Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Palin and the Science Classroom

From the Alaska Daily News:

The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor's race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state's public classrooms.

Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, "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."

Her main opponents, Democrat Tony Knowles and Independent Andrew Halcro, said such alternatives to evolution should be kept out of science classrooms. Halcro called such lessons "religious-based" and said the place for them might be a philosophy or sociology class.

The view expressed by Halcro is pretty much where I land on the issue.

Palin later backpedaled, after her staff informed her that her view was unconstitutional:

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."

Palin's supporters claim that she does not support an imposition of Creationism in the classroom. This claim is based on the fact that she has not proposed it during her 18 months or so in office.

Her real beliefs are best represented by what she said before her aides had a chance to educate her on what the Constitution says. The fact that she did not try to impose Creationism in the classroom has more to do with Constitutional limits than her desire to circumvent the Constitution.