T Nation

Grand Canyon vs. Bush Admin.

HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON?T SAY ? Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

Washington, DC ? 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.??

In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.

In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters and members of Congress that there would be a high-level policy review of the issue.

According to a recent NPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PEER, no such review was ever requested, let alone conducted or completed.

Park officials have defended the decision to approve the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, claiming that park bookstores are like libraries, where the broadest range of views are displayed. In fact, however, both law and park policies make it clear that the park bookstores are more like schoolrooms rather than libraries. As such, materials are only to reflect the highest quality science and are supposed to closely support approved interpretive themes. Moreover, unlike a library the approval process is very selective. Records released to PEER show that during 2003, Grand Canyon officials rejected 22 books and other products for bookstore placement while approving only one new sale item ? the creationist book.

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.?

?As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan,? Ruch added, pointing to the fact that previous NPS leadership ignored strong protests from both its own scientists and leading geological societies against the agency approval of the creationist book. ?We sincerely hope that the new Director of the Park Service now has the autonomy to do her job.?

Hilarious or pathetic… it’s a tough call.

[quote]OKLAHOMA STATE wrote:
“HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY”[/quote]

There goes the only known source for that critically important information!

Bastards!

[quote]pookie wrote:
OKLAHOMA STATE wrote:
“HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY”

There goes the only known source for that critically important information!

Bastards!
[/quote]

That’s the not the point. The point is that those ignorami have the political muscle to rid the world they live in from any reality that might collide with their view.

[quote]pookie wrote:
There goes the only known source for that critically important information!

Bastards!
[/quote]

Yeah, because when you’re actually VISITING the Grand Canyon, that’s really not a good time to ask questions about the Grand Canyon.

That’s retarded in way only religion can be.

Science is science, religion is religion, and never the twain shall meet.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry. The bill to change the value of pi to exactly three was introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon Society, a traditional values group. Governor Guy Hunt says he will sign it into law on Wednesday.

The law took the state’s engineering community by surprise. “It would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi,” said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. According to Bergman, pi is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories.

Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by lawmakers. Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point and can never be known exactly. Nevertheless, she said, pi is precisely defined by mathematics to be “3.14159, plus as many more digits as you have time to calculate”.

“I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it is time for them to admit it,” said Lawson. “The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the alter font of Solomon’s Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass.”

Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer could harm students’ self-esteem. “We need to return to some absolutes in our society,” he said, “the Bible does not say that the font was thirty-something cubits. Plain reading says thirty cubits. Period.”

Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in support of the bill before the legislature in Montgomery on Monday. “Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry.” Humbleys is working on a theory which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be “isotropic”, or the same in all directions. “There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them,” says Humbleys. Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he says. He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value for the ratio of circumference to diameter. “Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for themselves,” suggests Humbleys, “its not exactly rocket science.”

Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support the bill, agrees. He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the bill. “These nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was breathtaking,” Learned said. “Their prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature’s puissance.”

Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way math is taught to Alabama’s children. One member of the state school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state’s math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an alternative. She said, “As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open to all interpretations.” She looks forward to students having the freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have.

Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state legislature has attempted to redefine the value of pi. A legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the value of pi to three.

According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number. Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical elite. Solomon Society member Lawson agrees. “We just want to return pi to its traditional value,” he said, “which, according to the Bible, is three.”

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
Science is science, religion is religion, and never the twain shall meet.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry. The bill to change the value of pi to exactly three was introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon Society, a traditional values group. Governor Guy Hunt says he will sign it into law on Wednesday.

The law took the state’s engineering community by surprise. “It would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi,” said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. According to Bergman, pi is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories.

Prof. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by lawmakers. Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point and can never be known exactly. Nevertheless, she said, pi is precisely defined by mathematics to be “3.14159, plus as many more digits as you have time to calculate”.

“I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it is time for them to admit it,” said Lawson. “The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the alter font of Solomon’s Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass.”

Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer could harm students’ self-esteem. “We need to return to some absolutes in our society,” he said, “the Bible does not say that the font was thirty-something cubits. Plain reading says thirty cubits. Period.”

Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in support of the bill before the legislature in Montgomery on Monday. “Pi is merely an artifact of Euclidean geometry.” Humbleys is working on a theory which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be “isotropic”, or the same in all directions. “There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them,” says Humbleys. Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he says. He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value for the ratio of circumference to diameter. “Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for themselves,” suggests Humbleys, “its not exactly rocket science.”

Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support the bill, agrees. He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the bill. “These nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was breathtaking,” Learned said. “Their prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature’s puissance.”

Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way math is taught to Alabama’s children. One member of the state school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state’s math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an alternative. She said, “As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open to all interpretations.” She looks forward to students having the freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have.

Robert S. Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state legislature has attempted to redefine the value of pi. A legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the value of pi to three.

According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number. Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical elite. Solomon Society member Lawson agrees. “We just want to return pi to its traditional value,” he said, “which, according to the Bible, is three.”[/quote]

Science is science, religion is religion, and there is a sucker born every minute. It is a pure Internet hoax, nearly a decade old. Question is: I wonder how many “Enlightened” folks took it as pure truth and now talk of it as understood reality?

http://www.snopes.com/religion/pi.htm

[i]Origins: This
wonderful bit of creative writing began circulating on the Internet in April 1998. Written by Mark Boslough as an April Fool’s parody on legislative and school board attacks on evolution in New Mexico, the author took real statements from New Mexican legislators and school board members supporting creationism and recast them into a fictional account detailing how Alabama legislators had passed a law calling for the value of pi to be set to the “Biblical value” of 3.0.

This brilliant piece of humor was originally posted to the newsgroup talk.origins on 1 April 1998 as well as sent to a list of New Mexican scientists and citizens interested in evolution and printed in the April issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter NMSR Reports. Its talk.origins poster followed up a day later with a full confession and explanation of the prank, thereby allowing others to share in the fun. One would have thought that would have been the end of it.

Ah but the Internet works in mysterious ways. Several readers forwarded the piece to friends and posted it to other newsgroups. As the story moved along, what would have easily identified it as a parody and not a news item was stripped out: the attribution to “April Holiday” of the “Associmated Press.” Now it looked like a real news piece. Which is how it was received by many.

There is not now and never has been a bill in front of the Alabama state legislature to redefine the value of pi. With one exception, none of the names given in this fanciful account stand up to scrutiny.

The one exception is Guy Hunt. He is a former governor of Alabama, convicted in 1993 for diverting $200,000 from his inaugural fund to his personal use.

Though the claim about the Alabama state legislature is pure nonsense, it is similar to an event that happened more than a century ago. In 1897 the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure redefining the area of a circle and the value of pi. (House Bill no. 246, introduced by Rep. Taylor I. Record.) The bill died in the state Senate.

Barbara “cornbread are square; pi are round” Mikkelson

Sightings: In Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein makes passing mention of Tennessee’s enacting a law making pi equal 3.0

Last updated: 28 October 1998[/i]

I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard time believing this story. You see, when I go to the government’s Grand Canyon site it states the Canyon (the actual formation)as 5-6 million years old. In addition, it shows that 2000 million year old rocks are found in the Canyon. And, that 12,000 year old human artifacts have been recovered. There is additional information related to geological layers and fossils discussed.

Now how does that match up to what this article tells us? Those dates are completely opposed to the 6000 year-old young earth beliefs of evangelical fundamentalists.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

http://www.snopes.com/religion/pi.htm

Origins: This
wonderful bit of creative writing began circulating on the Internet in April 1998. Written by Mark Boslough as an April Fool’s parody…
[/quote]

Thank you, was going to point that article out as being false.

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
Science is science, religion is religion, and never the twain shall meet.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry… [/quote]

Sorry guys, this is another urban legend:

http://www.snopes.com/religion/pi.htm

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

Science is science, religion is religion, and there is a sucker born every minute. It is a pure Internet hoax, nearly a decade old.

[/quote]

Yes, thank you, Thunder, I know. I saw that article about a decade ago (and yes, I knew it was a joke then, too) and this Grand Canyon thing kind of reminded me of it.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
pookie wrote:
OKLAHOMA STATE wrote:
“HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY”

There goes the only known source for that critically important information!

Bastards!

That’s the not the point. The point is that those ignorami have the political muscle to rid the world they live in from any reality that might collide with their view.[/quote]

Not really. Take Dover and the Evolution/ID debate. The ignorami who initially voted for ID to be taught alongside evolution all got booted from the school board at the following elections. They also got trounced soundly in court. The Dover verdict is a great read, if only to see common sense and science triumph over ignorance and make believe.

Most people don’t know and don’t care about the age of the Grand Canyon; pragmatically, that factoid has very little relevance for Joe Sixpack, unless he’s a geologist or an archaeologist. In which case, he probably knows it better than the Park Authorities or the Bible.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
Yeah, because when you’re actually VISITING the Grand Canyon, that’s really not a good time to ask questions about the Grand Canyon.[/quote]

Hopefully, you’re educated enough to know that if someone tells you the Grand Canyon is less than 6,000 years old and was eroded in 40 days, that someone is either on drugs or completely deluded. You can then say “Ah. Ok.” and slowly back away.

If you’re in that much of a hurry to know; just google it on your blackberry. : )

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

Yes, thank you, Thunder, I know. I saw that article about a decade ago (and yes, I knew it was a joke then, too) and this Grand Canyon thing kind of reminded me of it.[/quote]

And I agree - this Grand Canyon bit reminds me of it as well. The group with the press release - PEER - is real enough, but something doesn’t smell right.

One question I propose to anyone (not necessarily Varqanir): if the Grand Canyon bookstore offered a book that told of the Indians’ version of the creation of the Grand Canyon - with the Great Spirit crying the Colorado River or the Great Spirit in the Sky digging out the canyon with a Great Stick - and was told beautifully and honestly with respect to Indian cultures’ veneration for that great landmark - would you be bothered by it being offered in a government bookstore?

And if you read the ‘press release’, it is an exercise in propaganda.

First of all, it says the Park is “not permitted” to give a geological age. That infers a sinister Wizard behind the curtains that won’t allow it for fear of certain information getting out. But where is the evidence? PEER doesn’t say. It only says the Park hasn’t done one. PEER leaps to the conclusion - and hopes the reader does too - that the information is being “suppressed” and is not a result of the Park just choosing not to go forward with the study.

PEER has an objection to the book being offered - no problem. But that is a separate question. The “press release” is trying to conflate the two issues together.

And Sloth is right - there is an abundance of information regarding the old age of the Canyon that would immediately contradict the “young earth” claims.

Bottom line is that PEER is really, really mad about the creationist book being offered, and because they didn’t get what they wanted, there must be some larger force with a larger agenda at work against them and the rest of the smart people of the world. Welcome to the boilerplate worldview of the Left, easily attached to any situation where they don’t get what they want.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard time believing this story. You see, when I go to the government’s Grand Canyon site it states the Canyon (the actual formation)as 5-6 million years old. In addition, it shows that 2000 million year old rocks are found in the Canyon. And, that 12,000 year old human artifacts have been recovered. There is additional information related to geological layers and fossils discussed.

Now how does that match up to what this article tells us? Those dates are completely opposed to the 6000 year-old young earth beliefs of evangelical fundamentalists.[/quote]

Yup. The whole thing is bullshit.

It is funny but the pi joke is better.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Varqanir wrote:

Yes, thank you, Thunder, I know. I saw that article about a decade ago (and yes, I knew it was a joke then, too) and this Grand Canyon thing kind of reminded me of it.

And I agree - this Grand Canyon bit reminds me of it as well. The group with the press release - PEER - is real enough, but something doesn’t smell right.

One question I propose to anyone (not necessarily Varqanir): if the Grand Canyon bookstore offered a book that told of the Indians’ version of the creation of the Grand Canyon - with the Great Spirit crying the Colorado River or the Great Spirit in the Sky digging out the canyon with a Great Stick - and was told beautifully and honestly with respect to Indian cultures’ veneration for that great landmark - would you be bothered by it being offered in a government bookstore?[/quote]

Would it be sold as a myth or as a version of the truth?

Some reviews on amazon.com of “Grand Canyon: A Different View” say i better believe that the Grand Canyon was created by Noahs flood or ill burn in hell. Hmm, maybe im gonna order the book, i dont want to take that risk…

[quote]Ken Kaniff wrote:

Yup. The whole thing is bullshit.

Some reviews on amazon.com of “Grand Canyon: A Different View” say i better believe that the Grand Canyon was created by Noahs flood or ill burn in hell. Hmm, maybe im gonna order the book, i dont want to take that risk…[/quote]

Go ahead and order it. It might be good for a laugh.

I am not happy about the National Park Service selling goofy books but I suppose it is better than banning them.

I have seen some books at the Gettysburg Museum that gave me pause but who the hell really cares.

The National Park Service is not being banned from discussing the estimated age of the canyon. That is why the article and this thread is bullshit.