Nature Comments on Evolution and the U.S. Presidential Election
Nature recently had this to say in an editorial regarding our upcoming election:
The most worrying thing about a McCain presidency is not so much a President
McCain as a Vice-President Palin. Sarah Palin, Alaska’s governor and McCain’s
running mate, opposes all research into human embryonic stem cells. She is a
Contrast that with Obama’s statement on page 448, in which Nature asked him
about the teaching of intelligent design in science classes. It is not easy to
address students’ questions about evolution without falling prey to the false
notion of ‘teaching the controversy’, as the Royal Society’s director of
education discovered last week in a public-relations meltdown (see ‘Creation
and classrooms’). But Obama could not be more clear: “I do not believe it is
helpful to our students to cloud discussions of science with non-scientific
theories like intelligent design that are not subject to experimental
scrutiny,” he wrote.
Now those who have been following the issue know that Gov. Sarah Palin’s position is a bit more complicated than being “a creationist.” In fact she has explicitly said that she does not want to teach only creationism. So I guess if she is a creationist she is a creationist in a sense different than Darwinists at the NCSE are Darwinists, as they want to teach only Darwinism.
Other Brits have been more thoughtful,
noting that Palin’s statements basically said she supports students discussing alternative views–that there should not “be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”
So no, Palin is not as radical or scarey as Nature and other sources would have you think.
Regarding Obama’s position, as a thoughful person, I hope he comes to learn that ID proponents are not pushing to mandate the inclusion of ID in the classroom. Rather, what we have long been asking for is that Darwinism be taught in an even-handed way, with scientific evidence both for it and against it discussed. Rather than perpetuating misconceptions, it would be nice to see the post-partisan candidate come endorse such an even-handed approach which has the support of nearly three out of four Americans.