Ken Burns’ superb PBS documentary film is titled “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” The six-part series traces the political and cultural history of the birth and growth of the unique national park system in the United States. For many reasons, every American should see the program. We need to appreciate just how important the national parks are to our personal and collective well-being. The Burns documentary tells that story very well.

More than that, though, everyone should visit the national parks in person—and not just for their incredible beauty or a chance to get away from the demands of our busy lives. The national parks educate with undeniable, empirical honesty right in front of us. The parks provide tremendous insights into the geological and cultural truths of our long evolutionary history.

The incredible Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The spires (called “hoodoos”) date back nearly 100 million years (which, course, completely debunks biblical claims that the earth is less than 10,000 years old).

Visitors can walk all the way to the bottom of the canyon to see the hoodoos up close.
Some of the hoodoos bear resemblance to familiar images, like Queen Victoria sitting on her throne.
Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado contains thousands of archaeological sites— including the stunning cliff dwellings—that reveal how the ancestral Puebloan indigenous tribes lived more than 1,000 years ago.
Thanks to protection offered by the federal government, the cliff dwellings remain remarkably intact.

Here a National Park Ranger explains how the Puebloan Indians created holes in the floors of the cliff houses in order to collect and store water that runs off from the walls inside in the dwellings.

The National Park Rangers are among our greatest human resources. They explain clearly and factually how the impressive parks formed. This may seem unremarkable but consider this: the true story of how our earth came to look the way it does today draws from proven scientific knowledge that completely discredits the creationist tales that underlie Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

If you feel the need to pray, why not send your thoughts directly to the wonderful gifts that evolution has given all of us—nature itself.