LAST MONTH we wrote about what we thought was an inappropriate swipe at Sarah Palin in a magazine presumably devoted to science: Scientific American Takes a Shot at Sarah Palin. Now they’re at it again.
At the Scientific American website we read: Sarah Palin dishes on health and science: What does she really think? They have a video clip of Palin’s recent interview with Katie Couric, and then they write about it.
This is an excerpt, alleged to be about Palin’s position on creationism:
Palin has come under criticism for suggesting that creationism be taught alongside evolution in schools, and she didn’t back away from that position last night, exactly. ….
We interrupt that paragraph to point out that Palin never made that “taught alongside” comment, and we must ask — In what way doesn’t Palin’s interview with Couric back away from that — even if it were once her position?
Yesterday we reported the text of the Couric interview, and we took the text from the website of CBS News: Sarah Palin Discusses Creationism with Katie Couric. The text we reported is the same as the video clip found on the website of Scientific American. Yet that magazine goes on to say:
… Noting that she’s the daughter of a science teacher, Palin said that evolution “should be taught as an accepted principle.” But curricula “are best left to the local school districts,” she said. “[I] don’t have a problem at all with kids debating all sides of theories,” she added
That last sentence: ” “[I] don’t have a problem at all with kids debating all sides of theories,” isn’t part of the same paragraph in the recent Couric interview. Palin finished her thought by saying this: “Science should be taught in science class.”
Following that straightforward statement, which wasn’t reported by Scientific American, the following exchange occurred:
Couric: Should creationism be allowed to be taught anywhere in public schools?
Palin: [I] Don’t have a problem at all with kids debating all sides of theories, all sides of ideas that they ever – kids do it today whether … it’s on paper, in a curriculum or not. Curriculums also are best left to the local school districts. Instead of Big Brother, federal government telling a district what they can and can’t teach, I would like to see more control taken over by our school boards, by our local schools, and then state government at the most. But federal government, you know, kind of get out of some of this curriculum and let the locals decide what is best for their students.
Source: Transcript: Palin And McCain Interview from CBS News.
It distresses us to report this, but Scientific American has apparently engaged in quote-mining. Palin’s position shouldn’t have been misrepresented. In particular, her declaration that “Science should be taught in science class” shouldn’t have been omitted in Scientific American‘s zeal to get to the later statement about classroom debates.
Scientific American used to be a reputable magazine.
Addendum: Regarding Palin’s 2006 statements, this information is from FactCheck.org:
In an Oct. 25, 2006, debate, when asked about teaching alternatives to evolution, Palin replied:
Palin, Oct. 25, 2006: Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject – creationism and evolution. It’s been a healthy foundation for me. But don’t be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.
A couple of days later, Palin amended that statement in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, saying:
Palin, Oct. 2006: 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.
[Our related articles are here: Sarah Palin & Creationism.]
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.