Enlarge (credit: Scott K. Johnson)
“Alternative facts” aren’t new. Young-Earth creationist groups like Answers in Genesis believe the Earth is no more than 6,000 years old despite actual mountains of evidence to the contrary, and they’ve been playing the “alternative facts” card for years.
In lieu of conceding incontrovertible geological evidence, they sidestep it by saying, “Well, we just look at those facts differently.”
Nowhere is this more apparent than the Grand Canyon, which young-Earth creationist groups have long been enamored with.

A long geologic record (spanning almost 2 billion years, in total) is on display in the layers of the Grand Canyon thanks to the work of the Colorado River.

But many creationists instead assert that the canyon’s rocks—in addition to the spectacular erosion that reveals them—are actually the product of the Biblical “great flood” several thousand years ago.
Andrew Snelling, who got a PhD in geology before joining Answers in Genesis, continues working to interpret the canyon in a way that is consistent with his views.
In 2013, he requested permission from the National Park Service to collect some rock samples in the canyon for a new project to that end.

The Park Service can grant permits for collecting material, which is otherwise illegal.
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