In one of the few bright spots from Election Day last November, Republican businessman Greg Gianforte narrowly lost his bid to become Montana’s next governor.
Gianforte, you might recall, is a Christian whose family foundation has donated money to the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, a local Creation museum. A couple of years ago, students at Montana Tech even protested the fact he was delivering the engineering school’s commencement address because he didn’t accept science. He’s the type of candidate who wanted schools to “teach the controversy” in science class even where no controversy exists (at least among people who actually know what they’re talking about).
In fact, one of the ads used by his opponents singled out the fact that he rejected science:
Gianforte isn’t done with politics yet, though. He’s currently running in the special election to replace the only U.S. House member from the state, Ryan Zinke, who recently became Secretary of the Interior. That election takes place on May 25 and it’s virtually a lock for Republicans. Democrats are running a candidate, Rob Quist, but unlike Jon Ossoff in Georgia, it’s not clear if Quist will get any national attention because of how unlikely it is he’ll take the seat.
All the more reason to question Gianforte on his beliefs so Montanans know what they’re getting into before election day.
Earlier today, Gianforte spoke with Montana Public Radio’s Sally Mauk and she asked him about his stance on evolution (around the 11:00 mark of the interview). As expected, Gianforte did his best to dodge anything resembling acceptance of science:
MAUK: Your position on evolution has come up in past campaigns because of your support, primarily, of the Glendive museum. Do you personally believe in evolution?
GIANFORTE: I personally believe, as many Montanans do, that God created the Earth.
MAUK: But do you believe, personally, in evolution?
GIANFORTE: I believe that God created the Earth. I wasn’t there, I don’t know how long it took. I don’t know how he did it exactly. But I look around me at the grandeur in this state and I believe that God created the Earth.
MAUK: And so evolution is not something that you believe in?
GIANFORTE: Um, I think I’ve answered your question.
Um, no he didn’t. That’s like answering “Do you love Chipotle?” with “God made burritos.”
The better follow-up question would’ve been, “How long do you think it took God to create the Earth?” Gianforte puts that number in the thousands of years — going completely against every bit of scientific evidence we have available to us. He even uses the Ken Ham excuse of “I wasn’t there” to argue that he can’t be expected to answer the question, as if all evidence is unreliable.
(He wasn’t there for the creation of Adam and Eve, either, but who wants to bet he fully accepts that those were real human beings?)
Yet he still wants public schools to teach his Bible-based ignorance alongside established scientific theories.
In any case, this isn’t unusual. It’s just another Republican who can’t admit that the most credible scientists in the world might just know what they’re talking about, all because it would mean rejecting a literal interpretation of the Bible.
At this rate, Republicans will ask him to chair the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Quist’s campaign was quick to issue a statement pointing out that he accepts the mountains of evidence in support of evolution:
“Rob Quist believes in evolution and science,” a Quist spokesperson said in a statement to HuffPost. “As a product of public schools, Rob supports evolution being taught in schools as part of the science curriculum.”
Boom. With a little jab at Betsy DeVos thrown in there, too.
If Montanans are smart, they’ll vote for the candidate who takes reason and evidence seriously. Don’t hold your breath, though. They haven’t chosen a Democrat for the House seat in two decades.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Scott for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)