I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Update on quarrel over age of Grand Canyon

In a January 16 press release, an organization called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is still complaining about the sale of a creationist book in stores in Grand Canyon National Park. PEER did not apologize for falsely charging that the National Park Service instructed the park's staff to not comment about the geologic age of the canyon.

The Jan. 16 PEER press release said,

“Our only point is that the Park Service should stop selling the book with a government seal of approval,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Nonetheless, we are delighted that the Park Service has, after three years, finally chosen to publicly and unambiguously acknowledge that the Grand Canyon is the product of evolutionary geologic forces.”

"Evolutionary geologic forces"? What in the hell is that? And how does selling the book in privately-run stores imply "a government seal of approval"? Also, the PEER press release said that the NPS expressly denied endorsing the book:

The statement [by David Barna, NPS Chief of Public Affairs] adds, “Since 2003 the park bookstore has been selling a book that gives a Creationist view of the formation of the Grand Canyon, claiming that the canyon is less than six thousand years old…We do not use the Creationist text in our teaching nor do we endorse its content.”

The January 16 PEER press release said,

Why did the Park Service approve it for sale? Under agency rules, park officials are only to allow display materials of the highest accuracy and which support approved park interpretive themes in its bookstores.

Wrong -- NPS rules do not require that books in park stores support approved park interpretive themes. An earlier (Dec. 28) PEER press release said,

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.”

The above quotation is a quote mine. The above quotation is followed immediately by the following statement in the NPS Director's Order #6 (Rule 8.4.2):

Programs, however, may acknowledge or explain other explanations of natural processes and events.

Also, "Rule 9.4 Concessioners" of Director's Order #6 says,

The NPS will review concessions programs and written materials to ensure that the information they contain is accurate, appropriate, and related to park themes, applying the same standards used to evaluate NPS interpretive and educational services. (emphasis added)

So the sale of the book in park stores does not violate any NPS rules.

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