Creationist VP candidate?

Sarah Palin is now the Republican vice presidential candidate. She apparently came out in support of teaching creationism alongside evolution in public school science classrooms during her campaign for the governorship of Alaska in 2006.

It does not seem to have hurt her election prospects in 2006, and I doubt it will now.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    A quote from the news article:

    The Republican Party of Alaska platform says, in its section on education: “We support giving Creation Science equal representation with other theories of the origin of life. If evolution is taught, it should be presented as only a theory.”

    So, Sarah Palin was promoting the party line.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09383025356536602044 Quantum_Flux

    Please tell the McCain/Palin Campaign (preferrably politely) why teaching creationism in our public schools around America is superstitious and is not in our nation’s best interests. These are the feelers McCain has out there, the way in which Americans can have a voice and be heard by his campaign:

    Contact his campaign directly here:

    http://www.johnmccain.com/Contact/

    Or go to his blogs and leave a polite message about the subject matter wherever appropriate:

    http://www.johnmccain.com/blog/

    Remember, McCain does a lot of things right and is a great heroic war veteran who genuinely puts his country first, but Creationism is one key area where he is completely wrong and could potentially create a major setback for American students and businesses. We can’t let America fall behind foriegn countries in the departments of Science and Technology because of his superstitious beliefs.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    I don’t think it’s been established that Palin is a creationist. She answered a question at a candidate forum where her answer was reported as “Teach both,” but the question itself was not reported. From other evidence in the news article (such as the excellent response of the Libertarian candidate), I suspect the question was something like “Do you think that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in science classes?” Her campaign then backpedaled from her statement and said that she wasn’t saying that intelligent design or creationism should be part of the curriculum, only that debate shouldn’t be suppressed. I don’t think her position was different from that of most mainstream Republicans in that regard. (And I think Bradley Bowen’s point about the Republican Party of Alaska platform is more to the point.) I don’t think there’s much question that Palin is intended to motivate the support of the religious right for McCain, but I’m not confident that she’s personally a creationist on the basis of the evidence presented (note her refusal to answer whether she also believes in evolution, and her comments about her father’s advocacy of evolution).

    P.Z. Myers has now claimed, following “dogemperor” at the DailyKos, that Palin is an advocate of “dominionist theology” and her church, the Juneau Christian Center, is connected to the group “Joel’s Army.” I think the case being made for this claim is incredibly weak, as I’ve discussed here.

    I highly recommend reading the comments of Bob Vogel on P.Z. Myers’ blog post about Palin. Vogel is an Alaskan who is no Palin supporter, but who sees no evidence that she has or would make any attempt to impose theocracy on government.

    “Guilt by association” conspiracy thinking is poor reasoning, no matter who engages in it, or to what end.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10099905896896905176 GOP Mammal

    McCain has said he accepts evolution, don’t know what his position on allowing it in the schools is. We always need to be vigilant to keep the unscientific nonsense of ID out of the schools. This will not change my vote however, I’m still voting for McCain.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01294436437292859972 Malcolm Kirkpatrick

    More important to me than a candidate’s attitude toward Creation Science or any other curriculum element is the candidate’s attitude to school choice.

    Supporters of the prevailing policy, which restricts each parent’s options for the use of the taxpayers’ K-12 education subsidy to schools operated by the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel, often say something like: “It’s important that everyone learn __X__ (fill in the blank)”. Funny thing is, in the current system not everyone learns X (for any X) and there’s no guarantee that supporters of any particular X will win the contest for control of the curriculum.

    I believe that many people support the State-monopoly school system for a reason similar to the reason people buy movie tickets or lottery tickets, for the fantasy. Movies are explicit fiction. Lottery tickets allow people to dream, for a week or so, of all the wonderful things they will do with big $$$. You cannot enjoy the fantasy if you do not buy a ticket. Simalarly, you cannot enjoy the fantasy of inndoctrinating thousands of gullible children if no venue for such indoctrination exists. So people support State operation of schools and compulsory attendance laws.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    FWIW, It turns out that Palin doesn't consider herself a Pentecostal, and her main church is the Wasilla Bible Church, which doesn't appear to be Pentecostal.

    Malcolm: Arizona has been a leader in experimenting with school choice in the form of both voucher programs and charter schools. The charter school system has clearly made some improvements; the first high school in Arizona to make the top ten in the U.S. News & World Report list of top high schools in the country was a charter school, BASIS, which came in at #3 in the nation. Of the top ten ranked high schools in Phoenix by test scores (on Greatschools.net), 9 are charter schools (#1-5, #7-10) and one is a federal magnet school (#6). Of the top performing elementary schools for reading test scores in Arizona's major cities (Flagstaff, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Tucson), all but one is a charter school (the exception is Scottsdale). Of the top performing middle schools for reading test scores in Arizona's major cities, all are charter schools.

    One of the key incentives for charter school performance is the threat of closure–15.5% of Arizona's charter schools have been closed for poor performance since 1995. District schools have no threat of closure for poor performance, with the result that poor performing schools don't get fixed or eliminated. California has begun experimenting with converting poor performing public schools into charter schools, run by an organization called "Green Dot."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05275899305949454964 hardindr

    dogemperor may be correct regarding Palin’s theological opinions. Apparently, Palin was a member of the Constition Party’s Alaskan affiliate back in the 1990s (information regarding the Constitution Party can be found here). If you are a member of the Constitution Party, you are either a theocrat or very, very naive about its platforms goals for America.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    Wow, that’s surprising to me. The Alaskan Independence Party wants have a popular vote on whether Alaska should be a state, a territory, a commonwealth, or a separate or independent nation, which they feel they were denied improperly. They favor minimal government, and are the sort of people who pretty much want to be left alone. I wouldn’t think those people would care much for theocracy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05275899305949454964 hardindr

    More background on the Constitution Party here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    hardindr: Turns out you’re mistaken, Sarah Palin has never been a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, though her husband was from 1995 to 2002.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14186230660536885674 cynthia

    Its never unintelligent to get out of the box of evolution and admit there might be something else beyond. Staunch evolutionists are as narrowminded as they say creationists are. Funny how perspective blinds you to your own blemishes.


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