Saturday, August 20, 2011

Organ Cave, WV

 In my younger days I was an avid caver, and still keep up somewhat with the science and with the sport. I’m at the place in my life where I’m taking my grandkids to see things I am interested in, just to expose them to lots of stuff.

I was looking at the web site for Organ Cave in Greenbrier County, WV for a possible trip to a commercial (tourist) cave. Organ Cave is in the heart of West Virginia cave region and is a huge system, ranking 29th, plus or minus, on the list of the world's longest mapped caves. Plus it contains saltpeter mining relics from the American Civil War.  Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is a key ingredient of gunpowder.

So, historically and geologically, it is a significant place. 

But it seems to be in the hands of a dogmatic owner.  Because on the cave’s web site I see the statement “We are closed Sunday in honor of the Lord’s Day,” and think “Hmmm?”, that’s kinda odd for a tourist attraction.  But different folks have different religious rules for living, that's OK.

But--and at this my scientific mind bristled--further down on the page I see the statement (in red on the web site to better stand out): “All our tours are based on creation using the King James version of the Bible.”

Now, when I was in college I was actually in the Organ Cave System--I went caving there via a different entrance (called Lipps # 2 Cave), whose passages are characterized by large trunk channels. However, I have not been to the cave to take the commercial tour via the Organ Cave entrance. 

I wonder what that statement above actually means on the tour? Cave guides everywhere tell their groups that cave formations are known to grow at the approximate rate of 1” per century.  This is a documented fact from observation and historic records. 

So might the guide then shine his light upwards and say, "See that big stalactite hanging down from the ceiling?  See that line on it about 5 feet up from the bottom?  That's where the stalactite originally ended when God created it--right there--according to the Genesis story, about 6000 years ago.  This stalactite has grown about 1 inch per century--about 5 feet in length--since God created it." 

Science and religion can co-exist, but not when religion refuses to accept demonstrable facts, such as geologic time or evidence for evolution.

Anyway, thought you’d be amused.  And I MUST go there and take the tour (I will be respectful).

1 comment:

  1. Just curious, did you visit this cave yet. What are your thoughts on it now?