Two months ago, Michelle Bachmann expressed her doubt about the validity of evolution and support for intelligent design. Well, tea-party candidates must really like this topic, because last week Texas governor Rick Perry said pretty much the same thing. In an interview with the Associated Press, Perry said:
“There are clear indications from our people who have amazing intellectual capability that this didn’t happen by accident and a creator put this in place.”
“Now, what was his time frame and how did he create the earth that we know? I’m not going to tell you that I’ve got the answers to that. I believe that we were created by this all-powerful supreme being and how we got to today versus what we look like thousands of years ago, I think there’s enough holes in the theory of evolution to, you know, say there are some holes in that theory.”
I’m not sure who Perry is referring to when he mentions “our people”, but clearly they are not scientists. Both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council — two groups made up of our county’s most distinguished scientists — support evolution as the cause of biological diversity and the explanatory thread in all of biology. Members of both groups have “amazing intellectual capability”, yet neither support Perry’s claim that a creator is responsible for life on earth. In Perry’s second statement, he offers no evidence or examples to support his claim that there are “holes in the theory of evolution.”
I always think it is odd that political candidates voice their religious and personal opinions about evolution. First, they usually offer no evidence to support their claims (which is why their claims are beliefs and not science). But second, I wonder what does their understanding of evolution have to do with the job they are running for? What does their acceptance of evolution have to do with governing. After all, it doesn’t really tell them how they’ll improve infrastructure, create jobs, and help their citizens. All it really does is reveal that they’re biased and irrational, and may weaken education in their district or state. But Perry’s irrational beliefs about the theory of evolution couldn’t influence how he governs, right?
Wrong. The same AP article notes that:
This month, he [Perry] appointed a biology teacher who disputes evolution as chairwoman of the Texas State Board of Education. In 2009, that 15-member board put the national spotlight on Texas in a debate that led to adopting standards encouraging schools to look at “all sides” of scientific theory. It now is considering educational materials that promote intelligent design even though a federal court ruled against teaching the theory that life on Earth is so complex that it must have come from an intelligent higher power.
So, before he’s even entered the race for president, we can already conclude that Perry’s not the one to vote for if you enjoy science and all the benefits it has to offer. In case you were ever on the fence, you now know not to vote for Texas Governor Rick Perry.