Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Grand Canyon caters to creationists

Transcript of today's show:

To avoid offending religious fundamentalists, park rangers at the Grand Canyon are prohibited from telling visitors how old the canyon actually is. Since 2002, park officials appointed by the Bush administration have suppressed policy guidelines that instruct staff how to talk to visitors about religion and geology. In absence of these guidelines, the park service has essentially been ordered to suspend its belief in geology, and take the official position ‘no comment.’ [source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
I’m sorry but this is simply shameful. The conservative Christian government of George W. Bush is pandering again to its power base. Never mind that the inquisitiveness of rationally-thinking school children who visit this extraordinary geologic wonder will be dismissed entirely. Never mind that the duty and public service of park rangers and geologists are to educate and inform the public. “No comment?” Shame on you, George Bush.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
Kudos to George Bush. He has time and again proven to be a champion of Christian believers. The Grand Canyon is visited by Christians of all faiths and denominations from all over the world. They are our guests. And no decent host would knowingly offend its guests by exalting an unproven scientific theory that contradicts their entire worldview. This change in the park services response to the geologic age of the canyon is a long-deserved correction. A neutral stance will insure that all visitors to the Grand Canyon, no matter what their beliefs, are respected. That is the behavior of a good host.