Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Grand Canyon and Young Earth Creationism

At the Grand Canyon it was my sworn duty to go to the bookstore at the Welcome Center and look up Tom Vail's The Grand Canyon: A Different View. At $17.99, it was not my sworn duty to pick up a copy of it. I did leaf through it, though. It is more of an anthology than anything else, having different entries by a veritable cavalcade of Young Earth Creationists. Almost at random, I opened to a page that had several different arguments, two of which were prominent: in recent years many geologists have begun rejecting uniformitarian arguments and accepting catastrophic explanations for geological formations and that there are no transitional fossils.

I was struck by the casualness with which these outright fabrications were put to paper. There was, of course, no support for either position listed, despite the fact that the book, itself, was surrounded by no fewer than thirty books arguing that, yes, there are transitional fossils and, no, mainstream geologists are not embracing catastrophic explanations for the formation of the canyon.

The book exists in its own little island, the only one of its kind on any of the book shelves in the bookstore. That it is there at all is remarkable, given the controversy surrounding it. One can only hope it has little influence on those that enter the park.

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