Saturday, August 30, 2008

HONK IF YOU HATE JESUS: Creationism enters the race

Just when DD thought he wouldn't have to see any more coddling of evangelicals for the week, John McCain surprises him and names a running mate who's beliefs include fiddling around with creationism.

The selection of Sarah Palin as running mate shows the Republican is not going to pay any attention to Barack Obama's yen for unity through a common humanity. It's just more of the same old us vs. them class/values/culture war shtick -- in this case, the political platform position which paints those who think real science and nothing else ought to be taught in science class, as those who allegedly threaten family religious values -- always the Democrats.

We'll skip right to the meat of the citations on Palin which stem from Anchorage Daily News coverage of her triumphant gubernatorial race in 2006.

When asked in debate whether creationism ought to be taught, Palin replied:

"Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. "Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."


Sadly, many who don't know much, and even some who do, continue to push the myth that there is scientific debate over evolution. There isn't. Evangelicals shovel it as part of a package of ideas designed to appeal to closed and unsophisticated minds.

One of the losing candidates, Democrat Tony Knowles had this to say:

"The answer is no. The reason why is we don't want politics in our science. We actually want more science in our politics. We don't want to just teach all things because it may be politically correct. We want to teach the best science there is, and there is overwhelming evidence, there's almost incontrovertible evidence that evolution is the science that, that we know. And that's what we should always teach, to never compromise on the principles just because it's politically popular."

The Anchorage Daily News noted that the Republican Party of Alaska's platform position on the issue was this:

"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."

Palin clarified her position to the reporter in the same newspaper article.
In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

"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."

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum ... "I won't have religion as a litmus test, or anybody's personal opinion on evolution or creationism," Palin said.

This appeared to be a CYA moment brought on by damage perceived to have been caused by her debate answer.

In any case, in the rule of this country the VP is now much more than just someone who's stashed away until an emergency. They dictate and shape national policy. So ignorance on science for the sake of religion becomes one in another long list of bad things turned into standard operating procedure by the GOP.

The Anchorage Daily News article discussed a bit of the standard evangelical footprint in the making of mischief by meddling with state-written science education requirements. This is, of course, to change curricula to accomodate the cultural beliefs -- the religion -- of the locals even if the educational value of such additions is shit.

"In 2003 a curriculum reform panel recommended leaving evolution out of the [Alaskan] requirements to avoid controversy," reported the newspaper. "Their recommendation was accepted by the state Department of Education, but the state board -- which had the final say -- reinserted the term.

"Current state regulations allow local districts to add their own curriculum beyond the minimum state requirements, said Department of Education spokesman Eric Fry. That would arguably include some form of creation science, he said."

"They couldn't promote religion, but it's OK to teach about religion," Fry told the newspaper.

Alan Boraas, a professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College, wrote one comment piece for the newspaper a few days after Palin's debate answer on creationism.

"At a recent KAKM gubernatorial debate the issue of teaching creationism in public schools again emerged," Borass opened.

A paragraph further in, he continued: "The issue is volatile because it touches our core values ... Preaching belongs in church and religious schools. Placing either scientific creationism or intelligent design in science class on a par with evolutionary science mixes apples with oranges. Religious doctrine is not designed to be challenged by its adherents nor does it have to be verifiable to be valid for its practitioners."

Fundamentally, it's like this, Borass explained:

"Science, on the other hand is meant to be challenged with new ideas and paradigms regularly emerging. The issue is not how you feel about a subject. When I teach about messenger RNA carrying information from the cell nucleus to sequence enzyme production, I could care less what you feel about it. I want you to learn it. The issue is how well does theory account for observable phenomena and so far nothing better than evolutionary science has emerged to explain biological processes."

Earlier this week in Honk If You Hate Jesus -- coddling the children of evangelicals in science class.


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