Gov. Tim Pawlenty Just as Scientifically Illiterate as Gov. Sarah Palin

Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty appeared on Meet the Press this morning — he was defending John McCain‘s decision to tap Sarah Palin as Vice-President.

Tom Brokaw asked Pawlenty about Palin’s views on science.

Besides confirming her support of Intelligent Design/Creationism, Pawlenty gave us another example of a Republican government official who possesses scientific illiteracy — himself:

MR. BROKAW: OK.

In the governor’s race, [Palin] refused to be specific about her views on creationism vs. evolution, but as I understand it, she did say that she thought that the two subjects should be taught side by side in public schools. Do you think that’s a good idea?

GOV. PAWLENTY: I saw her comments on it yesterday, and I thought they were appropriate, which is, you know, let’s — if there are competing theories, and they are credible, her view of it was, according to comments in the newspaper, allow them all to be presented, or allow them both to be presented so students could be exposed to both, and — or more, and have a chance to be exposed to the, to the various theories and make up their own minds.

MR. BROKAW: In the vast scientific community, do you think that creationism has the same weight as evolution, and at a time in American education when we are in a crisis when it comes to science that there ought to be parallel tracks for creationism vs. evolution in the teaching?

GOV. PAWLENTY: In the scientific community, it seems like intelligent design is dismissed. Not entirely, there are a lot of scientists who would make the case that it is appropriate to be taught and appropriate to be demonstrated. But in terms of the curriculum in the schools, in Minnesota we’ve taken the approach that that’s a local decision, but I know Senator Palin, or Governor Palin, has said intelligent design is something she thinks should be taught along with evolution in the schools, and I think that’s appropriate from my standpoint.

MR. BROKAW: Given, given…

GOV. PAWLENTY: But I believe — my personal view is that’s a local decision.

MR. BROKAW: Given equal weight.

GOV. PAWLENTY: At the local school board.

MR. BROKAW: And you would recommend it be given equal weight.

GOV. PAWLENTY: We’ve said in Minnesota, in my view this is a local decision. Intelligent design is something that in my view is a plausible and credible and something that I personally believe in; but more importantly, from an educational and scientific standpoint, it should be decided by local school boards, by — at the local school district level.

In other words, neither Pawlenty nor Palin would force Creationism to be included in the state Science standards… but if a local school board in their states decided to go forward with teaching both ideas (wink wink)… they wouldn’t see a problem with this.

Ugh.

There are many reasons it would be against a woman’s best interest to elect McCain/Palin — The overturning of Roe v. Wade to name one.

But if they wanted to select a woman, couldn’t the Republicans have found one with more intelligence and better education?

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Creationism is to science as Paris Hilton is to chastity.

  • http://ghostsofminnesota.blogspot.com Ghost of Minnesota

    I saw her comments on it yesterday, and I thought they were appropriate, which is, you know, let’s — if there are competing theories, and they are credible, her view of it was, according to comments in the newspaper, allow them all to be presented, or allow them both to be presented so students could be exposed to both, and — or more, and have a chance to be exposed to the, to the various theories and make up their own minds.

    That’s a hell of a run-on sentence.

  • Matt

    Hemant said

    But if they wanted to select a woman, couldn’t the Republicans have found one with more intelligence and better education?

    Actually, if they presented a woman who was intelligent and well-educated, she would appear uppity to the men who want to keep women down. There’s no way they’d pick a woman who would appear to be a man’s equal. And given that this is John MehCain’s running mate, they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    Regarding critiques of McCain/Palin, do any of you HONESTLY think that Obama/Biden will somehow NOT reach out to religious groups? Obama ducked the question of whether “under god” should stay in the pledge of allegiance repeatedly during his campaign. In a town hall meeting earlier this year, Obama encouraged Democrats to “get in church, reach out to evangelicals [and] link faith with the work that we do.” If I’m not mistaken, Obama attends church regularly, and has less than kind words for his mother (who was an atheist).

    Weren’t we (atheists) just bitching about being shut out of the inter-faith breakfast at the Democratic convention?

    Those of you who criticize Palin for not having enough “experience,” are really on some shaky ground. Interestingly enough, Palin is the ONLY one of the 4 candidates with ANY executive governance experience WHATSOEVER.
    Aren’t most Obama supporters all about “change” etc etc? An outsider like Palin should be just what the doctor ordered.

    Fact is, neither party represents the interests of us atheists, so stop trying to couch your support of a particular candidate in these terms.

    Let’s be honest, and admit that those who consider themselves liberal, will be voting for Obama, and those who are Ayn Rand conservatives (like me) will be voting for McCain. I’m not sure why anyone would be ashamed to admit that. Either way, we’ll both be hoping that the guy (or girl) who wins will have sense enough to keep religion at arm’s length.

    ATL-Apostate

  • Gullwatcher

    Either way, we’ll both be hoping that the guy (or girl) who wins will have sense enough to keep religion at arm’s length.

    I would rather play the odds than simply hope. I can see Obama, Biden, and even maybe McCain doing that. But if Palin is a dominionist (as it appears she may well be), then her purpose in running will be specifically to undermine that separation and create a theocracy. Why would an Ayn Rand conservative vote for that?

  • Siamang

    If I’m not mistaken, Obama attends church regularly, and has less than kind words for his mother (who was an atheist).

    He has nothing but the kindest words for her in one of his books. Unless you’ve got a cite for your claim, I think this quote rebuts it totally:

    I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book—less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won’t try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her.

    -Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father.

    Those of you who criticize Palin for not having enough “experience,” are really on some shaky ground. Interestingly enough, Palin is the ONLY one of the 4 candidates with ANY executive governance experience WHATSOEVER.

    WOW that’s defining the term “experience” in a self-serving way.
    So “executive” experience is the only experience that counts as “experience” now does it?

    Yeah, arguing with the legislature in Moose-ass Alaska for 1 year and change is JUST EXACTLY LIKE being a heartbeat away from the largest nuclear arsenal on the fucking planet. Why didn’t I see it before?

    Yeah, I must really be on shaky ground by calling Palin a total newb… except that I’m really, really not. If you can’t see it, fine, but you aren’t going to convince anyone with your “She’s got more executive quality time than ANYONE!!! She’s practically Churchill!”

    She’s Harriet Miers and Brownie all rolled into one… picked for her positions, not her accomplishments.

    Aren’t most Obama supporters all about “change” etc etc?

    Not me. I’m all about “competence”. See Brownie et al above.

    An outsider like Palin should be just what the doctor ordered.

    No, that’s not change… that’s more of the same. See Brownie, et al above. Sorry, we don’t need another fucking idiot Governor “I is an executive.. I have executival type of experiences… I’m a DECIDER!” running things in Washington. These last eight years of a catastrophic underachiever of a president have been more than enough, thank you.

    Fact is, neither party represents the interests of us atheists, so stop trying to couch your support of a particular candidate in these terms

    Yeah, why should we discuss the intersection of politics and atheism on an atheist blog during a political campaign season?

    Let’s be honest, and admit that those who consider themselves liberal, will be voting for Obama, and those who are Ayn Rand conservatives (like me) will be voting for McCain.

    I have no trouble talking about why I’ll vote for Obama. But to expect that I’m not going to talk about proper science education when discussing the pros and cons of each candidate is ridiculous.

    It sounds to me like you would rather we not discuss the issues, but rather just say “liberals will vote for Obama, and conservatives will vote for McCain”.

    Sorry, but I think people SHOULD discuss the issues. I think it does help (maybe not you, but some people perhaps) to read the best arguments and then decide. For someone like you who touts the “experience” of Palin, I think it helps that you wrote what you wrote, and everyone reading just laughed a huge guffaw at your ability to contort your internal reasoning to make her out to be some kind of elder statesman!

    People do change their minds. I have seen it happen. And one of the things that starts it is when things like the Palin nomination cause people to focus on issues.

    If it’s actually true, as McCain leads us to believe, that there are “bad people” out there who wish to “harm America” and only the republicans can keep us safe, why follow it up by nominating a beauty queen and sportscaster to be the next person to have to stare Putin and Nyvedev and Ahmadenajhad down, eye-to-eye and toe to toe should anything happen to the man who aspires to be America’s oldest president ever?

    I pay attention to the issues, and I discuss them and argue them, all throughout the campaign season. I can even be brought to new and different opinions on a multitude of issues that add up to putting more or less weight on which issues I support. I would indeed be ashamed, and should be ashamed, if I ignored the issues and voted for a candidate merely because I felt they belonged to “my” political kindred tribe.

    But if that’s what you do, it must make things quite easy for you. No need to dissect or discuss or even think about the issues. Just pull the lever next to the “R”.

    Not to say that’s what you do. It may not be. But it looks to me like it’s how Palin got her job, like Brownie and Myers and any number of “ideologically pure” sycophants before her. No expertise required… just toe the party line and have the big oil donations deliver the votes.

    Ah yes, we need yet another “oil person” in the White house. Haven’t had enough of them over the last 8 years.

  • http://www.chedstone.com Chedstone

    Good call Hemant.

  • ash

    if there are competing theories, and they are credible,(…), allow them all to be presented

    agreed.

    Intelligent design is something that in my view is a plausible and credible and something that I personally believe in

    however, your views and beliefs do not a credible scientific theory form.

  • http://www.tuibguy.com Mike Haubrich, FCD

    Well, I don’t really think that promoting or accepting intelligent design is a matter of a bad eduction. It is a matter of the Wedge Strategy gaining traction.

    But, I really don’t get why Pawlenty is lying about this. The decision to teach intelligent design in schools has not been handed down to the local districts. This is an incredible projection of his wishful thinking. Minnesota’s Science Standards are very clear on the teaching of Evolution. Cheri Pierson-Yeckee tried to subvert the process, but failed. The standards adopted a strategy of teaching students how to study science and understand the process.

    Pawlenty is making it sound like the Disco Institute has finally “won” in Minnesota, but every time they try to bring in a Louisiana type “Academic Freedoom” bill it doesn’t even make it to committee. The legislators kind of laugh about it.

  • ubi dubius

    Some interesting poll results on American attitudes on evolution is here: http://www.pollingreport.com/science.htm. One of the findings is that 58% of Americans favor teaching creation alongside evolution. We have a lot of educating to do.

  • cipher

    Siamang – excellent; really well said.

    Palin was a sportscaster?

    I really am sick to death of this “teach the controversy” bullshit. Those who support the teaching of creationism/ID know that it’s conservative evangelical Christianity masquerading as science; they simply don’t care. They feel they have the God-given right to indoctrinate children (especially the children of atheists and lukewarm Christians) at the public school level; they believe they’re saving their immortal souls from eternal damnation. They deplore the fact that they even have to do this dance with us. This is the reason they all went ballistic after Dover. The facts, the legalities, the constitutional details were and are completely irrelevant to them; how dare we tell them they don’t have the right to teach Christianity in the schools. They feel they’re acquiescing merely by pretending it’s science, and they’re infuriated by the fact that it doesn’t seem to be good enough for us.

    All conservative evangelicals are Dominionists; it’s merely a matter of degree.

  • Luther Weeks

    Yes she was a sportscaster, before she was a hockey mom.

    In fact here is a replay of her sportscasting skills:

    http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=0D36F77896CE7133A3DDB526C839B3FF?diaryId=10219

    This is only one clip, but I would say she is pretty fast reading the teleprompter.

    Here are my ‘sports’ questions for her:
    - Do you support a right for employees’ to have guns in their cars at work?
    - if so, would the Whitehouse be safer if all staffers and visitors were required to pack iron? At campaign events?

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    She’s Harriet Miers and Brownie all rolled into one… picked for her positions, not her accomplishments.

    Name one meaningful piece of legislation ever sponsored by Obama.
    Aside from being a “community organizer,” state senator and the junior US senator from IL and associating with an admitted terrorist (Ayers, who bombed the Pentagon), what has obama accomplished prior to his nomination? That’s a pretty THIN resume, and he’s running for Prez, not VP!

    What experience does Obama have commanding military troops? He’s about to be Commander in Chief of the US military if he wins.
    Answer: zero.
    Palin has been Commander in Chief of the Alaskan National Guard.
    Not much, but it’s something.

    So “executive” experience is the only experience that counts as “experience” now does it?

    No, but it helps, if you’re running for the top spot in the “Executive” branch of government, which, if I’m not mistaken, Obama is doing.

    Yeah, arguing with the legislature in Moose-ass Alaska for 1 year and change is JUST EXACTLY LIKE being a heartbeat away from the largest nuclear arsenal on the fucking planet.

    I could say the same thing about being the junior senator from a midwestern state.

    Making fun of the state legislature in “moose-ass” Alaska is elitist, and dare I say, self serving. If she were the governor of a southern state, I assume there would be KKK jokes inserted somewhere in your critique. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I’m not “touting” Palin’s experience, because indeed it’s thin. I certainly never said she was another Churchill. However, the fact that Palin (the VP candidate!) has more experience in two key areas (executive governance and military command) than the Presidential candidate from the Dems is a bit embarrassing. The fact that her experience is lacking, yet still outstrips the top candidate on the other side is a shame.

  • David D.G.

    But if they wanted to select a woman, couldn’t the Republicans have found one with more intelligence and better education?

    If they had, would she still be a Republican? Or, for that matter, would she conceivably be a candidate that the general population of Republican voters would approve of?

    ~David D.G.

  • Karen

    The argument that running a city council in a town of 8,000 and then being governor of a thinly populated state for 20 months makes Palin “more experienced” than Obama is bullsh** and nobody’s going to fall for it no matter how many times the Republican talking heads say it.

    Obama is a lawyer, a constitutional law professor and worked in the inner city of Chicago. He has state and national experience making law that affects domestic and foreign policy. He prevailed after 19 months of national campaigning against one of the toughest and best-financed Democratic candidates ever.

    You’re telling me that Miss Congeniality is his equal in terms of foreign policy, intellect, gravitas and presidential material? Her own newspaper declared that she’s nowhere near ready to be president or vice president.

    Please, that argument insults the intelligence of the American people.

  • Siamang

    Name one meaningful piece of legislation ever sponsored by Obama.

    Here’s one.

    and associating with an admitted terrorist

    I don’t think he currently associates with Ayers, who is, after all, a professor at the University of Illinois, working in the field of education and urban school education reform. The group that Obama served on was the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was a project started by Ayers at the personal request of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. That alone shows that this guy’s gone mainstream.

    You act like this guy’s a current-day bomb-thrower and terrorist. There are former radicals among republicans too. Shall I call McCain a Vietnam era civilian-bomber? Shall we bring up Rumsfeld and Cheney’s ties to Saddam?

    ATL apostate, I can’t tell if you actually ARE a rationalist. You seem to be parroting right-wing talking-points free of context and free of you looking into the deeper facts of the issue. I would appreciate a rational discussion of the issues at hand. But you’re going straight for the swift-boat smears.

    I could say the same thing about being the junior senator from a midwestern state.

    Yes, which is why he’s got some convincing to do to the American public. A job he’s busily working at. I think he’ll win at that.

    Making fun of the state legislature in “moose-ass” Alaska is elitist,

    Good. I’m not afraid to be called elitist when I say that I think the problems faced by the Governor of Alaska are not going to prepare her much, if at all, for running the nation should the unthinkable happen.

    If she were the top of the Republican ticket, she wouldn’t even be ON the ticket. Obviously Obama IS the top of the democratic ticket, and you can’t say that was handed to him on a platter by the party elders. There is something to be said for the executive experience of beating the entrenched political power of the Clintons.

    I think that Obama is an intelligent, considered, thoughtful problem solver who’s good at attracting top people to his team. That counts. For me, it’s going to count for a little bit more than commanding the state national guard in Alaska to protect its citizens from danger during moose-mating season. (Okay, I made that one up.)

    If she were the governor of a southern state, I assume there would be KKK jokes inserted somewhere in your critique.

    Yes, because one thing everyone knows about me is that I go right for the racial humor. NAW! Moose jokes, however, are always funny.

    However, the fact that Palin (the VP candidate!) has more experience in two key areas (executive governance and military command) than the Presidential candidate from the Dems is a bit embarrassing.

    Really? You’re going with the “military command” thing? Name me one meaningful military action commanded by Governor Palin in all her year of being this experienced military commander.

    The fact that her experience is lacking, yet still outstrips the top candidate on the other side is a shame.

    I think it blunts republicans criticism of Obama on exactly this issue. Palin brings nothing to McCain’s ticket, which truth be told, is a disappointment to someone who would like this exact issues to be raised and discussed. I’m a former McCain voter, and I have to say I’m disappointed in his choice. I’d like it to have been Giuliani, actually.

  • ryot

    Oh man, if ATL isn’t saying all of that for the lulz I’m truly worried. Does he not read the parts where she admits to being anti-science and more-than-likely a dominionist?

    How can a self-described Ayn Rand conservative (elitist-sounding, no?) atheist possibly overlook that? Her views are an amalgamation of everything that is ruining the future of the country. I’m not willing to live in her Christian nation. I’m not going to be drafted (of course, I’m assuming since they hate teh gays I’ll be able to get myself kicked out). And I’m not going to lay back while my rights get trampled on for another 4-8 years.

    I guess he’s proven yourself to be beyond ignorant on other issues, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s a troll. At least then he’s got an excuse.

  • Siamang

    But if they wanted to select a woman, couldn’t the Republicans have found one with more intelligence and better education?

    If they had, would she still be a Republican?

    Olympia Snowe. Christy-Todd Whitman….

    Or, for that matter, would she conceivably be a candidate that the general population of Republican voters would approve of?

    Shit. Strike those then.

  • Siamang

    As usual, someone said it better and shorter than I did. Grats, Karen.

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    Still waiting on that meaningful legislation sponsored by Obama, or for that matter, any important legal papers he has published. Surely, if he was a Constitutional Law professor he would have some important briefs or publications…

    Perhaps a precedent-setting argument at that?
    No?

    Also, still waiting for an example of Obama’s executive governance or commander in chief experience.
    Anyone?

    Does being a junior senator from Illinois give one the foreign policy experience needed to be president?

    Can someone name one foreign policy item, bill or proposal initiated by senator Obama?

    Does working in the inner city of Chicago somehow provide more “gravitas,” “intellect” and “foreign policy experience” than working in rural Alaska?

    You can blast Palin as being inexperienced all you like. You can discount her experience all you like. The arguments used in so doing demonstrate an elitist bias against rural america and reveal Obama to be even more inexperienced.

    At his best, Obama (Presidential candidate) is on equal footing with Palin (the VP candidate) with regards to executive governance and commander in chief experience.
    And that’s just sad.

    In other news, yes, ATL Apostate is very embarrassed over Palin’s ignorance over the “under God” issue and the “intelligent design issue.”
    But hey , Obama thinks there are 57 states, and doesn’t know the difference between St. Louis and Kansas City. Go figure.

  • ryot

    I rarely use this term, but seriously, stop being a tool. Obama mispoke and said fifty-seven instead of forty-seven. Why? He’d been campaigning non-stop for months.

    Do you really want to play this game? Do you want to be petty and bring up tiny gaffe McCain has made? Don’t be an idiot. Obama’s experience on the national level far outweighs Palin’s “executive” experience. Name one major thing she’s actually done for Alaska.

  • Siamang

    Surely, if he was a Constitutional Law professor he would have some important briefs or publications…

    He was the president of the Harvard Law Review. That’s a publication.

    Does working in the inner city of Chicago somehow provide more “gravitas,” “intellect” and “foreign policy experience” than working in rural Alaska?

    Not necessarily. But in this specific incidence, yes.

    Still waiting on that meaningful legislation sponsored by Obama,

    Linked above.

    Also, still waiting for an example of Obama’s executive governance or commander in chief experience.

    Now, now, you haven’t answered my question about naming one meaningful military action commanded by Governor Palin. We’re taking turns at this “name one meaningful…” pissing contest. You can’t take two pisses in a row.

    Can someone name one foreign policy item, bill or proposal initiated by senator Obama?

    Make that THREE pisses!

    At his best, Obama (Presidential candidate) is on equal footing with Palin (the VP candidate) with regards to executive governance and commander in chief experience.

    Yes, and then hits it out of the ballpark with his power and ability to inspire us to address issues like education reform, poverty-reduction, global issues on the environment, social justice and the ability for America to lead by example. He serves on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, he serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and on the Committee for Veteran’s affairs. This is a different type of experience than “commander in chief” experience. But it’s experience nonetheless. Working in urban chicago for many years on education, poverty and social justice issues IS ALSO experience. Years and years of experience that you don’t necessarily get from being a part-time mayor of a tiny town in the woods.

    I suppose it’s elitist to say that I don’t think a BS in “Communications-Journalism” from the University of Idaho is exactly equal to a BA in Poli-Sci at Columbia followed by a Harvard JD graduating magna cum laude and president of the Harvard Law Review.

    But let me be elitist and say that yes, it does matter if we are to discuss the seriousness, substance and quality of a candidate.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean Sean

    All I could say about Palin has already been said. We need to make sure we talk to our friends and families and make sure they all know her true colors.

    My question at this moment is why is there a giant scientology banner ad at the top of this post? Google’s ad script is failing miserably.

  • http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com Dale McGowan

    What?! That can’t be Pawlenty’s view! Why, he and I attended the same Baptist megachurch for three years. What was he doing — listening?

  • Karen

    Still waiting on that meaningful legislation sponsored by Obama, or for that matter, any important legal papers he has published.

    Okay, I’m now convinced that this is one of those right wing talking points that mindless people like ATL just parrot over and over, thinking they are scoring some big points. They aren’t really interested in the answer, because if they were they’d quickly find (given any computer literacy at all) that the answers are easily accessible online.

    After all, Obama has been running for president for what – 19 months now? If you want to know about his background I suggest you check out his website, where there’s extensive information on his positions and his history in both Illinois and in U.S.Congress.

    If there’s not enough there to satisfy you, try googling “Barack Obama” plus “legislative accomplishments” and you’ll get a long list (about 45,000) of results. If you still can’t bother doing the research for yourself, here’s a couple of sites where individuals have listed legislation from both his state and federal stints.

    If you’re truly interested in making a meaningful decision, please do the homework for yourself. If you as an atheist (not to mention a libertarian) are honestly considering voting for a candidate who chooses a dominionist as his second-in-command, I’m flabbergasted.

  • Siamang

    Karen hits it out of the park again.

    As she says, “do the research yourself”. Playing the “name me one….” game is what creationists do when they want to run out the clock with objection after objection.

    Find sources you can corroborate. As a skeptic you should know, and be very wary of confirmation bias. Check the facts yourself. Check our facts if we are wrong about them… that’s how you and I as skeptics can illuminate the truth… as metal sharpens metal to quote the bible.

  • Karen

    Karen hits it out of the park again.

    Why thank you, Mr. Siamang! High praise coming from someone as articulate and well-written as yourself. :-)

    As she says, “do the research yourself”. Playing the “name me one….” game is what creationists do when they want to run out the clock with objection after objection.

    Very similar. And I know it’s a talking point for sure now, since I just saw Newt Gingrich pull the “Name me one thing Barack Obama has done!” schtick on MSNBC. How shameless, to capitalize on peoples’ ignorance and laziness.

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