Courting Disaster

Courting Disaster

Courting Disaster

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 9 2005 10:12 PM

Courting Disaster

Is Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers a creationist?

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

I don't know. But this question is making the rounds of the pro-science blogosphere (hat-tip to Panda's Thumb and The Lippard Blog), and it's a legitimate one.

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According to the Seattle Times, Harriet Miers is a devoted member of the Valley View Christian Church, a fundamentalist church in Dallas, Texas. What's interesting is that, on the church's links page is a link to the Creation Evidence Museum. This is a creationist museum run by Carl Baugh, a man known to, ah, stretch the truth. It appears he has inflated his credentials, and he continues to make long-disproven claims about evidence for creation.

This does not mean Ms. Miers is a creationist, but it is pretty interesting indirect evidence. President Bush has made it clear he supports Intelligent Design being taught in the classroom, and has remarked on many occasions about his fundamentalist beliefs.

Since we have no direct evidence of Ms. Miers beliefs, I think a direct question is warranted. Asking about a candidate's religion is probably illegal and possibly unethical, but asking them if they think creationism should be taught in a science classroom is not only relevant, it is something the Supreme Court has already ruled on once. This makes it more than relevant; this makes it a crucial question.

This has a fundamental (ha ha) impact on Supreme Court decisions, and I think it's something a Senator on the confirmation committee should ask. I plan on contacting my Senator (who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee) and making sure that it does get asked. I suggest you do too.