Christine O’Donnell: Creationist

For some reason, the Republican Party continues to attract people who believe in fairy tales rather than science:

In a discussion moderated by anchor Miles O’Brien, O’Donnell squared off against Michael McKinney, a University of Tennessee professor of evolutionary biology. Not only was O’Donnell in favor of teaching creationism alongside evolution, but she wasn’t even sure evolution was real. According to a transcript, via Nexis:

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL, Concerned Women for America: Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it’s exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put — that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory. But creation —

Whoops. Technically, evolution is a theory in the scientific-nomenclature sense, but it’s so widely accepted by every legitimate scientist in the world that it is considered fact. Not enough evidence? Tests with inconsistent results? It sounds like she’s talking about rumors that Lady Gaga has a penis, not a basic foundation of biology. What’s with all the dubiousness?

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL: Now, he said that it’s based on fact. I just want to point out a couple things. First of all, they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger, when what happened was they had the exact same results on the fossils and canyons that they did the tests on that were supposedly 100 millions of years old. And it’s the kind of inconsistent tests like this that they’re basing their ‘facts’ on.

We Googled this and apparently it refers to some tests run by a guy at the Institute for Creation Research. Definitely the kind of stuff on which you want to pin your refutation of evolution. Well, at least O’Donnell didn’t claim that there is just as much or more evidence for creationism as there is for evolution, right?

CHRISTINE O’DONNELL: Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.

So there you have it, the Republican nominee for Senate from Delaware. Anti-science.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, Congress, Science & Technology, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Oy.

  2. Mithras says:

    Is this a feature or a bug among Republicans?

  3. john personna says:

    There was an interesting article at Science Daily yesterday:

    In particular:

    Would you advise your friend that the scientist seems like an “expert”?
    If you are like most people, the answer is likely to be, “it depends.” What it depends on, a recent study found, is not whether the position that scientist takes is consistent with the one endorsed by a National Academy. Instead, it is likely to depend on whether the position the scientist takes is consistent with the one believed by most people who share your cultural values.

    We see this constantly.  If you are raised in a culture at odds with scientific inquiry, it becomes an easy cycle to reject science at each turn.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    It must be scary and confusing to be an athiest in America.  Her views seem to match that of 66% of Americans.

  5. Science is not a matter of majority rule, PD

    And when it comes to the opinion of the masses, I think H.L. Mencken put it best:

    No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people

  6. MIkeinSA says:

    Joyner –  Most of the time I really appreciate your perspective.  Even this time you may be right.  However, you don’t need to do the opposition research for the Democrats and you don’t need to support the elitists in the GOP leadership.  I’m no TEA partier, but this lady WON the election, and purports to be a conservative.  From what I read she’s more conservative than her opponent, and I find the GOP Leadership position abhorent!  The idea that they will leave this election to the Democrats because they don’t like the fact that she beat their hand picked crony is unbelievable! Until that crook Michael Steele is gone and they start acting like they want to be in power, the GOP can go without my contributions

  7. Mike,

    I wrote the post, not James. And I don’t consider it my role as a blogger to be a cheerleader for the GOP or the conservative movement

  8. john personna says:

    PD, “non creationist” does not equal “atheist.”  I provide a link earlier that the Catholic Church, for instance, is fine with evolution (and of course an old-earth).
    Do your “cultural values” prevent you from remembering that?

  9. john personna says:

    BTW, I dropped a link in another forum to Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy. He makes a point there that it isn’t religiosity per se that created the change in Republican politics.  It was the shift from old-line protestantism to Evangelicals and Pentecostals.  Those brought with them a mistrust of city slickers and their science.

  10. legion says:

    What Doug said. This ain’t Fox News; it’s not a propaganda arm for any particular party. And making note of info that is pretty readily available to the public isn’t “oppo research”. Finally, the GOP isn’t abandoning O’Donnell for her lack of cronyness, it’s because she doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance of winning a general election. Everyone except the Tool Party seems to recognize that…

  11. PD Shaw says:

    doug, you made a political point, not a scientific one:  “For some reason, the Republican Party continues to attract people who believe in fairy tales rather than science.”  The reason is that 66% of Americans believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”  Political parties seek to encapsulate majority views.

  12. PD Shaw says:

    john personna, my reference to “atheist” was to doug; he referred to religion as a fairy tale.  There are certainly Christians that believe evolution is consistent with their beliefs.

  13. john personna says:

    I won’t speak for Doug, but I’d think 10,000 year-old earth creationism could be a “fairy tale,” even for some Christians.  It does get the Camel’s nose into the tent though, because once you doubt 7 day creation, you have to ask why it was told that way.  Theologians more advanced than I seem to make it work though.
    It might come down to how harsh you want to be with “simple” interpretation of Scripture.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    As far as I can tell, it’s not clear whether O’Donnell believes in young earth creationism.  The gallup poll might have asked the question in a way that forced all creationist to one side of the line or the other.  I would be very surprised if 66% of Americans believe in young earth creationism;  I would believe that over 66% of Americans don’t have a good feel for numbers.

  15. sam says:

    “Science is not a matter of majority rule”
    I dunno Doug, see, Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    Theologians more advanced than I seem to make it work though.

    lol, were and when? The Catholic church lol. the gap theory lol, Once I became a believer in God I also believed in evolution gap theory, because I was so massively indoctrinated..  but I think allot of it had to do with my great love for fantasy and science fiction and the unwillingness to let go of the idea that some how my imagination was stronger then recorded history, and then I just could no longer dismiss things without Knowing both sides.

    What got me was learning the true history of evolution theory and it’s almost total fabrication, and the kicker was how all of the realistic non fabricated evidence seems to fit the creation story so perfectly.

    It might come down to how harsh you want to be with “simple” interpretation of Scripture.


  17. G.A.Phillips says:

    Would not be surprised if 100% liberal commentators at OTB are also undocumented Atheist preachers…… 

  18. john personna says:

    The Lutherans are also OK with evolution

    What does the Lutheran Church say about the Evolution vs. Creation debate?
    The ELCA doesn’t have an official position on creation vs. evolution, but we subscribe to the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation, so we believe God created the universe and all that is therein, only not necessarily in six 24-hour days, and that he may actually have used evolution in the process of creation.

  19. Juneau: says:

    Christine O’Donell: Creationist
    Doug Mataconis: Partisan hack
    Sorry, Doug but… the jury is in.  Get some distance and impartiality or quit calling yourself a Republican or conservative.  And don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out…

  20. Brian Lehman says:

    I’m at the point where I’d almost rather lose the seat than put this woman in office.  She is barely fit to lead a Sunday School class let alone become a US Senator.  I hope for her sake they don’t have any debates in that race, because she would be destroyed.  Republican voters really screwed up this one.

  21. Juneau: says:

    @ Brian Lehmen
    I’m at the point where I’d almost rather lose the seat than put this woman in office.  She is barely fit to lead a Sunday School class let alone become a US Senator.

    Please provide the rest of us uninformed simpletons exactly what evidence you are drawing from to make this statement…

    And by the way, I’m not advocating anything one way or the other, but if anyone here on OTB would care to use another forum to debate the whole “evolution is established fact ” thing, I would absolutely love to debate the facts and numerous contradictions backing the theory of evolution.  Be prepared to be destroyed.

  22. wr says:

    Juneau — You’re a dear, but I don’t think anyone with a brain cell is really afraid of being “destroyed” by your little stories about Jesus riding on dinosaurs.

    But if you’re interested, there’s an exciting scientific conference in a month or so dedicated to proving that the sun moves around the earth, just like they used to believe in the Middle Ages. If you want to go and give us a report on your findings, I bet a few of us would stake you to the 50 dollar admission fee. And that includes lunch!

  23. Juneau: says:

    @ wr
    Juneau — You’re a dear, but I don’t think anyone with a brain cell is really afraid of being “destroyed” by your little stories about Jesus riding on dinosaurs.

    Just admit you’re not up to the challenge and let it go, wr .   You’ve already made the opening and closing move used by those who have no actual knowledge of the issue – derision and insult.  This is the bastion of the ignorant against anyone who dares to rely on logic rather than unquestioned  “scientific” dogma.

  24. wr says:

    No, Juneau, it’s the opening and closing used by those who have no patience for people who cling to moronic beliefs in the face of reality, and can quote reams of “evidence” cooked up by charlatans to keep their hopeless followers happy.  But feel free to wallow in the self-righteous self-pity that allows you to consider all reality as a conspiracy against you by those who (oh so rightly) consider themselves smarter than you!

  25. Juneau: says:

    @ wr
    No, Juneau, it’s the opening and closing used by those who have no patience for people who cling to moronic beliefs in the face of reality

    I could care less about your patience or what you believe.  It’s your ability to reason for yourself that I was doubting, and it is quite clear that you are intimidated by the task.  But if it makes you feel better to call names, by all means, spew away.

    The logic against evolutionary theory left both Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins without an answer to foundational contradictions.  I venture to say that they know quite a bit more about the problems than you do.

  26. john personna says:

    Juneau, there are very interesting questions within evolution.  I’m quite aware that there is a cottage industry of folk who skim from those, often without understanding them (or with malice of forethought) to present them as “contradictions.”

    The key thing is that scientific views of evolution are evolving, and scientists themselves have no interest in locking them down as a fixed or complete “creation story.”

    That is to distinguish it from the “simple evolution for school teachers” of course.

  27. sam says:

    Here’s a hoot. Somebody named Christine Dao over on the Creation Institute website ( objects to a piece written in Fortune that has the termerity to describe the auto industry in Darwinistic terms. The Fortune writer says:

    At its best, the auto industry is Darwinistic, with the new and improved driving out the old and outmoded, and the change from SUVs to crossovers is a prime example of how it evolves

    Now, I want to say upfront that I’m not really all that enamored with the analogy. I think it limps. But, Ms. Dao’s retort is mirth-provoking:

    Anyone who can read a headline or listen to news radio understands that recent economic events have changed the consumer spending landscape and that includes backing down on indulgences like epically massive passenger vehicles.[i.e., <i>changed the environment</i>]  Thus, manufacturers have to innovate and make changes if they want to stay competitive. [I.e., <i>make adaptive changes to survive</i>]

    But consumers and manufacturers adapting to the market environment doesn’t involve a process of nature, which is what Darwin promoted in the biological world. It takes information to make predictions and design products that will hopefully sell and turn a profit. This requires some major intelligence, not the purposeless, mindless processes Darwin described.

    Points to all who can explain how that last paragraph involves a massive dose of question begging (<i>petitio principii</i>) that the author is blissfully unaware of.