Miss USA is pro-evolution!

Remember when I posted about how distressed the Miss USA contestants were about having to answer this question: “Should evolution be taught in public school science classes?”  I predicted much consternation, waffling, and equivocation.

Well, that all happened.  BUT, amazingly enough, the winner of the contest, Alyssa Campanella, gave a strongly pro-evolution answer.

But first watch the diverse answers from the other contestants—there are more waffles here than at IHOP!  It’s hilarious.

After lots of equivocators, Alyssa Campanella, who describes herself as a “huge science geek,” appears as a breath of fresh air at 1:55, followed by other pro-evolution ladies: Katie Hanson of Delaware, Allyn Rose of Maryland, Alida d’Angona of Massachusetts, Brittany Toll of New Mexico, and Lauren Carter from Vermont. I’m not sure why some sources, including P.Z., are reporting that only two contestants were pro-evolution.

Good going, ladies, for showing the courage of your convictions!

What’s your favorite waffle?

48 Comments

  1. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Still not exactly an intelligent response. But at least being pro-evolution counts for something.

  2. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    For some reason I thought women who trained their entire lives for contests like this would be more articulate…

    • Sili
      Posted June 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps they don’t all train all their lives. Some of them do it for the tuition money.

      I think it was ms Kansas who made it on to Rachel Maddow by clogging, yodelling and ventriloquising. I don’t know her stance on evolution, though.

  3. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I hate to say it, uh, no, actually not, BUT the airheads were obvious, as were the “normal” contestants.

    You could tell the educated ones simply by how they handled this question and the intelligence in their eyes. (OK, I’m a pushover.)

    I couldn’t tolerate the entire 15 minute clip and made it only to the 4-minute mark. Fortunately, the winner was in that segment.

    Good luck to her and I hope she uses her Super Powers to promote good science education.

  4. Posted June 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Even though Ms. CA gave a better answer than most, even she made the mistake of saying she “believes” in evolution as if evolution is just something taken on faith.

    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Agreed–that made me cringe. My favorite waffle was from Miss Virginia: “I think bits and pieces of evolution could be taught”. Rly? Which bits ‘n pieces…exactly?

      On the clip above, I noticed the “No” votes came from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virgina.

      The “Yes” votes came from: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Vermont (who had the best response, I thought).

      Why am I not surprised?

      • Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t stand all that belief stuff, I really didn’t think any of their responses were great. This question and its responses really show just how much work in science education needs to be done. I expect their responses are typical of most of the US population–that evolution is something to be believed in.

        Ms North Carolina made me embarrassed for my state (of course, it didn’t surprise me).

        • Posted June 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Just made it through ten minutes of the whole video (gave up)– but Miss Louisiana reverses herself at the end, so she goes in the “yes” column, and Miss North Carolina eventually says she thinks both should be taught…so technically “yes”. Unless we make a separate category for “both should be taught”. Watching through ten minutes of the full responses, it struck me that most of them went that route– “teach both and let the students decide”.

          • Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:34 am | Permalink

            Let the students decide what is scientific? I just hate to hear people say that. It’s crazy.

    • Bernard J. Ortcutt
      Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      There’s nothing wrong with the term “believe”. It doesn’t imply a lack of evidence. If anything, anyone claiming a belief ought to have evidence or other reasons for that belief. If someone says that they believe that a comet will hit their house, and they have no evidence or reasons to justify it, then they don’t seem like they understand the term “believe”. In normal circumstances, people believe things because they have evidence. Only in the arena of religious claims is the lack of evidence socially acceptable when stating beliefs.

      The misappropriation of the term “belief” by the religious is one of the subtle and pernicious effects that religion has had.

      • Dawn Oz
        Posted June 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Great point! Misappropriation of the term ‘belief’.

      • Alex Ling
        Posted June 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        It might be the difference between “I believe in evolution” or “I believe evolution is true/correct/valid”? I think such a subtle difference does change the connotation of the statement.

        • Dawn Oz
          Posted June 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          I’ve been caught myself using the phrase, ‘yes, I believe in evolution’, as it quickly establishes for the other person my stance. I can then elaborate if that is required. So I will go with the denotation.

        • Bernard J. Ortcutt
          Posted June 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          True. “Believe in Evolution” sounds like “Believe in the tooth fairy”. Poorly phrased, but I’m on a mission to reclaim the term “belief” from the faith-heads. Cognitive scientists and philosophers use “believe” and “belief” all the time with no faith connotation at all.

          • Dawn Oz
            Posted June 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            I usually say something like, ‘I also believe in the theory of gravity’, so as to establish an equivocal ground.

          • Posted June 21, 2011 at 2:09 am | Permalink

            Thanks. Keep it up.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I picked up a suggestion from a comment over at peezees that MsMA has a biotech background, and that seems to be the case:

    http://www.missmassachusettsusa.com/bio_miss.html

  6. Posted June 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I agree with Hemant. Even though she says she is ‘pro-evolution,’ for a science geek, her answer was incredibly weak.

  7. Posted June 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know why exactly, but “as an elective” made me laugh.

  8. Dawn Oz
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    A fascinating, although scary glimpse at part of American culture. I think that similar Australian contestants would agree with evolution, simply because it WAS taught to them in junior high school. Its part of all the state curricula. I keep thinking of the international graph of belief in evolution that Jerry put up……the US doesn’t know how insular it is. Needs to keep putting that graph out there.

  9. Corda
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Miss Kentucky’s answer was both funny and sad.

    “I honestly don’t think you can ever have too much knowledge on any subject. That’s my personal view, but I do feel that evolution shouldn’t be taught in schools just because of so many different–different views on it. So many different definitions, like how do you teach a child the true meaning of evolution when so many different cultures have their different beliefs and scientists have their different theories. It’s just not a good subject that I feel everyone will agree on in classrooms when kids come from all different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs. So I just personally don’t think it’s a good topic for a school subject, at all.”

    • sasqwatch
      Posted June 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Hers was my favorite bit of equivocation.

      “…don’t think you can ever have too much knowledge, BUT…”

      Hilarious and revolting at the same time.

    • Tim Martin
      Posted June 21, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      It’s just not a good subject that I feel everyone will agree on in classrooms when kids come from all different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs.

      Also a good reason not to teach that slavery is wrong, or that women should have the right to vote.

  10. Aqua Buddha
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I like the one who basically said “pass!” and waited for the government to answer.

  11. mikeyB
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Hate to say it but it says something about education in red and blue states.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      It might not always be about education; sometimes I think it’s the percentage of nonschool time a kid spends being brainwashed. While fighting an incursion of creationism in our local school district, I spent more time on a local megachurch website than was healthy. Most salient were their constant programs aimed at every age, cradle to grave. And of course all the kids go to “Vacation Bible School.”

  12. Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Quite appalling. That they should even be asked. Like asking whether arithmetic should be taught. So don’t get me started about the answers….

    Imagine if just ONE had said “Absolutely. It’s a foundational subject in biology and geology, with implications way beyond those subjects, and it should be routinely taught from the first grade.”

    But I guess if you’d put that in front of most of them they’d have said “What’s an implication?”

  13. normw
    Posted June 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Once again more intelligence at the coasts. Not surprising.

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 2:22 am | Permalink

      There’s something good about salt water, or something bad (heavy metals?) in the fresh water.

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      …Gulf Coast?

  14. Posted June 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Dang them librul Californicaters – lettin’ a got-danged woman get all edji-catered and high n’ mighty n’ above her station! Time was, we’d smack her silly and git ‘er back to pro-creatin’.

    Crikey. That a cute girl thinking (and saying) “science should be taught in science classes” is seen as some kind of ‘progress’ shows exactly how much more work lies ahead of the reasonable portion of the US population.

    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      OK, I kind of wonder if Miss California had this in mind:

      Can’t help it. I mean, California? :)

  15. gerard26
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    I agree with MikeyB.

  16. 386sx
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Oh yay better than I thought. I thought only two of them were not bat-loony creationists. Turns out there were more. There is hope. Thank you other reliable blog sources for gettin the evolution count rong. Yeah, thanks a lot….

  17. 386sx
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    I’m with Aqua Buddha on the favorite waffle. The one where she wants the government to do the tough decision-making thing. They know what’s best for us all. It’s in their instinct or something. Lol.

  18. Diego
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    My first thought it “so what?”. I mean really, why should I be glad when someone supports common sense? But then I think about the culture of these objectification contests and I guess it is impressive she could go against the flow. I do find it worrisome that the pro-evolution side was such a minority. I think that the sampling did skew the data though (pageantry tends to be a lifestyle for more conservative folks).

    I remember a few years ago when my cousin (from the very country and very southern side of the family) was in her senior year of high school. I asked her how school was going and she demurred with the sort of non-commital noise you get from most teens in reply to that question. I then asked her what else she was doing. She paused a beat and simply said in her natural north Florida/south Alabama drawl, “Pageants.” (I won’t bother trying to extend the written word to reflect how long she drew it out). She did make Miss Podunk Town, but I’m glad she stopped after that (her daddy didn’t want to keep throwing money out there). I’m just glad she got out of that world. I’m glad my cousin left that world and now she is back to being a vibrant young woman who makes more than minimal responses.

    P.S. By the way, she, and all of my rural southern kinfolk on that side, would be anti-evolution with no equivocation.

  19. Jim Thomerson
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    I think the word believe has been contaminated beyond redemption by its association with blind faith, and should never appear in the form “Scientists believe . . . “.

  20. Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good excuse for a gratuitous swimwear shot though:

    http://furtherthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.com/2011/06/gratuitous-swimwear-shot.html

  21. Cliff Melick
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    “I’m not sure why some sources, including P.Z., are reporting that only two contestants were pro-evolution.”

    Sometimes PZ is a bit weak in the “fact-checking” dept.

  22. FrankN.Stein
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    “I don’t think you can have too much knowlegde on any subject. Kmowledge is good. Except about evolution. that’s not a topic for schools. we should not know about that. at all!” *Making a face as if she talks about bowel movements.*
    Where do you grow people like that, America?
    (Well, Kentucky, obviously… just… how… and why?)

  23. FrankN.Stein
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    And don’t bash Ms California for making a weak point, she’s on our side. Let’s not critisie the liguistis of our friends, after all she IS not a scientist or writer dealing with this every day, just a beauty pageant contestant trying to state a good opinion.

  24. Dave Weaver
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I decided to change three of Miss Kentucky’s words.

    “I honestly don’t think you can ever have too much knowledge on any subject. That’s my personal view, but I do feel that religion shouldn’t be taught in schools just because of so many different–different views on it. So many different definitions, like how do you teach a child the true meaning of God when so many different cultures have their different beliefs and theologists have their different theories. It’s just not a good subject that I feel everyone will agree on in classrooms when kids come from all different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs. So I just personally don’t think it’s a good topic for a school subject, at all.”

  25. Hempenstein
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    —there are more waffles here than at IHOP!

    When I saw that I wondered how many outside the US know what IHOP is. Having now visited their website, I’ll revise that to outside N/Central America. But that’s re. ihop.com There’s also ihop.org, who I expect are probably also adept at serving up waffles at best when it comes to evolution.

  26. tall blue ape
    Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    that video made me so sad…

  27. Posted June 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    It certainly didn’t help the belles of the south that Penn Jillette was one of the judges. He’s having a Twitter war with Miss TN…I guess one of the questions was about burning religious texts:

    http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b248633_why_penn_jillette_twitter_feuding_with.html?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

    Buhahaha

  28. Matt Bowman
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Miss Georgia said, “We’re smarter than ever these days…” LOL! Apparently not. I give Miss Arkansas credit for admitting that she was never taught evolution in school. Clearly that was the case for the first several contestants in the video.

  29. full video
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The video in the op does not contain all answers. Here is the video with all of them:


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