Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rockage

Well, hey, the war in Iraq may not be going so well, but the Bush administration war on science is doing just fine. While most of our attention has been focussed on Bush's battles against climate science and stem cell research, the Bushies have quietly won one major battle against geology. Steve Benen, filling in for Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly, has the story, apparently getting his information from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'"

You can, of course, get some ages from books on sale in the Park Service bookstore, including this one:

"[A]ccording to a biblical time scale, [the Canyon] can't possibly be more than about a few thousand years old."