Where GOP Presidential Candidates Stand On Evolution?

There is a significant political divide in beliefs about the origin of human beings, with 60% of Republicans saying humans were created in their present form by God 10,000 years ago, a belief shared by only 40% of independents and 38% of Democrats. Read more …

Let’s find out in this first installment where Republican candidates (Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain) stand on evolution.

Ron Paul:

My biggest disappointment was Ron Paul’s stand on evolution:

Ron Paul is a creationist who decried evolution publicly in December 2007 during a Q&A session at a meeting in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“I think there is a theory, a theory of evolution, and I don’t accept it,” Paul said.

Paul said he thought it was “very inappropriate” for presidential candidates to be judged on a matter of science. He also defended creationism while saying that all sides of the creation debate have an element of uncertainty.

“The creator that I know created us, each and every one of us and created the universe, and the precise time and manner,” Paul said. “I just don’t think we’re at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side.”

Link to video

Michele Bachmann

No surprise here!

Michele Bachmann is a longtime supporter of intelligent design and believes the concept should be taught in public schools.

“I support intelligent design,” Bachmann told reporters in June. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of a scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.”

She has defended her skepticism of evolution by arguing that there is debate over the theory even within the scientific community, claiming that “there are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”

Video: Michele Bachmann on intelligent design

Rick Perry

Rick Perry sparked controversy when he said that he believes evolution is “a theory” with “some gaps in it” in August.

The Texas governor said the public schools in his state teach both creationism and evolution, telling a young boy at a campaign event who asked about his views on evolution that he figured the boy was “smart enough to know which one is right.”

When asked about his thoughts on evolution and creationism being taught in schools in 2010, Perry told the San Angelo, Texas Standard-Times:

I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution. The State Board of Education has been charged with the task of adopting curriculum requirements for Texas public schools and recently adopted guidelines that call for the examination of all sides of a scientific theory, which will encourage critical thinking in our students, an essential learning skill.

Video: Rick Perry: Evolution a ‘Theory That’s Out There’

Jon Huntsman:

Following Rick Perry’s comments on evolution, Jon Huntsman tweeted “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

The post generated considerable media buzz and helped Huntsman gain 5,500 new Twitter followers in less than 24 hours.

When ABC News’ Jake Tapper asked Huntsman if he was “just being cheeky” or acknowledging that he has a problem with Perry’s stance on evolution, Huntsman replied:

“I think there’s a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012.”

Video: Jon Huntsman Takes On Perry’s Views On Global Warming & Evolution

Newt Gingrich:

Newt Gingrich has said he believes in both creationism and science, stating that he doesn’t “think there is necessarily a conflict between the two.”

“I believe that creation as an act of faith is true, and I believe that science as a mechanical process is true,” Gingrich told reporters in May. “Both can be true.”

He expressed similar views in a 2006 interview with Discover, where he said evolution — which “certainly seems to express the closest understanding we can now have [of how we came to be]” — should be taught in schools as a science and intelligent design should be taught as a philosophy.

Mitt Romney:

Mitt Romney has said that while he believes God designed the universe, he also believes “evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.” The former Massachusetts governor admitted that his beliefs are complex and was hesitant to explicitly support intelligent design.

“I’m not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design,” he said. “But I believe God is intelligent, and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body.”

Romney’s beliefs date back to his years at Bringham Young University, where he was asked about evolution while being interviewed for highest honors designations before graduating.

The New York Times reports:

He told his interviewers that he did not believe there was a “conflict between true science and true religion,” he said.

“True science and true religion are on exactly the same page,” he said. “they may come from different angles, but they reach the same conclusion. I’ve never found a conflict between the science of evolution and the belief that God created the universe. He uses scientific tools to do his work.”

Rick Santorum:

Rick Santorum — who strongly opposes the theory of evolution — took aim at rival GOP contender Jon Huntsman this week over his stance on evolution.

Asked to define his own position on the issue, Santorum told the Philadelphia Inquirer in an email, “I believe in Genesis 1:1 — God created the heavens and the earth. I don’t know exactly how God did it or exactly how long it took him, but I do know that He did it. If Gov. Huntsman wants to believe that he is the descendant of a monkey, then he has the right to believe that — but I disagree with him on this and the many other liberal beliefs he shares with Democrats. For John Huntsman to categorize anyone as ‘anti-science’ or ‘extreme’ because they believe in God is ridiculous.”

Santorum once proposed an amendment that would have forced the inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula.

WNYC reports:

He also has his name tied to intelligent design: the “Santorum Amendment” to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act would have forced public schools to offer the creationist perspective in science classes, and to call into question the scientific evidence supporting evolution. That amendment was rejected.

In a 2005 interview with NPR, however, Santorum stated that he was no longer comfortable with intelligent design being taught in schools. But he did maintain his opposition to evolution, emphasizing that classroom focus should be on evolution’s discrepancies.

“I’m not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom. What we should be teaching are the problems and holes and I think there are legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution. And what we need to do is to present those fairly from a scientific point of view,” Santorum said. “And we should lay out areas in which the evidence supports evolution and the areas in the evidence that does not.”

Herman Cain:

Herman Cain doesn’t appear to have explicitly communicated his views on creationism or evolution.

Cain has linked religion with life and well-being, saying he believes God intervened when he began having life-threatening health issues. In an interview with Christianity Today, Cain — an associate minister — said he is “absolutely convinced” the will of God is the reason “that I am still here today.”

Cain also said the support of evangelical Christians was vital to his success as a presidential candidate:

You see, evangelical Christians have the potential, if they vote in large numbers, to offset the union vote, to offset the gay vote, and to offset the vote of those that don’t particularly have any religion at all. And so that’s why it would be so critical.

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About benvitalis

math grad - Interest: Number theory
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