Private: Why, that’s God’s handiwork, little Timmy

I heard on NPR last month that a creationist book entitled Grand Canyon: A Different View is being sold at the official Grand Canyon gift shop, which is run by the National Park Service. describes the book this way:

For years, Colorado River guide Tom Vail told people how the Grand Canyon had formed over the evolutionary time scale of millions of years. Then he met Jesus. Now, Tom has a different view of the Grand Canyon. According to a biblical time scale, the Grand Canyon can’t possibley be more than a few thousand years old, and that is what Tom now believes. Come and tour the Grand Canyon with Tom Vail as your guide. Filled with stunning photos that will take your breath away and stimulate your imagination, this book also has many facts about the Grand Canyon presented in a biblical light. A beautiful gift book as well as an intellectual pleaser, this compilation is sure to be a family favorite.

According to an article Ed tracked down, geologists and other scientists are petitioning the superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park to remove the book from park shelves, saying:

It has come to our attention that a book espousing a particular religious interpretation of the Grand Canyon is being sold in bookstores within the Grand Canyon National Park under the guise of a being a scientific explanation for the origin of the canyon. The book, The Grand Canyon: A Different View (compiled by Vail, 2003), makes claims about the age of the rocks and the formation of the canyon that are at odds with the well-documented scientific understanding of Earth history. The book is not about geology but, rather, advances a narrow religious view about the Earth. 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.

Meanwhile, according to the Los Angeles Times, the book has sold out and is being reordered.

Some critics fear that the Park Service, traditionally devoted to maintaining the nation’s parks and placing geographical wonders and monuments in their true scientific and historical contexts, is becoming an instrument of right-wing Christian fundamentalists.

The Park Service, they note, recently responded to pressure from conservative groups and re-edited a video on the Lincoln Memorial to exclude footage of gay rights and abortion rights demonstrations at the monument.