So wonders Razib Khan over at Secular Right::
In any case, I’m on the record as saying that predictions for 2012 are very premature. But, it looks like 3 of the front-runners for the G.O.P. nomination are rather frank Creationists (Palin, Huckabee and Pawlenty). I’m skeptical about any of these as likely candidates (i.e., if you had to make a bet you’re going to be surprised), but if you keep adding individuals to the list it seems likely that we’re looking at a serious probability that the G.O.P. nominee in 2012 will be a Creationist.
In a primary debate last year John McCain forthrightly said he supported evolution. When Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo then raised their hands to indicate they did not support evolution, McCain was quick to add
I believe in evolution, but I also believe that when I hike the Grand Canyon and see a sunset that the hand of God is there also.
Certainly no Republican could get through the primaries on a platform that evolution is good science and creationism and ID are not. The thing is, though, that neither could a Democrat. This is one of those polarizing issues that politicians avoid like the plague. There is no advantage to them in taking a clear stand on one side or the other.
The typical answer for Republicans is either to say that they personally believe in God and believe all sides of this important issue should be presented in schools, or to punt by saying that it is a state issue. For Democrats the typical answer is to say that they personally believe in God and do not believe there is a conflict between science and religion, or to punt by saying it is a state issue.
My prediction is that the Republican nominee in 2012 will be someone who does not really care one way or the other about this issue, but will nonetheless pander shamelessly to those who do care.