Evolution

Republican Creationism Is Alive and Well

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During the last presidential race, three Republican hopefuls, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback all raised their hands when they were asked during a debate if they did not believe in biological evolution. In a column last year, I argued that candidates' beliefs about biological evolution are important because it tells something about how scientific knowledge informs their leadership.

In the dichotomous division of labor between our two major American political parties, the Democrats are generally assigned the role of the "Evil Party" and the Republicans constitute the "Stupid Party." The Little Green Footballs blog sadly provides evidence that three prominent Republican governors and early GOP presidential frontrunners are hard at work maintaining their party's proud tradition. How? They are apparently creationists. 

In 2006, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford: 

Newswatch Host David Stanton: What do you think about the idea of teaching alternatives to Darwin's Theory of Evolution in public schools* for instance Intelligent Design?

Gov. Sanford: I have no problem with it.

Stanton: Do you think it should be done that way? Rather than just teaching evolution?

Gov. Sanford: Well I think that it's just, and science is more and more documenting this, is that there are real "chinks" in the armor of evolution being the only way we came about. The idea of there being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being… is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of … in essence, destruction.

When asked about then GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin's defense of intelligent design by NBC newsman Tom Brokaw, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty responded:

I saw her comments on it yesterday, and I thought they were appropriate, which is, you know, let's — if there are competing theories, and they are credible, her view of it was, according to the comments in the newspaper, allow them all to be presented or allow them both to be presented so students could be exposed to both or more and have a chance to be exposed to the various theories and make up their own minds…

In the scientific community, it seems like intelligent design is dismissed — not entirely, there are a lot of scientists who would make the case that it is appropriate to be taught and appropriate to be demonstrated, but in terms of the curriculum in the schools in Minnesota, we've taken the approach that that's a local decision.

Last year, Louisana's Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an "academic freedom" bill that intelligent design creationists hope to use as a way to smuggle their anti-evolution views into public school science classes. 

Jindal bonus: He participated in an exorcism some years back. 

Thanks to Volokh Conspiracy for the heads up. 

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  1. Palin is herself a prominent governor and 2012 contender, so that makes four.

  2. there are real “chinks”

  3. Correction. Democrats are the Stupid Evil Party, and Republicans are the Stupid Stupid Party.

  4. I think you have the parties’ designations backwards there. Republicans are generally considered evil and Democrats are stupid. Certainly this is a case of stupid Republicans, but the stereotype is the other way around.

    What’s the asterisk next to “human being” represent in that cretin’s comment.

  5. I think schools should be teaching exactly what science is and is not. This would preemptively discount ID as something to be taught as ‘a competing theory’ for the simple reason that IT IS NOT SCIENCE.

  6. Come the 2012 elections, beltway libertarians will find Sanford’s statements on evolution far more important than his sterling fiscal record and his attempt to pass a universal tax credit for private school tuition.

    And so it goes. 4 more years of hope and change!

  7. “I think you have the parties’ designations backwards there. Republicans are generally considered evil and Democrats are stupid.”

    This is true. Democrats generally consider Republicans to be evil, and Republicans generally consider Democrats to be stupid. Don’t know how they got that flipped.

  8. I couldn’t disagree more. The Republicans are the Evil Party and Democrats are the Stupid Party at least as regards the leadership, rank and file perhaps the inverse is true.

    Republican leaders don’t believe the horseshit they spout, they say it because their followers believe it. Therefore, they are evil, they know better but do and say whatever it takes to get elected.

    Democrats, on the other hand, are true believers. They actually believe in central planning and the wisdom and benevolence of bureaucrats. They advocate their policies because they are ignorant of the laws of unintended consequences.

  9. Warty, they’re called “gooks”. Charlie. You know, slopes. Why are you all looking at me like that?

  10. Disclaimer: I think that evolution is the theory that explains things best, so far. I neither believe nor disbelieve it, but I’d hope anyone who is working in biological or medical fields would have it as their working hypothesis, too.

    That being said, I don’t get all het up about what the D’s and R’s want taught in the publik skools. What is important is dismantling the government near-monopoly on schooling.

    Fr’instance, if the Wisconsin Department of Publik Instrukshun wrote a rule banning from the school choice program any religious school that pushed creationism, I’d have a real problem with that.

    Evolution v. Creationism in the publik skools is a sideshow. The continued existence of the Edublob is the real problem.

    Kevin

  11. Odd… now that I search it some… well, I had it backwards… or not. It seems like in the past it was Rep = Stupid, Dem = Evil… and more recently it seems to have flipped.

    I mean, the pro-war party that lies about its economic agenda to curry favor with the fiscally conservative impulse… the one that doesn’t mind torture and various other rights violations… the party in favor of moralistic laws… just seems evil. The party that thinks gov’t can solve all our problems through kind-hearted socialism, that wants to save the environment by well-intentioned intense regulation… just seems stupid.

    Of course the right’s religiosity and the left’s class warfare mentality are against type in my formulation… but no stereotype is perfect.

  12. Shit, I was trying to say that this proves that Sanford is a racist after all, but I forgot to close my tag and so I disgraced myself. This is even more embarrassing than that time I farted while I was getting a rimjob.

    This is as good of a place as any to link to the excellent why do people laugh at creationists youtube series.

  13. Why cant they both be stupid and evil again?

  14. William Jennings Bryan ran for president three times, and he was a creationist.

    I think in 50 years we’ll still have presidential candidates who believe, or claim to believe that Jonah was eaten by a ‘big fish’, the world was created in 7 days, Jesus was the son of god, Joseph Smith was a prophet, etc.
    Yokels and non-skeptics stubbornly pass on these superstitions from one generation to the next. That’s why we’re still fighting the Scopes monkey trial over and over from PA to KS.
    Two, as long as the yokels vote, there will be a politician to pander to them.

    We can make fun of Huckabee, et al, but a significant chunk of voters hold the same views and consider those views more important than things libertarians are concerned with.

  15. Sanford just gave me a headache.

    Ouch! Stupid like that is painful.

  16. Yes! ABout time! Now we can finally get the FSM into the classroom! make way for the theory of intelligent falling and the creation by the great noodly one!

    Chisailor, proud bearer of the jollyfish, drinker of rum and pursuer of wenches!

  17. Joe_D: Asterisk is a typo – fixed. Sorry for the confusion.

    On Evil vs. Stupid – admittedly it is sometimes hard to tell which is which.

  18. Bailey definitely got that backwards but what can you expect from an Obama voter–he is of the “stupid party”.

    Republicans are evil because they want to starve poor children and old people.They know people are poor and oppressed because they didn’t win “life’s lottery” where whitemen get 100 tickets for every one women and minorities receive. They seek to burn,shoot and blow up hostile foreigners rather than “understand” their grievances and change our behavior in response.

    The Democrats are the “stupid party” because in addition to believing all that they know all it takes is “experts” and money and government can solve all life’s problems for everyone.they still believe this despite all the evidence to the contrary.

  19. If the GOP is going to double down betting on the Christian Conservative Ignorant Yokel wing, they’ll not get my vote. Ever.

    Go ahead. Put it in the 2012 platform and give the Dems a veto proof majority in both houses.

    Fucking Bozos.

  20. one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of … in essence, destruction

    Uh… yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly what it says.

    My god, man. Just read a fucking Wikipedia article, at least!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics

    And if that’s too difficult, there’s the Simple English version
    http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamics

    Really, I really do have a headache, now.

  21. They advocate their policies because they are ignorant of the laws of unintended consequences.

    No, they intend those things, and they lie about it (to themselves, too, sometimes).

    Ergo: evil.

  22. I’ve also always thought of Team R as stupid and Team D as evil, Ron. You my nigga.

  23. “Evolution v. Creationism in the publik skools is a sideshow. The continued existence of the Edublob is the real problem.”

    Amen!

  24. hmmm, i am sure there are many stupid opinions on evolution, see for ex. Gov. Sanford’s incoherent statement, but the sentiment of Gov. Pawlenty does not seem to be one of them. Teaching intelligent design and creationism as science is not correct. including a brief reference and discussion about it when teaching evolution, however, seems reasonable. it is in fact optimal as a good reference point to highlight the importance of the scientific method, which seems to be besides the point any more in regards to any science that has entered the public conscience(or interpretation of historical events).

    as far as slippery slopes, back-dooring their agenda, blah blah. if the people are not smart enough to figure this one out when shown the bible on one hand (and its uneven enforcement and non-existent predictive ability) and the mountains of data and analysis on the other hand, there is no point in even caring.

    p.s. – when advocating for a theory that claims to explain the entire, um well, er, uh…evolution of life on the planet, its probably best not to speak as if the creationists’ god handed you a tablet written in stone. its just like the global warming hysteria. we have evidence and analysis on both that lends credence to a view-point, but we are far from perfect vision on the matter.

    p.p.s – i ain’t no god fearing man

  25. In the dichotomous division of labor between our two major American political parties…

    Hmm, “labor” isn’t right. Division of pretense?

  26. Bill Hicks put it best. “Some of my friends think pro-lifers are stupid idiots, others think they are evil fucks. Brothers and sisters, can’t we just agree that they’re studid, evil idiot fucks?”

  27. I argued that candidates’ beliefs about biological evolution are important because it tells something about how scientific knowledge informs their leadership.

    I’ll argue that whatever they believe about “science” and the Bible is totally irrelevant right up until they seek to force it on others by law.

  28. Come the 2012 elections, beltway libertarians will find Sanford’s statements on evolution far more important than his sterling fiscal record and his attempt to pass a universal tax credit for private school tuition.

    Well, most libertarians are hugely into reality-based belief systems. Sure Sanford may have a good track record on some important libertarian issues, but from my POV his complete lack of understanding of evolution as a concept, not his mere disagreement with it is an automatic disqualification.

    I just don’t trust someone who believes in a 6,000 year old earth, or in magic trees and talking snakes, with that level of responsibility.

    Want to win? Stop running bible thumpers. Stop running people who pander to bible thumpers, koran-thumpers, torah-thumpers, book of mormon-thumpers, baghavad gita-thumpers, etc.

  29. including a brief reference and discussion about it when teaching evolution, however, seems reasonable.

    Perhaps, if the discussion is similar to the way that a physics student might learn about the aether when studying the Michelson-Morley experiment.

  30. What the hell is a rim-job?

  31. FWIW, I kind of think the roles of Stupid and Evil Party reverse depending on who’s in power. So, for example, as recently as a few months ago the Republicans were, in fact, the Evil Party, because they were the ones doing things like talking up Iraq and giving unprecented economic authority to the Treasury Dept., all of which was pretty evil. The Dems were the Stupid Party because everything they suggested as alternatives were stupid.

    But now that the Dems are the ones implementing all of their stupid policies, they have become the Evil Party by virtue of enforcing their stupid ideas, and the Republicans have reverted to the mere Stupid Party because they can’t actually do anything evil, they can only *wish* that they could do all the evil things they used to get away with, which makes them stupid.

    Does that sound right?

  32. including a brief reference and discussion about it when teaching evolution, however, seems reasonable.

    Perhaps, if the discussion is similar to the way that a physics student might learn about the aether when studying the Michelson-Morley experiment.

    Or phlogiston, or the steady state universe, or balancing humours …

  33. Well, most libertarians are hugely into reality-based belief systems. ,/i>

    We all know what “reality-based” is code for: Progressive Leftism.
    Do you have any idea what percentage of libertarians are evangelicals and Catholics? Cosmotarian consequentialists are just a faction: albeit quite over-represented here.

  34. fuckin’ tags……

  35. OMG, amen

    I’ve recently realized how much I’m annoyed by people who “believe” in evolution. Okay, they are better than those who believe in creationism. But only marginally. The nature of their relationship to the evolution theory is not dissimilar to the relationship between a religious believer and religion. They just happen to be on the right side but not for a good reason.

  36. On Evil vs. Stupid – admittedly it is sometimes hard to tell which is which.

    That’s easy — Republicans are evil and stupid, Democrats are stupid and evil.

    That about sum it up?

  37. Last I checked evolution is still a theory, and not proven fact. As such, I have no problem exploring other theories in school. If the theory of evolution is found to be the best model we have, it will stand on its own merits. Dismissing creationists (I am not one) or those who posit intelligent design for being too fantastic should take a closer look at some of the leaps and assumptions in evolution. Where is the evidence for speciation? How come we haven’t observed it, either in the lab or paleontologically? If natural selection is true, how come I’m surrounded by so many idiots?

  38. I was wondering if you could tell me what exactly is a “rim job?” Thanks!

    Susie replies:

    A “rim job” is a slang term for analingus. That means oral stimulation of the anus.

    http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/what_exactly_is_a_rim_job

  39. “sixstring | February 23, 2009, 4:25pm | #
    Last I checked evolution is still a theory, and not proven fact. As such, I have no problem exploring other theories in school. ”

    How about we teach Nazi theories on biology about the “Aryan race” and Soviet/Marxist biology (Lysenkoism), then?

  40. The idea of there being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being… is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of … in essence, destruction.”-

    funny in all of my years of study and biology I’ve never read a claim that we came from “mosquitoes”. And what the Hel does thermodynamics have ANYTHING to do with the evolution of the Sapien species?

    Well there boss, guess you had better explain why we’re a 98% match to those wild orange apes at the zoo!

    Well the intellgent Humans are related to them…:)

    Come on, with out rednecks and yokels, who’d staff Walmart?

  41. If you’re not prepared to “explore” every crackpot theory out there in bio (including “racial science” and the like) then STFU about “exploring” theories.

  42. I actually did learn about Lysenkoism in my AP Calc class… of all places.

  43. Stupid vs. Evil is generally what the political parties-or at least their nominally represenative ideologies believe about each other.

    Dems think ‘pubs are evil.
    Repubs think ‘rats are stupid.

    Some of the confusion arises from how they charge each other for political effect.
    Bush was a dummie except when he was Hitler but Rove and Cheney were always pure evil.
    Behind those dumb Republicans are Evil handlers.

    Republicans feel dems are dumb for their ignorance of economics and faith in government as the solution to all problems.Except when they resort to hyperbole and call them baby-killing communist America-haters who want to surrender Western civilization to the Barbarians.

  44. “Jonas | February 23, 2009, 4:29pm | #
    I actually did learn about Lysenkoism in my AP Calc class… of all places.”

    And they told you it was a total crock of shit, right?

    I only learned about it where it belongs–in Russian history classes.

  45. If you want to teach creationism, do it in religion and philosophy classes, etc. It isn’t science.

  46. 6string – evolution is both a theory and a fact, as is gravity

    the theory is the explanation for how evolution (or gravity) works

    theory is not the same as hypothesis, to scientists

  47. 6string – evolution is both a theory and a fact, as is gravity

    How come no monkeys are becoming human then?? HUH??

  48. Well, the teacher who taught us Lysenkoism never explicitly stated it was wrong… in fact, I’m pretty sure he taught it to us at all is because “he was exposing us to alternative theories”. What he was implying by that was pretty obvious.

    I should mention that I graduated from a KS high school at the height of the KS School Board / Banning Evolution debacle. We also learned about how the Flying Spaghetti monster created the earth.

  49. If you want to teach creationism, do it in religion and philosophy classes, etc. It isn’t science.

    Teach it right alongside Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Population Bomb, Silent Spring etc.

  50. “I should mention that I graduated from a KS high school at the height of the KS School Board / Banning Evolution debacle. We also learned about how the Flying Spaghetti monster created the earth.”

    Did you learn about Nazi “racial science” and “Afro-centric” science?

    See where that leads? Down a rathole. It’s ridiculous.

    It’s the same reason you can’t have mandated/public prayer in state-sanctioned schools. Because then you have to let EVERY religion pray. Not just Jews and Muslims, but Satanists and Wiccans, etc.

  51. I could care less what a politician thinks about evolution, just so long as he leaves me the hell alone.

  52. Now, I wouldn’t really care if people prayed to the Wiccan Mother Goddess over the intercom or whatever floats their boat, but a lot of parents would have a fucking stroke over that.

  53. The problem isn’t creationism, the problem is that we have government school system that mandates a one-size-fits-all indoctrination. I would rather have a creationist governor who was in favor of school choice, then a evolutionist endorsed by the teachers unions.

  54. They advocate their policies because they are ignorant of the laws of unintended consequences.

    What laws would those be? The laws about how every political worldview has unintended consequences except your own?

  55. Let d = Democrats, r = Republicans, e = evil, and s = stupid.

    (d/s) + (r/e) = 1

    Solved:

    (d/s)*(e) + (r/e)*(s) = 1

    (d*e)/s*e + (r*s)/s*e = 1

    (d*e+r*s)/(s*e) = 1

    d*e + r*s = s*e

    (Democrats * Evil) + (Republicans * Stupid) = Stupid times evil.

    QED

  56. Obama is a strict Creationist.

    Because the alternative is that he decended for a monkey.

    And the NY Post has taught us not to go there.

  57. If the theory of evolution is found to be the best model we have, it will stand on its own merits.

    It has been and it does.

    How come we haven’t observed it, either in the lab or paleontologically?

    It has.

    If natural selection is true, how come I’m surrounded by so many idiots?

    Being smart uses a lot of energy. If it’s not necessary to be smart to survive and reproduce (as it clearly isn’t), being surrounded by idiots is an expected outcome of evolution.

    You’ve taken the argument from ignorance fallacy and squared it. Just because we don’t know everything about evolution doesn’t mean it’s all false. And just because you’re unaware of the developments in evolution doesn’t mean it’s false either.

  58. The problem isn’t creationism, the problem is that we have government school system that mandates a one-size-fits-all indoctrination. I would rather have a creationist governor who was in favor of school choice, then a evolutionist endorsed by the teachers unions.

    Word.

  59. “How come no monkeys are becoming human then?? HUH??”

    Not so, it happens all the time. How else would you explain the GW?

  60. I’m guessing he’s referring to the Second Law, which is the law of entropy (not “destruction”). Creationists who use the theory of entropic loss as a proof of creationism, or “intelligent design” or whatever, miss one major point: how does a supreme being fit into any established scientific theory? If you want to look at thermodynamics, all kinds of questions come up: where is the energy? Why is God not also subject to entropic losses?

    There is little to do about this kind of reasoning than simply laugh at it.

  61. The basic problem of course is people yelling back and forth about which is correct and which is wrong, when the real issue is which is science and which is not.

    There are unscientific beliefs that sometimes turn out to be correct and there are scientific beliefs that eventually are falsified (as any scientific belief potentially can be). A correct unscientific belief is still not science and an incorrect scientific belief still is (until it’s falsified).

    That said we call all sorts of things “science” that is nothing of the sort. “Political Science” for example.

  62. Do the wrongheaded, obviously stupid things Republicans believe about evolution cause more damage than the wrongheaded, obviously stupid things Democrats believe about economics?

    I would submit they do not.

  63. Do the wrongheaded, obviously stupid things Republicans believe about evolution cause more damage than the wrongheaded, obviously stupid things Democrats believe about economics?

    Are Republicans actually better on economic issues (rhetoric aside) than democrats?

    I submit they are not.

  64. If Republicans and Democrats are the result of “Intelligent Design”, then the “intelligence” at work is on par with Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.

  65. We all know what “reality-based” is code for: Progressive Leftism.

    When I used reality-based, I mean it literally — as the opposite of faith-based or scripture-based.

    Do you have any idea what percentage of libertarians are evangelicals and Catholics?

    No, do you? Reference, please.

    Cosmotarian consequentialists are just a faction: albeit quite over-represented here.

    Or maybe this is a self-selecting community of cosmotarians. There are lots of other blogs. Go hang out with Dondero if you don’t like it here. Or start your own blog.

  66. Someone who doesn’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the biggest violation of freedom, ever.

  67. The basic problem of course is people yelling back and forth about which is correct and which is wrong, when the real issue is which is science and which is not.

    Huh uhh…

  68. Jonas, hearing that you learned about the FSM in school just made my day. I will hoist a glass to your enlightened teacher tonight.

  69. Oh come on, do you really believe there’s the slightest bit of sincerity in the pronouncements of these politicians on this scientific issue? It’s pure positioning.

    And you know what? For a lot of their constituents — maybe most — it’s the same way. It’s a means of recognition, not something they really believe.

  70. Last I checked evolution is still a theory, and not proven fact.

    Bzzzt. Evolution is a fact.

    Evlutionary theory is the theory that explains the fact of evolution.

    Intelligent Design on the other hand is not a theory in that it offers only untestable nonsense.

  71. Do the wrongheaded, obviously stupid things Republicans believe about evolution cause more damage than the wrongheaded, obviously stupid things Democrats believe about economics?

    That is up in the air. Considering a) how influential evangelicals are in the GOP b) the fact that many of them consider the events of “the end times” to be taking place now or in the near future c) the fact that they have no qualms implementing laws or foreign policy designed to further their beliefs.

  72. The problem isn’t creationism, the problem is that we have government school system that mandates a one-size-fits-all indoctrination. I would rather have a creationist governor who was in favor of school choice, then a evolutionist endorsed by the teachers unions.

    I second the “word”. It’s not clear to me why a person’s views on evolution/creationism are important. Seriously, who cares how we got here? It has absolute zero effect on our lives. It is only important in abstract philosophical debates. There have been plenty of smart people throughout history that believed wacky stuff. If a candidate like Sanford wants to allow school choice and cut government spending, he can believe in Norse mythology for all I care.

  73. “Not so, it happens all the time. How else would you explain the GW?”

    Racist.

  74. If you don’t think evolution has any effect on your life, then just keep using the same broad spectrum antibiotic. Don’t ever change.

  75. also, keep using the same pesticides and herbicides

  76. It’s not clear to me why a person’s views on evolution/creationism are important.

    I have a problem with giving power to people who deny scientific facts whether they’re pandering to ignorant hillbillies or genuinely ignorant boobs themselves.

    You apparently don’t.

  77. Where is the evidence for speciation? How come we haven’t observed it, either in the lab or paleontologically?

    You want to put a couple of rocks in a cage and wait for them to fuck?

  78. Bet you could get a grant for that…

  79. Ok, go ahead and laugh at the creationist Republicans…

    …but if really want to see some fancy ideological tap dancing on a scientific issue, talk to the left about the well-documented distribution of IQ scores between different races. Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, I’d say.

  80. Jindal bonus: He participated in an exorcism some years back.

    And Sarah Palin got a blessing protecting her from witchcraft from a preacher who got his parishioners to drive an old lady out of town because he convinced them she was a witch.

    That was the camel’s backbreaking straw for me with respect to having any respect at all for her.

    However

    We can make fun of Huckabee, et al, but a significant chunk of voters hold the same views and consider those views more important than things libertarians are concerned with.

    is also worth remembering.

    I must confess to having been absolutely astonished when a coworker said he believed that the people in Cassadaga, Florida were literally communing with Satan when a bunch of us were kidding around about them.

    This was a guy with an engineering degree from one of the finest colleges in the NE.

  81. It’s not clear to me why a person’s views on evolution/creationism are important.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily important in itself, with the caveat that evangelical politicians almost inevitably try to legislate their beliefs.

    One can be a creationist and still know a lot about other subjects, but a politician who has a good grasp of science likely has an even better grasp of other subjects.

  82. Evolution happened. Species evolved from a common ancestor. The only possible holes is the how this occurred. It is like claiming gravity does not exist. I have read 4 evolution books this year in celebration of Darwin’s 200th birthday this year. I am more convinced than ever in the current model of Darwin’s method of evolution which was natural selection. Natural selection , sexual selection and generic drift are all talked about by neo-Darwinist. There is debate raging over nature vs nurture and other things linked to that dealing with social biology. There is also debate on roles played by different selection pressures but there is no debate that evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense has and is occurring. It should be made a LAW not theory( though theory is correct but misused in what that means ). Even Behe for the most part admits evolution occurred. It is his irreducible complexity argument that says that things like mitochondria were created by design and are irreducibly complex that is the rub in his view. All his theories have been completely debunked and are bad science. Intelligent design is religion PERIOD. There is no scientific theory that uses science that pokes any holes in it. Even at a chemical level science is getting close to being able to reproduce original life from organic chemistry. Facts are Facts. If you show me counter evidence of a designer I will come aboard. I was a evangelical Christan who had to change my whole world view after learning the facts. If you honestly look at the facts and see other wise then you are truly not able to look at things rationally.

  83. If you don’t think evolution has any effect on your life, then just keep using the same broad spectrum antibiotic. Don’t ever change.

    I’m not a doctor or a gardener. I will use the antibiotics my doctor prescribes and the pesticides my local garden store recommends. I will never change from that practice and I think I’ll be just fine.

    The practical applications of evolution you are talking about have almost nothing to do with the broader philosophical debate at issue here.

    PS – My wife works at a plant bio tech splicing resistant genes into plants.

  84. Why do I believe in God?

    Because I just had a kid.

    And if Natural Selection really worked, there’s no way anyone would have had sex with me.

    Must have been Divine Intervention…

  85. Must have been Divine Intervention…

    I call it alcohol, but yeah.

  86. I don’t think it’s necessarily important in itself, with the caveat that evangelical politicians almost inevitably try to legislate their beliefs.

    So do socialist politicians. A socialist is as much of an ignorant religious yokel as a creationist evangelical. Given that these two seem to be our only choices at the present time, give me the evangelical. The Constitution (as interpreted by the Supreme Court) gives us much greater protection against the evangelical agenda than the socialist agenda.

  87. Where is the evidence for speciation? How come we haven’t observed it, either in the lab or paleontologically?

    Here.

  88. I don’t think it’s necessarily important in itself, with the caveat that evangelical politicians almost inevitably try to legislate their beliefs.

    So we should expect Barack Obama to start pushing that nutbar Rev’s policy via the Oval Office?

  89. J sub,

    How disappointing: I wanted to see 2 rocks fucking…

  90. Ron,

    If your goal in politics is to be ruled by people who think exactly like you, how does that make you any different than a Republican or Democrat?

    Because you’re right?

  91. In a column last year, I argued that candidates’ beliefs about biological evolution are important because it tells something about how scientific knowledge informs their leadership.

    Sort of like evangelicals think candidates’ religious beliefs and church attendance are important because it tells something about how their religion informs their leadership.

    So don’t worry Ron Bailey, you’re not alone in grasping for fig leaves to excuse your preference for candidates who look and talk like you.

  92. From the article per gov. Sanford:
    … is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of …

    I guess the governor has never noticed the big bright energy source located at the center of our solar system. Step outside the cave, solar energy is your friend.

  93. I just want to know this … if a libertarian candidate were to emerge in either party, and were to get the nomination for prez, would you vote against this man/woman if the one flaw that you could detect were a belief in ID?

  94. If you’re not prepared to “explore” every crackpot theory out there in bio (including “racial science” and the like) then STFU about “exploring” theories.

    we shouldn’t be interested in alternative theories bc there are other alternative theories? how about you STFU until you get your head out of your ass.

  95. I argued that candidates’ beliefs about biological evolution are important because it tells something about how scientific knowledge informs their leadership.

    I’ll argue that whatever they believe about “science” and the Bible is totally irrelevant right up until they seek to force it on others by law.

    Really? The fact that a Presidential candidate doesn’t understand the difference between ID and an actual scientific theory, is irrelevant? That he is appealing to the worst elements of his party for political gain, while damaging education and faith in science/reason in the process? Forgive me but I have trouble voting for ignorant/malicious jerks whatever their politics. Of course, I voted for Obama, who seems to take all his positions based on polls, so go figure.

  96. Calvin Coolidge didn’t believe in evolution.

    Are you seriously arguing that Barack Obama is a better president than Coolidge, in any way whatsoever?

  97. The funny thing is you can tell that Mark Sanford both has no idea what he is talking about AND doesn’t give a shit about the topic. He was of course holding it in his mind that his base is a bunch of stupid yokels, but he didn’t want to sound THAT dumb and so he did the best he could.

    Now if he were Palin he would not be able to discern that there is a huge difference between what smart educated folks believe and what hillbilly evangelicals believe, and he could have confidently, though of course stupidly, answered the question at least.

  98. “Are you seriously arguing that Barack Obama is a better president than Coolidge, in any way whatsoever?”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

    Uh…Oh my…Hold on…I’ve got it under

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    The guy whose Presidency reigned immediately prior and into the worst economic calamity in our nation’s history?

    Jesus, why didn’t you just say that Buchanan was better than Obama in every way and go full retard.

  99. I think maybe one comment touched on the sad fact that any stupid idea with a large enough constituency behind it is going to have politicians supporting it. The first Google result on “american poll evolution” (minus quotes, of course) shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that God either created man in his current form or else guided along the process. It’s amazing than anyone not espousing that belief can be elected.

  100. Party in power = evil.
    Party out of power = stupid.

  101. I see MNG is in full intellectual mode again tonight.

    Live the dream, little man.

  102. The guy whose Presidency reigned immediately prior and into the worst economic calamity in our nation’s history?

    That is silly. First off, the stock market crashed several months after he left office, so it’s incorrect to say his admin extended into the Depression. It was Hoover’s interventionism that turned a down business cycle into an economic calamity, and FDR’s insanity that prolonged it for another decade.

    I suppose you blame Bill Clinton for 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq then. Indeed, removal of Saddam was his policy as well, he just never had the political cover to do it, so actually that’s more defensible than connecting Coolidge to the Depression.

  103. Jesus, why didn’t you just say that Buchanan was better than Obama in every way and go full retard.

    It wouldn’t be fair to say that now. Ask me again in four years.

    My current evaluation places him somewhere between Millard Fillmore and John Quincy Adams. Of course it’s not really a fair comparison since the presidency was weak enough in those days that you could have an idiot at the helm without doing much damage.

  104. Republican leaders don’t believe the horseshit they spout

    Are you sure of that? I don’t doubt that the average politician really is stupid enough to believe his own hogwash.

    -jcr

  105. Given our current state of socio-, politico-, and particularly economic development, I’m going with deevolution.

    Cue 80’s electro funk.

  106. TAO can’t resist me, I tells ya it’s the axe body spray. And he has a serious thing for Palin. Still?

    Rabscuttle
    If you were President and 6 months after your term the entire economy had its worst collapse ever then yeah, I think you get some of that blame…

  107. And I’ll take no lectures in intellectualism from a guy who when I mentioned he seemed unread in liberal thinkers brought up Maureen Dowd.

    I don’t remember seeing you around these parts for weeks after that, and I don’t blames ya.

  108. In science class,
    lets teach Cutting-Edge Science,
    such as:

    “- The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees into human beings.

    – Many worldwide natural processes indicate an age for the earth of 10,000 years or less. These include population kinetics, influx of radiocarbon into earth’s atmosphere, absence of meteorites from the geologic column, and decay of earth’s magnetic field.”

    Partial quote
    from:
    What Does The Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
    What Does Cutting-Edge Science Teach about Origins?
    http://www.kolbecenter.org/church_teaches.htm

  109. “In a column last year, I argued that candidates’ beliefs about biological evolution are important because it tells something about how scientific knowledge informs their leadership.”

    The problem is how important scientific knowledge is compared to legal, economic, and diplomatic knowledge in choosing a president. It seems to me scientific knowledge is low on the list if there are significant differences between candidates on the other three.

  110. If you were President and 6 months after your term the entire economy had its worst collapse ever then yeah, I think you get some of that blame…

    However, if you’re president for four terms and the economy stays in the shitter the entire time, you get a fucking memorial defacing what used to be a nice park on the Potomac.

  111. JosephU,

    That’s definitely NOT what the Catholic Church teaches about “origins”. Catholics believe that God created the universe from nothing, and humans fell into original sin. What happened between those two events is an important topic in biology, but it isn’t terribly important to the faith.

  112. Yeah Rabscuttle, the fact that by the time he died unemployment had fallen and GDP had risen shows how terrible his reigns were!

  113. MJ,

    You’re missing the point. Ron Bailey fancies himself a scientific man, and thus is concerned about which candidates are “one of us”. This nonsense about it being a sign of “how science influences his leadership” is just a fig leaf to cover his shameful nakedness.

    It’s certain that a Christian saying similar things about the need to have a devout Christian president would be laughed out of this place in two posts or less, while Bailey is allowed to continue practicing tribalism to thunderous applause, save the few critical thinkers left among us who still strive to keep the atheist echo chamber at bay.

  114. The Kolbe’s center website has not evolved from 1997.

    As lay persons, they also do not represent the official vatican position; it’s doctrinal fan fiction.

  115. When you take over unemployment is at 25%, when you die in office it’s below 5%.

    When you have an average rate of GNP growth higher than that of Reagan’s “seven fat years” during your Depression reign and the GDP nearly doubles in size the last five years of your reign…

    And you come out of the biggest war ever fought as the strongest nation in the world…

    That kind of thing makes people kind of want to build a statue of you, yeah.

  116. MNG, come seriously on. It’s easy to have low unemployment when every able bodied man is fighting a war on another continent. You know this, yet you still post as you do. Of course I understand that extreme measures are necessary to defend the foolishness of a power-hungry syphilis-brained statist.

    And GDP was up? Way to go, FDR! Let’s hope Obama does just as well — by 2023 our GDP will be a little bit higher than it is now! yay!

  117. I don’t think tribalism is correctly used to refer to people who have a healthy respect for the scientific community. What Bailey’s saying then is “hey, that guy is just like us, us guys that like to determine truth via the scientific method and reason, and that other guy is not like that. I like that first guy better for sure, seeing as how I value the scientific method and reason in determining truth the way I do.” I guess you could call that “tribal” thinking, but boy that would be a stretch wouldn’t it?

  118. You know, the other day we had this FDR=teh evil debate and me and some other people linked to statistics showing that under him unemployment sank, GDP flourished, incomes rose, etc., and still folks were like “yeah, but he didn’t REALLY help anyone.” I mean, the nation was just crazy productive with everyone working and having more dough in their pockets, man, it must have been truly terrible!

  119. And you come out of the biggest war ever fought as the strongest nation in the world…

    No thanks to FDR. You do realize that he was planning on withdrawing all US forces from Europe immediately after Germany was defeated, right? So that his buddie Joe S. could oversee the restoration of democracy and peace to Europe with only minor interference from beleaguered Britain.

  120. Until the Republicans extricate themselves for the yoke of the Christian right, they will be rightly shunned. “rightly shunned”… Nice, but unintentional pun.

    Unfortunately, that leaves us with only the evil Dems, and they are evil without a doubt.

    We are doomed… DOOMED… DOOMED

  121. You can’t have it both ways MNG. You can’t simultaneously hold that Coolidge’s free market policies were responsible for plunging America into over a decade of economic misery, AND that the years of the Roosevelt administration were filled with prosperity.

    Well, you could, but that would be doublethink. And we know a good little liberal like yourself wouldn’t want to engage in that.

  122. It’s apparent that things got worse and worse immediately following Coolidge’s reign. When Roosevelt took over they were very bad indeed. They got better under him, and by the time he was finished things were much, much better.

    I’m not sure where this doublethink you speak of enters here crimethink.

  123. Coolidge’s laissez-faire nonsense and failure to use common sense regulation of insane trading practices had the economy all set up for the stock market boondoggle that shortly followed his Presidency. The stock market had become a big Ponzi scheme…

  124. What Bailey’s saying then is “hey, that guy is just like us, us guys that like to determine truth via the scientific method and reason, and that other guy is not like that. I like that first guy better for sure, seeing as how I value the scientific method and reason in determining truth the way I do.”

    That’s not what he’s saying at all. He’s not asking them to take a science test, or pass a laboratory course; he’s asking them to say that they believe what he does. The fact that the whistle words he seeks are those of secular humanism rather than evangelical Christianity doesn’t make it any more admirable.

  125. Where I come from we call a president’s stay in office an “administration”, not a reign. Then again that difference might arise from my aversion to bowing before the state, kissing its ring, and toasting to its growth and health before every meal.

  126. And if Natural Selection really worked, there’s no way anyone would have had sex with me.

    Maybe your baby mama is just a slut. Her mom could be a slut and her dad could be a loser like you. Sluts have been scientifically proven to naturally select losers. That’s evolution.

    Pwned.

  127. Well, I call the R’s the stupid party and the D’s the retarded party.

  128. Jindal bonus: He participated in an exorcism some years back.

    hmmm….what do exorcisms have to do with evolution again? Oh wait, I forgot, Bailey is just using the evolution battle as a proxy in his ongoing war on religion in general. Bad news for you, fellow: long after the cemetery worms shit out the last dregs of your brain, people will still believe in God. Deal.

  129. Lest anyone forget, Ron Bailey voted for Obama. He admits basing his opinion on AGW based on who is signing his checks.

  130. Really? The fact that a Presidential candidate doesn’t understand the difference between ID and an actual scientific theory, is irrelevant? That he is appealing to the worst elements of his party for political gain, while damaging education and faith in science/reason in the process? Forgive me but I have trouble voting for ignorant/malicious jerks whatever their politics. Of course, I voted for Obama, who seems to take all his positions based on polls, so go figure.

    This is how a “libertarian” convinces himself to vote for a socialist because of relatively meaningless issues.

  131. I think Ron is misinterpreting Palin’s views on evolution, and more specifically her views on teaching evolution in schools.

    From the Couric/Palin interview:

    Couric: Do you believe evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle or one of several theories?

    Palin: Oh, I think it should be taught as an accepted principle. And, you know, I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in our schools. And I won’t ever deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth, especially coming from one of the most beautiful states in the Union and traveling around this country also in this last month. My goodness, just seeing, you know, the beautiful landscape of New Mexico recently. That was just breath taking and seeing the rolling hills in Virginia and all ? the beauty that is this Earth, I see the hand of God in that. But that is not part of state policy or a local curriculum in a school district.

    Science should be taught in science class.

    Couric: Should creationism be allowed to be taught anywhere in public schools?

    Palin: 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.

    Science should be taught in science class. – that’s all I need to know about her opinions on evolution.

  132. SIV, in some thread long passed into the mists of time, I asked Bailey how a libertarian could be so forceful in his support of federal funding for ESCR. He responded that he is not a libertarian, so his Obama vote isn’t quite so shocking.

  133. Oh come on guys. An EXORCISM? Ron might not be making fun of that because of an anti-religion bias, he might be making fun of that because it is utterly silly.

  134. There’s not much in religious practice and belief that shouldn’t seem utterly silly. I mean, falling to your knees once a week to worship a wafer and a cup of wine that you think has been invisibly transformed into a man’s flesh and blood? If doing things that an atheist considers silly is enough to disqualify one from office, he should be pushing to ban Catholics from the government.

    Of course, Ron does his own silly things with transhumanism and the Singularity, though he doesn’t spout off about them as much these days. But I won’t rag on him for that; I realize that atheists need some sort of delusion of purpose to get them through life too.

  135. Being scientifically literate should be a test of a person’s seriousness, including their fitness for public office, just as regular literacy is. Should, but isn’t.

    Few things annoy me more than people using highly advanced computing machines and the Internet spewing relativistic mush about how science is just another worldview. When a religion, any religion, produces a single piece of technology, or a single new insight into reality, then we’ll talk. Until then, we have lots of problems to solve in this world and I for one would prefer leaders who believe in evidence and science over listening to their guts and magical sky fairies.

  136. Hey look, it’s a parade of scientific illiterates:

    kevrob: I think that evolution is the theory that explains things best, so far. I neither believe nor disbelieve it:

    OMG EVERYONE IS SO DUMB: when advocating for a theory that claims to explain the entire, um well, er, uh…evolution of life on the planet, its probably best not to speak as if the creationists’ god handed you a tablet written in stone. its just like the global warming hysteria. we have evidence and analysis on both that lends credence to a view-point, but we are far from perfect vision on the matter.

    grizzly: I’ve recently realized how much I’m annoyed by people who “believe” in evolution. Okay, they are better than those who believe in creationism. But only marginally. The nature of their relationship to the evolution theory is not dissimilar to the relationship between a religious believer and religion. They just happen to be on the right side but not for a good reason.

    sixstring: Last I checked evolution is still a theory, and not proven fact. As such, I have no problem exploring other theories in school. If the theory of evolution is found to be the best model we have, it will stand on its own merits. Dismissing creationists (I am not one) or those who posit intelligent design for being too fantastic should take a closer look at some of the leaps and assumptions in evolution. Where is the evidence for speciation? How come we haven’t observed it, either in the lab or paleontologically? If natural selection is true, how come I’m surrounded by so many idiots?

    JosephU: “- The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees into human beings.

    In fairness, some of them might just be misguided pedants who don’t how English words like “believe” and “fact” and “prove” work. Try practicing these helpful English sentences:

    * It’s a fact that smoking causes cancer, it’s been scientifically proven, and if you don’t believe it you’re an idiot.

    * It’s a fact that all terrestrial life comes from a common ancestor, it’s been scientifically proven, and if you don’t believe it you’re an idiot.

  137. This is how a “libertarian” convinces himself to vote for a socialist because of relatively meaningless issues.

    Hand-wringing and hyperventilating worthy of a liberal. I think reality-based belief systems are hugely important, and I’m not alone here. But you sure kicked the stuffing out of that straw man!

  138. Tonio,

    If everyone in the world were following the “reality-based worldview” you advocate, the world would be a quite terrible place.

    Because as useful as science is, it cannot tell us that it is wrong to rape and kill and torture and lie and steal. That has to come from somewhere else. Now most atheists I know are decent people; I’m not trying to impugn their morality, just noting that they’re not entirely honest with themselves about all their beliefs being based on reality and reason.

  139. crimethink, wherever you’ve been lately, feel free to go back there

    you’re a tool

  140. Rabscuttle wrote:

    Now most atheists I know are decent people; I’m not trying to impugn their morality, just noting that they’re not entirely honest with themselves about all their beliefs being based on reality and reason.

    First, I should point out that plenty of metaethicists think that there are real moral facts or moral truths that can be known by reason, and plenty who think that moral beliefs aren’t normal “beliefs” but something more like practical commitments or attitudes or affections. So I’m not sure where you get your confidence that moral realism and moral rationalism and expressivism are all false.

    But in any case, I don’t know why you raise this as a problem for atheists. Theism has no advantage over atheism when it comes to metaethics, as is shown by the Euthyphro dilemma and related points. No one in metaethics who defends moral objectivity, I think, does so on the basis of theism (though there are a handful over in philosophy of religion).

  141. This is how a “libertarian” convinces himself to vote for a socialist because of relatively meaningless issues.

    I was basically allowing a little wiggle room in my own point, that I can’t vote for an ignorant fool, or a slimy political weasel. But the issue of whether a particular candidate is a slimeball is not “relatively meaningless”; sometimes it’s a huge factor.

    It was just my luck that Obama barely crossed my threshold of “morality” and “character” and more than met my threshold of “intellectual curiosity”. Palin didn’t really pass the latter test, and McCain was hardly redeeming.

    I would have had a hard time voting for Obama if I liked the other side’s politics better, but it would have been a tough choice.

    I have yet to vote for someone I deem “evil” but I’m not going to rule it out.

  142. funny reading about libertarians labeling the 2 electable parties stupid or evil. libertarianism is as hopeless as communism, different sides of the same coin. both are remain steadfastly ignorant of how the real world functions and how real people really behave while totally convinced that the opposite is true – if only you did it right, it would totally work! thats basically so stupid your dont know youre stupid, like the creationists mentioned in the post.

  143. Ron,

    You seem to have conflated libertarianism with fascism for some reason, the actual opposite of communism.

    Anarchism and full-blown despotism (statism of the worst kind – which includes communism and fascism) are opposites.

    Stop parroting whatever nonsense you’ve been spoon fed and start thinking for yourself.

  144. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

  145. A google search got me here, unfortunately more than two years late.

    I noticed virtually all the Republicans running for USA President (as of June 2011) are science deniers, so it’s still fair to call them members of the “Stupid Party”.

    http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/

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