Palin Pile-on

The blogosphere rings out with denunciations of Sarah Palin, Republican vice-presidential nominee. Among the more interesting items is the following ABC news report, which helpfully explains the political scandal involving an Alaskan state trooper who is Palin’s former brother in law:



Note the detail at the end about the timing of the investigation into the affair: it is scheduled to be released four days before the U.S. election. The Republicans are currently devoting much sleazy energy to delaying its release.

Palin also appears to be losing the support of conservative intellectuals such as Charles Krauthammer (whose column, like the ABC report, I came across at Andrew Sullivan‘s blog). 

Speaking personally, the most disappointing thing about Palin is her belief in creationism. During her 2006 race for governor of Alaska, Palin said of evolution and creationism, “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.” Some right-wing sites are now downplaying the significance of this remark.  They note that a few days later, Palin said that she would not push schools to actually teach creationism in science class. All she meant to say was that if creationism did come up in biology lessons, students should be allowed to discuss it. “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.”

I don’t find this line of defence very reassuring. For one thing, she is simply wrong that creationism deserves any sort of presence in biology class. It is the worst form of pseudo-science, and has no place in a serious scientific discussion. Moreover, the issue is not confined to what Palin herself personally believes, although her personal views are bad enough. If elected Palin will inspire and energize people who do want to mandate creationism in schools. Indeed, this seems to be the official view of the party she represented when she made her original creationism comment. As the Anchorage Daily News noted in 2006, “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.'” 

If we must have fundamentalists on the Republican ticket, it would at least be nice to have some variety for a change. They’ve been going after evolution for decades now. Don’t they ever get tired of fighting the same old battles? Just once, couldn’t they come out against gravity or photosynthesis to liven things up?


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