There’s so much else going on recently that it’s difficult to find any news about The Controversy between evolution and creationism, but here’s something that might generate some interest. At the website of Popular Science, described by Wikipedia as “an American bi-monthly magazine carrying popular science content, which refers to articles for the general reader on science and technology,” we read Trump VP Choice Mike Pence Doesn’t Agree With Science.
As you surely know, Mike Pence has been selected by Donald Trump to be his Vice Presidential running-mate. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Mike Pence, the putative next vice president of the United States, does not believe in evolution, thinks smoking doesn’t kill, would like creationism taught in public schools, and doesn’t think scientists agree climate change is happening.
That opening paragraph isn’t entirely supported by the rest of the article, which says:
We’ll learn a lot more about Donald Trump’s newly minted running mate in the coming days, but the Indiana governor is already on record as sharing some of the most easily refuted claims of the GOP’s anti-science wing. Some of his more remarkable lines come from a 2009 interview with Chris Matthews, the bombastic host of “Hardball.” Others are taken from previous statements made during his campaigns for Congress, or other interviews he’s done over the years. Here’s a selection.
We’ll skip the stuff about smoking and climate change so we can focus on creationism. Let’s read on:
To be fair, in the interview this quote comes from, Pence doesn’t outright say evolution is false; he just repeats that he believes God created the Earth. Chris Matthews presses him on what he means by this, but Pence demurs.
They give this link to a video of the interview, which we haven’t seen yet, but here are the parts they describe in their article:
MATTHEWS: You want to educate the American people about science and its relevance today. Do you believe in evolution, sir?
PENCE: I — do I believe in evolution? I embrace the view that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them.
MATTHEWS: Right. But do you believe in evolution as the way he did it?
PENCE: The means, Chris, that he used to do that, I can’t say. But I do believe in that fundamental truth.
That sounds like Theistic evolution, but from those statements, it’s difficult to know what the man really believes. We continue:
A few minutes later, Matthews suggests that Pence himself accepts evolution but, cynically, won’t admit it:
MATTHEWS: I think you believe in evolution but you‘re afraid to say so because your conservative constituency might find that offensive.
PENCE: No, I’ve said to you, Chris, I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them.
PENCE: How he did that, I‘ll ask him about some day.
That’s all they have to say on the subject. The rest of the article is about global warming (Pence has said: “I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming”), and the harmful effects of smoking (Pence says: “smoking doesn’t kill” but he also said: “smoking is not good for you,” and that nanny-state politics are more harmful than second-hand smoke.
Oh, wait. Then the article circles back to creationism:
This line comes during a discussion of creationism, again in that Hardball interview. Here’s an excerpt:
PENCE: Science is an exploration of demonstrable fact, isn‘t it?
MATTHEWS: Right. Right.
PENCE: I think, in our schools, we should teach all of the facts about all of these controversial areas and let our students, let our children and our children‘s children decide based upon the facts and the science.
Okay, that’s it. We don’t know what to make of it. Pence obviously isn’t a scientist, but neither are any of the other candidates. We’ve seen worse — far worse. It’s doubtful that the election will be decided on these issues, because there are so many others of far greater importance, but for what it’s worth, that’s what Pence has to say. And we don’t yet know Trump’s position on any of those topics. Make of it what you will, dear reader.
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