Huckabee on Evolution

06 June 2007

From the GOP debate last night:

Why is Huckabee so surprised that this question would come up? Even though the president doesn't personally write school curriculum, he does have the power to sign or veto legislation touching on the issue (see the Santorum amendment), and he has significant power and influence in the Department of Education. If you support taking biology education back to the Middle Ages, then that's a perfectly fair question to ask. Especially since you have said in the past that "I think that students also should be given exposure to the theories not only of evolution but to the basis of those who believe in creationism."

After complaining that the question was unfair and that it simply asked if he believed in god or not (which is 100% not what the question asked and completely ignores the fact that most people reconcile their belief in god with evolution), Huckabee makes a strange assertion: "But I’ll tell you what I can tell the country. If they want a president who doesn’t believe in God, there’s probably plenty of choices." Actually, there are no choices. Unless Huckabee equates belief in evolution with godlessness (as it appears he might be doing here), in which case there are thankfully other options.

When asked if he believes that the earth was literally created in a six-day period 6,000 years ago, Huckabee made a joke about not being there. Here's a hint: you could always look at the evidence. I don't know why this ridiculous comment received so much laughter and applause (I'm looking at you, Rudy). Especially in this context, where Huckabee refused to distance himself from the scientifically untenable position of a 6,000 year-old earth.

...Also, I don't understand the bizarre argument that somehow "days" could really mean "periods of time" (up to and including millions of years, to be safe).

In the end, Huckabee concludes with a bit of sniping masked as something resembling tolerance: "If anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they're certainly welcome to do it." Uh, Mike, not only have we descended from primates, but we are taxonomically classified as primates ourselves!

Despite this all-around horrible response, CNN commentators ate it up:
ANDERSON COOPER: Certainly, the question of creationism came up tonight. Mike Huckabee talked about it very eloquently.
MIKE MURPHY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think Governor Huckabee was very eloquent.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I thought the most eloquent person I heard, either tonight or Sunday night, was Mike Huckabee. I thought his answer about evolution and his one about what it means to be pro-life were breathtaking.
AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I thought again Huckabee did a great job of actually turning that question around. It's not such an unusual thing to believe in creationism. And this isn't an exotic point of view; it's one that's held by many Americans.
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, "HUMANT EVENTS": He's a very eloquent man.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: A lot of people very impressed with his performance, calling him polished and funny, particularly interested in his answers to the questions about evolution and his belief in God. They thought that he was very succinct and very, very polished.

C'mon guys, you're just easily impressed by anything that sounds good. How about examining the content?

UPDATE: CNN continues to embarass itself with poor coverage of this issue. Instead of saying even once that the overwhelming majority of geologists, paleontologists, biologists, etc. believe young-earth creationism (what Huckabee was asked about) to be incredibly silly, CNN just states that "former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, offered a spirited defense of the biblical creation narrative," and then uncritically repeats his arguments.

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