Dr. Andrew Snelling, a geologist who was denied a routine request to take samples from the Grand Canyon due to his creationist Christian beliefs, has been granted his research permit. Snelling, who holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, has been published in peer-reviewed journals, undertaken research in Australia and the United States, and has decades of experience including in the Grand Canyon, had been waiting for his permit for more than three years due to his beliefs on the origins of the Earth.
During that time, he was asked for large amounts of extraneous work, such as submitting his proposal for peer review and providing coordinates and photographs from each of the places from which he was asking to collect rocks, the New York Times reported.
Gary McCaleb senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal defense group working with Snelling said “It’s one thing to debate the science, but to deny access to the data not based on the quality of a proposal or the nature of the inquiry, but on what you might do with it is an abuse of government power.”
“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 ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb, 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. As 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 has dropped his lawsuit now that his permit has been granted.