Republican Presidential Candidates & Creationism

This is a subject about which we need to keep updated, but it’s difficult to find all the information in one convenient place — although Salon posted this back in Frbruary: Evolution and the GOP’s 2016 candidates: A complete guide .

Wikipedia has an article on the Republican Party presidential candidates, 2016. It lists them all (so far), but it doesn’t give their positions on evolution and creationism. Some of them are already known to us.

Those who are definitely creationists are Ben Carson, Ted Cruz (almost definitely), Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio (probably), and Rick Santorum.

Those whose views we don’t yet know are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rand Paul, and Donald Trump.

John Kasich and Scott Walker have not yet declared their candidacy, and we’re not certain of their views either. But see Scott Walker Is a Creationist.

So your Curmudgeon is asking for help. If you know anything about the candidates’ views on evolution, and you can provide an authoritative link to your source of information, please let us know. There’s no need to bother with their views about climate change, same-sex marriage, immigration, or Obamacare. We’re pretty sure we already know.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Republican Presidential Candidates & Creationism

  1. I saw the Salon link. Not one candidate said of course evolution is a fact and of course it should be taught in biology classrooms and of course creationism does not belong in public schools. It’s disgusting, especially for me because I’m a fiscal conservative. I would like to vote for a pro-science Republican but it seems like they don’t exist.

  2. bobcur says: “It’s disgusting, especially for me because I’m a fiscal conservative.”

    That’s my problem too.

  3. waldteufel

    I doubt that any of these clowns are really creationists so much as craven intellectual prostitutes who know that to win the nomination in today’s Republican Party, they must appeal to the most extreme of the drooling base. But therein lies the rub, which makes whoever wins the nomination an almost certain loser in the general election.

    This is not the party of Eisenhower and Goldwater. The religious right has managed to subvert that honorable party into a theocratic cabal intent on dragging us all back to the dark ages.

  4. I’m not a psychologist, but I feel that all the republican candidates are flaming idiots sans brains.

  5. Unless someone sane is in the group and: (1) doesn’t pander to the droolers, and (2) somehow wins the nomination, this may the the year I finally switch my voter registration to Independent.

  6. But you know, if anybody wants to believe they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do it: Huckabee.

    And what do other people believe, that they are descendants of bats, or of marsupials?

  7. bobcur says: “It’s disgusting, especially for me because I’m a fiscal conservative.”

    Same here! As I read this webpage, I thought back to a time not so long ago when the Republican Party was not the deny-science party on steroids, and the slate of presidential primary candidates was not a village idiot convention. (I can’t help but think of the Woody Allen movie where he makes a short detour from his travels in order to drop off his town’s demented-person. As they drive into the town which is hosting the conference, they look up at the large banner stretched across Main Street: “Welcome, Idiots!” That’s my mental picture of the next Republican Party convention. Of course, that’s not to say that the Democratic Party provides paragons of virtue and wisdom. They play plenty of their own demagoguery games while trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of feel-good folly.)

    The many drawbacks of a two-party system lead me to wonder if we’d be better served by some diverse sort of multi-party system with one of the many alternative voting/ranking/allocation schemas (perhaps closer to those applied in European countries) which Political Science professors have been analyzing for years. Example:

    I can also remember a time when a presidential candidate didn’t necessarily have to worry about an impressive C.V. seriously impeding his chances of election. And while there have always been jokes about the “under-performing brains” of various candidates, even a lot of John McCain supporters I knew expressed grave concerns about the old expression “just a heartbeat away from the Presidency” once Sarah Palin demonstrated her cognitive powers in not-so-reassuring ways. Late-night comedians played it for maximum comedy but plenty of us weren’t laughing–because the dangers of our status quo were far too obvious. And once everybody wrote their post-election tell-all books, we learned just how badly qualified and prepared a potential Commander-in-Chief could be. Appointing a Young Earth Creationist to head the National Science Foundation would be bad enough. Imagine John McCain’s “appointed” and party-convention-rubber-stamped running-mate succeeding a deceased President without even the world history and U.S. government knowledge of a literate high school student.

    I’ve day-dreamed about a fantasy world where primary candidates for at least the higher tiers of elected offices had to demonstrate strong competency on various standardized aptitude tests by subject. U.S. and world history for sure and perhaps a combined physics/chemistry/biology/earth-science/geology exam. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if the world’s most powerful executive and even the senator of an oil-producing state understood, for example, the meaning of a BOE (Barrel Of Oil Equivalent) and why even 19th century scientists were warning policy-makers that someday we would regret burning oil derivatives instead of taking advantage of the much more long-lasting things we can make from them? As it is now by default, the office holder may only depend on lobbyists for quickie tutorials on such topics. When someone in high office can’t identify the “sides” in various American wars nor even the treaties which define our geopolitics, it starts making Young Earth Creationists’ dangers to our public education system look insignificant.

  8. Professor Tertius says:

    When someone in high office can’t identify the “sides” in various American wars nor even the treaties which define our geopolitics, it starts making Young Earth Creationists’ dangers to our public education system look insignificant.

    Given a choice of two candidates, one who had the economic and geopolitical policies of Obama (and probably Hillary), and an opponent who was more-or-less a traditional Republican, but who also pandered to creationists, I know which would be the lesser of two evils.

  9. Jeb! is likely a creationist. When he was governor here in the Sunshine State he was caught up in the controversy over our revised state science standards. The old set of standards didn’t mention the word evolution. But the draft of the new and improved standards had evolution prominently front and center in the life sciences.

    When he was first asked about this, Jeb! expressed his approval of the old way of handling the issue: avoidance. “I like what we have right now. And I don’t think there needs to be any changes. I don’t think we need to restrict discussion, but it doesn’t need to be required, either.”

    Later, he said: “I am a practicing Catholic and my own person belief is God created man and all life on earth. However, I do not believe an individual’s personal beliefs should be the basis for determining Florida’s Sunshine State Standards. Perhaps more importantly, we should encourage the vigorous discussion of varying viewpoints in our classrooms. A healthy debate of issues challenges our students’ minds.”

    Jeb! also succeeded in instituting a few school voucher programs that encouraged the flow of public funds to private (mostly religious) schools. The biggest program was later challenged and the flow of money to private schools through it were blocked. But there are a couple of smaller programs here in Florida that weren’t challenged and the money is still flowing into private schools, many of which are blatantly creationist.

    Source: Going Ape: Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom

  10. Good to see you here, Brandon.

  11. michaelfugate

    The worst part is the association of being well-educated with elitism. We have a education system in the US which allows everyone ample opportunity to become educated – something that can’t be said for much of the globe.

  12. How can Jebbush call themselves a “practicing Catholic” and then ignore the fact that his own Pope believes in evolution?

  13. Greg S, the “practicing Catholic” comment was made back in 2008. Who knows what he would say now.

  14. @Greg S
    What is it that Santorum (a Catholic) said, in another context: that the Pope should stick to religion, and let the scientists tell us about science?

  15. As I understand Papal Infalibility (a subject on which I am admittedly not well-versed) the Pope is basically inerrant when speaking to matters of God/Religion/The Bible. John Paul said that the Genesis creation story is a myth, not to be taken literally. I would presume that this statement would fall under the inerrancy category.

  16. There are levels of authority. The level of Papal Infallibility is invoked on rare, solemn occasions. I believe that it has been invoked on two or three occasions:
    Papal Infallibility itself.
    Immaculate Conception of Mary. (To be distinguished from virginity, it deals with original sin.)
    Assumption of Mary. (Mary in Heaven.)

    Other statements are on a lower level and can be challenged, albeit not lightly.

  17. Dave Luckett

    True. Papal infallibility is limited to ex cathedra statements on dogma, made under very specific conditions. These are vanishingly rare, as TomS says, and I cannot imagine the dogma ever being asserted now in relation to verifiable physical fact. I very much doubt that the Holy See is that crazy.

  18. Jill Smith

    Contrary to what is sometimes believed, Catholics are at liberty to have their own ideas, however foolish, about most issues of science. This is why there is the anomaly of Catholic Senator Santorum being a creationist, while the last four popes–at least–have affirmed their acceptance of evolutionary theory. It explains why Michael Behe and Kenneth Miller could share the same church pew but little else. I loved Santorum’s crack at Pope Francis: stick to religion and leave science to the scientists.

  19. James St. John

    John Kasich supposedly was personally responsible for getting rid of the entire paleontology portion of the United States Geological Survey a couple decades ago, because he hates fossils and evolution.

  20. I will not vote for Walker in the primary because he dodge the question – both the first time, and when Megyn Kelly gave him a 2nd chance. But when she did, all he said was that he believed that “God created the earth” and that “science and my faith are not incompatible.” Given that arch-anti-evolution-activist Michael Behe and his chief critic, arch-“Darwinist” Kenneth Miller could easily say the same east thing, there is still insufficient information to conclude that he is a “creationist.” Either in the sense of “true believer of one of the mutually-contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis” or in the sense of “one who knows that literal Genesis is nonsense, but peddles it anyway to save humanity.” All we know is that he’s a consummate politician. Which means that I don’t have the stomach to vote for him regardless of how many issues on which we agree.

  21. Jill Smith: “This is why there is the anomaly of Catholic Senator Santorum being a creationist.”

    Santorum is another politician who will never get my vote regardless of how many issues on which we agree. But unlike Walker, who has left no clues other than not wanting to risk votes, Santorum has been an anti-evolution activist for 15 years, and was (is?) a close associate of the Discovery Institute. He is certainly at least a “creationist” of the 2nd “kind” that I mention in the last comment. But what does he personally believe besides the “goddidit” part that most “Darwinists” also believe? One time when asked if he accepted evolution he said “in the micro sense.” That’s obviously parroted from the DI, but I note that he did not specifically say “not in the macro sense.” So there too I smell pandering. In another article he defended the teaching of ID, but curiously prefaced it with a hint that he might not necessarily agree with it. The title of the 2002 article is, ironically, “Illiberal Education in Ohio Schools,” which shows that he was aware that teaching only what has earned the right to be taught is the true conservative position, while “revisionist prehistory” and giving Johnny credit for wrong answers on tests are the same nonsense that he would accuse of “liberals.” My guess is that he has seen enough of the evidence by now to privately conclude at a minimum the ~4 billion years of common descent, and probably also the “macroevolution” explanation of it. But he will never admit that for political reasons.

    In any case, Santorum may have topped Dembski in the chutzpah department with his advice to the pope to “leave science to the scientists.” That needs to be rubbed in his face at every opportunity, as in “practice what you preach.”

  22. Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum” and his quote regarding homosexuality shows the shallowness of his intellectual thought process:

    “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality.”

    Santorum generalizations about all societies demonstrates his limited world view. And is any worldview more limited than that of a Creationist and their paternalistic sky father fairy tales? This is characteristic of the simplistic thought processes that gets you into deep trouble, like insisting there are WMDs when there are none with the resultant loss in life and expenditures in excess a trillion dollars, enough to trouble any fiscal conservative!

  23. One comment about the phrase “the origin of man“, as with “created by God” or “within 10,000 years” or “by chance” or “from an animal”. It is easily confused by the fallacies of composition and division.
    Most people who would say that they follow the standard theism that says that they are created by God probably would also say that they were created by God in the last 150 years (and thus, moreover, that “men” were created by God in the last 10,000), and would find no trouble in saying that science has it right about the reproductive and developmental biology of “men”. Many would say that they stand in an individual relationship with their Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer.
    Things get mixed up when one introduces the collective (or “abstraction”?) “man”. (Not to mention gender issues, alas.)

  24. Our SC wrote:
    Given a choice of two candidates, ….,

    I hear ya. That is what scares me. The prospect of the likely two choices makes me want to greatly increase my medications.

  25. TomS: “Things get mixed up when one introduces the collective (or ‘abstraction’?) ‘man’. (Not to mention gender issues, alas.)”

    Yet another reason why I avoid the word “creationist” whenever possible. Certainly the great majority of nonscientists never thinks it through when using those words. Many, if not most of those who choose the “humans created in their present form in the last 10,000 years” in that idiotically-worded Gallup poll are “thinking souls, not cells.”

    Politicians have given it some thought, and are not at all representative of the general public. Walker knows enough to evade the question, because each answer risks losing some potential voters (so does evasion, but only a small minority that includes me). Santorum has thought about it for years, and almost certainly knows that Geneses is nothing but mutually-contradictory allegories, creationism is pseudoscience that attempts to “validate” Genesis, and ID is a complete scam.

    Please keep bringing up reproduction, because even those on our side who haven’t thought it through (and unfortunately many who have) keep letting the anti-evolution activists set the terms of the “debate.” Reproduction makes it much harder for activists and their trained parrots to play their word games. You may recall a committed anti-evolution activist on the Panda’s Thumb a few years ago. When I asked if human reproduction is an event where the designer intervenes, he said “yes” without hesitating. And without realizing how that undermines the DI’s strategy to suggest that any “interventions” was “long ago” but “don’t ask, don’t tell when, where or how.”