Grand Canyon: A Different View

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Grand Canyon: A Different View
Grand Canyon Different View cover.jpg
Author Tom Vail
Publisher Master Books
Publication date
June 2003
Pages 96
ISBN 978-0-89051-373-6
OCLC 53820444
231.7/652 22
LC Class BS658 .V33 2003

Grand Canyon: A Different View is a 2003 book edited by Tom Vail. The book features a series of photographs of the Grand Canyon illustrating 20 essays by creationists Steve Austin, John Baumgardner, Duane Gish, Ken Ham, Russell Humphreys, Henry Morris, John D. Morris, Andrew A. Snelling, Larry Vardiman, John Whitcomb, and Kurt Wise.[1] It presents the Young Earth creationist perspective that the canyon is no more than a few thousand years old and was formed by the Global Flood or Noachian flood of the Bible.


The book was approved for sale in Grand Canyon National Park bookstores in 2003, and on the web.[2] Vail, a river guide in the park, had recently converted to Christianity and adopted "'a different view' of the Canyon, which, according to a biblical time scale, can't possibly be more than about a few thousand years old." Vail continues to conduct tours of the canyon for creationists through an organization called Canyon Ministries.[3]

Wilfred Elders said that "The book is remarkable because it has 23 co-authors who comprise a veritable "Who's Who" in creationism. Each chapter of Grand Canyon: A Different View begins with an overview by Vail, followed by brief comments by several contributors that 'have been peer reviewed to ensure a consistent and Biblical perspective.' This perspective is strict Biblical literalism."[4] He says that it is not a geological book but rather a new, slick proselytizing strategy, beautifully illustrated and multi-authored about a spectacular and world-famous geological feature.[5]

On January 25, 2004, David Shaver, Chief of the Geologic Resources Division of the National Park Service (NPS), sent a memorandum to Chuck Fagan at the Office of Policy stating, in part, that the book "makes claims that are counter to widely accepted geologic evidence and scientific understanding about the formation and age of the Grand Canyon. In fact, it assaults modern science and well-documented geologic evidence of the canyon's history."[6] Later in 2004, the Grand Canyon National Park bookstore moved the book from the natural science section to the inspirational section as requested by the scientific organizations.[7]

In a letter to Joseph Alston, then superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, the presidents of seven geoscience societies voiced their concerns: "The Grand Canyon provides a remarkable and unique opportunity to educate the public about earth science. In fairness to the millions of park visitors, we must clearly distinguish religious tenets from scientific knowledge."[8]

In response to the 2003 controversy, the NPS told reporters and members of Congress in February 2004 that it was doing a review of the book and would soon make a decision on it.[9] In December 2006 the NPS responded to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which showed that no formal review had ever taken place.[10][11] PEER says that this was the only book approved for addition to the Park bookstore in 2003; 22 books and other products were rejected.[12]

See also


  1. ^ From the table of contents page.
  2. ^ "Grand Canyon National Park bookstore". Archived from the original on 2007-01-01.
  3. ^ Wilgoren, Jodi (6 October 2005). "Seeing Creation and Evolution in Grand Canyon". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Elders, Wilfred A. (2003). "Different Views of the Grand Canyon {abstract}". EOS, Transactions. American Geophysical Union. 84 (38): 384.
  5. ^ Elders, Wilfred A. (2003). "Bibliolatry Revisited: A Review of Grand Canyon: a Different View".
  6. ^ "United States Department of the Interior Memo From David B. Shaver to Office of Policy (reproduced @PEER)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28.
  7. ^ "Evolution Debate in Arizona / Grand Canyon National Park". citing October 15th Washington Post article
  8. ^ Sever, Megan (March 2004). "Creationism in a national park". GeoTimes.
  9. ^ "Email from David Barna dated 02/02/2004" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-01-09.
  10. ^ "FOIA request response (no information found)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-01-15.
  11. ^ Dean, Cornelia (5 January 2007). "Parks Agency Leaves Controversial Book on Shelf". New York Times.
  12. ^ "PEER - News - How Old Is the Grand Canyon? Park Service Won't Say". Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Archived from the original on 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2013-12-29.

External links

  • Official Canyon Ministries website
  • A Brief History of the Modern American Creation Movement by Jerry Bergman
  • Answers in Genesis website November 2004 update on the GCDV controversy
  • PEER summary of the GCDV controversy from October 2004
  • November 2004 Time Magazine/CNN essay on GCDV by Leon Jaroff
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