A creationist who alleged that the National Park Service discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs after being denied a permit to conduct his young-Earth creationism work will now be able to collect rocks in the Grand Canyon.
Andrew Snelling, who works for Answers in Genesis, the fundamentalist organization that founded the Ark Encounter theme park and Creation Museum in Kentucky, sued the Park Service for allegedly refusing to allow him to gather rocks as part of an effort to show that the Grand Canyon is only a few thousand years old. He dropped his lawsuit after obtaining a permit from the Park Service.
Represented by the Religious Right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, Snelling argued that his religious freedom rights were being violated if he wasn’t able to obtain a permit due to his creationist research methods.
Critics were not pleased with the Park Service’s decision to grant Snelling a permit. In a July 3 Forbes opinion column, Trevor Nace, a geologist, wrote that Snelling “disregards his entire field” by attempting to discredit proven scientific theories on the basis of his creationist beliefs.