Bush on evolution: "the verdict is still out"

So he doesn’t personally believe in evolution. So what?
Personally, I think this one is kind of a stretch.
And you know I’m no fan of Bush.

Okay, he’s just saying, “Well, we don’t know for SURE what went on.” And that’s true. And you know what? After reading Inherit the Wind, it is possible to believe that Evolution IS Creation-if you wish. If you simply don’t interpret the Bible LITERALLY.


I have to echo Scylla in pointing out that taken in context it’s clear Bush was not saying he doubted evolution; he seemed to be saying that it’s possible God created everything using evolution and that the Bible was not literally accurate, certainly a mainstream belief.

Thank you, ArchiveGuy. I was just thinking that the dumbass made clear his ignorance of science, the English language, and the law, all in one fell swoop. Impessive.

I’m with Scylla and RickJay on this one. The original out-of-context quote seems to be anti-evolution, but the in-context quote is clearly pro-evolution, or at least anti-literal-creationism.

I’m no lover of Bush, er, I mean G.W. Bush, but I think you guys are being unfair pointing to this and saying Dubya is anti-science or anti-evolution.

Is it any more fair than those who ridicule Gore for saying he invented the internet (he didn’t say that) or saying he was the inspiration for Love Story (he really was the inspiration)?

How does “The verdict is still out on evolution” equal “I don’t doubt evolution?” I read the whole article, and yes, Bush clearly states that he is not a literalist. That is not, however, the same thing as saying “I don’t doubt evolution.” Call it political fence-riding or waffling or whatever else, he still indicates that he has doubts about evolution. Considering his mixing of cosmology and evolution, I highly doubt that his uncertainty is over the mechanisms, say the likelihood of punctuated equilibrium, rather than whether evolution occurred at all.

Give me a break. You’ve never heard it said that way before?

Punctuated Equilibrium is not a theory about a mechanism of evolution. It is a theory stating that the gaps we witness in the fossil record are a consequence of the way speciation occurs, not the result of ‘missing data.’

PuncEq says nothing about how evolution works, only that the fossil record gaps are consistent with what we do know.

I now return you to your regularly-scheduled debate.

Asked for a comment today on what it thinks of Republican party presidential candidate George W. Bush, Evolution commented that “the verdict is still out” as to whether Bush had fully evolved. It stated that while Bush’s humanness seemed likely based upon his upright posture and opposable thumbs, his inability to properly use language left the question up in the air. Stated Evolution:

“It is well known that certain simian species have been taught sign language. But when they try to string words together, they are unable to complete coherent sentences using complex rules of grammar and syntax. They form sentences such as ‘banana Koko want’ and ‘play doll now.’ These seem very similar to Bush’s comments that ‘families is…where wings take dream’ and ‘Will the highways on the Internet become more few?’ As such, I must reserve judgment at this point.”

George W. Bush believes that both creationism and evolution are valid theories and that the states should be free to allow both to be taught in schools. Schmuck.

From that site (emphasis mine):

One of W’s signature issues is education. He appears to be advocating the teaching of junk science and, presumably, its concommitant lack of critical thinking skills. Anyone devoted to fighting ignorance should be fighting Mr. Bush.

And no, jmullaney, I’ve never heard of the “verdict” being out.

I was about to make the same point Cantrip did, so let me follow by quoting exactly what Bush said:

I believe the statement the OP refers to can be construed however you like – supporting evolution or creationism. But there shouldn’t be any doubt that Bush is actually in favor of allowing local school boards to advocate creationism.

Sorry to hijack your hijack, but Punctuated Equilibrium does describe an evolutionary mechanic. Contrasted to what Eldridge and Gould call “gradualism”, punctuated equilibrium purports an evolutionary mechanic wherby species remain in, for lack of a better term, ‘evolutionary stasis’ for long periods of time, before in a ‘sudden’(to the tune of hundreds of thousands of years, and tens of thousands of generations) evolving into a new species. Eldridge and Gould’s theory anticipates the gaps in the fossil record, however the theory was not specifically designed around the idea of explaining away those gaps.

More traditional Darwinian evolutionists, like Richard Dawkins also anticipate the gaps in the fossil record. Their claim is that the fossil record is more likely to be incomplete because of the comparative rarity of fossilization. Darwinian evolution does not accept the idea of ‘evolutionary stasis’. In a Darwinian model, the rates of mutation and speciation are generally considered to be fairly constant, without stops or starts.

(/hopefully ending hijack)

Reading this is getting me very depressed. On the one hand we have a presidential candidate who really thinks creationism should be taught in school. On the other hand we have the other presidential candidate who can’t seem to ever take a clear stand, even when it is so obviously in line with the intent and the words of our Founding Fathers.

Jefferson must be doing somersaults in his grave.

Hey, at least Bush beleives in something besides polls and hedging. Though he is pro-life, and would like to see creation taught in schools alongside evolution I doubt he will actually be able to inflict either upon us.

I myself think that creation theory should be taught alongside evolution, in Science class. Comparing the two side by side with logic and sensitivity would probably be a valuable lesson in skepticism and critical thinking, which is after all what science is all about.

It’s wishful thinking to believe so, but if this could be done properly we could ironically nail the coffin in creationism by giving the creationist science bunch exactly what they want. Their stuff just doesn’t stand up to the full light of day.

Still, let’s not give him the chance to try.

I myself think that creation theory should be taught alongside evolution, in Science class. Comparing the two side by side with logic and sensitivity would probably be a valuable lesson in skepticism and critical thinking, which is after all what science is all about.*

Putting aside the obvious ‘which creation theory’ questions that this board so loves, and putting aside any concerns over endorsing any one religion over the other, I still think this isn’t such a hot idea simply for the fact that you cannot apply logic and critical thinking to matters of personal faith.

How would you advocate teaching such a class? How do you compare science with religion? How can you apply occam’s razor to matters of belief? Just gonna tell them they’re wrong?

I’ve seen a number of people comparing Bush and Gore on this issue. But let’s get one thing clear: Bush has said creationism belongs in schools. His spokeswoman said in August, 1999 (when the whole Kansas thing hit the news) : “[Bush] believes both creationism and evolution ought to be taught. He believes it is a question for states and local school boards to decide but he believes both ought to be taught.”

Gore has said that the only possible place for creationism is in a comparative religion class and not in science classes.

As far as Bush trying to sit on the fence, the head of the National Center for Science Education had a great quote when this all happened: “I understand politicians like to compromise and that faced with one group who says two plus two equals four and another group that says two plus two equal six, will tend to arrive at a position that says two plus two equals five. Unfortunately, sometimes the answer has to be four and this is one of those times.”

This is one major reason that there is no way in hell I can cast a vote for Bush.

As far as Lieberman, while I don’t know that he has made any public statements on his own personal view, he has stated that if he disagrees with Gore on any issue, he would, of course, defer to Gore. Thus, I don’t see him trying to get creationism into schools. Furthermore, just because he is “Orthodox” does not mean he is automatically a literalist. He is “modern Orthodox.” For example, he will do things on the sabbath that other Orthodox would not do – such as casting votes in the Senate. I would not assume that he is a creationist without further backing information.

RevTim said:

While Gore/Lieberman are not enough in the SOCAS camp for me, they definitely support it more than Bush in many respects (prayer in school, 10 Commandments posting, creationism, etc.). Thus, I don’t think it’s correct to say that they are “no better” about it than Bush.

Terribly sorry about this…really!
But…to quote Gould,

This from Gould’s essay “Evolution as Fact and Theory”, first appearing in Nature magazine, and later in the collection “Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes”.

No it isn’t. Or would you make up some other fairy tale theory to teach alongside physics, or teach alchemy with chemistry, astrology with astronomy etc. Leave creationism for religion or mythology classes where it belongs.

Sometimes I wish I was American so I could vote in electing the world’s most powerful man. Fortunately, this passes very quickly

For again disrupting a perfectly nice thread about politics with this stuff.

Anyway, my original post was primarily in response to this:

P.E. is a theory that adds an additional mechanism (the evolutionary stasis) on top of pre-existing Darwinian theory. P.E. actually states that there is an additional force beyond random mutation and natural selection that guides development and speciation.

I actually hadn’t read Gould’s Nature article, and was surprised to hear that he went looking for another theory to explain the gaps. My bad there.

Only by people who had no idea what they were talking about. :stuck_out_tongue:

I quite agree. Since this isn’t really a great debate, should this be taken to a more appropriate forum?


OK, how about this:

-Evolutionary Biology, 2nd Ed., by Douglas J. Futuyma, 1986, pp401-402

(Emphases in quote is mine)

This author states that PuncEq is simply the name assigned to the perceived pattern (which fits with the Gould quote earlier). E. & G. co-opted and expanded Mayr’s earlier work for the actual theoretical explanation behind the pattern. PuncEq also served as the springboard for Gould and Eldredge’s later (1977) theory of ‘species selection’ (wherein we enter the realm of macroevolution). These theories are capable of standing on their own in providing evolutionary mechanisms. That they are used to explain PuncEq does not make them a part of the theory, per se.

In other words, PuncEq as defined by the authors is simply a term given to a perceived pattern, and numerous other theories are invoked to provide a suitable mechanism.

And, so this post is at least somewhat relevant to the discussion at hand:

Scylla wrote:

The problem is that Creationism isn’t science in any way, shape or form. Creationism cannot be evaluated from a scientific standpoint because it’s a matter of faith. While sensitivty may be called for in such discussions, logic, unfortunately, flies out the window.
Science is all about skepticism and critical thinking. The fact that evolutionary thought is even still around should indicate that it has survived a great deal of scrutiny by many great minds (not, as some fundamentalist-types might wish you to believe, because us Godless heathens persist in perpetuating it). Creation ‘theory,’ on the other hand, is often not debated within religious circles. There is no critical thinking involved; it is simply accepted because it’s in the Bible.

That Bush would feel the ‘verdict is still out on how God created the earth’ says two things: 1) he accepts it as given that God did, in fact, create the earth (and I have no problem with him believing this), and 2) he finds evolution lacking in some way. Regrettably, I feel the latter indicates that he is ill-informed on the topic. Many open-minded Christians who fall into the first category are willing to accept evolution as well because they have chosen to inform themselves about the topic.

And the possibility of Bush, if elected, attempting to pass some sort of legislation based upon this misinformation is, frankly, frightening.