The Grand Canyon of the Colorado is recognized as one of the greatest wonders of the natural world, breathtaking in its incredible splendor as seen from the rim, and at river level. It is not just an icon of beauty, however, it is a solemn witness to the mighty power of God … the beautiful rock strata of the Canyon, with their evidence of deposition under widespread waters, speak of His world-convulsing judgment at the time of the great Flood. Similarly, the mile-deep canyon itself, which could never have been carved out by the waters of the present river, tells of a time when a great damned up lake full of water from the flood suddenly broke and a mighty hydraulic monster roared down toward the sea, digging deeply path it had chosen along the way.
Tom Vail in Grand Canyon, a Different Story (2003)
Thus begins a book about a new myth about an old myth; a book that lays claim to one of the greatest geological marvels and open air textbooks in the world. It’s a book of creative and fanciful musings - at best a hypothesis - presented to fit a creation myth as old as mankind (e.g., Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis). But it’s more; it’s become a textbook in the science curriculum of the fundamentalist Christian universities and colleges. It’s science – devoid of the encumbrance of the methodology of science – for a new Theocracy.
A view of the Canyon from Guano Point, East Grand Canyon, Hualapai Nation, AZ.
Dateline STL (March 28, 2007): I have returned from my Ministry of Geology and Glitter (MOGG) junket to the wilds of the American Southwest and would like to thank our glorious Minister of Justice for extending a gracious invitation to share the results of my fact-finding mission with the Party. First of all, I have to post a disclaimer: In no way shape or form has Jack Abramoff influenced or subsidized any MOGG activities. Second of all, I am pleased to report to the membership that the state of the Southwest is good.
The MOGG entourage first encampment was an abandoned ranch near St. Johns, AZ., complete with Mesozoic Era, late Triassic Period Chinle Formation outcrop décor…
This site is located within the Colorado Plateau Physiographic province of what was once western Laurentia (Pangaea) south of the present day Petrified Forest National Park. The Colorado Plateau (CP) is the result of block uplift during tectonic events of the Laramide orogeny (mountain building - Rocky Mountains) that occurred some 70 to 80 million years ago (mya) to approximately 35 to 55 mya [late Cretaceous period (late Mesozoic Era)]. While the Rockies to the north and east were breaking through the overlying sedimentary rocks the CP block was uplifted almost intact with relatively little disturbance to the sedimentary rock units including the Chinle Formation rocks deposited some 210-220 mya – late stage formation of the super continent Pangaea. The landscape we see today is the result of millions of years of erosion by wind and rain and a couple of hundred years of years of erosion by humans.
The Chinle Formation sediments (and Moenkopi Formation), exposed throughout Arizona and Utah, record a vast freshwater continental floodplain & braided-stream depositional setting following shallow-marine transgressive/regressive deposition as recorded in the underlying early Triassic Moenkopi Formation (ca. 248-242 mya). Hint: If you see massive red rocks in Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado they’re likely to be of similar Triassic-age origin. Together, these rock formations record the final assembly in these parts of Pangaea (ca. 200 mya), which would eventually break up sending the continents and the dinosaurs slowly traveling the globe. The free ride for the dinosaurs would come to an end at about 65 mya setting events in motion culminating in the rise of the mammals and such wonders as the British invasion, hockey (threw this in as tribute to Chairman for Life Bérubé), TV dinners, Brittany Spears, sliced bread, Enron, beer and me throwing out my sleeping bag on a small patch of Earth shaped by titanic forces through millennia to be awakened before dawn by the coyote’s howl. So far the southwest was looking pretty good.
Your Humble Servant,
Ministry of Geology and Glitter
Responses to “Travelogue Against Theocracy”