to South America. Maybe an Alien Spacecraft aiming for Grover's Mill NJ got lost and crash landed there? It could be a whole series!

And the Bush administration would have to stock them because they've proven that believing something makes it just as valid as scientific theory backed by observation and testing.
posted by nathanrudy at 8:14 AM on January 4, 2005


In a related story, turns out The Rocky Mountains are made of Pixie Dust.

Fuzzy, you owe me a new keyboard per I just spit coffee all over it laughing at your statement.
posted by Hands of Manos at 8:14 AM on January 4, 2005


Although, on a related theme, I wouldn't mind finding this fanciful myth on sale somewhere appropriate.

I suppose there's a bias against Christianity in circumstances like this because we're ashamed that our ancestors may have fallen for these old stories to the extent that they were moved to crush all competing story books and establish the one true tale. Damned if we're going to let people make that same mistake again.
Silly old buffers should have known better than to think the world was washed away in a flood.

Fancies - good.
Fanaticism - bad.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:15 AM on January 4, 2005


dhoyt -- How does banning the book violate freedom of the press? It is for sale in a government book store, and the idea it to take it OUT of the government book store.

These people can still sell it on EBay or in any book store as stupid as the current leadership of the Parks Department.

You have a right to produce your works of fiction like this one, but not to have the government sell it for you in its gift shops.
posted by nathanrudy at 8:16 AM on January 4, 2005


2 things:

1. Sudden geological change should be as plausible, real, and obvious to everyone on this list as last week's tsunami. 500 mph waves is something straight out of science fiction -- not even The Day After Tomorrow had waves ripping by faster than Jumbo Jets at full throttle.
2. The real meaning of the Park service's decision is not that religion has trumped the government -- but that money has. It is the SALES of the book that matter most. The announcement of a scandalous book creates interest, interest creates sales, and the fact that book sales outweigh any scientific OR religious consideration of the facts is the real punchline of the story.
posted by fedextruck at 8:17 AM on January 4, 2005


pseudo-self link coming, but my husband is a bit of an expert on church-state issues. he did a couple of posts back when this first happened that explains why this is not a good thing.

on preview, nathanrudy sums it up pretty nicely
posted by evening at 8:20 AM on January 4, 2005


Creationists certainly have the right to believe and publish and proselytize what they wish, but they don't have the right to have the federal government endorse demonstrably false and explicitly religious ideas about geology.

RTFA: Read The First Amendment.
posted by gramschmidt at 8:24 AM on January 4, 2005


My attorney will be submitting my new book, Grand Canyon: Pride of the Rock Gnomes, to the government on Friday. I expect a public endorsement and prominent bookstore placement or it's gonna get ugly.
posted by rushmc at 8:26 AM on January 4, 2005


fedextruck, Tsunami only travel at those speeds at their creation and only in deep water. Resistance from surrounding water slows the wave initially and the rising sea bed slows the wave considerably when it approaches land.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:27 AM on January 4, 2005


Obviously, this is totally silly. I'm sure are books for sale at the giftshop that detail Native American myths about creation as well... (the horror!)

Remember tolerance... that great value that America was founded on? It works both ways...
posted by ph00dz at 8:27 AM on January 4, 2005


Nathanrudy: My explanation of how the universe was created: God farted, and guess what?... he didn't even notice! It's a KISS and Ockham's Razor explanation, without any evidence to back it up.
posted by MrMulan at 8:27 AM on January 4, 2005


ph00dz: You said it...I'm sure are books for sale at the giftshop that detail Native American myths about creation as well... (the horror!)

Ask a Native American and I'll wager they accept it as a myth. Now do the same thing to a christian fundie.
posted by MrMulan at 8:32 AM on January 4, 2005


I guess I didn't mean a capital-F constitutional Freedom of the Press issue; I meant a practical issue where the gov't chooses to apply it in a effort to seem inclusive. I don't like mixing church & state either, but I'm not really reading any nefarious intent into this book approval either. Intent aside, I do see where it could set a bad precedent.

I'm sure are books for sale at the giftshop that detail Native American myths about creation as well

Oh come on. We were talking about Xtianity. What's more fashionable than poetic, beautiful Native American creation myths? ;)
posted by dhoyt at 8:35 AM on January 4, 2005


My attorney will be submitting my new book, Grand Canyon: Pride of the Rock Gnomes, to the government on Friday. I expect a public endorsement and prominent bookstore placement or it's gonna get ugly.

Damned funny. I'm a bit tired of having "faith-based" or "religion-oriented" translated into "Christian" by this administration. Before I go off on a rant, though - does the store also carry a book describing the Native American belief on the creation of the Grand Canyon? Or anyone else's take on it, for that matter? And are they sold in the same section? (I get so tired of seeing my Norse brethren's religious treatises sold under "Mythology", while the inane scribbling of Christians gets the "Religion" section...)

If so, I rescind my rant. If not, well, I'm rooting for the rock gnomes.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:37 AM on January 4, 2005


The difference between selling Native American myths about the Grand Canyon (if they do sell them) and selling crap made up by recent descendents of colonists, is that the native myths have relevance to the region and are of educational value. Nobody is going to try to persuade their kids that what's in those N.A. books is the truth, only that it's what the people who lived there of old believed.

Whereas the creationist garbage is meant to persuade. We're talking about the difference between pop anthropology and proseletizing. To publish books of native myths is to publish a truth that's of interest to anyone who wishes a little insight into the region. To publish maed up creationist garbage -- and not call it fiction -- is to publish a lie.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:51 AM on January 4, 2005


they apparently had this book in the Natural Science section of the store, and wasn't moved to the Inspirational secion until some employees complained. Natural Science??

and the way in which the administration has gone about this whole thing is typical of everything else they've done. Lieing about a legal review being done, hushing up the issue, etc.

even in the inspriation section, why do they even have that section? I wonder what other books are there, as others have said. doing this, though, just opens them up to the opportunity of discrimating against other religions -- now they can't justifiably turn down anyone else's theory.

here is the original thread on the subject.
posted by evening at 8:57 AM on January 4, 2005


rushmc, if you do that I will have no choice but to publish Terrorists Beneath Our Feet: Why the Liberal Media Won't Tell You the Truth About the Rock Gnome Agenda wherein I will explain how your pro-Gnome propaganda is ruining this great country.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:58 AM on January 4, 2005


ph00dz opined:

Remember tolerance... that great value that America was founded on? It works both ways...

Yes, I'm reminded of that every time some Bible-thumping, snake-handling, Jesus fearing congregation invites me into their church to speak to them at length about why God doesn't actually exist and why their Bible is pure codswallop and then lets me set up a table selling books by George Smith and Richard Dawkins.

Oh wait, that has yet to happen. In fact, I've never heard of that happening. In fact, whenever I go into a "Christian Bookstore", I find that they are usually pretty thin on works actually critical of Christianity and presenting a differing opinion, even when, as in the case of Creationism, they are egregiously and dishonestly wrong.

So maybe that tolerance thing only works "both ways" when fundy shit-for-brains want it to work their way.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 8:59 AM on January 4, 2005


Fuck religion. I'm tired of people and their sky-gods telling me what to do.
posted by bardic at 9:01 AM on January 4, 2005


(I get so tired of seeing my Norse brethren's religious treatises sold under "Mythology", while the inane scribbling of Christians gets the "Religion" section...)

This falls under fedextruck's point #2. Filing of books in bookstores has nothing to do with the bookstore trying to make a pronouncement about the book's contents and everything to do with the bookstore trying to sell the book.

If the bookstore folks thought they could sell more copies of the Bible by shelving it under "Mythology" or more copies of The Saga of the Volsungs by shelving it under "Religion" or more copies of Origin of the Species by shelving it with the Harlaquin Romance Novels, they would.
posted by straight at 9:05 AM on January 4, 2005


fedextruck: Your first point is awfully lacking in facts. The speed of a wave is a very easy thing to calculate, and I for one was not at all surprised to hear how fast the tsunami waves travelled. (on preview: someone else said this better above) I'm sure anyone with even slightly more knowledge of geology than I have would come to the same conclusion. As for sudden geologic change - sure, that's accepted, and there are signs you can look for to identify how fast or slow something occurred in a formation like the grand canyon. In this case, scientific evidence clearly shows a process that was not sudden. That's not up for debate, really.

Your second point is spot on. This is definitely about the money (or capital, I guess would be the better term) involved in allowing the sale of the book. Some people have something to gain by doing so. What's important, though, is that our tax dollars fund initiatives based on truth and logic, not conviction of beliefs or mythology. There are countless explanations one can make up for the grand canyon's existence, but these aren't all included in the bookstore, nor should they be. The public money spent on these kinds of installations should strictly fund factual and scientific explanations. Now we'll have people running around with these books, holding them up and saying "look what I got at the grand canyon Book Store!" as if that somehow endorses the ideas in the book - which in many ways, it does.
posted by odinsdream at 9:06 AM on January 4, 2005


"still an annoyance, but not the same issue."

Of course it isn't... but it's so much more Metafilter to deliberately mis-state the event and then have a lot of folks who never read it put the most anti-christian, anti-bush spin on it they can.

Metafilter on politics is a little like Slashdot on operating systems and piracy.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:16 AM on January 4, 2005


Metafilter on politics is a little like Slashdot on operating systems and piracy.
posted by soulhuntre at 12:16 PM EST on January 4


Well you know we're right.
posted by orange clock at 9:23 AM on January 4, 2005


I've no real problem with the NPS selling anything they want so long as it is properly presented.

Creationism in the "Natural Science" section? Uh-uh.

Creationism along with the First Nations myths along with Sasquatch stories, all in the "Mythology" or "Alternative Views" or "Crackpot" sections? Sure thing.

It's posing Creationism as a legitimate scientific theory that is the problem, not the selling of the book.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 AM on January 4, 2005


Formless One: Let us consider the "inane scribbling of Christians" and see what we shall discard, in addition to The New Testament. A partial list would rid the world of these inane scribblers: St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Martin Luther, William Shakespeare, Galileo, Newton, Bacon, Vico, William Blake, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, E.F. Schumacher, Jacques Ellul, Walter Ong, Amintore Fanfani, Marshall McLuhan, Walker Percy, Mortimer Adler, Stanley Jaki, Eric Voegelin -- as well as the vast majority of the writers of that silly document, the American Constitution, the very one that guarantees you the freedom of speech to post inane and historically blind pseudo-intellectualisms on public weblogs.
posted by fedextruck at 9:24 AM on January 4, 2005


ph00dz -- Remember tolerance... that great value that America was founded on? It works both ways

Sorry-- you are wrong here. This issue is crucial.

This is part of the problem -- "tolerance" will be the downfall of the reality-based community, and the fundies know it. They are using "tolerance" as a wedge, to break apart the issue and turn it into a "freedom of speech" fiasco.

Issues just like this --creationsit twaddle, warmed over "intelligent design" theory, "faith-based initiatives" -- are being used all across the country to further break down the rational minds of Americans. Just google "wedge evolution fundamentalism" if you haven't seen this before.

That is why this is important. Remember the death by a thousand cuts?
posted by mooncrow at 9:28 AM on January 4, 2005


The Grand Canyon ain't nothing but my beanhole.
posted by eatitlive at 9:29 AM on January 4, 2005


[T]he 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.”

While it's nice that the NPS is making money, that particular source of money is nauseating.

In any case, the government allowing the book to be sold is indicating approval of the book's contents.
posted by deborah at 9:34 AM on January 4, 2005


fedextruck -- yikes -- what are you smoking?

How do you make this leap? Seems to me you also "post inane and historically blind pseudo-intellectualisms on public weblogs" in the very moment you dismiss this claim by extending this argument to such absurdity.

There is a "fundamental" difference between the work of the authors you mention, and the claptrap being foisted on the American publc. It is intellectually dishonest not to see it, and not to proclaim it for what it is.

Many X-ians are superbly sensitive to criticism of their "intellects" and "sincerity" and "beliefs" -- well, sorry, but your entire tribe doesn't have a very good historical record of dealing with people who think and say things differently. Please don't try to deny the record of the past millenia.

The issue here is how this single incident in the Grand Canyon is but the tip of the wedge being driven into intellectually honest thinking. It is but the tip of a very calculated and cynical wedge, which is being used to advance an agenda.

For this group of fundamentalist X-ians, the ends justify the means -- their god approves of any deception, any ruse, any subterfuge in order to advance their agenda.

I have a problem with intellectually honest X-ians -- who make up the large part of the group, I'd wager -- who refuse to point out the error of the fundy X-ians. There is a certain amount of complacency and tolerance, I'm sure.

But there is an equal amount of plain old FEAR.
posted by mooncrow at 9:44 AM on January 4, 2005


Intent aside, I do see where it could set a bad precedent.

Yeah, imagine if they started teaching this stuff in state-sponsored schools. Or am I being an alarmist nitwit?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:47 AM on January 4, 2005


Someone should write a book explaining how the Grand Canyon was created by aliens building an intergalactic highway but was never completed because their funding ran out. Wait a second, that sounds a lot like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy... coming soon to a theatre near you.
posted by disgruntled at 10:02 AM on January 4, 2005


Hm. The pro-Bushies who were so vocal on political MeFi threads before seem awfully silent. Isn't this a big victory that you guys should be proud of? I guess we can give you, and every Bush voter, a big "thank you" for helping to make this all possible.

Really, I don't see the point at outrage at Bush from the other MeFi posters, here. His administration is just doing what they said it would do. Those who supported the administration are to blame for this one.
posted by deanc at 10:07 AM on January 4, 2005


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.

I'm surprised that this hasn't been talked about more, since I think it's the larger issue here.

Of course it all depends on the psalm.

Psalms 5:9
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with destruction.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongue they speak deceit.

posted by patrickje at 10:13 AM on January 4, 2005


Armitage Shanks said, "Yeah, imagine if they started teaching this stuff in state-sponsored schools. Or am I being an alarmist nitwit?"

We could imagine all kinds of kooky situations which aren't occurring. Maybe we could even get all worked up about them...
posted by ph00dz at 10:22 AM on January 4, 2005


ordered that bronze plaques bearing Psalm verses be returned and reinstalled at canyon overlooks.
What are the verses?
posted by thomcatspike at 10:31 AM on January 4, 2005


"Christians" and "fundamentalist Christians" are not one and the same.

Ask people of faith like the Reverend Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, or Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on January 4, 2005


dinosaurs = jesus horses

LSHSSOK (Okay, lauging so hard spit soda on keyboard)

Psalms 5:9
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with destruction.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongue they speak deceit.


Inspired.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 10:33 AM on January 4, 2005


"Christians" and "fundamentalist Christians" are not one and the same.

Ask people of faith like the Reverend Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, or Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education.

And, ph00dz, check the NCSE's website for stories about public school systems where creationism and/or "intelligent design" are, in fact, being taught. Right now.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:34 AM on January 4, 2005


William Blake was hardly a Christian, given that he invented his own unique pantheon. Not a very Christian thing to do.
posted by bardic at 10:54 AM on January 4, 2005


MoonCrow: Good points, all. The "tribe" you speak of is perhaps not my own, but I do think it worth considering for the sake of the body politic and our mutual ensured survival. Both science and religion tell a story, or a theory of how what is has come to be. Both have their ability to persuade, often in a way that bifurcates on and satisfies both the why/how and emotion/reason aspects of our minds. My favorite quote on how to see both sides best is from this article, in which the author states:

"Science and religion will be hopeful, useful, and life-giving only if we learn to read them with new humility-as tales, as limited human renderings of the Truth. If we continue to read them, either science or Scripture, as giving us Truth direct and final, then all their hope and promise turn to dust. Science read as universal truth, not a human telling, degenerates to technological enslavement and people flee it in despair. Scripture read as universal Truth, not a human telling, degenerates to Inquisition, Jihad, Holocaust, and people flee it in despair. In either case, certainty abolishes hope, and robs us of renewal."

Ultimately, neither science nor religion can give us absolute certainty, and it is there, in the human desire for that certainty, that I think we err most. That we "certainly" desire this certainty, and yet are consistently unable to achieve it, is the stuff history is made of. But if we ultimately "cannot" know, I think all books on the subject should be allowed by all governments on the planet. The cream always rises to the top -- that theory with the most explanatory power, the greatest ability to persuade the most amount of people (under conditions in which they are freely choosing among alternatives), seems best. I find it disingenuous in the extreme to say that in a bookstore where 99% are the "official" science explanations are on the shelf, and one single book offers "a different view" -- that THAT fact alone constitutes some sort of theocratic threat from the allegedly pro-religion government. In fact, I'm quite suspicious that the alleged pro-Christian government (i.e., Bush) is really anything other than a marketing/voting means to an end. From the Alabama ruling on the ten commandments to gay marriage to pro-life issues, all one sees from them is lip service and no actual commitment -- a pretend carrying of the ball until cultural forces cause a fumble. Like the Christian crosses worn by Britney or Madonna, their appeal to the "religious right" is simply a surface signal that symbolizes no real underlying belief or faith in anything other than market forces -- which is why, in my original post, I made the second point that the SALES of the book are the key issue, which they still are. That which makes money is that which is the good. There is no other publicaly acknowledged morality in America today. Follow the money in Iraq and elsewhere for the obviousness of this, and how it is the real leader of American foreign interests.

Meanwhile, no, I do not see this one book as a thin edge of a cynical wedge set out by fundies to destroy reason and science in American public life. Chances are good you would find some of the thinking of the top theorists on creationism and/or "intelligent design" to be at least rational, perhaps even partially persuasive. The fundamental assumption of all science is the dogmatic (and unprovable) faith-based assumption that we live in a static universe, in which the laws of nature are fixed and immovable. That such a view is repeatedly called into question by historical events, and that such a view is itself a linguistic trap designed to disallow the human mind from considering the very possibility of a miracle (defined as "the temporary suspension of natural law") is something that all of science's theories (and most of its theorists) are consistently unwilling to acknowledge, let alone consider challenging. So it IS a debate worth having, I believe, but only if one approaches it seriously, conscientiously, and without the inanity or knee-jerk reactionary-ness of the arrogance of certainty (on either side). In answer to your question -- What are you smoking? -- that is perhaps the problem -- I haven't smoked anything yet this morning. Will remedy this problem post-haste and haste-post.
posted by fedextruck at 11:01 AM on January 4, 2005


Formless One: Let us consider the "inane scribbling of Christians" and see what we shall discard, in addition to The New Testament. A partial list would rid the world of these inane scribblers: St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Martin Luther, William Shakespeare, Galileo, Newton, Bacon, Vico, William Blake, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, E.F. Schumacher, Jacques Ellul, Walter Ong, Amintore Fanfani, Marshall McLuhan, Walker Percy, Mortimer Adler, Stanley Jaki, Eric Voegelin -- as well as the vast majority of the writers of that silly document, the American Constitution, the very one that guarantees you the freedom of speech to post inane and historically blind pseudo-intellectualisms on public weblogs.

The point was that some christians scribble things that are innane, not that all christian scribblings are innane. There's a big difference, but you wasted an enormous amount of time pretending you didn't see it. As to "what we shall discard," it's not about banning a book. It's about not allowing it to be sold, by the government of all the people, alongside fact-based scientific discussions of the origins of land formations.

Christianity and its myths are part of a religion, which makes it no better or no worse than any other religion and its myths. The disturbing part is how people are forgetting this, and trying to teach one particular creation story over all the others, and in place of, not alongside, the actual fact-based truth of how things work.
posted by odinsdream at 11:04 AM on January 4, 2005


fedextruck, you seem to not understand science, or it was very poorly explained and taught to you.

Example: Here is a rock, why is it here?

Science: I will examine other rocks, and their placement. I will attempt to understand how rocks move from place to place. I will, myself, move some rocks, and observe how they land. After these steps, I will propose a hypothesis as to why this rock is here, and future scientists will expand on my foundation, modifying it as they see fit, ever increasing humanity's understanding of rocks and their placements.

Religion: God placed this rock here, for us.
posted by odinsdream at 11:10 AM on January 4, 2005


the very one that guarantees you the freedom of speech to post inane and historically blind pseudo-intellectualisms on public weblogs

Given that fundy nutjobs have succeeded in posting their inane and historically blind pseudo-intellectualisms in government-funded bookstores and schools, FormlessOne seems to have the short end of the stick here.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:14 AM on January 4, 2005


Having recently been to the GC (and sought out the book), I think it could be pretty confusing to the person who wants a pretty picture book and picks it over the others because it's:

a) an affordable, high-quality production
b) featured all by itself on a display
c) got some Bible verses about nature.

I suspect that many people who buy it don't realize the political message until they get home and actually read the darn thing.
posted by kenneth at 11:15 AM on January 4, 2005


Maybe they should just make a new "Silly" category and put the book in there.

I, personally, think one of the turtles slipped.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:17 AM on January 4, 2005


Ultimately, neither science nor religion can give us absolute certainty, and it is there, in the human desire for that certainty, that I think we err most.

"One on side, we have scientists, with their facts, and on the other we have...a talking snake."

- David Cross
posted by iamck at 11:21 AM on January 4, 2005


Chances are good you would find some of the thinking of the top theorists on creationism and/or "intelligent design" to be at least rational, perhaps even partially persuasive.

Un-effing-likely.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:24 AM on January 4, 2005


The fundamental assumption of all science is the dogmatic (and unprovable) faith-based assumption that we live in a static universe, in which the laws of nature are fixed and immovable.

Blatantly untrue. Absurdly untrue. You should not write such untruths.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 AM on January 4, 2005


Nathanrudy: Aye! Thor did it in a fit of rage after baby-sitting Leif Eriksson who kept getting in trouble with the native Americans while he was there. That's after all how the cliffs of Dover were created, as told by high priest Douglas Adams The long Dark Teatime of the soul
posted by dabitch at 11:36 AM on January 4, 2005


Extinguished theologians lie about the cradles of every science as the strangled snakes besides that of Hercules. —Charles Darwin
posted by rushmc at 11:41 AM on January 4, 2005


If the Grand Canyon wasn't made during Noah's flood, then how do you explain all the unicorn bones scattered about? Well?
posted by unsupervised at 11:44 AM on January 4, 2005


Never read a rational creationist text. Never read a rational "intelligent design" text that didn't wind up taking the Teilhard de Chardin path of "evolution happened exactly as science tells us, which is apparently part of God's mysterious plan".

Although that is my personal belief, it's true that one could think of it, as someone described it to me at the last Randi Foundation conference, as "a big dish of sanity with a little parsley of delusion for garnish."
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:46 AM on January 4, 2005


I think that the Grand Canyon is actually Gaea's labia majora.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:47 AM on January 4, 2005


The fundamental assumption of all science is the dogmatic (and unprovable) faith-based assumption that we live in a static universe, in which the laws of nature are fixed and immovable.

There exists a universe in which this statement makes sense.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:48 AM on January 4, 2005


im not saying this video is true or anything but this video explains how the grand canyon was created by the flood. creation and miracles science is the new religion.
posted by godseyeview at 11:49 AM on January 4, 2005


fedextruck -- I appreciate your argument, and further appreciate your attempt to examine this issue more fully. However, I still would point out the problem of this particular government endorsement of a religious idea, to the benefit of this particular X-ian viewpoint.

Further, I'd point out that the idea of using such issues (creationist books, intelliegent design curriculum, defense of marriage amendment, faith-based intitiatives, etc) to drive wedges into American culture is not a random, unplanned happenstance. It is a plan, and it has been articulated for many years. While they have not been very loud about it, there has been enough written and spoken publically by various fundy X-ians that these ideas have become solidified.

That is more than worrying -- it is illegal, under the Constitution of the US. Which is why the changes to the Constitution which have been proposed by these same fundy X-ians is even more worrisome.

My concern isn't that they should be allowed to speak. Let them, and let the real debate proceed. I'm concerned that they would circumvent the ordinary marketplace of ideas by way of the endorsement of the government.

That is not a trivial problem.
posted by mooncrow at 11:58 AM on January 4, 2005


Theres a few (arguably incorrect but at least) sane creationists around....like Michael Behe. He's an engaging writer and he seems to pass the test of raising points that are falsifiable and/or worth taking the trouble to refute.
posted by 31d1 at 12:12 PM on January 4, 2005


I should have specified Judeo-Christian creationist. I got no problems with Hindu creationists.
posted by 31d1 at 12:15 PM on January 4, 2005


While I can't say whether or not there are books on the creation myths of the Native Americans in the Grand Canyon gift shops, I do know that you won't find any at the on-line gift shop ... but you will find this Creationist book for sale there.
posted by Orb at 12:18 PM on January 4, 2005


fedextruck, your list includes a very wide range of different believers, some of whom don't seem to belong there at all - Shakespeare? "To be or not to be?" (he doesn't say "to be or to go to heaven")- or what about, "Out, out, brief candle; life's but a walking shadow, a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and is no more"? I sure don't remember much discussion of jesus in his work. One reason he's so widely beloved is because he really struggles with the human condition, rather than subscribing to fairy tales.

The writers of the constitution are also a seriously mixed bunch, but clearly they weren't fundies, and many of them were deists, which not only is not christianity, but doesn't involve any sort of personal/knowable god at all.

The comparison to the native american mythology seems misguided, as the authors of books on native american mythology are unlikely to present it as science, whereas the authors of this book intend it as science - no matter where the bookstore puts it or where you & I see it fitting, it is presented by the writers of the book as if it were explaining geology and fact.
posted by mdn at 12:22 PM on January 4, 2005


Well, if I may pull out my pragmatist freedom-of-speech philosophy, I would argue that it is better to have these things debated in the public eye, than to be removed from the bookshelves.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:36 PM on January 4, 2005


I think that the Grand Canyon is actually Gaea's labia majora.

That's some painful vagina dentata there...
posted by rushmc at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2005


Well, if I may pull out my pragmatist freedom-of-speech philosophy, I would argue that it is better to have these things debated in the public eye, than to be removed from the bookshelves.

Hey KirkJob, why don't you and your reason and sanity go somewhere else! This is about hot under the collar, not balanced forethought of ideas.

SHEESH!
posted by OhPuhLeez at 12:49 PM on January 4, 2005


I really wish God would just settle this Creation/Evolution debate once and for all.
posted by eatitlive at 12:58 PM on January 4, 2005


Yuh see, whuts wrong with all this Renay-sance and book larnin' and modern science and all that is people done become too durn smart for us to tell 'em whut to do anymore. We cain't put our will over on folks whut ain't stupid, yuh see? So whut we need to do is make sure we take over the books an' the larnin' and the schools and whatnot, and make sure everybody gets taught the old tried'n'true God-Fearing Word of thuh Bible, so's we can make sure ever'thin goes our way again. Once everyone's all dumbed up we can make 'em all do whut we want.

/power-mongers

I personally won't tolerate people pushing ideas that are just flat wrong. Simple as that. Populations with heads full of wrong ideas are stupid, generally. We really want to avoid that, seeing as how it's served us so far.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:26 PM on January 4, 2005


political capitol


/subliminal
posted by LouReedsSon at 2:04 PM on January 4, 2005


since it has not been said yet:

PressReleaseFilter. and i suppose that's just watered down NewsFilter.
posted by Igor XA at 2:11 PM on January 4, 2005


31d1, Michael Behe is a sham artist who continually shrugs off valid and correct criticisms to his work. His argument is erudite enough that it can't easily be refuted by a layperson, but when a real scientist (like David Haig) rebuts specific elements of his argument, he does not respond. He's as deceptive as the rest of the creationists, and does not play by the rules of falsification.
posted by painquale at 2:17 PM on January 4, 2005


Once, when the Prawn Queen was away and the Jackels of Havoc were off their leash, the stars in the sky aligned in such a way as to arouse the Great Mud Goddess and make her seek out a lover. She found a mere mortal and in the throes of her passion, his body broke under her and his bones were pushed deep into the dirt. The Great Mud Goddess was not done, so she let loose her pigs.

Her pigs rooted and rooted through the earth, digging deeper and deeper. They uncovered some, but not all of his bones. The Great Mud Goddess screamed with desire and the pigs rooted and rooted some more. The pigs roamed for miles pushing away the earth and forming a large channel. When the last bone was found, The Great Mud Goddess cried with relief and a storm of tears flooded the channel. The pigs were washed away. And The Great Mud Goddess went home.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:01 PM on January 4, 2005


Shit, didn't we already go through this, like, almost 400 years ago? And then 400 years before that? Can we just give the Protestants and born agains their own country and be done with it?
posted by krinklyfig at 4:11 PM on January 4, 2005


Ooh, nice, Secret Life of Gravy! Do Revelations!
posted by rushmc at 5:13 PM on January 4, 2005


> Fuck religion. I'm tired of people and their sky-gods telling
> me what to do. posted by bardic at 10:01 AM MST on
> January 4

Hallejulah.

I am getting a little tired of tolerance, myself, in the face of an entire species' (ours) history dominated by the wishful thinking & ugly mythology of countless generations. That's not to say I'm planning on giving up tolerance, and not just because I'm on the team currently on the defensive (evidence and clear thinking notwithstanding...).

Another poster remarked:

> "Formless One: Let us consider the "inane scribbling of
> Christians" and see what we shall discard..."

Sorry, but having been a member of a previous generation and/or religious persuasion and/or author (and thus subject to its own, historical versions of our own species-wide delusions) doesn't guarantee applicability to this argument.

And just because someone like Newton (or anyone else) writes about religious topics, doesn't mean that a)we discount as you suggest) those things they produced that are understood (via demonstration!) to be true or b) we feel compelled to accept those things they produced that are understood (by lack of evidence en toto) to be false or completely unverified.

If I, and a gazillion of my followers over a hundred generations, were to state that the world had been created by little blue eleves that could eat nothing but red licorice and were responsible for all of those weird lights in the sky over Phoenix at night, well...

Would I then be speaking 'truth', by virtue of all of the otherwise smart people who believed me? Or would I be yet another victim of the religion virus?

By the relevant definitions, religion is a virus. It amounts to a culturally infectuous mental illness.
posted by spincycle at 11:36 PM on January 4, 2005


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