Guide to the 2008 Candidates’ Views on Science

I from 1997-1999 I worked at the Paleontological Research Institution as a collections assistant before the Museum of the Earth was complete. I spent my days scrubbing 375 million year old fossils from the Devonian period.  I highly respect my peers who study science.  Below are a few selected gems of the outreach article published by the Museum of the Earth on the 2008 presidential candidates stance on science.

Senator John McCain
Senator John McCain

“McCain has an ambiguous record on whether he supports intelligent design in the science curriculum. In 2005, he said it should be taught:

Daily Star:
Should intelligent design be taught in schools?

McCain: I think that there has to be all points of view presented. But they’ve got to be thoroughly presented. So to say that you can only teach one line of thinking I don’t think is – or one belief on how people and the world was created – I think there’s nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought.

Daily Star: Does it belong in science?

McCain: There’s enough scientists that believe it does. I’m not a scientist. This is something that I think all points of view should be presented.

But last year, he said the intelligent design theory should not be taught in the science classroom:

I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view, he said. 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.”

Sources:
Arizona Daily Star. 28 Aug. 2005. http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/opinion/90521

Eagye, Abigail. “McCain talks war, religion, immigration”
Aspen Times 2 Jul. 2006.

 
Senator Barak Obama
Senator Barak Obama

From the York (PA) Daily Record:

Q: York County was recently in the news for a lawsuit involving the teaching of intelligent design. What’s your attitude regarding the teaching of evolution in public schools?

A: 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.

Source: York Daily Record. March 30, 2008.

 
Governor Sarah Palin
Governor Sarah Palin

From NewsMiner.Com:

 “In response to written questions during the 2002 election:

Q: The education section of the Republican Party of Alaska’s platform states “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.” Do you support this position? Why?

A: I support this plank in the Republican Party’s platform. I believe society can have healthy debates on scientific theories, so equal representation of creation and evolution shouldn’t be an offense.”

Source: http://www.newsminer.com/news/2008/aug/29/palin-issues-2002-alaska-gubernatorial-race/

From Framing Science:

“In running for Governor of Alaska in 2006, GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin said she supported teaching alternatives to evolution. When asked during an election debate, 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.’

She later attempted to clarify her statement by saying in an interview:

‘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

The daughter of a science teacher, Palin has said that she personally believes in creationism.

‘My dad did talk a lot about his theories of evolution,’ she said. ‘He would show us fossils and say, ‘How old do you think these are?”

Asked for her personal views on evolution, Palin said, ‘I believe we have a creator.’ She would not say whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact. “I’m not going to pretend I know how all this came to be,” she said.

Sources: Nisbet, Matthew C. “VP candidate Palin supports teaching creationism” Weblog entry. Framing Science. 29 Aug. 2008. http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/08/vp_candidate_palin_supports_te.php

Kizzia, Tom. “‘Creation science’ enters the race” Anchorage Daily News 27 Oct. 2006.
(http://dwb.adn.com/news/politics/elections/story/8347904p-8243554c.html)

From Infidel Guy Radio:

“In October of 2006, the Anchorage Daily News reported that Palin said the following about creationism at a debate:

“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.”

Sources: Gene, Shinai. “Politics: Palin on
life, faith, and creation.” Weblog entry. Infidel Guy Radio. 30 Aug. 2008. http://www.infidelguy.com/article486.html

An interesting article on VP hopeful Gov. Sarah Palin in the LA Times:

Palin treads carefully between fundamentalist beliefs and public policy

A post from Harvard University Press Publicity Blog on Gov. Sarah Palin:

On humans, dinosaurs, and Sarah Palin 

Senator Joe Biden
Senator  Joe Biden
From Fox News:
“‘I refuse to believe the majority of people believe this malarkey!’ the senior senator from Delaware exclaimed [referring to Intelligent Design]”

Source: Sammon, Bill. “Biden’s embellishment could provide easy fodder for GOP” Fox News Online. 23 Aug. 2008.  http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/08/23/bidens-embellishments-could-provide-easy-fodder-for-gop/

From Melissa Rogers:

“Joe Biden on teaching intelligent design in public science classes:

Pres. Bush’s comments last week “supporting the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ alongside the theory of evolution in public school science classes has fueled concerns among some of the wall between religion” and gov’t “could be breached.”

“This is a nation founded on the idea of the separation of church and state. After 200 years, why the hell would you want to go messing with that?”

Source: Rogers, Melissa. “Biden on religion’s role in public life and church-state issues”. Weblog entry. Melissa Rogers: thoughts on news about religion’s intersection with public affairs. 23 Aug. 2008. http://melissarogers.typepad.com/melissa_rogers/2008/08/biden.html.

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