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.