Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views

Slowly, Bloggers Are Building an Accurate Picture of Palin's Views on Evolution and Creationism

Since being picked by McCain as his choice for Vice President, Sarah Palin has garnered a lot of attention, not least of which is for her views on how to teach evolution. A quick Google News search returns over 1,500 articles about that very subject, just since last weekend.

Not surprisingly, the media has completely misconstrued her views so that right now it is

difficult to know for sure what her position on teaching evolution really is. The terms have been purposely improperly defined (or not defined at all in some cases), and creationism has been conflated with intelligent design.

Until today there was only one article I'd seen that got it right. And that was published in another country!

So, I was very pleasantly surprised today when I was pointed to Jeremy Pierce's very thorough blog post about what Sarah Palin's views might be on evolution, creationism and intelligent design. Pierce has researched everything published on Sarah Palin's views and compared the actual recorded comments to what is carelessly being bandied about not just on blogs but in the MSM. His post is absolutely devastating in its critique of reporting on Palin and the evolution debate. Be sure to read it here.

In addition it highlights -- yet again -- the biases in play at Wikipedia.

The other place this has been an issue is in Wikipedia. As soon as I heard that she was going to be the nominee, I went to her article to fill out my understanding of her. I knew a fair amount about her, because her name had been floated as a possible VP pick as far back as late 2006. (It's pretty crazy for the mainstream media to act as if they'd never heard of her. She's been a regular topic on the election blogs for months now among those who have been speculated as potential running mates. I've seen her name turn up as often as Romney's and Pawlenty's, and no one else comes up as often as those three.) So I knew something about her term as governor and high popularity in her state, and I knew about her decision to carry her Down Syndrome child to term. However, I didn't know all the fine-print on positions that weren't part of what she'd specifically done as governor, and this was one of them.

I was surprised to see in her Wikipedia article that she advocated the teaching of both views side by side, because I had expected her to be a little more libertarian than that. Its description of her would have her requiring biology teachers to teach something that hardly any high school biology teacher actually believes. Well, I was right. That wasn't her view. I followed the link given in support, and it went to the same article from the actual time of that debate. So whoever wrote it had no excuse. They had the article that gave her actual view and either didn't read it carefully or deliberately misrepresented her view.

I edited the article to reflect her actual position a little better. Someone then created a separate article for her positions and removed my edited description from her main article. Someone else came along and saw it not there and gave the NYT misrepresentation with a link to that article. I edited it again to reflect her actual position and linked back to the original article, removing the NYT reference that adds nothing because it isn't an independent source at all. I left several notes in the discussion page to explain all this, but those got archived very quickly and are no longer on the main discussion page. The new statement later got removed again because of its presence in the positions article. But then someone added it again with something mostly ok (although I'm not entirely happy with the wording). It's been pretty annoying, to say the least.