Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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We can’t decide if this is sad or funny. Watch Congressman Mike Pence, R-Indiana, squirm during his appearance yesterday on MSNBC’s Hardball when host Chris Matthews asks him directly whether he accepts evolution.

After several unsuccesful attempts to evade the question or change the subject, Matthews nails him:

I think that you’re afraid to say [that you accept evolution] because your conservative constituency might find that offensive.

While Pence’s clumsy obfuscation will not win him praise in the science community, he has positioned himself well to be named an “expert reviewer” by the Texas State Board of Education when we adopt new biology textbooks in two years.

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12 Responses to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

  1. Ben Says:

    Politicians like him make me sick. It’s your prerogative to believe whatever you want, but if you’re serving the public, the public deserves to know what those beliefs are. What a coward. I have no doubt that he is a creationist, and I have to wonder why so many creationists are cowardly.

  2. Joe Lapp Says:

    Something’s wrong with our country if the people who run it are necessarily skilled in the art of b*llsh*ting.

  3. JohnC Says:

    That was hard to watch. Instead of being “skilled in the art” as Joe pointed out, why doesn’t he just fess up and say he won’t answer the question? I hate the way a politician can continue talking and completely avoid a question and act as if the interview is still being carried on. “Man up” a bit. If you don’t want to answer, say so. But be prepared for the follow-on question! But still, how sad that he is a political leader in our great industrialized nation and he feels the need to hedge his bets about his stance on evolution.

  4. Truth Says:

    Mr. Ben,

    Coward- all I can say to you is that if you ever went to prison I guarantee you would believe in God real quick.

    to think that you, your mother, father cam from a rock and fish and monkey is the most ubsurd belief that has ever been invented.

    you yourself are a coward, you hide behind the freedom given to you by the death of Christian men. They would be sick if they knew how you spit on the God of the bible. He is the one that gives you the ability to even live.

  5. Tom Says:

    Pence needs some further understanding here.

    Micro Evolution – yes – everyone believes this. the change between kinds (different colors, different people)

    Macro evolution – NO, no one has ever seen, or proved this theory.

    two camps – 1-God Created (all evidence points in this direction), 2-an explosion created, we are here by 100% chance. (no evidence for this)

  6. Andrew S. Says:

    Tom;

    So there is EVIDENCE that God created all that we see in the known universe and ZERO evidence that supports evolution. And yet the overwhelming majority of scientists and academics in the world support and teach evolution due to, what — a shared delusion? Please tell me you’re joking.

    Truth;

    There are lots of problems (and typos) with your post. But you should be aware that Jews, Muslims and ATHEISTS have died for your country. Is their sacrifice irrelevant in your world?

  7. Joe Lapp Says:

    Truth, I found your personal attack on Ben offensive. Let’s keep things civilized. Let’s attack ideas, not people.

    Tom, I highly recommend that you read Donald Prothero’s book, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. It’s a fascinating read — full of photos of myriad transitional fossils that creationists claim don’t exist — and it will help you understand why arguments against evolution only come from organizations like the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis and not from universities.

  8. Ben Says:

    Who says I haven’t been to prison?

  9. Ben Says:

    PZ always explains things well:

    “You can see on the micro level we see evolution but we cannot make the assumption on it about the macro level cause there’s nothing there to look at, we have no scientific data.”
    —Tom Tancredo

    I have a special level of contempt for people who make this bogus macro/micro level argument — they always get it backwards. Macro evolution is on rock solid ground, and has been for 150 years. Darwin’s work was largely on a macroevolutionary level: the evidence from paleontology, biogeography, systematics, comparative anatomy and physiology, and embryology, all disciplines that Darwin drew upon, describes the big picture of life’s history, and shows common descent. In recent years, molecular biology has provided an even greater body of evidence; where Darwin had to speculate that maybe there were multiple origins for the different kingdoms of life, we now know that they can all be traced back to one common root. When a developmental biologist compares the molecules behind the evolution of eyes in a sea anemone and a cow, he is describing macroevolution. We have scientific data out the wazoo on this one.

    In Darwin’s day, micro evolution was the wobbly leg of the structure of evolutionary theory. He didn’t have an explanation for heredity. That has also changed, of course: we now have a robust understanding of genetics, and especially of population genetics. Speciation is complex and there are all kinds of details that we don’t fully understand, but it also is not doubted by scientists.

  10. Charles Says:

    Ben. I bet you have been to prison. Anything here look familiar?

  11. Ben Says:

    Charles, you’ve got me pegged. I’ve been a Johnny Cash fan since I was about six years old. I have some of my parents’ old albums, including the live one at San Quentin, but not the live one at Folsom Prison, unfortunately. I have another album that is a collection of prison songs by various artists. FPB is on there, and it’s a great version with back-up singers doing a “Wa-oo-wa” thing. Sorta cheesy, but I love it.

  12. nigel Says:

    Evolution is not scientific fact. Thus is not science. It’s base on maybes and educated guesses.
    2+2=4.
    ? + ? = evolution (cannot be proven or dis-proven)
    2+2 can be proven to be 4.
    fossils do not take millions of years to be formed. That is also scientific fact.

    Sci⋅ence
    –noun
    1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
    2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.
    4. systematized knowledge in general.
    5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
    6. a particular branch of knowledge.
    7. skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

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