Imagine you’re a columnist. You decide to write something about how the National Park Service is allowing a creationist book to be sold in their Grand Canyon stores, over the protests of its own geologists, who point out that NPS has a mandate to promote sound science. Hawking a book that claims that the Grand Canyon was carved by Noah’s Flood a few thousand years ago is the polar opposite of this mandate. So what do you write? Well, if you’re Republican consultant Jay Bryant, and you’re writing for the conservative web site Town Hall, you declare that this as a clear-cut case of Darwinist atheists censoring freedom of speech in a desperate attempt to squelch Intelligent Design.
I don’t blog much about science and politics, because I don’t have the time and because others do it better than I could (see Chris Mooney and Prometheus for starters). But there’s something so simple and basic about the Grand Canyon affair–with plain scientific fact on one side and eye-popping rhetorical nonsense on the other–that I can’t help but register disbelief at it from time to time.