Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vice-President Material?

I saw an interview with Bobby Jindal this morning on NBC. Now, I had heard various reports of this guy's inanity, but I was pretty shocked to hear him say on national television that he wants his children to be taught "alternative theories" to evolution (read: creationism).

And this is who the Republican's are claiming to be the frontrunner for the VP spot? I did a little research and found this fantastic opinion piece by (the amazing) Barbara Forrest. We should all keep an eye on what she says about Jindal, because she seems to be keeping an eye on him.

It's imperative that we get some sort of campaign going that very clearly and logically explains to the average American why teaching alternative theories to evolution does not equate to teaching the problems within evolution. The issue is that it sounds so very reasonable on first glance, that people are disarmed by it and say "why not teach the controversy"? In fact, teaching the controversy is not what these people want at all (despite the clever catch-phrase). Debates within evolutionary biology should be and are taught. What they want is to downgrade the definition of science so that it includes their personal beliefs. There was a nice interview on Science Friday this week with Ken Miller (listen here, it's ~30 min). He did a great job of explaining it and I'd love to hear if he had some ideas as to how to convey these points to people across the country. The best part of the interview was when a 10 year old kid called in and asked Dr. Miller if he thought evolution was being forced upon children. He responded by saying (I'm paraphrasing here) "no more than algebra is being forced upon them".

This is something that genuinely scares me because the public can grab onto the "teach the controversy" thing very fast, and having a legitimate VP candidate (and future pres candidate) makes it that much more likely that they will. Are the evolutionists prepared for the battle?

DS

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