The science of geology operates in parallel universes. There are the mainstream, secular geologists in the Geological Society of America who have complete hegemony in the secular universities, the mainline journals and the secular press. Then there are the creation geologists, who publish in their own journals; these hardly enter the awareness of the other geologists. Once in a while, though, like disturbances in the Force, emanations from the creation universe into the secular universe are felt. The National Center for Science Education has become so alarmed at these emanations that they have warned secular geologists to (1) pay them no attention, and (2) pay attention.
Steve Newton, Programs and Policy Director for the NCSE, portrayed creation geologists as outlandish interlopers at geology conferences. In his article for New Scientist, “Geology will survive creationist undermining,” he described how he visited some of their poster sessions and listened to some of their talks. He had to admit that they got their degrees from legitimate institutions and knew how to “walk the walk and talk the talk.” But to really believe the Earth is 10,000 years old and the geological record is explained by Noah’s Flood? “Geologists are understandably fuming,” he said.
Newton had a counter-intuitive proposal, though: pay them no attention. An outright ban would give them reason to claim discrimination, for one thing (and the California Science Center recently learned that can be expensive). For another, “science is a process,” and most outlandish ideas turn out to be wrong. “While the exclusion of creationists can pose problems, their inclusion at conferences does little harm,” he said. “The reputations of scientific organisations are largely unaffected, as few people even notice.”
But Eugenie Scott, founder and Executive Director of the NCSE, thinks people do notice. That’s why her organization produced a new film about the creationists, “No Dinosaurs in Heaven,” starring her, and is taking it on the road. Half of the film is about her raft trip down the Grand Canyon to rebut the arguments of creation geologists that the canyon is Exhibit One for the Flood.
The NCSE press release about screenings explains the reason for the film:
“No Dinosaurs in Heaven” is a film essay that examines the hijacking of science education by religious fundamentalists, threatening the separation of church and state and dangerously undermining scientific literacy. The documentary weaves together two strands: an examination of the problem posed by creationists who earn science education degrees only to advocate anti-scientific beliefs in the classroom; and a visually stunning raft trip down the Grand Canyon, led by Dr. Eugenie Scott, that debunks creationist explanations for its formation. These two strands expose the fallacies in the “debate,” manufactured by anti-science forces, that creationism is a valid scientific alternative to evolution.
Jezebel Productions? Jezebel Productions! Wahoo! That tells you all you need to know. That is one of the worst choices dear Ms. Scott could have ever made for a production company name (here’s why). Look, folks, if you want to float down the Grand Canyon with a bunch of crabby bigots singing “It’s a long way from amphioxus” (10/06/2005), go right ahead. But many can say from personal experience you will have a lot more fun and personal enrichment from Tom Vail’s creation-based rafting trips, and you will see with your own eyes huge, huge things that had to have been formed rapidly in days, not millions of years. Visit CanyonMinistries.com and sign up for next summer’s expeditions. Creation geology will survive Jezebel’s undermining.