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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DFL Uses Erik Paulsen's Support of IDiocy in Science Standards Against Him

Support for including Intelligent Design creationism in science classes deep sixed Judy Johnson's run for state senate.

For immediate release

Prehistoric Paulsen Admits to Supporting Fringe Positions on Intelligent Design and Global Warming

At JCRC debate, Paulsen argues local schools can teach intelligent design; refuses to say if he believes in global warming

St. Paul (September 24, 2008) — In a Monday night debate at Temple Bet Shalom in Minnetonka, State Representative Erik Paulsen advocated positions that are decades behind the times and are only held by the right-wing fringe of which he is a leader in the Republican Party.

When asked about whether religion should play any role in public schools, Paulsen argued in favor of bringing religion into the classroom. Paulsen defended his vote to allow public schools to use tax money to teach creationism and intelligent design.

Click here to watch Paulsen’s answer on intelligent design.

On global warming, Paulsen shockingly advocated a wait-and-see strategy that would continue to put our environment and our economy at risk. Paulsen was specifically asked if he was part of the 15 percent of Americans who simply don’t believe global warming exists. Paulsen refused to say. Instead, he said, “In the state legislature this year, I voted for the study that would look at the impact of global warming on a regional basis.” He then went on to bash commonsense proposals for reducing greenhouse gases. In other interviews, Paulsen has refused to say whether he thinks humans are “contributing to global warming.”

Click here to watch Paulsen’s views on global warming.

The Minnesota DFL released the following statement from spokesman Eric Fought:

“Erik Paulsen’s out-of-touch thinking on education and energy is now on display for all to see. His idea of education reform is to teach every child in Minnesota that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side. But his attitude on global warming simply reflects the talking points that the oil industry gives him along with their campaign contributions.

“It would be an absolute embarrassment to the well-educated voters of the Minnesota’s Third District to have a congressman who advocates against teaching science to children and who refuses to acknowledge the reality of global warming.

“Only Ashwin Madia is seriously about making real investments in our education system and boosting Minnesota’s economy through the growth of our green economy.”

Prehistoric Paulsen: Out of Touch on Education and Energy

Paulsen voted to require students to question the theory of evolution. In 2004, Paulsen voted in favor of requiring that state-mandated science standards require students to explain how “new evidence can challenge portions of or entire accepted theories and models including, but not limited to, cell theory, theory of evolution, and germ theory of disease.” [Otremba Amendment, HF 2558, House Journal p. 5557, 3/18/04]

Keith Ellison voted for this same amendment. He told me in an interview that he didn't understand the issue.

  • According to other lawmakers, the amendment mandated that creationism be taught. State Representative Ron Latz said of the amendment, “Essentially this amendment opens the door and mandates that creationism be taught alongside evolution in the science standards.” [House Video Archives 3/18/04, starting at minute 44:00]

  • Even far-right, social conservative organizations like the Minnesota Family Council agree. The Minnesota Family Council described the vote on the amendment as a vote to “[r]equire balanced scientific treatment of evolution in state-mandated science standards.” [Scored Vote #5, Minnesota Family Council, 2003-05 State Legislative Report Card]

Paulsen has repeatedly said he would give absolute discretion to school boards in this area. On April 24, 2008, Paulsen told a Minnesota blog that “I strongly believe that state legislatures and Congress should not act as ‘super school boards.’ School boards should have the flexibility to make education decisions and states should be responsible for holding school boards accountable for results. Local school boards should actively engage parents in all education decisions, including local curriculum selection decisions.” [Minnesota Monitor, GOP US House Candidate Paulsen: an Evolving Standard on Intelligent Design? April 24, 2008]

Paulsen has voted multiple times to sidetrack or water down legislation to make Minnesota a leader in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and renewable energy usage. In April 2008, Paulsen voted to delete important sections of a greenhouse-gas reduction bill, including the definition of “global warming,” and a report on emissions sources in the state and how to reduce them. In 2007, Paulsen voted to delete a requirement that new large power plants be required to offset any new carbon-dioxide emissions. Paulsen has also opposed measures to require old coal-fired power plants to meet new air-quality standards and to give the state Public Utilities Commission the ability to require that polluting utilities participate in Minnesota’s program to cut air pollution. [Emmer amdt. To SF 3337, H.J. p. 10549, 4/23/08; Seifert amdt. to SF 145, H.J. 6559, 5/11/07; Mariani amdt. to SF 722, H.J. p. 4562, 5/14/01; Kahn amdt. to HF 2792, H.J. p. 7377, 3/22/02]

Paulsen has voted for efforts to promote doubts about the existence and causation of global warming. In April 2008, Paulsen voted for measures requiring more public hearings with equal time for opponents of climate change science and those who claim global warming is not caused by humans. [Olson amdt. to SF 3337, H.J. p 10550, 4/23/08; Erickson amdt. to HF 3195, H.J. p. 10553, 4/23/08]

Paulsen has voted against efforts to expand the availability and use of electricity made from renewable energy sources like wind, biomass and solar. In 2005, Paulsen voted against requiring that 20 percent of the electric energy used in the state be produced from renewable sources by 2020. In 2001, he voted against requiring that electricity made from renewable energy sources make up at least one percent of all power sold in the state, with that minimum percentage to rise by one percentage point each year for ten years. [Peterson amdt. to SF 1368, H.J. p. 4202, 5/19/05; Kubly amdt. to S.F. 722, H.J. p. 4554, 5/14/01]