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Poll: Grand Canyon: A Different View


Grand_canyon_different_vie_copy      OK folks, let's have some fun. Let's see how many open-minded folks are out there, folks who believe in freedom of speech and who enjoy hearing different viewpoints, even if they don't accept another's point of view.
    Since much of the uproar over the past week or so was kindled not merely by PEER's declaration that interpretive rangers at the Grand Canyon were being muzzled when talk turned to the geologic age of the chasm but really rather by the continued appearance of Tom Vail's Book, Grand Canyon: A Different View, in park bookstores, let's be democratic about things and take a poll on whether the book belongs there.
    To get things started, if you click here you can read Tom's explanation for the book. Click here and you'll find a review of the book posted on the National Center for Science Education's web site.
    And please, no ballot stuffing by the likes of "Scientific Theorist" or "Scholar" or whatever nom de plume he's using today.
    I know I'm taking a risk here by expecting a little civility, but I would hope folks could launch a constructive discussion rather than jumping on somebody just because they have a different point of view. The poll will run until next Wednesday.


Kurt, I actually voted "no" because of the wording of your question. I voted "no" because I actually don't think any books should be sold in the parks for either the nonprofit association or by the National Park Service itself. I mean, they do, and since they do, I think they shouldn't restrict their selling of books based on religion. But, your question to me was loaded, and so I had to answer it quite literally. Don't be surprised if there are a few other "No" votes based on quibbles about the specific implications of the question. Another one I can see is in your asking whether it "should" be sold. Well, you might interpret that "should" in any number of ways. It might have been helpful to ask whether it "should not" be sold on the basis of it supporting some form of creationism. If the question had been asked that way, I would have voted that the books "should not" not be sold on that basis. From this poll, you have to draw very careful conclusions from those who visit your Web site who choose to vote in these polls. In my case, I have an unusual view on selling books in this context. In many other cases, I can think of all kinds of reasons someone might say that this book should not be sold without it in any way relevant to the question you want tested.

Jim, methinks you're thinking too hard on this one.

Well, I'm not changing my vote unless the wording is changed; you want to ask us whether it's a good reason whether a book should be sold because it has a creationist point of view; instead, you are asking us whether a particular book with a creationist point of view should be sold. Those aren't the same question, and so my vote stays the same. And, so I'd be careful about the conclusions you draw. I don't think I'd be the only person inclined to think that it's a bad reason not to sell a book just because it espouses creationism but that that same book should still not be sold in Grand Canyon National Park (even if they don't share my reason) for a very different reason. If I were, I'd say you were right to say I was thinking too hard. I had a sense of what you were trying to ask, but if I had never come to this site, I would not and would have been surprised to find out that my voting "no" implied to you I was intolerant to selling a book just because it is religious or has bad science in it. So, my word of caution and vote stands.

Does the Grand Canyon bookstore sell books on Native American myths on the formation of the Grand Canyon? If so, then there shouldn't be discrimination. (How many times have I had to listen to a ranger at a Yosemite campfire program droning on about 'coyote' and 'raven' and some other Ahwahneechee tale about how the rocks came to Yosemite?) Does the book sell well? I believe in capitalism and free choice in reading material.

Hey Kath, maybe you should stop going to Yosemite campfire programs then. But seriously, the point of the question is should the NPS, a government agency, sell a book that promotes a religious theory. I understand where you're coming from Kath with your statement that it would be hypocritical of the NPS to sell literature that promotes Native American theories of theology and not Christian theology. However, I have always viewed the Native American views of the earth, it's creation, and people's place in it as more of a cultural view than theology. Perhaps that's just a matter of semantics, but that's the way I've always viewed it. But I'm not trying to say I'm right by any means, just my opinion.

Let's leave the bible belt creationist folks out of this, and let the Native Americans tell their camp fire stories with chant drum beats... like what Scott Momaday writes brings in so much more to the outdoor experience. Keep your church creationist theories in your closet where they belong. I prefer to keep my christian views exactly where they my local church!

I don't think that the government should have anything to do with supporting alternative theories to science. These young earth theories have been disallowed in schools for good reason. Science has proven all of the young earth theories to be false.

Here is a link to a well written book review of the pseudo-science book "A Different View". I think it is best if everyone just lets the park be the park, and keep the politics in Washington.

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