This one I didn’t expect–during the Republican debate for presidential candidates, they were asked if they “believed in evolution.”
**[Ok, my attempt to put a you tube clip in here was a disaster. See it here]
(the momentary look of terror on McCain’s face when the question is asked is pretty entertaining.)
Now, leaving aside the fact that stating the question that way forces the issue into one of faith (I would have phrased it something like “do you think the overwhelming scientific evidence supports the fact of evolution”), nearly all the candidates said they didn’t think evolution was real.
And the ones that did say they “believed” immediately issued long position statements clarifying that they really meant that they believed sometimes.
In some situations.
But were actually God-Fearin’ Bible types.
Ars Technica had an insightful commentary:
“And that’s what I think motivated the question regarding evolution in the presidential debates: it was an attempt to ascertain whether a given candidate was willing to ditch a scientific and rational thought process if it led to conclusions he was personally uncomfortable with (or, more cynically, he believed that the primary voters would be uncomfortable with).
It’s not clear that using science as a proxy for rational thought will wind up having any staying power on the campaign trail. Nor is its use in this manner clearly a good thing; if candidates wind up picking and choosing which science they’re comfortable with on a national stage, it may make more of the public comfortable with following their lead.