Framing Science

The McCain choice of Sarah Palin has made creationism a topic that various GOP spokespeople are now being asked by the press to weigh in on. From the interviews, an emerging talking point appears to be that “it’s a local decision.” On Sunday, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was asked by Tom Brokaw about Palin’s position and his personal views on the issue. Video above and transcript below.

MR. BROKAW: Okay. In the governor’s race, she refused to be specific about her views on Creationism versus evolution. But, as I understand it, she did say that she thought that the two subjects should be taught side-by-side in public schools. Do you think that’s a good idea?

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.

MR. BROKAW: In the vast scientific community, do you think that Creationism has the same weight as evolution, and at a time in American education when we are in a crisis when it comes to science, that there ought to be parallel tracks for Creationism versus evolution in the teaching?

GOV. PAWLENTY: In the scientific community, it seems like intelligent design is dismissed — not entirely, there are a lot of scientists who would make the case that it is appropriate to be taught and appropriate to be demonstrated, but in terms of the curriculum in the schools in Minnesota, we’ve taken the approach that that’s a local decision. I know Senator Palin — or Governor Palin — has said intelligent design is something that she thinks should be taught along with evolution in the schools, and I think that’s appropriate. My personal view is that’s a local decision —

MR. BROKAW: Given equal weight.

GOV. PAWLENTY: — of the local school board.

MR. BROKAW: And you would recommend it be given equal weight?

GOV. PAWLENTY: We’ve said in Minnesota, in my view, this is a local decision. Intelligent design is something that, in my view, is plausible and credible and something that I personally believe in but, more importantly, from an educational and scientific standpoint, it should be decided by local school boards at the local school district level.


  1. #1 Chris
    September 2, 2008

    NO! NO! NO! NOoooooooooo!!!!!

    Science should NEVER be edited by LOCAL elected officials! ***Bangs Head Against Wall***

    Stupid people make me SMASH!!!!

  2. #2 Super Jesus
    September 2, 2008

    Honestly I’m waiting for any journalist interviewing someone like this to reply “No, that’s simply not true. There is no evidence whatsoever supporting the ID/creationist’s hypothesis and no credible scientist has backed such an idea.” and then shut up and let the person talk around the steaming pile that is their creationist propaganda. When will anyone from the media grow a pair and quit allowing such bullshit to pass as “just another viewpoint”.

  3. #3 SteveG
    September 2, 2008

    “Super Jesus” – I’d like any interviewer who has some politician making a comment like that to actually respond by asking another question: “You said that you think local school boards should control what is taught in science classes, so if a local school board decides to teach kids that the sun orbits the earth you think that would be okay? Right?”

    In other words, smash the nonsense with a rhetorical question based on his answer.

  4. #4 Craig Mc
    February 23, 2009

    But, as I understand it, she did say that she thought that the two subjects should be taught side-by-side in public schools.

    Brokaw doesn’t understand much then. Palin:

    “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.

  5. #5 Bruce
    May 9, 2009

    Science should be a part of local school
    real estate

  6. #6 Bill
    July 30, 2009

    Will someone please teach these people that “theory” has a specific definition in the context of scientific methodology, that it doesn’t equal “wild-ass guess” the way pro-creationist politicians seem to believe?

    The idea of “local” science is ludicrous.

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