Having failed to derail Sarah Palin as an unfit mother, surrogate mother, one who fires personal opponents for their principled refusals to fire innocent state troopers, adultress, library book-burner, etc., the general focus of the enlightened glitterati, is settling in on “Creationist Nut”. In this situation, the leftist hyperpolitical class (led by Andrew Sullivan, urged on by e-mails from the TVG campaign*) is joined by the agnostic libertarians, including otherwise good guys such as Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs and Prof. James Lindgren of Volokh, who are usually pretty rational and fair-minded guys, but seem to go crazy around this topic. The source of that “problem” (it surfaced in a debate- see the volokh post above) is twofold:
1) Ms. Palin believes in God, as an apparently practicing evangelical Christian. If you believe that Jesus was the Son of God, it sort of follows that you believe that there is a God somewhere to be the Son of. The other inconvenience is that if any of the Biblical stuff is not utter nonsense, one must presume that this God isn’t helpless or standoffish toward Earth. If He is capable of Doing Things, the most obvious initial hypothesis is that He might have had something to do with the appearance of life on Earth, since we are having some trouble sorting that out.
2) In her campaign a couple of years ago, Governor Palin stated that school kids might benefit from hearing different theories and discussing them (the debate referred to above).
After assuming office, of course, Palin did not throw out the biology and evolution curriculum nor force Adam and Eve down the throats of wide-eyed schoolchildren. However, the meme has been established, and lacking any decent ammunition, the media interviews henceforth are bound to include “gotcha” questions encouraging her to either lie about her views or commit political suicide with the legacy media by adopting Bishop Usher’s (preposterous) time line.
There is another way for Ms. Palin to handle such a question, and it has the advantage of being correct. When the supercilious inside-the-beltway or New York reporter asks “Governor Palin, do you believe in evolution?” she should answer as follows.
“Well, BrianKatieCharlieMattDiane, let me put it this way. Like 80% of America, I do believe there is a God. But that is just my belief. It isn’t provable and it is not falsifiable. But if I am crazy and superstitious by believing in God, so are most of my fellow-citizens.
“The question is, what about where we all came from? Well, some people believe that God made everything with a wave of His hand, others believe that God basically set evolution in motion and let it happen. Others believe that everything occurred by purely natural processes. I certainly can’t tell you how, because the naturalistic processes scientists themselves don’t agree- that is the real controversy that is never mentioned, and all sides of that controversy ought to be taught, not the so-called “God versus nature” issue.
“Some people, such as Richard Dawkins, are pure Darwinists, and believe that change among species came very gradually. Others, such as Stephen J. Gould, said that that was impossible, so they offered a theory that there were sudden jumps in progress. Still others, such as Dr. Kauffman, believe that both Dawkins and Gould are wrong, and everything can be explained by ‘self-organization’, like the way crystals or snowflakes develop. Each of these groups explains in detail why the other groups’ theories are impossible based on the fossil record, length of time needed, and probability.
“So, I’m just going to wait to comment until they can all agree on a story.”
*The Vacuous Garment, refers to a certain candidate for President