Rick Perry: Republican For Creationism

Perhaps it’s because he’s caught in a General Election campaign that’s much closer than anticipated, but Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to side four-square with the anti-science crowd:

Explain where you stand on evolution-creationism being taught in school.

I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution. The State Board of Education has been charged with the task of adopting curriculum requirements for Texas public schools and recently adopted guidelines that call for the examination of all sides of a scientific theory, which will encourage critical thinking in our students, an essential learning skill.

This is hardly surprising, of course. Back in 2007, a Gallup Poll found that Republicans were far less likely to “believe in evolution” (and for the record I hate that phrase) than Democrats, during the 2008 President Campaign, we were treated to moments like this:

And this:

And, it looks like the issue could be an unofficial litmus test for Republicans in 2012:

I’m on the record as saying that predictions for 2012 are very premature. But, it looks like 3 of the front-runners for the G.O.P. nomination are rather frank Creationists (Palin, Huckabee and Pawlenty). I’m skeptical about any of these as likely candidates (i.e., if you had to make a bet you’re going to be surprised), but if you keep adding individuals to the list it seems likely that we’re looking at a serious probability that the G.O.P. nominee in 2012 will be a Creationist.

Creationism doesn’t really have the same valence as abortion as a “culture war” issue, but, it is useful in being a distinctive marker for social conservative candidates. Mitt Romney is now notionally as pro-life as the social conservatives, but it seems unlikely that he’ll flip his position on evolution since he expressed himself so explicitly in the 2008 debates.

In other words, this is yet another issue where Romney is at odds with the hard right conservative wing of the party.

If the tea party movement has had any value, it is that it has managed to keep the focus of Republican candidates on fiscal issues. It’s fairly clear, though, that underneath the fiscal conservatism, the sincerity of which should be doubted given the GOP’s record while in power, the Republican Party is no friend of liberty, or reason, on social issues and it’s only a matter of time before that side rears its head again.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, Education, Quick Takes, Science & Technology, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James says:

    Book of Mark: When leadership ask Jesus where did he derive his power status.
    He then ask leadership Where Did John the Baptist derive his power status.
    Knowing the people believed John’s power was of God.
    Leadership replied They didn’t know.
    Secular Tyranny then and now, any one person can kick Jesus to the curb with a law suite
    that would not stand, before 1960.




    0



    0
  2. @James,

    The point of that passage is that the Leadership in question was unwilling to provide an answer because they feared the crowd.  Are you suggesting that the GOP candidates fear to give an answer because they fear the crowd?

    I am unclear on why you use the phrase “Secular Tyranny” with your story because the “Leadership” in question were religious leaders.

    Perhaps I am missing your point, but it seems that you are incorrectly using the reference.

     




    0



    0
  3. Brett says:

    I’m not sure if Palin is a frank creationist (although she might advocate ID in public). There’s a bit in Mark Halperin’s book about the 2008 election where one of McCain’s guys asked her if she believed in evolution as part of the initial interview process, and she basically said, “Yes, I know how things evolved, but I don’t think that excludes a role for God.”




    0



    0
  4. john personna says:

    she basically said, “Yes, I know how things evolved, but I don’t think that excludes a role for God.”

    It would be a sad world if Sarah had to walk that back.




    0



    0
  5. Franklin says:

    It would be a sad world if Sarah had to walk that back.

    On the contrary, it relieves me to know that she has a reasonable viewpoint, and that her facade is just like any other politician.




    0



    0
  6. Trumwill says:

    Perhaps it’s because he’s caught in a General Election campaign that’s much closer than anticipated, but

    Not really. The spread has been +5-7 since the beginning of the year. Earlier this year, there were articles about how White stood a very real chance of winning, but he’s made virtually no movement. Perry has never been hugely popular in Texas (he got scarcely 40% of the vote last time around) and there was actually every reason to believe that White would be more competitive than he has been. Perry has to feel a lot better about his chances now than 6-8 months ago. As someone that would vote for Bill White, I am disappointed.
     
    In the end, social conservatives are Perry’s peeps. Always have been. He doesn’t have to worry about that vote. Never has. I don’t think you can chalk this up to cynicism any more than you can for Huckabee. I think they believe this stuff. Live in the South and you find out a lot of smart and/or educated people inexplicably do.




    0



    0
  7. Trumwill says:

    To be honest, I have to wonder if Intelligent Design really poses all that much of a threat. The teaching of evolution in this country has been something shy of a rousing success. I think that part of the reason for that is that the religious simply choose to ignore it and/or completely dismiss it as anti-religious (or anti-Christian, more specifically) propaganda. So I think it *could* be true that if you give a nod to a Godly creator and then proceed to show the evidence in favor of evolution that you might end up with a slightly less unreceptive audience for the latter – and important – part of the discussion.
     
    I don’t think that the relative failures of the teaching of evolution can really be chalked up to being insufficiently stern about it. I was raised in the south and I was taught evolution and not ID and I was taught that God has no place in the classroom. I was raised an Episcopalian and not so much on the whole Creationism thing, but I would imagine that if I was that sort of attitude would probably make me uninterested in what they had to say or actively antagonistic towards the theory they are trying to “shove down my throats” with “lies.”




    0



    0
  8. john personna says:

    “It would be a sad world if Sarah had to walk that back.”
    On the contrary, it relieves me to know that she has a reasonable viewpoint, and that her facade is just like any other politician.
     

    You aren’t really focusing on the “sad world” part there, more the Sarah part.




    0



    0
  9. Franklin says:

    You aren’t really focusing on the “sad world” part there, more the Sarah part.
    True.  I was really just trying to make the point that the world is as it seems (lots of ignorant people with politicians pandering to them) and so I still have a basic understanding of it.




    0



    0
  10. Herb says:

    It’s fairly clear, though, that underneath the fiscal conservatism, the sincerity of which should be doubted given the GOP’s record while in power, the Republican Party is no friend of liberty, or reason, on social issues and it’s only a matter of time before that side rears its head again.

    In my view this has been the Republican party’s long-running problem.  They’re charlatans on the fiscal front and dedicated culture warriors on the social front.  This dynamic has been in play so long that yeah, of course it will bubble back up.  You can be a Republican without some culture warriror cred, sure, but you probably won’t be a successful Republican.  Fiscal conservatism, of course, is nice…but optional.




    0



    0
  11. wr says:

    As long as the Republicans can keep finding people to torch the warehouses where the voiting machines for heavily Democratic precincts are stored, they’ll keep on being successful…




    0



    0