Friday, September 05, 2008

Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Creationism

According to a story in the Minnesota Independent, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has publicly backed Sarah Palin's ideas of teaching creationism even as she was downplaying it. Not a smart move. The story notes:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty came to the aid of Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday on the issue of teaching creationism (aka “intelligent design”) in the classroom. While he stopped short of endorsing a mandated “God created the world in 7 days 10,000 years ago” curriculum, he said he agreed with the theory that evangelical Christians tout as a replacement for evolutionary theory.

He said that Palin’s comments about teaching creationism were “appropriate,” then said it’s up to local school boards to decide, then added that he personally supports creationism.

The article recounts an interview with Pawlenty and Tom Brokaw in which Brokaw sets him up with a question that is at the heart of the whole problem:

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 versus 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. I know Senator Palin — or Governor Palin — has said intelligent design is something that she thinks should be taught along with evolution in the schools, and I think that’s appropriate. My personal view is that’s a local decision –

Governor Pawlenty doesn't blow the question completely but reveals that he doesn't quite know what ID is. I suspect that Sarah Palin doesn't either.

The Republicans need to bury this issue and bury it fast if they want to have a hope of winning the election. What was a non-issue two elections back is fast becoming one and the Democrats are smart to play it to the hilt. As the discrepancy between the US and other nations in science education becomes more acute, the Republicans will look more medieval as time goes on. To many voters out there, that will look bad.

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