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For Republican candidates, politics trump science

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T-RexI’ve seen the Gallup Poll that found a majority of Republican voters believe world history began less than 10,000 years ago, back when man was trying to keep those damn dinosaurs from trampling through the flower garden.

[Lt. Gov. Jennifer] Carroll, in her fire-and-brimstone speech on Thursday, spoke disparagingly of how “some of our political leaders bow down to scientists and let them have the stage to push their evolution.” She made it plenty clear that the coming Republican revolution would no longer allow “the minority to poison the minds of the majority.”

Both Tea Party favorites Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry have signaled to their Republican constituents that they just don’t cotton to evolution. “It’s a theory that’s out there, and it’s got some gaps in it,” said Perry, the purported frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. In what came as big news to those who subscribe to scientific journals, Perry said, “Science reveals new discoveries all the time, and in so doing makes the evolutionary explanation less plausible.”

Such talk has not amused the scientific community, which has become quite comfy with this evolution stuff over the past 150 years. The British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in a piece written for the Washington Post, wrote that “a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory, where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all.”

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