Grand Canyon Book About Creation-Science Stays on Shelves

( [email protected] ) Feb 02, 2004 01:28 PM EST

Inspite of many protesting remarks saying copies of Grand Canyon: A Different View, a photo and essay book promoting creation science, should not be sold at bookstores in the Grand Canyon National Park, the book will continued to be offered.

In fact, the book's compiler Tom Vail of Phoenix has just confirmed that 300 more copies of the book have been ordered by the park.

"It's amazing to me that this little book has created so much commotion," Vail said. "It's unfortunate that this book, which was aimed at presenting a creationist point of view in laymen's terms and how the Grand Canyon [supports] that, has become essentially a legal issue."

Presidents of various scientic societies have even written a letter to the park's superintendent urging that the book be removed from the shelves.

"We urge you to remove the book from shelves where buyers are given the impression that the book is about Earth science and its content endorsed by the National Park Service," stated a letter from leaders and presidents of the Paleontological Society, American Geophysical Union, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, Association of American State Geologists, Society for Vertebrate Paleontology, American Geological Institute and the Geological Society of America.

According to Vail, the book is backed up by a team of scientists also. Of the 23 people who contributed to the book, 17 are scientists -- 14 of whom have Ph.D. degrees in scientific fields from universities such as Harvard, Princeton and Penn State.

Elaine Sevy, a spokesperson with the National Park Service, stated her belief that "this country is based on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Those are some of our guiding principles. ... We feel like a full spectrum is part of our culture. ... We want to offer all different kinds of beliefs, all different kinds of theories."

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is ensuring that Vail's consitutional rights are not revoked and that his book will be available for purchase from the National Park as long as demand allows.

Dale M. Schowengerdt, the ADF's litigation staff attorney, wrote to Gale A. Norton, secretary of the interior, saying, "Federal courts are very solicitous when it comes to protecting private speech from government censorship.

"The NPS has upheld the constitutional rights of Mr. Vail by keeping the book in place among competing viewpoints. We encourage NPS to maintain this policy and resist pressure from groups urging censorship."

According to Schowengerdt's letter, The ADF is "a not-for-profit public interest law and educational organization. We seek to resolve disputes through education of public officials about the constitutional rights of people like Tom Vail. When necessary, we proceed to litigation to secure these rights."