Sunday, January 13, 2008

More on Huckabee and evolution

Here is another article about Mike Huckabee's vagueness about evolution and the teaching of creationism: The Huckster's Artful Dodging on Evolution (tip from Jaime Davila)
During Huckabee’s tenure as Governor, evolution education in Arkansas languished in an environment of general hostility and insufficiency. Two anti-evolution bills were introduced in the state’s House of Representatives; textbooks in the Beebe, Arkansas public high school carried disclaimer stickers denigrating evolution; the state’s science curriculum earned a grade of “D” overall and an abysmal “zero” for its treatment of evolution; a creationist “museum” enjoyed state-funded advertising; and evolution was systematically and broadly squeezed out of schools and other educational institutions across the state. Huckabee did nothing to deter any of this – in fact, some of his public statements might indicate his tacit support.
And yes, it is important for a leader of a country (any country) to accept the cornerstone of modern biology and be aware of science and its methodology:
Contrasting starkly with the New York mayor’s recognition of the importance of evolution to public science education, Huckabee has adopted a deplorably dismissive line of response when asked about his adherence to creationism saying, “I’m not sure what in the world that has to do with being president of the United States.” However, a nonpartisan coalition, which includes 11 Nobel laureates and the editors-in-chief of Science and Nature among its impressive list of signatories, believes that such issues have a great deal to do with the office of the chief executive. In fact, they are calling for a debate between presidential candidates on science and technology. John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American and a member of the coalition’s steering committee, explained, “Matters of science and technology underpin every important issue affecting the future of the United States. It’s crucial for the nation’s welfare that our next president be someone with an understanding of vital science, a willingness to listen to scientific counsel, and a capacity for solid, critical thinking.”
Ok...and what does Huckabee really think about evolution/creationism debate? Here is a 2004 exchange between Huckabee and a student that shed more light on his views on evolution:

In 2004, a concerned student from Arkansas confronted then-Governor Huckabee about the teaching of evolution on a local PBS television station:

Student: Many schools in Arkansas are failing to teach students about evolution according to the educational standards of our state. Since it is against these standards to teach creationism, how would you go about helping our state educate students more sufficiently for this?
Huckabee: Are you saying some students are not getting exposure to the various theories of creation?
Student (stunned): No, of evol … well, of evolution specifically. It’s a biological study that should be educated [taught], but is generally not.
Moderator: Schools are dodging Darwinism? Is that what you … ?
Student: Yes.
Huckabee: I’m not familiar that they’re dodging it. Maybe they are. But I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution.

Huckabee’s claimed ignorance that schools were failing to teach evolution properly is quite curious given a previous exchange with another young Arkansan on an earlier installment of the same PBS program only one year before:

Student: Goal 2.04 of the Biology Benchmark Goals published by the Arkansas Department of Education in May of 2002 indicates that students should examine the development of the theory of biological evolution. Yet many students in Arkansas that I have met … have not been exposed to this idea. What do you believe is the appropriate role of the state in mandating the curriculum of a given course?
Huckabee: I think that the state ought to give students exposure to all points of view. And I would hope that that would be all points of view and not only evolution. I think that they also should be given exposure to the theories not only of evolution but to the basis of those who believe in creationism....

Read the full article here and an earlier post on this topic.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree Salman, but I also think he is correct in saying that evolution is only a theory. It's like a crime scene we are still investigating. New evidence is found everyday and as we know scientists keep changing theories back and forth, dates back and forth. So to me, it's clear, evolution is only a theory.

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