Sarah Palin and US creationism

This video from the USA is called Eugenie Scott on Intelligent Design [see also here] and Young Earth Creationism.

And this video is the sequel.

From the blog of Massimo Pigliucci in the USA:

Sarah Palin, John McCain’s choice for Vice President should he win the November elections, is a worrisome character from the point of view of science education. It is hard to tell whether Palin herself is a creationist or not and, frankly, that’s far less important than the policy positions she holds in the matter. (Though, of course, having a Vice President who is deluded about basic aspects of reality would not be exactly reassuring. Oh, right, we already have had something along those lines for the past eight years, though Dick Cheney’s most dangerous delusions were not about who created the world.)

An article in the Anchorage Daily News dating back to when Palin was running for governor of that state (hmm, a mere two years ago, talk about experience and being fit to be commander in chief), reports her response to a question during a debate about teaching creationism. Here is the full quote:

“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.”

Now this is disingenuous at best. Education is not about having “kids debate both sides,” since most kids would probably conclude that the earth is flat and at the center of the universe (after all, the sensorial evidence is overwhelming in favor of the flat-earth, Ptolemaic system).

Education is, at its core, about two things: a) We want our students to have access to the best of what humanity has produced, be that in science, philosophy, literature, economics or what have you. b) We want to provide students with the necessary tools to engage in critical thinking and serious analysis of whatever claim comes under their scrutiny.

According to criterion (a), “teaching both” isn’t going to cut it, because creationism is simply not even in the ballpark of the best ideas ever produced by humanity. On the contrary, it is superstitious nonsense that harks back to an earlier era of ignorance about how the world works. But things aren’t much rosier for creationists under criterion (b) either, despite all the talk about “teaching the controversy.” Learning critical thinking is not a matter of being exposed to a “fair and balanced” view of everything and be told “you decide.” Rather, it proceeds through learning about logic, about assessing evidence, and about the many ways in which human senses and reasoning abilities can fail us if we are not on guard. If students really do assimilate all of that, just one look at creationist claims would make it painfully clear that they don’t need to be further entertained.

Sarah Palin’s immensely flattering Wikipedia entry: here.

8 thoughts on “Sarah Palin and US creationism

  1. Democracy Now!

    September 01, 2008
    Update: Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC


    September 1, 2008

    Contact: Mike Burke


    Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC

    Goodman Charged with Obstruction; Felony Riot Charges Pending Against Kouddous and Salazar

    ST. PAUL–Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.

    All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back. Salazar’s violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, “I’m Press! Press!,” resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman’s arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested.

    On Tuesday, Democracy Now! will broadcast video of these arrests, as well as the broader police action. These will also be available on:

    Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Kouddous and Salazar who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

    Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a “peace officer.”

    Democracy Now! forcefully rejects all of these charges as false and an attempt at intimidation of these journalists. We demand that the charges be immediately and completely dropped.

    Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities’ law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

    During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press.

    Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and the subsequent criminal charges and threat of charges are a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists.

    Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

    Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest:


  2. Posted by: “bigraccoon”

    Mon Sep 1, 2008 9:16 pm (PDT)

    Black Star News, August 31, 2008

    Fear And Retribution: Palin’s Pattern
    off Governance

    Black Star News
    August 31st, 2008

    by Geoffrey Dunn

    Previous Article on Palin:

    While the national press is apparently giving Republican VP
    nominee Sarah Palin a free pass regarding the many and
    varied skeletons in her closet during her short, yet
    checkered, political career as a small-town mayor and
    small-state governor, an extensive pattern of administrative
    misconduct and political grandstanding by Palin is slowly
    emerging from the small, often insulated communities of the
    so-called “Last Frontier.”

    It does not a pretty picture make.

    Ever since she was first elected to her hometown Wasilla city
    council in 1992, Palin’s political career has been marked by
    controversy and petty political infighting.

    Currently under a state ethics investigation for the firing of
    Alaska state police chief Walt Monegan-a process in which
    Palin has clearly lied and attempted an extensive
    administrative cover-up-Palin has a record of controversial
    dismissals dating back to her days as mayor of Wasilla and
    for which she faced a political recall. One of those
    controversies surrounded the firing of Wasilla police chief
    Irl Stambaugh.

    Reached at a remote cabin in Alaska, Stambaugh, 59, a
    lifelong police officer with a distinguished 30-year career,
    described Palin’s administrative style as being based on
    “fear and retribution. That’s how she operates.”

    In 1993, Stambaugh, then a Captain of the Patrol Division of
    the Anchorage Police Department, was selected over several
    other candidates to serve as Wasilla’s first Chief of Police. By
    all accounts, he developed a sterling reputation in the small
    town north of Anchorage in the Mat-Su Valley, with a
    population then of little more than 5,000. Palin was then
    serving her first of two terms on the City Council.

    “Wasilla is a pretty quiet place,” Stambaugh noted in an
    exclusive interview with The Black Star News. “Not a lot of
    crime. Pretty laid back.” But he did notice a spike in drunk
    driving during the late morning hours-between 2 a.m. and
    5 a.m., when Wasilla’s bars were required to close for
    merely an hour.

    As had been the case in Anchorage during his tenure on the
    police force there, Stambaugh supported closing down
    Wasilla’s bars at 2 a.m.

    Ignoring the public safety issues underlying Stambaugh’s
    recommendation, Palin, then a city council member, placed
    her finger to the political winds and sided with the bar
    owners and late-night bar patrons who opposed the change
    in operating hours.

    When Palin was elected as Wasilla’s mayor in 1996,
    Stambaugh immediately found himself at odds with the
    ambitious, often self-aggrandizing Palin. Indeed, Palin, who
    was photographed carrying a sign declaring “Law
    Enforcement for McCain” when she was introduced to the
    nation this past week in Ohio, actually has a lengthy record
    of opposing law enforcement officials in Alaska.

    When the Alaska legislature proposed expanding Alaska’s
    already liberal laws to include carrying concealed weapons
    in schools, banks and bars, Stambaugh and several other
    Alaska police chiefs opposed the legislation. “We were simply
    applying common sense to the use of guns,” Stambaugh
    noted. “Even in the Old West, you left your guns at the door.
    Guns and booze don’t mix.”

    But Palin saw the opportunity to placate extremists in the
    National Rifle Association supporting the expansion into
    schools, banks and bars, and publicly supported the
    legislation. When then governor, Tony Knowles, sided with
    law enforcement officials and vetoed the NRA-sponsored
    legislation, Palin came to Stambaugh and let him know that
    she didn’t think it was his right to oppose her on political

    Once Palin was elected Mayor of Wasilla, she dropped the
    hammer on Stambaugh.

    While to Stambaugh’s face she told him that he was doing
    “a wonderful job” and assured the police chief that she “was
    not going to fire him,” two weeks after the last assurance
    tambaugh came into his office and found a letter telling him
    not to come back the next day.

    So, too, did Wasilla Librarian Mary Ellen Emmons, who
    recoiled against Palin’s attempts at censoring books on the
    library’s shelves.

    She also asked for the resignation of Wasilla’s Public Works
    Director, John Felton, who was replaced by Palin with her
    political crony Cindy Roberts, who had no engineering
    background but had extensive Republican Party connections.

    By all accounts, these were professional and dedicated
    ublic servants who had simply refused to kowtow to Palin’s
    extremist right-wing dictates.

    A group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Wasilla
    threatened a recall against Palin.

    Stambaugh, who by all accounts had nothing to do with the
    e Emmons but, more importantly, because of Palin’s
    reputation of political vengeance and retribution. “People
    had to worry about their standing in the community,” he
    noted. “They had to worry about their jobs, their
    businesses, their careers, their families.”

    Stambaugh eventually sued, but lost after a lengthy
    three-year court battle which found that Palin had the right
    to fire city department heads at will.

    Stambaugh then took a job in Bosnia, working for the U.N.
    peacekeeping team there, before returning to serve as
    Executive Director of Alaska’s Police Standards Council.

    Now retired, and an avid fisherman, Stambaugh is happy to
    be out of the political fray. But he is concerned about Palin’s
    selection to serve as McCain’s running mate, though not

    “Sarah is extremely media savvy and has always been good
    at promoting herself,” said Stambaugh. “McCain was
    obviously looking for a female candidate, someone who was
    different, new-a fresh face. There’s been a lot of excitement
    generated around the novelty of it.”

    Stambaugh, a big bear of a man at 6’2″ and 260 pounds, is
    not buying any of it. “Those of us who have worked with her
    know better,” he declared.

    Apparently, McCain, did not do a lot of vetting Palin’s political
    past prior to her last-minute selection. No one from McCain’s
    office called Stambaugh, who served a tour of duty in
    Vietnam following the Tet Offensive in 1968.

    “Even Palin’s own mother-in-law, Faye Palin, said that she
    doesn’t agree with Sarah on anything and that the only
    reason McCain selected her is because she’s a woman,”
    Stambaugh noted. “I think that pretty much says it all. I
    certainly wouldn’t want her to have the nuclear codes to our
    country’s defense system.”

    As for her administrative style working in the White House,
    Stambaugh observed: “I’m not sure if she’d be able to get
    away with it in Washington. There might be more exposure
    and scrutiny. But she’s certainly not one to change her


    Black Star News political columnist Geoffrey Dunn,
    Ph. D., is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist; he
    is the former recipient of both a John L. Senior Fellowship
    to the Cornell University Graduate School of Government
    and a National Newspaper Association Award for
    Investigative Journalism. His most recent film is Calypso

    Palin carried a sign proclaiming McCain’s support by law
    enforcement, but she has been in conflict with law enforcement
    officials in Alaska throughout her career.

    Bridge To Nowhere: John McCain’s Reckless VP Pick


  3. “To see McCain resort to playing the POW card when answering legitimate questions, in my mind, cheapens that experience. And by cheapening his own experience in war, he degrades all of our experiences in war. He turns the horrific incidents we’ve all seen, touched, smelled, and felt into a lame excuse to earn political points. And it dishonors us all.”
    — Brandon Friedman, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan

    Dear Supporter,

    John McCain has been exploiting his prisoner of war experience every chance he gets. He has used this story to justify everything from not knowing how many homes he has to his healthcare plan to his marital infidelities to his taste in music. The McCain campaign is even using his POW story in paid ads. But now a veteran who was a prisoner with McCain in Vietnam is explaining loud and clear that being a POW does not qualify McCain to lead our country.

    Dr. Phillip Butler knew McCain as a fellow POW. Watch and listen!

    We are sure this video will draw an onslaught of right-wing attacks, but we bring it to you because it is our job to continue to convey the truth together and give these issues national attention. As Dr. Butler has said, McCain does not have the temperament to have his finger near the red button. Get this video to everyone you know: friends, family members, coworkers, and especially those who don’t share your political views. The video is designed to reach them. Get it on your social networking sites like Digg. And get it to every blog, newspaper, and TV station that has ever overplayed McCain’s POW story. It is time to fight back with truth!

    The mainstream press has already begun to call out McCain for overusing his POW story. And it’s cut across all political persuasions.

    * “Whether he’s deflecting criticism over his health-care plan or mocking a tribute to the Woodstock music festival, Senator John McCain has a trump card: the Hanoi Hilton. – Edwin Chen, Bloomberg
    * “Noun, Verb, POW” – Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Monthly
    * “The McCain campaign’s constant invocation of the candidate’s POW past is weird bordering on irrational…” – Ana Marie Cox, TIME
    * “I think they are going to it way too many times.” – Howard Fineman, Newsweek

    Remember how Joe Biden got the press to refer to Rudy Giuliani as “A noun, a verb, and 9/11”? Well, let’s actually take Andrew Sullivan’s lead here and get the media to boil McCain down to a similar phrase: “A noun, a verb, and POW.” Considering how often the McCain campaign invokes his POW story, isn’t that what they’re already doing?

    Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New team

    Paid for by the Brave New PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.


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