2012 Presidential Election: Obama vs. Creationist? October 12, 2009

2012 Presidential Election: Obama vs. Creationist?

Among the current frontrunners for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination are Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty.

What do they have in common?

They don’t accept evolution.

Razib Khan writes:

… it looks like 3 of the front-runners for the G.O.P. nomination are rather frank Creationists… I’m skeptical about any of these as likely candidates (i.e., if you had to make a bet you’re going to be surprised), but if you keep adding individuals to the list it seems likely that we’re looking at a serious probability that the G.O.P. nominee in 2012 will be a Creationist.

And Khan didn’t mention him, but Bobby Jindal is an evolution-denier as well.

Why is this such a big deal?

Any candidate who doesn’t accept evolution is a candidate who doesn’t understand or support real science. In the world we live in, it’s vital that we have proper funding and incentives for scientific research and none of these Republicans have enough respect for the field.

Hopefully, good reporters will get them to admit as much in interviews. We have to be vigilant, too, calling them out on their ridiculous beliefs and spreading the word about their removal from reality.

(via The Daily Dish)


Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jeff

    When is the Republican party going to realize that they are irrelevent as they are and need to reinvent themselves by abandoning this attachment to the religious right in order to advance any agenda they may want to advance?

  • They’re not just courting the religious vote. They’re also going after the stupid vote.

  • JulietEcho

    It’s not so much “the stupid vote” as it is the “anti-intellectual” vote. Maybe I’m splitting hairs. Anyway, the non-religious types who tend to go wacko over evolution or western medicine seem to harp on a theme of hatred/distrust/envy of scientists/researchers/doctors, etc.

  • Miko

    The 2012 (or even 2010) elections are shaping up to be more of a repudiation of what the Democrats have been doing (or more precisely, not doing) than a discussion of issues, but if the Republicans are foolish enough to run any of those candidates… well, they’ll really deserve their fade into obsolescence.

    Also, we shouldn’t assume that Obama will be the Democratic nominee. If the anti-war, anti-torture, and anti-corporatist factions can get their acts together, I’d love to see a primary challenge by (for example) Kucinich.

    In the world we live in, it’s vital that we have proper funding and incentives for scientific research

    True. Luckily for us there’s nothing in this statement which implies that it’s necessary or even desirable that this funding be provided by the government.

  • Ron

    What’s a conservative atheist like me supposed to do? The Republicans need to get rid of the religious right. It’s so frustrating to agree with the majority of their positions but have them be so closely tied to religion at the same time. I definitely can’t support the left because the bulk of their ideology is completely opposite of my own. Unfortunately, I think any Republican who isn’t a vocal Christian has little chance of winning a primary.

  • Don’t forget that Santorum (hehe) has also thrown his hat into the ring. He is a very very very long shot but he’s also done a lot of science denial over the years. Can you just imagine a Palin/Santorum ticket?

    Theocracy or Bust!!!

  • Oh God! (sic). Depressing. And it’s getting worse!

    mac

  • littlejohn

    I have a nagging fear we may be celebrating prematurely. The person who wins the presidential election isn’t the person who’s right; it’s the person who gets the most electoral college votes. More Americans doubt evolution than accept it. “Forcing” the GOP candidate to admit he or she is a creationist might win more votes than it loses. We are not an intelligent people.

  • Flah

    It’s pandering to the freaky conservative right, pure and simple. And I say this as a christian who believes in evolution. You know, because it’s been biologically proven with all that sciencey stuff. Unlike the creation myth that makes a nice allegorical story.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I think Jindal would be best. Not only is he a Creationist, but he has actually signed Creationist legislation, and he is an exorcist!

  • Jen

    I hope Palin runs. For one, it means that we get more time with Tina Fey, and, hopefully, more jokes about Russia. Plus, Republicans who have had science class and are not morons will hopefully realize their party’s folly in aligning themselves with the Religious Right, and maybe then they will start being nice to the Log Cabin Republicans.

  • I think Palin disqualified herself for future higher office when she quit the governorship (to cash in and avoid ethics investigations). Perhaps she will become a Fox News personality. The Republicans will probably go for Romney at the top of the ticket with Huckabee as VP to pander to the Christian right. It will be interesting.

    Note that when a sitting president gets a strong primary challenge, the other party tends to end up winning. Look what happened to Ford in 1976, Carter in 1980, and HW Bush in 1992.

  • @ Hemant:

    Do you read Razib at SecularRight and GNXP? Are you aware of his opinions on so-called Human Biodiversity and his connections to individuals like Steve Sailer? HBD is basically the idea that the human races have different intelligence distributions due to divergent evolutionary paths on the different continents.

    As an ardent defender of evolution, an admirer of James Watson, and a reader of Razib, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.

    Perhaps you could write a general post on it. I was looking through your archives and didn’t see any commentary on the James Watson controversy awhile back.

    [Note: I’m on the blogrolls of both GNXP and SecularRight.]

  • It seems that the history deniers are hoping to get get elected. Shouldn’t the people expect their presidents to be well read, intelligent and honest people? It seems that denying the facts and following an old but popular story is simply pandering to the lowest common denominator but in the wrong area.

    Voters may well be stupid, gullible creatures but they vote for things that matter to them. Evolution is really a non-issue for the common man compared to how much tax they have to pay, medical bills, welfare, job security, defence and the protection of troops (their sons, daughters, husbands and wives) during war time and a plethora of other issues. Evolution may lead to scientists developing new medicines and improving livestock and crop yields but the voter cannot easily see that. It does not concern them.

    So they see an idiot talking about something that doesn’t interest them while the incumbent President changes medical care provisioning and tries to extract their families from wars in distant lands. Focusing on evolution is surely a vote loser when people want real, immediate solutions to problems.

  • Ben

    @Victor

    “They’re not just courting the religious vote. They’re also going after the stupid vote.”

    Same difference.

  • keddaw

    You are somewhat missing the larger point (larger than the presidency?).

    If Obama comes out and states that his opponent is an idiot for denying evolution he alienates over 60% of people who aren’t sure about it in America. It also opens him up to the red-neck “You might be, but I ain’t descended from no monkey” racist nonsense that will undoubtedly play out in certain states.

    Tragic, but that’s what you get when religion takes the place of social services and churches operate in a free market.

  • keddaw wrote

    If Obama comes out and states that his opponent is an idiot for denying evolution he alienates over 60% of people who aren’t sure about it in America. It also opens him up to the red-neck “You might be, but I ain’t descended from no monkey” racist nonsense that will undoubtedly play out in certain states.

    The surest course of action for him is to concentrate on real issues and to side step the evolution debate. He could do so simply by saying that he believes that God set our evolution in motion but he leaves the details to scientists who, after all, are the experts. That implies that his opponent is an idiot while retaining the voters’ confidence.

  • “When is the Republican party going to realize that they are irrelevent as they are and need to reinvent themselves by abandoning this attachment to the religious right in order to advance any agenda they may want to advance?’

    This is what David Frum has said. He wants Palin to be their front-runner just so that she can lose horribly, which will force the GOP to change tactics.

  • Valdyr

    Voters may well be stupid, gullible creatures but they vote for things that matter to them.

    True, “evolution” isn’t much of an issue… but it all comes down to the framing. How about this: “I believe we need to bring God back to our schools, and provide a more complete education to our children.”

    In my hypothetical campaign statement, I never mentioned the dreaded E-word. I said something vague that a lot of conservative Americans could get behind. But what my hypothetical statement is really saying with “more complete education” is “teach the controversy”, and we all know what that means. This is politics, remember: you don’t have to come right out and say what you stand for. It’s all about coded language. I’d be surprised if anyone in the ’12 campaign said the word “evolution”… but that doesn’t mean they won’t talk about it.

    I mean, think about it. How hard would it be for a right-wing space cadet of a president to try to insert creationism into schools as a rider on the next Better Education for Our Precious American Children Act?

  • I’m with Ron. The Republicans need to ditch the religious right and get back to being the fiscally responsible party instead of the anti-intellectual party.

    It sometimes pains me to be on the side of some of the uber-expensive social programs (not always), but it’s better than being on the side of the folks who deny reality and are proud of it.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Jeff: “I think Palin disqualified herself for future higher office when she quit the governorship

    I understand what you’re saying, it makes sense to me. However, the religious right has an enormous capacity for hypocrisy. Time and again, they are able to accept and forgive behaviour in their own which they find abhorrent in others.

    BTW, Newt Gingrich is obviously eager to insert himself into a position of power and feed from the trough again. Now in his third marriage and freshly converted to Catholicism, I don’t if he’ll be able to gain any traction among his old base.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Dan Gilbert: “I’m with Ron. The Republicans need to ditch the religious right and get back to being the fiscally responsible party instead of the anti-intellectual party.

    I know the Republicans talk the talk of fiscal responsibility, but when have they ever walked the walk?

  • muggle

    Egads! Why would they even consider Palin? As a Vice Presidental candidate, she cost them the election. So why in hell would they even consider her for the top spot?

  • Several of the commenters here have hit on the sad reality about this issue: Most Americans don’t give a damn. What we care about is what is immediately around us. It’s all we see. We see our kid’s endless schedule of activities, or the details of the consumer electronics we crave, or what Jon and Kate are doing, or that beyotch three cubicles down who keeps making snarky comments about our work during staff meetings. Through that filter, things like giving a damn about valid science or the environment or the future of humanity are utterly irrelevant.

    It bites, but it’s how we humans function.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Egads! Why would they even consider Palin? As a Vice Presidental candidate, she cost them the election. So why in hell would they even consider her for the top spot?

    Because there is a distinction between what people in the GOP want and what Americans in general want. The religious whackos got invited in, and now they have taken over. They have no concept of compromise, and have driven out most moderates in the interest of ideological purity.

  • llewelly

    I know the Republicans talk the talk of fiscal responsibility, but when have they ever walked the walk?

    Hey! President Lincoln had a war to fight, you know.

  • JJR

    @Ron above:
    “What’s a conservative atheist like me supposed to do?”

    Do what the rest of them do–vote Libertarian.

    “The Republicans need to get rid of the religious right.”

    I was a moderate Republican High School atheist until 1992, when Bush Sr. openly embraced the religious right, which turned me into a de facto Democrat who voted for Clinton twice (though much less enthusiastically the 2nd time around).

    Voted Green the last time, though I did vote for Obama in the Texas Primary as a way to take a swipe at pro-War Sen. Hillary Clinton.

    The great liberal hope, Al Franken, just voted, along with Diane Feinstein, to renew some Patriot ACT related legislation. Thanks, Al.

    Still thinkin’ about that eventual move to Canada. *Sigh*.

  • thilina

    I thought being a creationist was a prerequisite to being a republican?

    And pandering to the stupid and people with short attention spans is what republican and fox “news” do best.

    As long as creationism goes, saying you think evolution is the best explanation we have doesn’t get you a vote on its own. Saying you doubt evolution can get you votes with no consideration for the rest of your policies (wave a gun while saying it instantly gets you 55% of the votes).

  • Bacopa

    An all-woo Republican ticket will fail. After that, there will be a Night of the Long Knives and the Republicans will either emerge as a reasonable conservative party or will become a marginilized religious wingnut party with a few strongholds across the US.

    Of course, the Dems will probably just become the corporate shill party the Repubs used to be. They almost already are.

  • ralph e shaffer

    You aren’t the only one who wants a Democrat to challenge Obama in the 2012 primary. Check out the op-ed of 3/31/11 by ralph e shaffer and norma jeanne strobel: “Obama may have Democratic challenger.”