Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Repetition =/= Truth

Apparently Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, was recently questioned about his position on teaching creationism/intelligent design--mostly because it's something that's come up with VP Sarah Palin, who favors "teaching the controversy."

GOV. PAWLENTY: I saw her comments on it yesterday, and I thought they were appropriate, which is, you know, let's -- if there are competing theories, and they are credible, her view of it was, according to the comments in the newspaper, allow them all to be presented or allow them both to be presented so students could be exposed to both or more and have a chance to be exposed to the various theories and make up their own minds.

Emphasis mine.

That's it. Full-stop. If they are credible. They aren't.

Evolution is a scientific theory. So is natural selection. They are supported by data, research, and observation. They don't just explain something, they invite further questions. How do things evolve? What pressures favor which adaptations? What conditions affect the visible "rate" of evolution? Thousands of issues are being explored by biologists using what we know about evolution as a starting point because it's been thoroughly demonstrated that it happens.

Creationism doesn't invite any serious questions that can actually be answered ("so, who is this designer, anyway?"). It doesn't present any hypothesis other than "stuff was designed," and that hypothesis isn't scientifically valid because it isn't testable. It is not a competing theory because it is not science.

It's disgusting that people are offended that their children are learning science in science classes because science apparently offends their theological sensibilities. And the politicians that are using this talking point--"it's a local issue"--are doing the smart thing, politically, and dodging the issue altogether. They're not saying they don't have an opinion. They're saying that they won't voice their opinion because they're afraid of alienating some portion of their constituency. No political candidate who wants to keep his career is going to stand up in front of America's 75% Christian population and tell them that their faith and beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to determining what is and isn't verifiably true.

Even if local school boards don't want their kids exposed to scary ideas like evolution, it's a waste of taxpayer dollars to teach them bullshit instead just so that they can be sheltered from theologically unpalatable truths.

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