Christian geologist drops lawsuit after Park Service backs down

June 30,2017

From WorldNetDaily.com

A Christian geologist has asked that his lawsuit against the National Park Service be dismissed after he finally obtained a research permit that had been held up for years by red tape.

Andrew Snelling filed suit when the Park Service denied him permission to do ordinary research in the Grand Canyon, charging the reason was his Christian beliefs regarding the origins of the earth.

“When the government refuses to allow a Christian geologist simply to collect information because it dislikes his views, it undercuts science and violates the law,” said Gary McCaleb of the Alliance Defending Freedom, co-counsel for Snelling.

“We commend Park Service officials, Interior Secretary Zinke, and the Trump administration for understanding that specifically targeting Dr. Snelling’s faith as the reason to stop his research was both inappropriate and unconstitutional,” he said.

McCaleb noted the Park Service “finally admitted, ‘Dr. Snelling’s proposal is well stated with methods that are similar or equal to standard scientific practice to test the hypothesis provided,’ so it is the right choice to let the research go forward.”

Snelling holds a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Sydney and previously has done research in both Australia and the United States.

He’s published works in peer-reviewed journals. And he has decades of field and laboratory experience with both theoretical and practical geological research.

Andrew Snelling, who works with Answers in Genesis

Andrew Snelling, who works with Answers in Genesis

He wanted to obtain a few fist-sized rock samples from the Grand Canyon based upon his Christian views about the Earth’s beginnings.

He will now be able to do that.

“This settlement benefits everyone, in that it sends the message that the government will not interfere with basic scientific inquiry,” said Michael Kitchen, lead counsel for Snelling and one of nearly 3,200 attorneys allied with ADF.

“Scientists must be allowed to pursue their research, put theories to the test, and reach independent conclusions without the federal government blocking access to data based on a researcher’s religious faith.”

WND reported in May when the complaint was filed by the scientist, who works with Answers in Genesis.

AIG said in a statement at the time: “Apparently, Dr. Snelling’s most recent research project on behalf of a high-profile group (AiG) was deemed a threat to the prevailing viewpoint of the canyon’s formation and timing. The language used by park officials and its reviewers to describe Dr. Snelling’s proposal decry that a Christian and creationist seeks to do the research.”

The group said Snelling’s proposed study “could yield results that will undermine an idea that is heavily promoted inside the park: namely, that the canyon’s strata were formed over millions of years.”

“With his intended research, Dr. Snelling seeks to gather samples at folds inside the canyon where all the layers were bent, but were not shattered because the rocks were still soft as they folded – supposedly remaining soft over a period of 450 million years.”

Snelling said the case “is all about giving the freedom for a scientist to do good science without having to undergo a religious litmus test.”

Scientists who conduct research in the park must explain their objectives and obtain a permit.

However, in Snelling’s case, the lawsuit explains, permit coordinator Ronda Newton insisted on two peer reviews of his plans.

He provided three, all recommending his work.

But then Newton went to additional lengths and asked for the opinion of a professor from the University of New Mexico, Karl Karlstrom, who demonstrated “antipathy for Dr. Snelling’s religious faith and the religious views of the scientists who provided peer reviews on behalf of Dr. Snelling.”

Newton sought another opinion from Peter Huntoon of the University of Wyoming, who worked with Karlstrom on various projects.

He condemned Snelling’s plan, arguing “ours is a secular society as per our constitution (sic)” and suggested “inappropriate interests” should be “screened out.”

The park wanted to require Snelling first to travel through the canyon and obtain GPS coordinates of locations he wanted to research before obtaining a permit.

“The actual reason behind the rejection was because of Dr. Snelling’s Christian faith and scientific viewpoints informed by his Christian faith,” the lawsuit charged.

Ken Ham, president of AIG, explained his scientist was “just asking for equal access to the canyon and not be stonewalled.”


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