Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Attacked for Supporting Science May 12, 2010

Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate Attacked for Supporting Science

Bradley Byrne is a former Democrat, current Republican, running to become Governor of Alabama. His background includes degrees from Duke and the University of Alabama — he even served as Chancellor of Alabama’s community colleges — so you would think he has a decent head on his shoulders.

He’s currently the subject of a rather interesting attack ad…:

What?! He supported evolution!? Heathen.

Byrne wisely responded by saying:

It seems obvious to me that parts of the Bible are meant to be taken metaphorically. It’s not a history or science textbook, after all. The Bible is the basis of my faith and I believe we have to be realistic about what it tells us.

As for Evolution, I supported it then and I support it now. Yes, I am a deeply religious man, but evolution is backed up by the facts and it’s absurd that my opponent would go after me for supporting sound science.

I’m just kidding.

This is how Byrne responsed to the ad:

I believe the Bible is the Word of God and that every single word of it is true. From the earliest parts of this campaign, a paraphrased and incomplete parsing of my words have been knowingly used to insinuate that I believe something different than that. My faith is at the center of my life and my belief in Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord guides my every action.

As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God. As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books


Have fun electing one of these fundies, Alabama…

(via Huffington Post — Thanks to Rebecca for the link!)

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  • Esperanza

    Darn. . . for a split second, I was admiring the “response”. . . 🙂

  • Byrne’s rhetoric panders to the attitude in Alabama of at least 51% of the voting pubic. In this case, I tip my hat to the other 49%.

  • alex

    What a tool. I was kind of sympathetic with him when I first saw that clip, but now I’m not even sure what to think. I hope he loses — but then again, how many of his rivals are just like that?

  • Oh, for fuck’s sake.

  • Sounds like one set of anti-science is trying to be more anti-science than the other.

    And to think they use the benefits of science and technology to make that commercial, yet at that same time deny it in their words. They should all be ashamed at their hypocrisy.

  • Margaret

    Sad state of affairs, if the only way to get elected is to prove you are dumber than your opponent. Sad reflection on the voters that stupidity is so highly valued.

  • I used to be a theistic evolutionist in the same vein as this gentleman. He is making a distinction between young earth creationism and theistic evolution and then he manages to downplay the evolution part in his slick response. Theistic evolution is a way of having your cake and eating it, too. Politically it can be an advantageous position to take because you can (potentially)appeal to both sides of the creation/evolution argument. There is a huge difference between the two from a religious standpoint, whereas to a nonbeliever it’s all just lumped together under the category “idiocy”.

  • Brian

    Damn you Hemant, you’re way too good at faking reasonable responses and then taking it away by telling us what they actually said. It makes their words seem even worse.

  • The rampant stupidity of my fellow Americans never ceases to astound me. How anyone could state his response with a straight face proves that there might not be a single coherent thought in his head.

    With all the mental problems our fellow countrymen have, I am still surprised Obama was elected.

    But it is Alabama we are talking about, I would hope that this is something that we would never hear from a California or Connecticut candidate… hey, one can hope, right?

  • inmyhead9

    I live in Alabama and saw this ad last night!!! I would like to see the candidate with a pro science ad, but that will never happen in Alabama. Every single political ad in this state talks about faith and god. Bleck, I am sick of it. That should not matter , but I live in the bible belt now and that is what is the way it is here.

  • Jagyr

    @ #1: I too was fooled by the fake quote. Damn you Hemant, you raise my hopes for politics in one hand, and then crush them with the other…

  • Hemant you’re such a tease! For a moment there I thought there was hope for humanity.

  • Palaverer

    That’s what scares me. And Christians wonder why we give a damn about their beliefs.

  • Palaverer

    Sorry, my block quote didn’t work:

    “My faith is at the center of my life and my belief in Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord guides my every action.”

    That’s what scares me.

  • Roxane

    I’m afraid this is a case of people getting the government they deserve.

  • Jennifer

    Yeah Hemant, what Jagyr and Sarah said!

  • Sackbut

    I learned today that this ad was funded by the True Republican PAC, which gets much of its money from a collection of other PACs largely funded by the Alabama Education Association, a teachers’ union. Byrne has come under fire from the AEA for supporting a ban on teachers at junior colleges working in the state legislature (which is a part-time job).

  • lilybird

    I teach at a public university in Alabama. I get kids fresh out of these public school environments. If we ever discuss something like evolution (which is rare, since I teach English), without a doubt, one or more of my students say, “Well, like, almost no one believes that anymore.”

    These kids are seriously taught in public school that evolution is a “dying theory” with no evidence to back it up, and that everything scientists uncover just offers more support for the Holy Bible.

    It’s a tough row to hoe. 🙁

  • Eliza

    Kudos to you, Lilybird, for trying to educate in that southern vacuum.

  • Charles

    Yes, ignorance is bliss… and apparently Alabama is ripe with bliss.

  • Sackbut

    Lilybird, I’m moving to Alabama in a few weeks, and considering teaching math if my high-tech career ever fizzles out (or if I do). Advice from someone “in the trenches” on dealing with this kind of crap would be welcome. I’m on the forum here; feel free to give me a holler.

  • Hybrid

    Oh how I love my state.

    Yes, it’s true, this is Alabama. There are no excuses. Still, the intentions of most folks down here are good when you consider what they REALLY believe. We’re just so incredibly short on education and long on mystical thought (of the sort that denigrates people who don’t fall into line, unfortunately). Faith here is a self-supporting structure, everyone holds everyone else up. Living here without faith puts an individual in danger of alienating family and ending career options.

    Hell, sin, salvation, it’s all just as real as hamburgers, BBQ, and football down here.

  • inmyhead9

    mmmm… bbq.

  • Hybrid

    One more thing: Did anyone consider that Byrne is being attacked for accepting a theory that he doesn’t comprehend in the first place?

    “evolution …best explains the origin of life”

    The stupid, it’s collapsing in upon itself.

  • I. Hate. Living. In. Alabama.

    I haven’t voted in this state for a long time, just because there are rarely anything but idiots to choose from (I don’t normally support not voting for lack of a good choice, but here the cases tend to be too extreme even for me). Vote for the Republican who bashes atheists, or the Republican who bashes science? Take your pick.

    Ghaa >:(

    Reminds me of when my sister took Marine Biology in 11th grade. The teacher was forced by the curriculum to show a video about evolutionary principles in marine life, but the dumb-ass teacher kept pausing the video every 5 minutes and saying, “We all know this and this and that isn’t true, but you have to pretend it is so you can pass the test, alright?”

    The one good thing I can say is that idiots like that don’t make up the ENTIRE system. My 12th-grade physics teacher, for example, was very much Christian, but he was also very respectful of science and scientific history. And most of the more prominent members of the school board tend to be a bit more reasonable about things like evolution and science classes.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot more idiots than smart teachers. But it’s not like there aren’t any smart ones.

  • Price

    I live in Alabama. I work for the County of Montgomery, in a Courthouse, no less. This place is crawling with Christians. I am a LOUD & PROUD Atheist. For that, I will never see a promotion, I recieve some harrassment, but at 6’1″ + 230lbs, not too much. I have discussed, many times, why I am a non-believer. After 6 years of these discussions I have come to the conclusion that these people feel better about themselves because they call themselves Christians. That’s it. They don’t really believe it, whole-heartedly. But… they don’t question it either. When something they believe in doesn’t make sense, and I show them why… they just ignore the reasoning. It is that easy. When asked “How Do I live a good life without following the Bible?” I respond with 3 little words… “Empathy-Logic-Reason”. I base my entire life around those words. I get a stare i can only equate to that of a Dog that has just been shown a maghic trick, utter bewilderment. Even after numerous discussions, they believe I am an Atheist because I am “mad at god”. When I explain that I can’t be no more mad at god than I can be mad at a unicorn, I am given a retort that varies on the theme “that’s stupid, Unicorns ain’t real”. This is the world I live in. By the way, Tim James who is the lead Republican candidate, is the son of former Governor Fob James. You can see how idiotic he was by viewing the begining of Richard Dawkins DVD “Breaking The Science Barrier”. I have to stop now, I am getting depressed.

  • Stan

    I’m just counting the days until I can move out of Alabama. This ad does regularly air on television, along with lots of other “Candidate X isn’t a -true- conservative” and “Candidate Y is only pretending to be a Republican” ads. The Democratic candidates have almost no visibility.

  • *hastily tries to figure out how quickly one can move one’s family back to Canada*

  • Sally

    You should all look into supporting Dr. Robert Bentley in the Republican primary. He’s actually polling even with Moore and higher than Tim James. He supports small business, business development, job creation, and ethics reform. He has released his tax returns and credit report, and has pledged not to take a salary as governor until the unemployment rate returns to acceptable levels.

  • Chris

    Count me in as another one all too excited to be leaving Alabama soon. I have only been forced to live here for a year but it was more than enough. My husband had his car vandalized for his “intelligent falling–because gravity is only a theory” sticker and he still gets shit nearly everywhere he goes for his “Freedom is the distance between church and state” sticker.

    I am a Texas resident…so that isn’t much better. Looking forward to getting out of the military and settling somewhere where the numbnuts are outnumbered by the sane.

  • Alan McGowan

    Certain states are too far gone to reason with, if the federal government decreed god to be a myth, they would fall in line simply for fear of another civil war. However I live in Nashville TN “the Athens of the South” and even I get some people who just do not understand the concept of Atheism and probably never will. We shouldn’t be shocked by this politicians answer to the commercial after all he does seem to have a history of switching sides, but you also must follow the old Axum, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do…Or else”.

  • We shouldn’t be shocked by this politicians answer to the commercial after all he does seem to have a history of switching sides,

    I prefer the (in?)famous Keynes’ response to this accusation:

    “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

  • Unholy Holly

    Begs the question: “Who put the Guber in Gubernatorial?”
    Answer: Alabama

  • fritzy


    Don’t be so quick to excuse CA–I live in the central valley and while it is no Alabama, it’s still a place where just about every SUV has a sticker of Calvin either pissing or praying in the back window. And Orange county isn’t much better.

    Frankly I’m fed up with politics, particularly local. I feel that each race is a competition to out-dumb your opponent. And I can remember when I didn’t automatically equate “conservative” with “down-right stupid and nasty.” What the hell happened there?

    Really goddamned fed up with politics.

  • inmyhead9

    Here is another offensive ad from Alabama for Tim James.
    It is not about religion, but I still feel like he is being kinda mean.

  • Scott F

    Must…escape…Alabama. My 7th grade science teacher used to counter everything that she was forced to teach us out of the textbook with “But we all know that’s just the way God made it.” Politics in this state are a joke. It’s just a contest to see which idiot can wave the biggest Bible and pander to the most spooky minded mystical half-wits that seem to make up around 99% of the population here.

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