[Comment on “Different views of the Grand Canyon”] Comment: On science and pseudo-science in National Parks



The article by Wilfred Elders, “Different Views of the Grand Canyon,” (Eos, 23 September 2003) is a valuable reminder of the continuing need for geoscientists to argue geological facts with groups who confuse belief with scientific study. However, his good work is somewhat diminished by the suggestion at the end of his article that a book published by creationists should not be sold within a National Park. There is a whiff of censorship in this proposal that could have consequences beyond what he may intend.

I have noted in parks in the United States, and probably more obviously in parks in my own country of Australia, that much literature is available on the origins of the park's geology flora, and fauna, as presented by the lore of indigenous peoples who claim historical links with the area. Any attempt to censor literature published by creationists would logically result in censorship of material from traditional custodians of the land as well, since their material is equally dubious in terms of its scientific foundation as seen by our post-Darwinian science. Such an attempt at censorship would be both unhelpful and unnecessary for the advancement of our profession in the eyes of the public.