Jon Huntsman has said, “I’m not going to pander.” When it comes to evolution and science, the Republican Presidential candidate from Utah has been straight-up and on the mark. In August, he said, “To be clear. I believe in evolution… Call me crazy.” Crazy would be the wrong call. Call him courageous instead for serving as the lone voice in the Republican Primary wilderness supporting evidence-based science.
Outside the evolution debate, Huntsman’s courage is in question with his latest move to boycotting the Nevada debate. By not showing in Nevada, Hunstman is completely pandering to New Hampshire voters who feel slighted by Nebraska pushing their primary date up and leap-frogging ahead of them in the schedule. After all, Hunstman is relying on New Hampshire to deliver a win in the Republican Primary.
Without Hunstman at the debate in Nevada on Tuesday, there will be no voice of reason on teaching evolution in our public schools. Instead, we’re going to have a group of candidates who will throw science under the bus as they pander to far right extremists or simply mistake fantasy for science.
Tongue tied Mitt Romney supported teaching evolution before the 2008 election, but has been noticeably silent in this campaign. Instead he’s been flip-flopping on social issues to curry favor with those in the Republican Party that also support teaching creationism. Don’t look for Romney to be a vocal defender of science on Tuesday.
Confused Congresswoman Bachmann has claimed, “there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact… hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel prizes, believe in intelligent design.” When asked, she could not produce any Nobel Laureate Scientists to back up her claims. She will be the leading voice of insanity at the debate.
Confused Texas Governor Rick Perry believes creationism “should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution.” He doesn’t stop there though; he actually proudly asserts that inTexas public school science class, students are taught creationism—despite that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled such teachings unconstitutional.
Rick Santorum doesn’t just have a Google problem, he also has a creationism problem. He attempted to pass an amendment to No Child Left Behind which would have singled out evolution as a controversial theory. This tactic served as an early model for Louisiana’s creationism law.
Panderer Gingrich has slithered away from his former “passion” for evolution like a Newt, adopting pandering positions that are as insane the ones Michele Bachmann has had.
Ron Paul may deviate from the standard Republican position when it comes to isolationism, but on evolution, he is in the middle of the pack of panderers. He claims “[evolution is] a theory… and I don’t accept it.” What Dr. Paul doesn’t understand is that a scientific theory is a strongly backed up explanation of natural phenomena, not just an untested hunch, as in the everyday use of the word.
As the last man standing for science among the entire field of Republican Presidential candidates, Huntsman could do wonders for students and the science community looking for a leader who understands that the principles of evolution undergird the science of the future. Perhaps New Hampshire voters will hear this message Tuesday, but the rest of the country certainly will not. Scientists, strap in; it will be a bumpy ride on a train of thought still stuck in the era of the square wheel.