Creation Geologist Fights Secular Bullies
He has every credential a geologist could wish for, but the consensus bullies will not even let him collect rocks that might question their dogma.
Dr. Andrew Snelling has a PhD in geology from the University of Sydney. He has published in peer-reviewed journals. He has taught geology on numerous trips through the Grand Canyon. He wrote a two-volume book on geological evidence. But when he applied for a research permit at the Grand Canyon to collect samples, the secular uniformitarian consensus said no. They denied his application purely on grounds that his views are not consensus views. This time, though, he is not going to take being Expelled lying down. He is fighting back with a lawsuit, supported by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Bob Unruh reported the story on May 9 in WND.
ADF noted Snelling holds a Ph.D. in geology from the internationally acclaimed University of Sydney and has conducted geological research in Australia and the United States. He has published works in peer-reviewed journals and has substantial field and laboratory experience with both theoretical and practical geological research.
“Nonetheless, National Park Service officials denied his routine request to obtain a few fist-sized rock samples from the Grand Canyon after learning of his Christian views about the Earth’s beginnings,” ADF said. “Despite the fact that Dr. Snelling had accomplished prior research in the canyon, Park officials ran him through a gamut of red tape for more than three years.”
The delay tactic is tantamount to a denial. They kept piling on demands. They asked for two independent peer reviewers, Unruh says. He supplied three. They demanded more and more specifics about his research. When they couldn’t stop him with bureaucratic hurdles, they turned to secular academics for their opinion. Those, predictably, recommended denial, knowing that Snelling is associated with Answers in Genesis—a Christian young-earth creation ministry. One of them said, “ours is a secular society as per our constitution (sic)” and suggested “inappropriate interests” should be “screened out.” This is clear viewpoint discrimination.
“We expect debate about what the evidence means, but the Park shouldn’t prevent us from collecting data just like other scientists. I am merely asking for equal treatment by the government.”
The lawsuit names officials all the way from the federal government down to the superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park. President Trump’s recent executive order on religious freedom may come to bear on the outcome of this lawsuit. It will be a case to watch: can a dogmatic consensus treat a qualified scientist differently because of his beliefs?
Dr. Snelling told CEH,
All I am seeking is equal treatment by the NPS to any other scientist who wants to do valid research in the Grand Canyon, regardless of my Christian faith and worldview. This is about getting a level playing field for all Christians in all national parks.
All I am seeking is 40 clenched fist-sized samples which will be investigated in the laboratory and the results openly published for all other scientists to see and decide how they want to interpret, regardless of how I might interpret them. That’s doing good science. Under the US Constitution I am supposed to be protected from any government official discriminating against me as a Christian.
A win in this case could send a strong signal to secular scientists and federal regulators that they take a big risk discriminating against other qualified scientists on the basis of their beliefs. Will the new tone of religious liberty in the current administration favor Dr. Snelling’s case? Time will tell.
Update 7/28/17: Answers in Genesis reports that Snelling has won. “Dr. Snelling’s attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) had uncovered evidence that the PhD geologist’s permits had been denied because of his religious and creationist beliefs,” the article says. “When evidence came to light that Dr. Snelling’s rights were being unconstitutionally denied, the Grand Canyon National Park and the Department of Interior changed course and issued the permits.” ADF is dropping the lawsuit now that the park service has ended its discriminatory action against Dr. Snelling.
Readers, I know Dr. Snelling. I have been on three expeditions with him, two in the Grand Canyon. He is exceptionally qualified and a gifted communicator. He is gracious and reasonable, never confrontational. Some of you may have seen him make an appearance in the recent film Is Genesis History? where everyone could see his easy-going yet convincing command of the facts and their implications. Because of his calm and matter-of-fact manner, his knowledge and his character, I would not have imagined him ever needing to sue the government over mistreatment. But if it had to be someone to stand up to the bullies, I’m glad it’s him. Godspeed, Dr. Snelling. I hope you prevail. Update: I’m glad you prevailed! This is why we need to support organizations like the ADF. Without courageous individuals and organizations to back them, the materialist bigots would trample the rights of all who disagree with them.