Saturday, January 06, 2007

Grand Canyon redux

The controversy over the politization of the origin and age of the Grand Canyon fired up with the release of a letter from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) to the National Park Service ( and a press release entitled, “How Old is the Grand Canyon? Park Service Won’t Say — Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology.”

Contrast that with Gov. Janet Napolitano’s call at her inauguration: "It is that 'One Arizona' that I dream of. 'One Arizona' in which the quality of the education of our children is so good, they compete with pride with the best graduates from every corner of the world. 'One Arizona' that, because of that education foundation, is a place where science and research flourish, where cures are found, and technology is advanced."

During the entire six years I spent in Kansas before moving to Arizona a year ago, I was enmeshed in the evolution controversy. Two weeks after arriving in Kansas as the newly appointed State Geologist in 1999, I was standing in front of the State Board of Education, unsuccessfully urging them to reject the proposed science curriculum standards ghost-authored by a leader of the young-earth creationist movement. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius earlier this year described how Kansas suffered because of its almost universal perception as hostile to science and quality public education brought on by the relentless attacks on teaching of evolution.

Arizona’s been lucky in not being tarred like Kansas has. It’s the Park Service that has the black eye here.

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