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September 20, 2008

The Link Between Creationism and Incuriosity

It's hard not to get involved in the many distracting Palin stories, from today's Anchorage Daily News story saying that Gov. Palin has surrendered important gubernatorial duties to the McCain campaign to Palin's lies about imposing fees on rape victims while she was mayor of Wassila.  They just keep coming. 

It's pushed the really important issue of a belief in creationism and what it means off the table.  But I think it's useful to try to get in the mind-frame of someone who believes that dinosaurs and humans have both only lived about 5,000 years on this planet, having been placed here by God at about that time.   

I have folks who don't believe in evolution in my family and have seen and thought about what that means in their lives.  People don't like encountering ideas that run counter to their beliefs.  So, a person who doesn't believe in evolution has a much smaller world than most of us.  Forget reading National Geographic or watching Animal Planet.  He or she is not likely to choose to listen to NPR or read Time Magazine or the New York Times or the Seattle Times.  Any one of these would easily carry stories that casually mention the 9,300 year old remains of Kennewick Man or discuss the changing ranges of wolves in North America over tens of thousands of years.   Basically there is no room for sane history or sane science so any normal school is also problematic. 

One is incurious, not particularly interested in tugging on a tangential string to see where it might go.  One is taught not to dig into complex issues.   When the folks in authority tell you it is this way, it is this way.  Does this sound familiar?  Most of the folks in my family have shifted their thinking after time in college or out in the workplace, thank goodness.  But before they eased up, it was a pretty closed off world that they lived in.

I think we have someone in Sarah Palin who has made a remarkable path for herself given her sheltered life, lousy education, few books read, and limited travel.  Nevertheless, it adds up to a profound incuriousity about the world. 

Exactly the opposite of what we need for these next years of dealing with losing our economic clout, our status in the world, extreme weather, the amount of oil and water we have at our disposal, and who knows what else.  I can't imagine having another sure-of-the-facts, yet incurious, person a heartbeat from being president. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 20, 2008 at 07:50 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink

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