Dealbreaker: Why Sarah Palin’s Apparent Belief in Young Earth Creationism Makes Her Unfit to Be A Health Crisis Away from the Presidency

I’ve heard some people say (and I’m paraphrasing),

Sarah Palin may prove to be, not just someone who believes in God, or someone who believes that God plays a role in evolution.

She may, rather, be someone who reads Genesis literally—that is, someone who is a young earth creationist.

She may, in other words, think that the earth is 10,000 years old and that fossils are in the earth because they were deposited there by the Great Flood of Noah.

And she may believe this because she has never taken the time, or had the inclination, to explore the matter in any depth.

She has been busy developing the other aspects of her life, and attending to her family. 

And a lot of Americans are young earth creationists—so cut her some slack here!

It’s hardly, afterall, un-American to be a young earth creationist—and maybe even the majority of Americans are young earth creationists.

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is this: A lot of Americans also believe in astrology—but that doesn’t mean that we should feel comfy with a vice-presidential candidate who believes in astrology, or even takes it as a reasonable possibility.

Young earth creationism and astrology are intellectually equivelent. They are both forms of flim-flam that no serious, thinking adult should assign more than a vanishing probability of being true.

For example, there is no anxiety within the scientific community whatsoever that there will ever be a NY Times banner headline that says, “Scientists Discover Correlation of People’s Fate with the Position of the Stars.” 

Likewise, one can sleep sound in knowing that one will never wake up to find such a NY Times front page headline as this: “Scientists Discover Earth to Be 10,000 Years Old and All the World’s Fossils Deposited by a Catastophic Flood.”

Why?

Because science has established, as well as science humanly can, that the earth is OLD and the plants and animals on the earth have CHANGED over time.

The fact that the earth is old and that plants and animals have undergone change from era to era throughout the earth’s history is something that scientists know. These two things are facts.

God may have had a hand in these two facts, but they are nevertheless facts. They are as certainly established scientifically as that the earth revolves around the sun.

And anyone who would aspire to the complex task of governing a 21st century world power, and having to seek out, and understand, scientific council and advice all along the way, cannot be confused on these two points.

It simply displays too far a distance between yourself and reality to be in a position of high responsibility.

In other words, a candidate, however busy his or her life has been, who professes belief in fundamentally irrational propositions—such as astrology or young earth creationism—tells us something important about his or her habits of critical thinking—and even his or her capacity for critical thinking.

In short, a person who professes belief in astrology or young earth creationism, if he or she is sincere in that belief, does so for only one of two reasons:

  • relatively low intelligence or
  • intellectual inattention

By intellectual inattention I mean that he or she is either:

  • insufficiently curious to know the actual facts of the matter,
  • or is in the habit of avoiding facts or information that do not accord with his or her prejudices

Put bluntly, if the person is not stupid, then he or she is incurious or insular—or worse, both incurious and insular (as I think our current president is).

Sarah Palin, if she professes belief in young earth creationism (or astrology for that matter) suggests that, should we get her as president someday, that we are in for an administration characterized by incuriosity and insularity—that is, something akin to the current Bush administration.

And in her public life, Palin has already shown unmistakable proclivities to incuriousity and insularity—as in the fact that it was only in the last year that she applied for a passport—and when she was mayor of Wisalia, she tried to censor books in the local library.

But the indications that she is a young earth creationist are, perhaps, most disturbing, because they suggest that she is not just censorious, incurious and insular—but that she is not quite in contact with reality, and is content, and maybe even pugnaciously proud, not to be so.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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26 Responses to Dealbreaker: Why Sarah Palin’s Apparent Belief in Young Earth Creationism Makes Her Unfit to Be A Health Crisis Away from the Presidency

  1. Gunner Sykes says:

    She may be someone who can unite the right and change the country for the better, and you may be using smarmy smear techniques to belittle her. The former is speculation, the latter rings true.

  2. santitafarella says:

    I’m not offering a “smarmy smear.”

    I’m asking a reasonable question.

    From her teen years forward, Palin has attended church at fundamentalist denominations—most notably the Assemby of God denomination. In other words, she attends churches that promote YOUNG earth creationism.

    She has also said emphatically that she believes that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the public schools.

    It is, therefore, a reasonable question to ask Palin: “Are you a YOUNG earth creationist?”

    The “young” in the designation is crucial. It is the tipping point over which one moves into the realm of flim-flam on a par with astrology.

    It is one thing to say, in the 21st century, “I believe in God, and also accept that the earth is quite old, and that God made mechanisms for life forms to change over time—as they evidently have.”

    It is a completely other thing to say, “I reject that science has learned the true age of the earth and how fossils came to be in the earth. I believe that science has gotten the age of the earth, and what the fossils tell us about the past, completely wrong.”

    What we are dealing with in the latter case is a person who is simply living in the realm of the irrational.

    And it is absurd to have presidents and vice presidents living in such a realm. The world is simply too dangerous for that.

    Can’t conservatives find reasonable people to lead their movement? I think that McCain is a generally reasonable man—but Palin and Bush?

    It’s very disturbing.

  3. DavidC99 says:

    Interesting argument that Governor Palin would be less intelligent as a young earth creationist than as someone that believes that the universe and its contents were created purely by a statistically improbable, chance occurance with no explanation as to the origin of matter and energy and the rules that govern them. Of note, young earth creationists actually fare decently well in debates against evolutionists, at least enough to be more than willing to encourage people to watch such debates and study the issue. The lack of evolutionists that are willing to do the same, or even debate the issue for that matter, is rather disappointing.

    If someone is concerned about which church someone attends and what they preach, from a purely secular point of view, Senator Obama’s former church might be more confrontational with its views on America than the possibility of Governor Palin attending a church that holds the position that Genesis should be read literally in some form or another. Such a comparison of churches may actually favor Governor Palin.

  4. santitafarella says:

    David,

    You grossly distorted my position, setting up a straw man to skewer.

    I did not say that believing in some form of deism or theism is irrational. How matter and energy ever came into being in the first place is obviously an open question.

    I said that believing that the earth is young and that animals and plants have not changed over time is irrational.

    These two basic facts of geology and peleontology are not in dispute in any scientific journal or major university anywhere in the world.

    The fact that the earth is old and that plants and animals change over time is as well established in science as that the earth is round and goes around the sun.

    If Palin is dismissive of, or ignores, the basic facts of reality in the interest of preserving an adolescent understanding of the Bible, that tells us something about her.

    You are right, of course, that the issue, politically, favors Palin.

    You are free to bask in the aura of your smugness in this regard.

    But the earth is still old and plants and animals change over time.

    It’s foolish, and even childish, to not concede these two points. They have been settled for more than a century and a half.

    You might as well urge us to reconsider the merits of the Ptolemaic universe.

  5. DavidC99 says:

    You said that a person is intellectually deficient if they have considered the facts and arrived at the conclusion that young earth creationism is correct. You also stated an implicit acceptance of evolution by your statement of belief that plants and animals “change over time.” Young earth creationists don’t dispute change within the boundaries of kinds of animals. They dispute that changes occur in one animal’s offpring down the line enough to create a totally different type of animal. This process is termed as macroevolution by some. Lastly, you stated that you are ok with theistic evolution.

    Therefore, your only line of disagreement with young earth creationists would be on the age of the earth and macroevolution. You have questioned Governor Palin’s qualifications to be Vice President on these grounds. In my comment, I pointed out the two supposed extremes; young earth creationist on one hand, and an atheistic evolutionist on the other. Is it wrong to believe that you would vote for the latter as being intellectually superior? You only criticized young earth creationism, and on the two points you raised against it, atheistic evolution wouldn’t fit into such criticism since it agrees with you on both points.

    I’m not sure where you think I set up a straw man or “grossly distored” your position.

    Debating the age of the earth may be interesting, but the political duplicity of bringing up her church as an election issue this year is rather obvious, and I congratulate you for acknowledging the benefit the such a discussion will bring to Governor Palin over Senator Obama. It’s a shame, however, that you think I’m smug for pointing it out.

  6. santitafarella says:

    David,

    I never said that Palin was dumb, nor did I mean to imply it.

    I assume that Palin is smart; therefore, if she believes that young earth creationism is true, then she must, logically, be indulging in some form of intellectual inattention.

    By intellectual inattention I mean that she is either insufficiently curious to know the actual facts of the matter, or is in the habit of avoiding facts or information that do not accord with her preconcieved or emotionally held ideas or prejudices.

    Surely you must know people who, being quite intelligent, nevertheless have a gift for ad hoc rationalization and cogitive dissonance.

    They would make horrible members of juries because they have their minds made up in advance, and are impervious to evidence and argument.

    And to be intelligent AND a young earth creationist suggests a certain degree of imperviousness to reason and evidence, and an ability to rationalize, that I think is dangerous to have in a president.

    One of the things I like about Obama is that I perceive him to be a flexible thinker—someone who is open to argument, and not prejudiced and pre-formulated in his opinions before hearing evidence.

    His conservative law colleagues at the University of Chicago have written of this trait in Obama. And Obama respects the opinions of experts in their fields.

    I seriously doubt that Palin has equivelent temperamental characteristics. She, for example, does not acknowledge that humans play a role in global warming, yet another scientific consensus that she simply blows off if it doesn’t suit her politics.

    And even the Bush administration wants polar bears on the endangered species list, and Palin, ignoring the urgings of scientists on this issue, is suing the federal govt. on behalf of Alaska to stop the bear from being accorded this protection.

    Her apparently young earth creationism is simply another symptom of a pattern of intellectual insularity and ad hoc rationalization that I find disturbing in a person in a position of substantial power.

    But again, she’s not dumb.

  7. santitafarella says:

    David,

    One additional thought: Macro-evolution over eons by natural and sexual selection is a fact. Whales were once land animals, birds evolved from dinosaurs, and humans and neanderthals diverged from one another 600,000 years ago and became separate species etc. etc.

    The broad outlines of the earth’s vast age and the changes of plants and animals over time are well established, and supported by many intersecting lines of evidence.

    And so it is a sad waste of the intellect for so many young people, conned by the rhetorical manipulations of young earth creationists in lectures and forums, to waste their time fighting the idea that the earth is old and that plants and animals have changed over time.

    They should, instead, reason from these two established facts, and engage in the hard work of trying to figure out what the world means, and the role of religion in the world, in light of them.

    Most mature people attracted to religion arrive at an acknowledgment that these two things are true, and then think and philosophize about meaning and religion from there.

    But young earth creationism arrests this hard work, and functions as a form of avoidance.

    Suddenly, the firm discoveries of science do not have to be confronted, and grappled with, but can be dismissed.

    Scientists can be consigned to members of a cabal who protect Darwinian orthodoxy.

    In other words, a conspiracy theory is so much easier to work with than an honest confrontation with the world as it is.

    I hope that you are not a young earth creationist, because you sound very intelligent.

    You’re not, are you?

  8. DavidC99 says:

    Some view Senator Obama as being unable to form a solid opinion for one reason or another. Yes, he’s open to opinions, but he seems to lack the ability at times to stick with some of his decisions. People made an issue of Senator McCain not knowing how many houses he had, but it was Senator Obama who was unable to decide his policy on nuclear weapons when asked in an interview. Which is more concerning? Openmindedness can be a bad or good thing depending on what the term really means in a given context. If you are willing to change your mind when proven wrong, then it’s a good thing. If you are moved by every wind of opinion that blows, then it’s a bad thing. As with many things, moderation is important.

    As far as young earth creationism goes, it might be best for a holder of the opinion that the debate is over with regard to the age of the world to reconsider. You mentioned global warming in the same vein as the age of the earth and macroevolution for the status of debate, but that debate for that, too, is far from over. Global warming is political, although it is also religious. Evolution is religious, although it is also political. Both global warming advocates and evolutionists lack strong, active, public debaters in their respective fields. As I pointed out earlier, debates on the subject of young earth creationism have actually helped the cause of the young earth creationists. It would be more closeminded to shut them down without actually addressing the core issues. Besides, many young earth creationists aren’t even pushing for evolution to be taken from the classrooms. They just want creationism taught as well as an alternative. This would allow the students to study the evidence provided and form their own opinion from the facts alone. After all, the teaching of both creationism and evolution does happen in private religious schools. It may be argued that the material may be skewed in favor of creationism at a private religious school, but the same accusation could be made of the public school system should it ever claim to give equal time to both sides. It sounds almost like a liberal policy to allow “both sides”, so to speak, “their equal time,” but perhaps strangely in this case, it is a conservative goal.

    I seemed to go from being smug to being intelligent in your eyes. It might be best to avoid forming such opinions so quickly, since you may have to change your opinion of me once again (although I do believe your comment referring to me as “intelligent” to be sarcastic). I do support young earth creationism. Shocking. I know.

  9. santitafarella says:

    David,

    I don’t think that being smug and intelligent are necessarily mutually exclusive.

    As for Obama’s supposed Hamlet syndrome (to do or not to do)—I’m not sure what to say.

    It is characteristic of all thinking people.

    What you might see as excessive open mindedness, I see as a lack of rigidity; and what you see as someone who is putting his finger into the wind, I see as someone putting his mind to the wind; that is, I see someone who is trying to be attentive to new information, and looking before he leaps.

    As for there being any serious scientific debate about the age of the earth, I simply cannot agree.

    Thoreau once wrote: “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know—that is true knowledge.”

    It seems like such a waste of intellectual energy to pretend to hold in question something that geologists have known even before Darwin—that the earth is considerably older than adding up the geneologies in Genesis suggests.

    And there have been whole eons of time in which humans were not on the earth, and animals and plants that are no longer here, were.

    Your statement that evolutionists lack strong debaters in their fields is simply false. They debate among other scientists and their arguments can be read in scientific journals.

    The reality is that the young earth creationists are not able to put together arguments for their position that can withstand the scrutiny of a panel of experts—and reach publication.

    What creationists thus do is bypass serious debate in scientific journals and appeal directly to audiences whose scientific literacy is uneven at best.

    If young earth creationism had anything of scientific merit to say, it would appear in scientific journals and would be debated there.

    When plate tectonics was first proposed it had to fight its way for status, not through plate tectonic debates held in church auditoriums, but in science journals.

    Now it’s a well established explanation for how the continents have arrived at their current positions.

    But I suppose you also reject plate tectonics, and think that it too must withstand scrutiny in the hothouse realm of the one hour debate format to maintain its scientific status, right?

    Here is a list of three things every fundamentalist must confront at some point in her or his life:

    —The Bible is not inerrant.
    —The earth is old and plants and animals have changed over time.
    —Now what?

    All the blue pipe smoke of young earth creationism and biblical inerrancy is designed to avoid an honest, complex, reflection on that last question.

    Young earth creationism and biblical inerrancy are popular because they are easy, not because they are true.

    The facts regarding both of these matters are readily and easily attainable—and ignored or protected from honest confrontation through ad hoc rationalization and sophistry.

  10. DavidC99 says:

    Ah, so a person that is indecisive is brilliant. I can’t say I follow the reasoning, since I consider it to be a flaw. In many instances in life, hesitation means failure. Failure due to hesitation can, in certain circumstances, bring death. While that may sound dramatic, we are speaking about a man that wants to be President of the United States, where a decision, right or wrong, may result in the cost of many lives.

    Going back to young earth creationism, I suggest the notion that you underestimate the nature of your intellectual (and perhaps theological) opponents. You speak so dismissively of them. From what appears to be a level of condescension in your tone (I know. This is text we’re communicating through, but I still perceive a level of intellectual superiority in the way you address the issue) that causes me to be doubtful if you have had the opportunity to converse with one in great detail.

    Scientific consensus is not the real way to achieve anything in a political community other than when dealing with what the scientific establishment is happy to consider. After all, the majority of “science” was forced at one point to state that the earth was flat. Anything other than the accepted beliefs resulted in a potentially short lifespan. In today’s world, it’s less dramatic, but people’s careers are threatened if they go against the status quo in some cases.

    Consider the debacle over “Intelligent Design.” That was pathetically handled. If you’ve seen Ben Stein’s movie Expelled, this elaborates on my point about scientific consensus being nothing if the majority suppress true breakthroughs by the minority.

    Scientists have testified that many scientific communities refuse to accept their position that global warming is not man-made. Consider that thirty years to sixty years or so ago, the climate crisis was global cooling, and not warming. I found it amusing when watching a Honeymooner episode from the 1950’s that spoke of something that sounded like it could be global cooling, but I digress. About twenty years prior to that, it was all global warming. Scientists are fallable, and because of that, so is their system of collaboration, even if we can draw politics out of the issue.

    Regardless, I don’t think the comment section of your blog is the place to debate young earth creationism or global warming at present, and I will do you the courtesy of withdrawing from this conversation. Perhaps we can have a debate elsewhere at another time, and perhaps agree to publish the result. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to have this dialog with you.

  11. santitafarella says:

    Okay, thanks for the discussion.

  12. I stumbled upon your blog while doing some research for my own Sarah-Palin-is-not-a-wise-choice post. I was raised a southern baptist and had to confront those 3 questions myself. I have faced the world with an open mind and intellectual curiosity, qualities I find sadly lacking on the current GOP ticket. You are so going on my del.icio.us!

  13. santitafarella says:

    burning prarie,

    thanks for the encouragement.

    –santi

  14. Kat Mandu says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I have been reading several of your entries and the comments that followed. Bravo for you Santi. The lack of logic and contemplative conclusion mixed reasoning based upon a metaphysical belief in the unknown unseen Godhead of creation defies comprehension. Just as the rabid diatribe on writers objecting to the insanity of the Palin selection. One in three men McCains age die before reaching 80. He truly has experienced a sevierly stressful life. If he should win election and pop his cork we will have a novice to deal with. The corpus of our country will be in the hands of a first term flower gardener rather than an experience farmer. It is another Presidential mistake we do not need. If it happens: I will cheer the Europeans with their super collider and the possibility of creating a black hole in the heart of our world. With the election of a McCain-Palin ticket, the United States has already doomed its standards (what we have left) to a purgatory of national turmoil and divisiveness. At least with a black hole we could end this humankind pestilence populating the earth and enjoy the experience of really being sucked in to an abyss of creation. Just another step in the evolution of the universe through natural selection.
    Regards,
    Kat

  15. Stu, London says:

    Young Earthers refute huge swathes of scientific knowledge. Up to them, but it would be great to imagine that they could somehow be prevented from enjoying myriad benefits this hard-won knowledge brings.
    For example, if you believe The Earth to be the centre of The Univers you’re banned from using GPS.
    If you believe the planet to be <10,000 years old, you should be banned from using oil and coal for example ! How did they form in such a short space of time ? If you don’t choose to “believe” in evolution then fine, that’s a personal choice, but you and your family are to be denied advances in gene therapy since genetics began with applied Darwinism etc.
    Let’s see if these ostriches still choose Bronze Age creation myths over the Age of Enlightenment in these circumstances ?

  16. geojeff59 says:

    As a professional geologist, let me disabuse anyone of the idea of “young earth” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) creationism. There is absolutely no dispute to the 4 billion year age of the Earth. Anyone who has studied and understands geology knows this to be true. The evidence is absoute and overwhelming. Conversely, there is no credible evidence whatsoever, outside the Bible, of a 10000 year old Earth. Zero. Nada. To belive in “young earth creationism” is to ignore such mundane details such as radioactive decay, sea floor spreading, stratigraphy, paelontology, and orogeny (mountain building) and, regardless of what luddites such as David99 may belive, the irrefutable fact that the older the rocks are, the more simple the life forms that are preserved as fossils.

    Ironically, it is the basic understanding of geologic principles that enables the successfull exploration for the very oil and natural gas that “young earth creationsts” use to heat their homes and power their automobiles. Were the exploration for oil and gas be based on “young earth creationism”, we would all soon retrun to a Bronze Age lifestyle, which is probably what the true believers want anyhow.

    If we are to entertain alternative theories to established scientific facts, why stop with “young earth creationism”? Should we also teach our children alchemy, numerology, and phrenology?

  17. santitafarella says:

    geojeff:

    thanks for the fresh air.

    it is truly horrifying, i think, to have a young earth creationist so close to the presidency.

    it bodes ill for science in our society.

    –santi

  18. Kurt says:

    There are bright intelegent people that believe VERY strange things. The human brain doesn’t work the way laypeople think it does. (We simply don’t think or remember or make judgements very well at all.)

    I am a Chemical Eng that changed careers to enter medicine and am surrounded with the most highly educated people of any career… many, nay, MOST have rediculous belief systems ranging from homeopathy, chiropracty, theraputic touch, megadose vitamins, heck even believing Vit-C defeats rhino viruses.

    The human brain doesn’t think well and holds tightly to stupid ideas if it is introduced to them often enough.

    Case in point would be how most of the people in Washington are hardcore believers in Man-made global warming and other environmental wackyness. It is in their interest to believe in such nonsence because it builds their personal power and personal wealth. Money validates everything.

    Obama believes in Marxism… Palin (remember only the VP candidate) believes the silliness that most people in the Christian religion are taught.

    Marxist Communism in the USA would be far more damaging to my way of life than her belief in silly fables.

  19. santitafarella says:

    kurt,

    i agree with you that people believe strange things.

    we should, instead, only make claims that are based on reasonable supports.

    you made two claims that are without reasonable supports. you claim that:

    —there is no man-made global warming, and
    —obama is a marxist

    there is no evidence that supports your claims (or at least none that you offered, or that i am aware of).

  20. Travis says:

    It’s great to know that people are actually using their brains in our country. I am horrified about the possibility that this woman becomes a VP.

    As for the question regarding the age of the earth, it’s safe to bet that she does, indeed, believe that the earth is young. This is probably a very touchey issue with the Obama campaign because he is trying to steer some of the Christian extremists in his direction. With his charisma and intelligence, maybe he can make this issue a bigger part of American discourse.

  21. Travis says:

    Also, could anyone explain what del.icio.us is?

  22. Anonymous says:

    santitafarella,

    You start off in normal sized text:

    I’ve heard some people say (and I’m paraphrasing),

    and then continue the faux quote in a giant lit block of text that begins with quotation marks. This is so dishonest it hurts. If you are paraphrasing it is not a quote. Don’t use quotes at all. It’s that simple.

    Credibility is important. If you think that you have a valid point, raise it. I’m an Obama supporter that shares many of your concerns. However if you want to attack someone else you must not be so sloppy.

  23. Anonymous says:

    And, to be clear:

    Those of you that don’t believe in evolution, or think that the earth is only 10k years old, I encourage you to not worry about drug-resistant antibiotics (because evolution is a lie) and to not worry about fossil fuels (because clearly it doesn’t take that long to make oil, right?)

    You folks can go on to think that your current antibiotics will be useful no matter what, and if you are worried about fuel simply bury bones in the back yard. You’ll have oil soon.

    I have no problem with your (YEC) beliefs, this is a free country that I truly love. If it comes down to it, I’ll defend your rights with my life as I’d defend my grandma. She shares your belief system.

    Know what, though? I love my grandma, but I wouldn’t vote for her to be president. She’s a great mother, grandmother, and business owner. But she would be a horrible V.P.

  24. santitafarella says:

    anonymous:

    I wasn’t trying to be confusing.

    I was trying to set off, as a representative composite argument, how someone might defend Palin on her creationism.

    I thought if I didn’t set it off in a block of blue it wouldn’t be clear.

    I’m sorry if it came across to you as somehow dishonest.

    It certainly wasn’t my intent.

  25. Carol says:

    Thank you for that articulate exposition of what has been driving me crazy these past 3 days while I have taken in the awesome beauty and grandeur and yes, AGE!, of the Hawaiian archipelago. Instead of just enjoying the moment, I kept asking myself, “How does this woman, who believes that woman was created 6,000 years ago from a man’s rib, think these rock formations and geological strata appeared here? Does she think God got out his paint-by-numbers set and painted those lines on the cliffs? And if he had the time to do that within the course of one calendar day, how did he also have the time to populate this place with so many weird and lovely plants and animals, while he was also doing comparable, but totally different, designs in Africa, Madagascar, and Antarctica (not to mention France, Iceland, Mongolia, and Afghanistan)? Perish the thought that a majority of Americans would think this does not MATTER! Physics and geology and biology are not just subjects at Wasilla High, but they are fundamental principles upon which the world we live in are organized. (Yes, the 9-11 architects undertood physics quite well, and used it to our detriment.) Intellectual incuriosity is inexcusable and unacceptable for a leader of the free world.

  26. Boojum says:

    I’m not an American, but I am a rational thinking person and I have some knowledge both of religious beliefs and scientific theories concerning the origins of this planet and the life forms on it.

    It seems to me that creationism is nothing more than a fairy tale thought up by primitive people. Anyone who believes in it in the 21st century is surely out of touch with reality, and certainly not a fit candidate to lead a superpower.

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