Monday, September 01, 2008


Benefit of What Doubt?

Jonathan Adler, always a friend to science, makes a correct but, perhaps, naive, point about Sarah Palin:

One charge that's rapidly making the rounds among Palin critics is that she's a supporter of creationism and wants it taught in public schools. From what I've been able to find, however, this is not quite true. As detailed here, Gov. Palin stated in a 2006 gubernatorial debate that she has no objection to "teaching both" evolution and creation. After the debate, however, she clarified that she did not think the state should require the teaching of creationism or other anti-evolution theories alongside evolution in public schools. "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 said. Beyond other statements reaffirming her belief in God, I have seen nothing that would indicate she supports making creationism part of school science curricula.
The problem is that it has long been an aim of the Intelligent Design Movement to make sure that creationism "comes up in class." Through its "academic freedom" legislation, its earlier "legal advice" to ID-friendly teachers, "Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula," and, most sleazy of all, Jonathan Wells' attempt to co-opt children as surreptitious agents in an assault on the constitutional right to be free of proselytizing while an unwilling audience of the government -- in the form of his "Ten questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution" -- the Discovery Institute has turned "debate" into just another creationist code-word. Even the "creation scientists" are now trying the last tactic.

It's possible that Palin is just the victim of her own loose lips but it'll take more than just a politician's "clarification" to convince me that she's not playing that same underhanded game.

P.S. It's not just Palin's critics who doubt her "clarification" either. According to the Washington Post, Cathie Adams, Texas's incoming Republican national committeewoman, does too:

I'm sure this is a woman who believes, as I do, let's present evolution and creationism on a level playing field, because when that happens, we know education is happening, not brainwashing, not politics in the classroom.
So, now evolution isn't just anti-religion, it's politics too? One thing that a McCain-Palin ticket promises is that what will be happening in public schools won't science education.

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