Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 30, 2008 10:50 am

Far as I know all science is a "point of view". Some are proven fact yes but much is still theoretical. The description says it's from a "Creationist point of view" and it's on a scientific subject. How are you threatened by it?
I agree, don't like it, don't buy it. You say you have several Christian friends who cave with you. So do I... in fact a majority of my caving buddies are so Christian that they insist on praying before going into a cave... I pray with them (would you?) , mainly out of respect more than belief. Respect for their view point since they respect my tendency to blurt out a swear word or finishing a cigarette before going into the entrance. They know that I tend to cave on the Sabbath (Saturday or Sunday ... which ever day it might be, depending upon whom I cave with). Is that tolerance?
The NSS is about the study of caves, and I hate to say it there is more than ONE view point and more than ONE way to study caves even scientifically. As I see it, creationism is a science because its a belief/view point on how things work.
I'll agree again... don't like it, don't buy it. But perhaps you should read the book first before condemning it. It might not be as preachy as you feared.
There should be a balance in all things, yea even unto the library of the NSS.

This is just one book, agreed that if there were a whole plethora of book like "God created Stalagmites!" or " Wonders The Lord Wrought Below !" and so on and they all started quoting chapter and verses of the bible ... then yeah I'd say the focus is being skewed.

Read the book first before condemning it. Or keep to your self-proclaimed tolerance and leave it alone.
It's only a distortion if you ALLOW it to distort your views. Are you not strong enough to maintain your own view point when faced with others?
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby graveleye » Dec 30, 2008 11:07 am

I am of the opinion that there are far more important issues to rally for or against.

Couple of points - who shops at the NSS bookstore? Mostly cavers I would imagine. I doubt creationist advocates are going to come to the NSS bookstore to buy a book advancing their cause. This is why it is puzzling as to why the NSS consigned (or purchased) the books in the first place. But that asides, I am willing to bet that the free market will prevail in this instance and the book will not sell, and it will come off the shelf anyway. I bet they haven't sold a single one.

Is someone's mind going to be changed by this book? Do you really think that a scientific minded caver such as myself or any of you are going to see this book being sold by the NSS, be compelled to buy a copy, and suddenly go "OMG - my science - IT'S ALL WRONG!!" Come on - where is the threat here? I'm don't feel threatened by it anyway. I guess I'm more comfortable in my scientific beliefs than others are.

Someone was calling this an "endorsement" of the idea by the NSS - I think this is just paranoia. Even in the NSS News, the review was quite the contrary. The NSS sells a fiction book - it's quite good too, where as the cavers are changing clothes, one comments that it is ok to take glances at other cavers naked body. OMG the NSS endorses leering at naked people! The horror!

And really... canceling your membership because of this? Isn't that a little over the top? Seems like there are bigger things to concern ones self with.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby mgmills » Dec 30, 2008 11:15 am

driggs wrote:My complaint is not at all about religious intolerance or censorship, but about our Society promoting a book that bastardizes accepted science and scientific practice. I request that the Society either remove The Cave Book from the NSS Bookstore or place it under "Cave Fiction" and change the book's description to clearly state that it ignores accepted geologic theory and re-interprets global speleogenesis according to the Bible's Old Testament.



I don't have a problem with the NSS selling the book. (I did go back and read the review of this book in the November NSS News - guess I skipped it when I perused the issue when I received it.)

I do agree with driggs that the description of the book should be changed.

This is the current description
"Slip deep into the hidden wonders beneath the surface as cave expert Dr. Emil Silvestru, NSS member #53082 gives his point of view of how caves came to exist. The newest title in the best-selling Wonders of Creation series, The Cave Book is a thorough exploration of the beautiful formations, thriving ecology, unique animals, and fragile balance of this ecosystem. Featured are sections on humans and caves, cave life, climates and classifications from the Creationist point of view. From the merely curious to the serious caver, this book is a captivating look at this unseen world."

If the part about the Creationist point of view appeared early on in the description I think it would be better.

Suggested change
"Slip deep into the hidden wonders beneath the surface as (delete 'cave expert') Dr. Emil Silvestru, NSS member #53082 gives his(insert 'Creationist') point of view of how caves came to exist."

I really don't feel strongly enough to write to the BOG members on this issue. I know Kelly from the bookstore reads this discussion board from time to time. Probably she could facilitate the description change without involving the BOG.

Will I buy the book? Probably not.

Now, as a moderator let me put on my moderator hat. Please don't get too much into religious discussion here. Remember all the issues we had a while back when we had a "Religious and Political Forum" on this board.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby jharman2 » Dec 30, 2008 11:29 am

graveleye wrote:And really... canceling your membership because of this? Isn't that a little over the top? Seems like there are bigger things to concern ones self with.


I said I would not RENEW my membership. Big difference between not renewing and canceling. Not renewing is passive while canceling is active.

At any rate why should I support an organization that does not support its mission statement? I don't want to let my membership run out and I certainly hope this issue gets resolved.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Phil Winkler » Dec 30, 2008 11:35 am

It appears we've sold 5 or 6 of them and have another 11 on hand. Sales just started in November so it appears it's flying off the shelves. :laughing: It had to have been a great stocking stuffer. Also, I just heard it was ordered by the Bookstore in response to numerous requests from members. So, there you go. The Bookstore manager was doing her job and, after all, it was reviewed first in the News. How come no one has come down on that?

It is fascinating to me that someone so educated like this guy could ignore all he has learned and replace it with creationism. It just boggles my mind which I like to think is quite open. Creationism, however, seems more like propaganda where it is a distortion of facts, a rearrangement of logical statements that appear to lend validity to the topic, etc. I agree with Martha, tho. We don't permit nor want religious discussions here.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby hewhocaves » Dec 30, 2008 11:36 am

Phil Winkler wrote:Posting here is one thing, but emailing the officers directly is more effective. I, too, am incredulous that this book is being sold by the NSS and it has nothing to do with intolerance. Please let the officers and directors know of your displeasure.


Thanks Phil :)

I've just sent off a fairly long email to the BOG and the upper officers. I encourage others to do the same. We will have to wait and see how effectively the NSS follows its own goals.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 30, 2008 11:57 am

At any rate why should I support an organization that does not support its mission statement?

This is what frustrates me the most, I think. Is this number just a merit badge proving I tossed my $36 into the pot and am now a card-carrying caver?
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby batrotter » Dec 30, 2008 11:59 am

xcathodex wrote:
To even question how tolerant or open I am on a personal level is completely, utterly misguided and way out of line. I hope a moderator deletes your unconstructive post before this turns into a flame war.



Oh geez, not only do you fit the definiton of being intolerant, now you want my posts banned. Don't worry about a flame war because I won't be wasting my time responding back to you.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 30, 2008 12:07 pm

I'm deleting this post. I give up. I've no interest in being inflammatory but will strongly consider letting my NSS membership lapse as well; I'd rather donate the $36 to the Cave Research Foundation, the Association for Arkansas Cave Studies, or another karst-related organization that adequately identifies the difference between science and pseudoscience. How much do we make on each sale of The Cave Book>? Enough to offset a handful of members not renewing?

Time for lunch. Here's to hoping my sandwich is less than 6,000 years old.
Last edited by Jeff Bartlett on Dec 30, 2008 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby hewhocaves » Dec 30, 2008 12:08 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:It appears we've sold 5 or 6 of them and have another 11 on hand. Sales just started in November so it appears it's flying off the shelves. :laughing: It had to have been a great stocking stuffer.

It is fascinating to me that someone so educated like this guy could ignore all he has learned and replace it with creationism. It just boggles my mind which I like to think is quite open. Creationism, however, seems more like propaganda where it is a distortion of facts, a rearrangement of logical statements that appear to lend validity to the topic, etc. I agree with Martha, tho. We don't permit nor want religious discussions here.


I agree, this should NOT become a religious argument. Not the least because it has little to do with religion and a everything to do with bad science. Let me reiterate this - creationism fails not because it is inherently religious but because it is fundamentally bad science. I don't think anyone would have a problem with the NSS selling a pre-cave prayer book. In fact, I would encourage our praying members to come together as a community and produce such a volume. It would likely sell well and add to our diversity.

There is an interesting parallel occurring here. There is another controversial book for sale at the NSS bookstore, by a foreign researcher. I am, of course, referring to Hypogene Speleogenesis by Dr. Alexander Klimchouk. Dr. Klimchouk's book has generated a lot of interest and conversation and his conclusions have been widely debated. People can argue for or against him with every bit the same energy as a creationist.

Yet Dr. Klimchouk is not being laughed at for bringing new ideas forward. In fact it is quite to the contrary. As I understand it, there will be a special discussion group at convention to discuss these ideas. How then is he able to generate support for a radical idea whereas the creationists are not?

1) Fundamentally, his research is sound. He builds on what has already been proven. Where he is innovative, it is by using established ideas in a new way, not by discarding whole areas of knowledge simply because they are inconvenient.

2) He allows the research to drive his conclusions. By this I mean he does not have preconceived conclusions and then discards findings if they do not concur with his preconceived notions.

3) He acts carefully. He does not allow his conclusions to overreach his data. (in fact much of the perceived argument against his ideas are on those rare occasions where he does overreach.)

4) There is a documented line of research, all available to the public so that at any stage, conclusions can be verified. You can see and read the whole process for yourself, provided you are willing to put in the time and effort.

Now, I have not actually met Dr. Klimchouk, so I hope he won't mind being used as a counterpoint. But the methodology attributed to him is common to most competent researchers. Science is a deliberate, careful process. Creationists are neither deliberate, nor careful. Their entire body of work attests to that. That makes it fundamentally bad science and consequently incompatible to the NSS's goal of promoting good science.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby MUD » Dec 30, 2008 12:13 pm

Geez....it sure is a shame what religion and politics do to people. :doh:

Can't y'all see what this is turnin into? :argue:

Let's talk CAVES! :bananabat:


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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby ArCaver » Dec 30, 2008 12:54 pm

How about a compromise? We only sell it in Kansas for use as a textbook. :laughing:
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Wm Shrewsbury » Dec 30, 2008 1:40 pm

All,

The book mentioned here is no longer in the NSS inventory.

I (the OVP) received a couple of short questioning emails last week about this same concern, and thus investigated the origins of why we acquired it for the bookstore. Due to this book having been reviewed in the November NSS News several NSS members requested the bookstore carry it. Our bookstore manager, Kelli, purchased 6 to see if they would indeed sell. 5 sold within 2 weeks, so she ordered 10 more. We currently have 11 on hand, indicating that beyond the initial 5 we have had no further sales.

In an email conversation with Kelli we discussed phasing out this book due to the nature of the NSS and its associations with other organizations. Our target date had been January to remove it from the site and to return those that had not sold.

I allowed this to continue to be in the bookstore listings for these last 2 weeks due to the slight vagueness of the our stated goals (underline emphasis added by me):

“The purpose of this Society shall be to promote interest in and to advance in any and all ways the study and science of speleology, the protection of caves and their natural contents, and to promote fellowship among those interested therein.

While I personally do not think this book should be sold in our bookstore, I did not “ban” it, but opted to quietly remove it from inventory after the 1st of the year. I, too, place emphasis on the science of our organization and don’t feel this book portrays science. The author is an NSS member, but that does not require us to carry his book in our inventory. Thus, it has been removed.

I would like to also point out that until this email reply the bookstore manager has not had a single complaint. There is a heading on every bookstore page that says “contact”, which brings up a page to contact the bookstore manager directly. No one has lodged any complaints via this form, nor called the office directly. We do not pay our employees to peruse Cavechat for relevant information, so they have not seen this thread either.

Should any of our members who purchased this book decide that they purchased this book in error, we will refund their money in full at their request.

The Staff at the bookstore was merely trying to carry what our membership was asking for. You can be assured that In the future they will be more conservative in their efforts to add to our sales when adding a new item.

Sincerely,

Wm Shrewsbury
Operations Vice-President
National Speleological Society
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby driggs » Dec 30, 2008 1:51 pm

Since this book has been removed from the NSS Bookstore and the link in the original post no longer works, in the interest of completeness I'm posting the information and Amazon link here.

"The Cave Book" by Dr. Emil Silvestru on Amazon.com

Image

Product Description
Slip deep into the hidden wonders beneath the surface as cave expert Dr. Emil Silvestru takes you on an illuminating and educational journey through the mysterious world of caves. The newest title in our best-selling Wonders of Creation series, The Cave Book is a thorough exploration of the beautiful formations, thriving ecology, unique animals, and fragile balance of this ecosystem. Featured are sections of humans and caves, cave life, climates and classifications, with emphasis on cave exploring and cave photography. From the merely curious to the serious spelunker, this book is a captivating look at this unseen world.

About the Author
Creation scientists Dr. Emil Silvestru, geologist/karstologist, is one of the foremost pioneers in the development of the study of karstology (referring to the entire geosystem, above and below ground - regions of mostly limestone and dolomite, noted for spectacular and distinctive landforms and with substantial underground drainage features - caves, underground rivers, etc.).
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby BrianC » Dec 30, 2008 1:59 pm

Hey Wm! If you can please hold back one copy for me! I for one would love to read it!
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