The Age of Un-Enlightenment

Centuries may have passed since the Enlightenment, but some folks in the Bush administration apparently did not get the memo. In their unreasoning world, science is a four-letter word (which makes them willfully ignorant and bad at spelling). Obstinate to the end—which may be where their heads are ensconced—these folks continue to disregard or discount established scientific evidence that conflicts with their theistic world view. Here is the latest example, as revealed in a press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER):


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. [full text]

Gee, in a similar vein, I wonder if tour guides and other staff at NASA have been denied permission to inform the public that the moon is neither made of green cheese nor jumpable by a bovine.