From her teen years forward, VP-pick Sarah Palin has attended church at fundamentalist denominations—most notably the Assemby of God denomination.
In other words, she frequents 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 a person who replies “yes” to the question moves from the realm of the rational 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 geologists have gotten the earth’s age wildly wrong, and that paleontologists have completely misinterpreted and misunderstood what the fossil record is telling us.”
What we are dealing with in the latter case is a person who is simply delusional.
And it is absurd to have presidents and vice-presidents living in the realm of the delusional or irrational.
The world is too dangerous for that.
So ask the question.
And see what she says.
What’s the point? Why not ask her if she speaks in tongues or believes in communal prayer vs individual prayer, or if she believes people should tithe a strict 10%? Why single out young earth creation? It’s a personal belief that has no relevance in the bigger scheme of things. I am an old earth creationist, but believe she is entitled to believe what she will. If she was preaching it in her speeches, that would be a different thing, but she’s not, so why make an issue of it?
Gee – I wonder if her pastor damns America and accuses the country of killing blacks by inventing AIDS? You SOUND like a nitwit and a FOOL. Hope you liberal commie weenies keep it up -you’re only ensuring that McCain/Palin win in Nov.
A most excellent Post.
Steve and Frank:
I’m not promoting a fishing expedition into her private religious beliefs.
But creation v. evolution is an issue that is in the public sphere—and it also goes to the quality and complexity of a candidate’s mind—how he or she thinks about a controversial issue impacting upon science.
Science, as both of you must surely know, has had a very rough ride through the current administration. Sound scientific advice has often gone simply ignored, and it’s fair to find out now, by asking questions before we vote, what we’re in store for with Palin.
And the question clarifies what Palin means, exactly, when she advocates the teaching of creationism in the public schools. Does she mean to say that she believes that there is merit in YOUNG earth creationism—and that there is any scientific controversy to be taught to children regarding the age of the earth and how fossils came to be in the earth?
If she answers yes, it tells us a great deal about her ability to reason clearly, and where she sets the boundary between church and state in the science classroom.
As for Snake Oil Sam, thanks for the encouragement.
I’d like to address directly something that you specifically said—that Palin does not bring up creationism.
In fact, she has. She advocated the teaching of creationism in the public schools in her race for Governor.
Also, this political season has been characterized by religious gestures in the public sphere. Please recall that the first major forum that welcomed McCain and Obama as contending candidates, and that made national news on a par with what a formal debate might have, was held at Rick Warren’s church in California.
So you can’t have it both ways. If you are going to bring religion into the public sphere, you have to be prepared to have it critically scrutinized in the public sphere.
You don’t get to use your Down Syndrome baby as a passed around photo prop and your religion as a granfalloon base appeal one day, and then protest that the questions about your family and religion are off limits the next.
And anyway, I’m not asking an intrusive religious question—I’m asking one that has a direct impact on science and education policy: Is young earth creationism on the table for you, Ms. Palin, and what’s your reasoning for keeping it on the table?
This might be followed up with questions like these: When you advocate creationism in the public schools, what kind of creationism are you promoting—young earth creationism, old earth creationism, Intelligent Design, Hindu cosmology?
What is it, exactly, that you want science teachers to say about evolution that you think they don’t—and that is relevent to a science classroom?
Thank you so much for this post. I am also wanting/hoping someone will ask her this at some point before the election. I agree that it is important for the same reasons you do.