As the campaign moves forward one of the knocks against Sarah Palin will almost certainly be that she is a "creationist". This accusation, intended to lump her in the public mind with snake handlers and other religious fanatics, will be based on her 2006 statement, given in response to a question, that we should:
"...teach both. You know, don't be afraid of education. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools."
Later, Palin clarified her remark: "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."
So, the evidence is clear. She's a zealot.
What we will probably not be told, however, is that Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and John Edwards all actually voted in 2001 to make teaching the controversy over evolution virtually mandatory.
Edward Sisson has the details at Evolution News and Views.
If Palin's suggestion that students at least be exposed to the debate places her out of the political mainstream in the U.S., where must we place senators who voted for this language in the Santorum amendment to No Child Left Behind:
It is the sense of the Senate that-
(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and
(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.
As sensible as this amendment is it's actually much more "radical" than Palin's position which was simply to allow the controversy to be discussed if it comes up in class. It'll be interesting to see to what extent Palin is attacked for her view and whether the attackers will trouble themselves with observing that her view is mild relative to that of the aforementioned liberal senators.RLC