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I mentioned in Meditation 62 (The Sky IS the Limit) that I was in Cedar City, Utah. Even though that Meditation was inspired by a local church sign, that was not my reason for being there. I was using a campground there as my base for a few days while I visited Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks.
While I was at Cedar Breaks, I took in a Ranger Talk on the geology of the area. I found it very interesting.
In brief, to summarize a 30 minute presentation, millions of years ago this area was once much lower and was submerged under a lake. The colours are due to iron and magnesium ore sediments accumulated over many years. Later, the area was submerged under an ocean, creating a thick layer of white limestone. Then tectonic movements raised the area from below sea level to over 10,000 feet. Subsequent erosion left us with the Cedar Breaks landscape.
I've attended many such talks over the years in my visits to various parks, and almost always the geological events producing the landscape are presented as occuring over millions of years, tens and hundreds of millions of years.
Not once have I heard one of the Park Rangers challenged about this time scale on Biblical grounds. Given that surveys show that approximately 40% of Americans claim to believe in the literal truth of the Bible, this is a little surprising, particularly as there are ongoing efforts to get biblical creation taught in schools
.So why are creationists silent in the parks?
- They don't attend: Perhaps they just avoid challenges to their beliefs. They don't go to Ranger Talks, particularly on geology. Maybe they don't even go the National Parks and just stay at home studying the Bible.
- They don't want to be embarassed: If they do attend, then they don't raise the issue because they know they cannot win the argument.
- Cognitive dissonance: They unconsiously accept both sets of beliefs; literal truth of the Bible in a religious setting, and scientific knowledge when out in the real world. And as long as they don't think too hard, they can accept that the universe is between10 and 15 billion years old and simultaneously is between 6 and 10 thousand years old.