Back in late October of 2006, during the Alaska governor’s race, in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, Sarah Palin seems to have talked about the age of FOSSILS as an example of something that reasonable people might have different opinions about—and that might thus be talked about in the science classroom.
The Anchorage Daily News reported the following:
“It’s OK to let kids know that there are theories out there,” she [Palin] said in the interview. “They gain information just by being in a discussion.”
That was how she was brought up, she said. Her father was a public school science teacher.
“My dad did talk a lot about his theories of evolution,” she said. “He would show us fossils and say, ‘How old do you think these are?’ “
Asked for her personal views on evolution, Palin said, “I believe we have a creator.”
She would not say whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact.
“I’m not going to pretend I know how all this came to be,” she said.
In her fossil example above, did Palin mean to imply that the ages that scientists generally attach to fossils are in dispute—and that we should teach different theories about the age of fossils in the public schools?
Does she think, for example, that it is reasonable to teach, in a public school science classroom, that there are theories out there that all the fossils we find in the earth were laid down by a single, great flood 10,000 years ago?
In other words, someone needs to ask Palin, not just whether she accepts the scientific consensus concerning evolution, but whether she accepts the scientific consensus concerning the age of the earth, and how fossils came to be deposited in the earth.
The question will tell us a great deal about her level of scientific literacy—and whether she would take sensible advice from scientific advisors (or even comprehend it).