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Sarah Palin and Creationism

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LGF readers are probably aware that I am no creationist; in fact, I am strongly opposed to the teaching of “intelligent design” or “creation science,” or any other name the advocates for creationism concoct in their relentless quest to promote pseudo-science.

So I was disturbed to learn of Sarah Palin’s apparent support for creationism. However, as I posted in a comment earlier, she does not appear to be the fanatical type who wants to force or sneak the teaching of creationism into public school science classrooms.

But this is going to be a point of attack for the left, as Wired Magazine’s Brandon Keim demonstrates in this article: McCain’s VP Wants Creationism Taught in School.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin wants creationism taught in science classes.

In a 2006 gubernatorial debate, the soon-to-be governor of Alaska trotted out the usual creationist education canard: “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of education. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”

Teaching evolution and creationism in a scientifically balanced way is simply impossible. Evolution is accepted by scientists as driving the development of life on Earth. Creationism, which puts a (Christian) God in the engine room of life, is unsupported by science. Its arguments have been roundly dismissed by scientists — many of whom, it should be noted, believe in God. They’re just sensible enough to understand where science ends and religion begins.

This is all true as far as it goes, but it’s a bit dishonest of Keim not to quote the rest of Palin’s statements in the article he linked: ‘Creation science’ enters the race.

In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

“I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

Members of the state school board, which sets minimum requirements, are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

“I won’t have religion as a litmus test, or anybody’s personal opinion on evolution or creationism,” Palin said.

Looks like Palin made an off-the-cuff statement during a debate on a hot topic, didn’t really expect the criticism she’d get, and then softened her position considerably in a follow-up interview. But to quote just the first part of her statements on creationism and ignore the second is misleading; because in the clarification she’s describing a position that doesn’t cause me (a staunch anti-creationist) any discomfort.

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 Frank says:

Mr Zappa, I am astounded at the courtesy and soft voiced nature of the comments of my friend, the Senator from Tennessee. I can only say that I find your statement to be boorish, incredibly and insensitively insulting to the people who were here previously, that you could manage to give the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States a bad name, if I felt you had the slightest understanding of it, which I do not. -- - Senator Slade Gorton