So, how is it that I would support a VP nominee who believes in Creationism and/or Intelligent Design? Easy. Elections are about more than one issue and, in the case of Gov. Palin—and Sen. McCain, for that matter—I’m not too worried that either one is going to pursue a policy of granting Creationism/ID “equal time” in the classroom.
Over the past two presidential election cycles, I’ve greatly appreciated the folk at FactCheck.org and their dedication to separating the “wheat” from the “chaff” in the world of politics. I also appreciate their recent investigation into Gov. Palin’s “Creationist credentials,” which should put my fellow Creationism detractors at ease (bold italics mine):
No Creationism in Schools
On Aug. 29, the Boston Globe reported that Palin was open to teaching creationism in public schools. That’s true. She supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor.
In an Oct. 25, 2006, debate, when asked about teaching alternatives to evolution, Palin replied:
Palin, Oct. 25, 2006: 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.
A couple of days later, Palin amended that statement in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, saying:
Palin, Oct. 2006: 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.
After her election, Palin let the matter drop. The Associated Press reported Sept 3: “Palin’s children attend public schools and Palin has made no push to have creationism taught in them. … It reflects a hands-off attitude toward mixing government and religion by most Alaskans.” The article was headlined, “Palin has not pushed creation science as governor.” It was written by Dan Joling, who reports from Anchorage and has covered Alaska for 30 years.
It should also be pointed out that both Sens. McCain and Obama believe that the process of biological evolution resulted in the creation of mankind and don’t believe Creationism/ID should be taught in the classroom as part of any school’s science curriculum:
Sen. Obama: I’m a Christian, and I believe in parents being able to provide children with religious instruction without interference from the state. But I also believe our schools are there to teach worldly knowledge and science. I believe in evolution, and I believe there’s a difference between science and faith. That doesn’t make faith any less important than science. It just means they’re two different things. And I think it’s a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don’t hold up to scientific inquiry. (“Obama on ID”)
Sen. McCain: I happen to believe in evolution. . . . I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not. (“McCain talks war, religion, immigration: Music Festival crowd peppers former presidential candidate with questions,” Aspen Times, 2 July 2006)
Sen. McCain: Darwin helped explain nature’s laws. He did not speculate, in his published theories at least, on the origin of life. He did not exclude God, for Whom the immensity of time is but a moment, from our presence. The only undeniable challenge the theory of evolution poses to Christian beliefs is its obvious contradiction of the idea that God created the world as it is in less than a week. But our faith is certainly not so weak that it can be shaken to learn that a biblical metaphor is not literal history. Nature doesn’t threaten our faith. On the contrary, when we contemplate its beauty and mysteries we cannot quiet in our heart an insistent impulse of belief that for all its variations and inevitable change, before its creation, in a time before time, God let it be so, and, thus, its many splendors and purposes abide in His purpose. (Character Is Destiny by John McCain, 2005)