Lying and/or ignorant Republican candidates still refuse to accept evolution

Last February I tallied up every potential Republican candidate for President and showed that none of them fully accepted evolution and denied creationism.  The “wafflers” included those who wouldn’t take a stand, saying that creationism should be taught alongside evolution (Jeb Bush), as well as those who claimed they weren’t scientists and so lacked expertise (Christie, Cruz, Jindal, Kasich, Rand Paul, Rubio, Walker), and, finally, those creationists who flatly denied that evolution was true (Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum).  They are all to a man—and they’re all men—either liars, dissimulators, or flatly ignorant, for waffling on evolution, or denying it, is like waffling about or denying the existence of atoms.

Tuesday’s Guardian reassesses the stand on evolution of those who have now openly declared their candidacy. It’s just as grim as ever. Even more than religious belief, acceptance or denial of evolution is a test of character. For if you deny evolution is true, you are either pandering to the public even though you know better (showing that you’re ambitious but lack character), are truly ignorant of the facts (which means you can’t be trusted to be informed about crucial issues), or are a flat-out creationist (showing that you’re batshit crazy).

As of today, Carson, Paul, Cruz have declared candidacy, and it’s almost certain that Jeb Bush, Walker, and Rubio will Join them. One analyst averred that their stands on evolution reflect “identity politics” more than anything else, and that may well be true:

“I think on issues like climate change and evolution it ends up being a proxy for identity politics,” said Michael Halpern, a program manager for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). “You’re not actually talking about the science, you’re talking about values.”

And studies show that this is often the case. In fact, those conservatives who seem to know the most about evolution, or the depth of the scientific consensus on evolution, are more resistant to it than those who know less! That perplexing fact is attributed to identify politics as well. But who cares? A candidate who denies evolution is a candidate who can’t be trusted.

Here’s where the Guardian says the candidates now stand on evolution. Nothing has changed, and it ain’t pretty:

Carson:

So far the candidates have mostly hemmed and hawed – save Carson, who outright rejected the theory of evolution when speaking to Faith & Liberty radiolast year.

“Carbon dating, all these things,” he said “really doesn’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.

“Dealing with the complexity of the human brain,” Carson continued, “and somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so.”

Curiously, Carson did not reject natural selection – the engine that drives evolution – saying he “totally believe[s]” that useful genetic traits are more often passed on than less useful traits. But he could not draw the connection between that process acting over millennia and the human eye: “Give me a break. According to their scheme – boom, it had to occur overnight.”

Instead, he suggested an “intelligent creator” gave organisms the ability to adapt “so he doesn’t have to start over every 50 years creating all over again”.

Jebus, so God slowed down the rate of carbon decay over time? Or did he simply create partly decayed radioactive elements? (We do have ways of checking on that, Dr. Carson). And doesn’t he know that carbon-14 dating isn’t even used to date ancient rocks and fossils?  (Its half-life is too short; we use potassium-argon, strontium-rubidium, and other longer-lived radioisotopes to determine the age of the Earth and of creatures like trilobites.) The rest of what Caron says brands him as full of bullpucky as Duane Gish, especially when he completely misunderstands the effectiveness of small selection pressures acting over billions of years. As for the “slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals,” that could have come out of the toothless maw of any Bible-thumping creationist. Carson may have been a respected pediatric neurosurgeon, but he’s no scientist.

Cruz

Cruz – whose father has said evolution is a communist plot – has courted the creationist camp with only a dab more subtlety. While avoiding talk of his own beliefs, he announced his campaign at the evangelical Liberty University, which teaches creationism as science.

The rest of the clown car

Paul, Rubio and Walker have tried to duck the issue. In 2010 Paul refused to answer a Kentucky homeschool student’s question whether the Earth was only a few thousand years old, and in 2012 Rubio told GQ: “I’m not a scientist, man … I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says.”

In February 2015, Walker earned the ridicule of his British hosts by dodging a question about evolution.

Only Bush has said that he believes in evolution – way back in 2005. But he also said schools should sort out curriculums on their own.

The story goes on, showing how Republicans tend to deny human-caused climate change as well (though they’re willing to talk about ameliorating its effects!), and discusses the anti-science bills pending in Congress.

Although I’m not a huge fan of Hillary Clinton, at least she accepts evolution and maintains that neither creationism nor its gussied-up city cousin Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. To pull a “no true Scotsman” trope here, I’ll maintain that any Democrat who doesn’t accept evolution, or gives some credence to creationism as a teachable alternative, is no true Democrat.

94 Comments

  1. Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    No surprises!

    Clown car is right. These people think they are material for the most powerful position in the world. Gosh! Idiots!

  2. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    “You’re not actually talking about the science, you’re talking about values.”

    So, what are the values? Ignorance, stupidity, denial? L

    • rickflick
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      I think the values they are trying to play to are, 1. You will live forever in heaven if you love Jesus, 2. We need ultra-rich people (living tax free) in sufficient numbers to make us all work harder, 3. You can’t have an abortion because the zygote belongs to Jesus, 4. Gay people are criminals because Jesus hates ’em. 5. All atheists and materialists are going to hell, hell, hell. 6. God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days 6,000 years ago.

      • Don Terndrup
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        A more important “value” is this: The Bible is the inerrant word of God. It clearly states God created everything. So if that’s not true, none of it is.

        (Personally, I think that’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion.)

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Yup. Eminently reasonable, and accepted by all sane people.

          The first pastor I knew used to state flat out, “if you find one mistake in the book, throw it out.”

          Unfortunately, he retired before I knew enough to ask him if he thought bats were birds.

    • eric
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      I would say: no, we really are talking about the science. Specifically, whether as President you will support evolution or not. Whether you will base environmental policy on the mainstream view of climate change or not. The reason we ask about these issues is because we want to know how you intend to govern on those issues. Simple as that.

  3. Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Sub

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      sub

  4. David
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Rubio already announced that he’s running. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/us/politics/marco-rubio-2016-presidential-campaign.html?_r=0

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      So has Carly Fiorina whose views are either unknown or unmentioned.

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        And actually, so has Huckabee. I read an article where the columnist said that one way people learned of Huckabee was his rather famous slimming down from 300 to 200 pounds which he wrote a book about. The columnist mentioned that he “looked like a beach ball, a beach ball in a suit” at his announcement earlier this week.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          Huckabee’s going to announce on the 27th from his home town of Hope, Arkansas, set to make “Hope” a big part of his message. I’m feeling ill already.

          • merilee
            Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

            Wasn’t Clinton also from Hope?

          • Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

            You’re feeling ill because he already announced earlier this week. Not sure where you got the 27th but it was Tuesday, May 5th.

          • eric
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

            From Huckabee’s statements, I guess he’s hoping the clocks start running backwards to 1950.

  5. Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    For better or worse, it’s going to be Bush v Clinton…nobody else on either side has anywhere near enough money to challenge either.

    All y’all wondering how we wound up with such a sorry lot to pick from…it’s the lesser lizard fallacy. And it won’t get better until people stop voting for the lizards….

    b&

    • rickflick
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      “it won’t get better until people stop voting for the lizards”

      But the catch 22 is, you have to vote for the better lizard or the worse lizard might win. And, as you know, the worse lizard is a real snake.

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but, if you keep it up long enough, even the lesser lizard is so nasty that it really doesn’t make any difference any more if one of them is somewhat nastier than the other.

        I do believe we passed that point long, long ago.

        b&

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:09 am | Permalink

        Cut it out, that’s ophidiophobic hate-speech!

        • rickflick
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          Can I say toad?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      At the moment it does not appear that Jeb Bush is as earnest about running as are the other candidates described above. But that may change. Also at this moment he is behind most republicans in the polls.
      Still…it might well turn out to be Clinton vs Bush in the end if voters in the republican primaries are split over the more lunatic candidates. Clinton vs Bush: our political aristocracy.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Bush is likely to lose several of the early states because he’s not right-wing enough, but has enough money to stay in the race anyway. This all seems to be planned for in his strategy. He will win later states that aren’t so conservative, and is the most likely to become the nominee at this stage imo.

    • Marella
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:06 am | Permalink

      Wow, three presidents from the same family, sounds like royalty to me. I thought you guys were against that sort of thing. At the very least it’s about time you accepted reality and started handing out dukedoms.

    • eric
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I think the Tea Party showed us the most realistic methodology for improving the system (though they used that methodology to push policy in a way I disagree with):

      1. Challenge your own Party’s incumbent Congresscritters in primary elections, putting up candidates you actually agree with rather than candidates you think are tolerable to the middle. Specifically target “safe” districts. So to use the Greens as an example, you don’t bother with a third party or the Presidency; you challenge moderate democrats with Green democratic candidates in Democratically safe districts.

      2. Because these are safe districts, winning the primary will very likely win you the general. Congratulations, you now have 10-30 Congresscritters who actually believe in your cause rather than being ‘compromise to win’ types.

      3. Use your voting power in Congress to shift the entire party’s platform the way you want it to go. The president will follow.

      • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Yes; the Tea Party has learned the lesson of the Lesser Lizard fallacy.

        The left had a chance to learn that lesson with Bush v Gore v Nader, but wimped out and chose the lizard once again. And is now too terrified of the greater lizards to even think of voting for anything but another lizard ever again.

        b&

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          Really, every minority position holder has to struggle with this question every day–incrementalism or ideological purity? Many solutions have been proposed; a parliamentary system where non-majority winners have to make deals with third parties may be one; instant-runoff voting, where one casts one’s first ballot for one’s hopes, and the second against one’s fears, may be another.

          As a libertarian for over forty years, I struggle with this every day. But forty years ago, the traditionally accepted view was that libertarians tended to side with the GOP on fiscal issues, and the Dems on social-liberty issues. Of course, the GOP may be making the struggle a bit easier by abandoning any pretense of fiscal responsibility, going bat-shit crazy on science issues, and relentlessly pursuing Forever War.

          It makes for strange bedfellows…hence the fact that on more than one occasion, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich (with more integrity between them than all the other 433) stood fast together.

          • John Nunes
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            Kucinich has made strange comments about seeing UFO’s. He weasels out of it by trying to turn it into a joke.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

              I wouldn’t hold it against him if he had seen UFOs. Seeing UFOs isn’t at all remarkable. Hell, I even saw some mysterious lights once, called my parents about it…and then later was able to grab a telescope and figure out that they were actually work lights atop a construction crane. If I hadn’t had a telescope handy, I’d never have known what the mystery lights were, though I doubt I’d think they could have been aliens.

              If he saw a UFO, fine by me. Good, in fact; means he probably pays more attention to his surroundings and the sky than most.

              If he thinks they were visitors from another planet, we might have a problem…but just saying that you saw something in the sky and can’t for the life of you figure out what it could possibly have been is perfectly fine.

              b&

  6. Robert Seidel
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    > “Carbon dating, all these things,” he said “really doesn’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.”

    I’ve heard about the “God did it to test our faith / the devil did it to tempt us” response to fossils and radioactive clocks, but I’m amazed to see someone actually flaunting it. After all, what if either of them did the same thing with the bible?

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but donchano? The Holy Spirit vouchsafed to whoever is selling you that line that the Bible is trustworthy. And, what’s more, the Holy Spirit also, very conveniently, revealed to said True Christian™ the actual real meaning of all those “difficult passages.”

      And who are you to question the Holy Spirit?

      b&

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Once he comes upon you, there’s not really any questions left to ask. The message clearly sticks.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          Ew. Gives new meaning to the notion of spreading the gospel….

          b&

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      They just rely on people not thinking about what this would involve. It is amazing how prevelant this attiude is.

  7. Jeff Rankin
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    neither creationism nor its gussied-up city cousin Intelligent Design should be taught in schools

    LOL on the emphasized. Funny and true.

    • colnago80
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I prefer Intelligent Design is creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Of those who contend that, as non-scientists, they lack sufficient expertise to venture an opinion on evolutionary biology, not a one has a lick of experience in foreign policy.

    So let’s hope, for consistency’s sake, that if elected they won’t go mucking around in geostrategic international relations.

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      On the subject of a lack of expertise…would these same non-scientists similarly duck out of a question about whether or not the Earth orbits the Sun? The elemental composition of water? Whether or not grapes fall faster than grapefruit?

      b&

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        I’ll lay you 6-to-5 that a majority of ’em are Galileo-ignorant so wouldn’t get the last one right.

        Those odds skyrocket against Rick Perry on his own.

        • Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          …for that matter, the first one isn’t a gimme for them, either….

          b&

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            Even Nostra-dumbass could predict an 0-for-3 performance at the plate by Governor Good-Hair on this one.

    • Filippo
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Of course, foreign policy is the obsessive preoccupation of the average Amuricun, as opposed to satisfying their creature comforts at Wal-Mart.

  9. rose
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    They have to have the bible thumpers on their side so no they don’t believe in evolution they want to be elected .

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    <blockquote?'… their stands on evolution reflect “identity politics” more than anything else…'

    So (everybody but you Dr. Carson, and you Ms. Fiorina) say it loud: I’m a well-off, middle-aged white man and I’m proud.

  11. quiscalus
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Where can I get some of those “promiscuous biochemicals” carson was talking about? Might help me stop being so painfully shy around the opposite sex.

    as for the rest of the clowns, well, I appreciate their honesty, erm, pandering. By all means, let us know how truly unqualified for the office you are with these glorious examples of idiocy and ignorance, not to mention some much needed comic relief.

    Fool: “Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?”

    Lear: “No”

    Republican Fool: “Ergo, Gawd!”*

    * Fool actually replies: “Nor I neither; but I can tell why a snail has a house.” but why go on when gawd has all the answers?!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      You might want to reflect on the Dr. quiscalus/Mr. Hyde story before taking the plunge with those “promiscuous biochemicals.”

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:22 am | Permalink

      Statistics says Carson’s brain is soaked in ethanol.

      [Not that I recommend it! I was just responding to your earnest call.]

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    ‘…all these things…really do[n’t] mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time’

    JESUS-AITCH-CHRIST, Dr. Carson, so what’s the point of operating to remove a tumor from a child’s brain? God obviously wanted that tumor there, else he wouldn’t have put it there in the first place — and He can just grow it right back once it’s been tumorectomied, if He wants. And if He doesn’t want it there, He can take care of that, too, can’t He, without any help from some fancy-pants pediatric neurosurgeon like you?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Let’s see: God intervenes in the material universe (apparently with some regularity) to juke the stats on radiometric dating techniques, but not to cure deathly ill children from brain cancer (leaving that task to the hit-or-miss methods of fallible human pediatric neurosurgeons).

      So Ben Carson’s God prefers mind-fucking scientists over sparing innocent children a horrible, painful disease and possible death.

      Do I have that right?

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Right, Benny and maybe the sky fairy created the universe last Wednesday and made it look as if you have the credentials of a good brain surgeon.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          How’s Carson know God doesn’t juke the results of diagnostic CAT-scans, PET-scans, and x-rays?

          Because He only messes with radiometry, not radiology? Because His hobby is mind-fucking scientists, not sawbones?

          • Brujo Feo
            Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            Where is the “like” button when you need it?

            Ken Kukec’s comment points out a common problem with “cafeteria Christians”: they pick and choose what science they want to “believe” (as if belief is a scientific process, but that’s a rant for another day) to fit their faith-based needs. Just the way that they pick which strictures of Leviticus and Deuteronomy to hold as true, as it’s more convenient to hate gays than it is to villify those who eat shrimp.

            I cringe every time I hear Rand Paul waffling on science (and especially his idiotic comments on vaccination), because I STILL find him, warts and all (and those are some pretty grim warts) less odious than the corporatist tool of the police-prison complex Hillary, who never met a war she didn’t like…especially the racist and classist War on Some Drugs, which hasn’t destroyed only THIS country.

            So imagine this libertarian’s surprise to find himself cheering the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. There isn’t much that I agree with Sanders on, but he’s got more integrity than all of the “clown car” AND Hillary put together. Of course, he has warts too…like his pandering to the anti-GMO luddites. Well, I guess that no one is perfect. I may find myself writing in for him.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

              Thanks, Brujo. I agree about Bernie (though I sense we may be coming to it, on some issues, from different vectors). I mean, a small-state septuagenarian socialist Jew, whose name recognition essentially rounds down to zero — what’s not to like?

              You’re right, too, that the only way either of us will likely get to vote for him is by taking plume in hand and scratching out the Sanders’ surname on a write-in ballot, since he seems a longshot to qualify in most states.

              But hey, you & me — could be the start of a groundswell of grassroots support, right?

    • Filippo
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Dr. Carson, what good purpose is served for an infant to have two cancer-ridden eyeballs, necessitating their removal by a surgeon so as to improving the chances of surviving? Why not a Higher Power preventing that in the first place?

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      I reacted to that too! Another evidence that he is full blown mad.

  13. Charles Jones
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad Jerry pointed out that 14C is not used to date things older than about 50,000 years or so. I’d just like to emphasize that the two most powerful radiometric dating methods are uranium-lead and argon-argon (the later of which is derived from potassium-argon). The beauty of these methods is that you can tell from how the data plot whether any calculated age is likely to be meaningful or skewed by any gain and/or loss of the U, Pb, K, or Ar since the sample first formed.

    U-Pb and Ar-Ar are awesomely useful dating methods.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:38 am | Permalink

      Technically I think you need to partition the sample, e.g. have several mineral grains or several samples from the same layer, in order to use dating along an isochron? (Re “the sample”, it looks from the outside to be a multi-sample method. I am trying to understand these methods best I can from my armchair.)

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    This crap with Republicans seems to have started when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. (I’m pretty sure Gen. Eisenhower — and even that evil monster Nixon, and the halfwit Ford — didn’t deny evolution.)

    It’s a shame there isn’t a vaccination to inoculate future generations of Republicans from this inanity, something that would extirpate this nonsense from the GOP gene-pool for good. After all, to quote Justice Holmes’s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_v._Bell&quot;?unfortunate comment from another context: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      That quote was the first thing I thought of when I hear Jeb was running for president…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        You counting that old Nazi-symp Sen. Prescott Bush as Generation One — or you double-counting Dubya/Jebbie as split-Boomer generations?

        Fits either way.

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      A vaccine would be great…of course then there’s the problem that they’re all against mandatory vaccinations…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        The anti-vaxxers seem a salmagundi of strange (and, sometimes, even stranger) bedfellows — from crazy-eyed-Shelley-Bachmann-style wack-jobs on the right to furry-headed, Patchouli-huffing new-agers on the left.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          They certainly are an odd mix, unfortunately they are having too much success with their message. I think most reasonable people abandoned ship several years ago. I remember when my son was born in 2007, my wife and I did ask questions, as there was just enough disinformation out there to be concerned. We never considered not vaxing, but did ask whether there were fewer risks spreading them out (we didn’t do that either). And the more we investigated the issue, the wackier the anti-vax crowd looked. It’s almost as if just that they’re making shit up on the fly, much like religion.

          • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            I now probably have a reason to be mad at the lack of vaccinations. Just found out yesterday that my granddaughter has chickenpox. Not her fault, she’s not a year old and isn’t eligible until she is per the CDC.

    • eric
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      (I’m pretty sure Gen. Eisenhower — and even that evil monster Nixon, and the halfwit Ford — didn’t deny evolution.)

      Indeed; Nixon created the EPA. And you know the phrase “military-industrial complex?” Eisenhower coined that phrase, in a speech where he railed against it as an evil thing we should avoid creating at all costs.

      How times have changed.

      • colnago80
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Actually, I think a lot of the credit for the creation of the EPA should be given to presidential aide John Erlichman who got a bit of a bad rap during the brouhaha over Watergate. Erlichman was something of an environmentalist who spent the rest of his life after getting out of the slammer promoting environmental causes in New Mexico.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

          You’re right; Ehrlichman did support environmental causes. But, as a member of Nixon’s inner-circle, Ehrlichman had much to atone for — and I’m not sure even creation of the EPA can square his account in the Big Ledger.

          To call Watergate a “brouhaha” is like saying Mrs. Lincoln thoroughly enjoyed the Ford Theatre’s production of Our American Cousin except for the brief kerfuffle early in Third Act involving her husband and John Wilkes Booth.

          • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

            To be fair…though what Nixon did was reprehensible and most deserving of impeachment, conviction, and imprisonment…it absolutely pales in comparison with what subsequent Presidents, especially Obama, have done.

            Nixon’s agents made a mess of spying on political opponents. Today, the Executive openly spies on everybody.

            And, if NSA agents have the ability to snoop on their love interests, you can be damned well sure that they regularly snoop on their political interests. In the name of “security,” of course, of course.

            b&

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

              Imagine being on Nixon’s “enemies list” if he had access to today’s technology — especially if he still had Caligula…er, J. Edgar Hoover handling his “black bag” business at the FBI.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

                Exactly.

                And, honestly. Can anybody here sincerely state that they trust every single President in the past couple decades or so with the spying capabilities they’ve all enjoyed? Or that they’d trust the next few presidents with that power, either?

                So why should anybody trust any President with it?

                And if you can’t trust even the President with that kind of power, how insane do you have to be to trust the unelected head of the spy agency with it? Or all the operatives doing the work?

                I mean, really. Some flunky just “accidentally” happens to wiretap a candidate he wouldn’t ever vote for and overhear some juicy bit of strategy. Do you really expect him to not equally accidentally forward a copy to his favored candidate?

                That sort of thing on Nixon’s orders is what cost him his own Presidency…and now there’s no reason to think it’s not being done wholesale.

                b&

  15. ploubere
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Their stance on this issue is expected. They depend entirely on the christian right, and have to say these things or they’re out of the race.

    Sadly, their audience might be large enough to get one of them elected.

  16. Eli Siegel
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    The Republicans are similar to the Soviets. From 1939 to 1961 the science of genetics did not exist in the USSR. Lysenko’s claims fitted better with their ideology just as
    creation fits the Republican mind set better.

  17. ToddP
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    “Dealing with the complexity of the human brain,” Carson continued, “and somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so.”

    Why Cunk-o-lution Is True

  18. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Not merely ignorant but !*willfully*! ignorant!!

    The three most alarming things about today’s Republican Party.

    1) Science denial
    2) Apocalyptism
    3) Overt desires for theocracy directly contrary to the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

    And Ben Carson’s assertion “Carbon dating…really doesn’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time”
    is just intellectual nihilism. It posits a deity that is deliberately deceptive.

  19. tomh
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    @ #14 Ken Kukec wrote:
    “(I’m pretty sure Gen. Eisenhower … didn’t deny evolution.)”

    Eisenhower was raised in a deeply religious (creationist) household, as a Seventh Day Adventist, and scholars agree that he strongly believed in the Bible version of God as the creator of life. He was a creationist through and through. He also believed in belief, as when he said, “Our form of government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious belief, and I don’t care what it is.”

    When he signed the bill adding the phrase “under god” to the Pledge of Allegiance, he said, “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this rededication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country’s true meaning.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:01 am | Permalink

      Although Ike’s parents were members of a precursor sect to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eisenhower himself fell away from any type of church attendance as an adult, until being baptized as Presbyterian after taking office as president.

      To contend that he was a creationist by virtue of his familial ties to a religion endorsing biblical literalism seems to me tantamount to claiming that Ike couldn’t possibly have served as commander of Allied forces in Europe during War 2 (the bloodiest in history) due to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ well-established pacifist beliefs.

      While in office, Eisenhower was an exceptionally strong proponent of science and funding for science education (albeit spurred in part by the Soviets’ successful launch of Sputnik during his presidency). My cursory research into the matter has failed to disclose any dispositive statement by him, one way or the other, addressing the matter of evolution.

      If it turns out that Eisenhower was, in fact, a creationist and/or evolution denialist, I will readily retract that portion of my comment @ #14 above expressing the belief that he wasn’t. I will also just as readily extend Justice Holmes’s count, as I relate it to Republican presidents and presidential aspirants denying evolution, to make it “Four generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I learned the pledge before that phrase was added (hmm, how old does that make me) and I never bothered to add it to my recitation of the pledge.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Then I bet you remember the sound of a squeaky cloths line. 😎

  20. tomh
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Correction – My memory failed me, I said Eisenhower was raised Seventh Day Adventist, it was actually as a Jehovah’s Witness. I get them mixed up anyway.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      Let me clarify that I did not mean my earlier comment as a ringing endorsement of Eisenhower or his politics. I think there is much to be critical of there, including his pandering to religion on the Pledge-of-Allegiance and school-prayer issues you mention — although in retrospect. compared to the current crop of Tea-Party Republicans, Ike looks like a paragon of common sense and moderation. (Politically, he was probably just to the left of Bill Clinton :), somewhere in Colin Powell’s current neck of the woods.)

      I can’t imagine that I would have voted for Ike had I ever had the opportunity. In fact, I can proudly say that my first trip into a voting booth was in utero accompanying my mother when she pulled the lever for Adlai Stevenson. his Democratic opponent.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 5:17 am | Permalink

        That would be hearsay, wouldn’t it?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          🙂 Actually, there’s a hearsay exception for “reputation concerning personal or family history.” Federal Rule of Evidence 803(19). Otherwise no one would be able to testify to their own age.

  21. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    To sum up, the political divide in US is between those who wantonly visit the Asylum and those who refuse to do so.

    In other news, cat scratched staff.

    The “wafflers” included those who wouldn’t take a stand, saying that creationism should be taught alongside evolution (Jeb Bush),

    “I’m not a scientist, man … I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says.”

    This type is token waffler, since they deny that biology is science while creationism is religion [as witnessed by numerous US court cases, if nothing else].

    A candidate who denies evolution is a candidate who can’t be trusted.

    An “identity politics” politician can be trusted on only one thing, that he (or she) will promote in-group values to the detriment of his (her) nation.

    If I was a US citizen I would ask for “american values”. Isn’t that a huge, though fuzzy, thing over there?

    “Carbon dating, all these things,” he said “really doesn’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.”

    The mad man Carson has a befitting ‘god’ – the Great Liar. Carson lives in “the best of all possible worlds”.

    [But why, oh why, did Carson’s ‘god’ have to be such a sadist? Parasites, predators, torture, disease, …]

    • colnago80
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Ken Miller: I don’t believe in a trickster god who is out to fool us.

  22. Mike
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I find it baffling that People campaigning for President of the U.S. can be or appear to be so irredeemably stupid ! personnally I think one or two are being more than a little disingenuous and in that case they are pandering to their Voter Base which speaks volumes about their Constituents and not in a nice way, and makes them the Candidates cynical in the extreme which is not a good trait for the Office of President, but it is even more dangerous if they believe the tripe coming out of their mouths, and that is frightening, I,m minded how close that glorious lunatic Michelle Bachman came to the Republican Nomination for President. I,m glad I live in the UK where we have our own Idiots but our Idiots don,t get very far in the Political Game.

    • colnago80
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      One of the leading British idiots, George Galloway just got the heave ho from his constituency yesterday.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        IIRC, The Hitch didn’t care for that guy — at all. Period/Full stop/Terminal punctuation mark.

  23. colnago80
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    In addition, JINO Ed Milliband also took gas yesterday.

  24. reasonshark
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Whenever I find the major UK political parties too depressing or frustrating, I simply look over the Pond and think; “Well, we might not have the best politicians, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse.”

  25. colnago80
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Cameron, whatever his faults, is certainly not even remotely comparable to clowns like Santorum, Carson, Huckabee, etc.


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