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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 26, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 34
Stuck in 19th century, GOP candidates debate evolution
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Stuck in 19th century, GOP candidates debate evolution

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Charles Darwin published his classic study of evolution, On the Origin of Species, in 1859.

The last time evolution was seriously questioned in this country was the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.

Nevertheless, the last 150 years of scientific research is up for grabs - at least as far as Republican presidential candidates are concerned.

Evolution is now a major issue in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination.

The debate over evolution started on August 18, when Texas Governor Rick Perry suggested that he believed in creationism.

'I hear your mom was asking about evolution,' Perry told a boy at a rally.

'That's a theory that is out there - and it's got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools - because I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right.'

Within hours, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman tweeted 'To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.'

Perry has also declared he doubts that climate change is caused by human activity.

'I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects,' Perry said at a campaign rally.

'And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.'

Huntsman responded in an interview with ABC News.

'I think there's a serious problem,' Huntsman said. 'The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party - 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.

'When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.'

Apparently a belief in science is not high on the list of qualities Republicans want in a candidate.

Perry is now the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican nomination, at least according to a new Gallup Poll. Perry got support from 29% of Republican respondents.

Huntsman is an also-ran with a mere 1% in Wednesday's poll..

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