Ignorance snowballs. Conservative opposition to science and education will put us into a death spiral.
The theory of evolution may be supported by a consensus of scientists, but none of the likely Republican candidates for 2016 seem to be convinced. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said it should not be taught in schools. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas is an outright skeptic. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas will not talk about it. When asked, in 2001, what he thought of the theory, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said, “None of your business.”
After Mr. Walker’s response, the interviewer in London, an incredulous Justin Webb of the BBC, said to the governor: “Any British politician, right or left wing, would laugh and say, ‘Yes, of course evolution is true.’ ”
Unlike the United States, where Republicans and conservative Christians are more likely to deny evolution and climate change, most conservative politicians in other countries, as well as other branches of Christianity, see Darwin more favorably. The BBC reporter’s response to Mr. Walker could serve as a reminder that American evangelicals, and the Republicans who woo them, are the exception, not the rule. …
By contrast, evangelicals’ commitment to the Bible — for many, the 17th-century King James Version — can come between them and new scientific learning.
But all of this theological discourse assumes that Governor Walker, or anyone else, actually understands what evolution is. Edward Humes, author of the 2007 book “Monkey Girl,” about the court battle over anti-evolution “intelligent design” theory in Dover, Pa., schools, said that many evangelicals did not really understand evolution.
“When the people on the school board were asked to explain in Dover what they took the theory of evolution to be, they couldn’t,” Mr. Humes said. “Nor could they explain the intelligent design theory they were embracing.”
For example, Mr. Hume said, some evangelicals believe that evolution is a theory of how life began. In fact, he said, “it explains the diversity of life on our planet, and why so many have become extinct and others have risen to prominence.”