Suggesting it was a taboo for all politicians, Scott Walker refused to answer BBC journalist Justin Webb when asked if he believed in and accepted the theory of evolution.
“I’m going to punt on that one,” Walker said. His answer stunned Webb, the moderator of the event, who said that no British politician would hesitate to acknowledge evolution.
Mark Oppenheimer wrote about this in the New York Times Beliefs column, noting that none of the likely Republican candidates for President have openly embraced evolution.
From the article:
The theory of evolution may be supported by a consensus of scientists, but none of the likely Republican candidates for 2016 seem to be convinced. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said it should not be taught in schools. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas is an outright skeptic. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas will not talk about it. When asked, in 2001, what he thought of the theory, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said, “None of your business.”
Later in the article, David N. Hempton, dean of Harvard Divinity School originally hailing from Northern Ireland, suggests that the difference lay in the electorate, claiming that most British residents accept evolution.
Studies and statistics don’t bear this out, and suggest that both countries are increasingly scientifically illiterate. At least half of all British residents are skeptical, confused, or outright dismissive of Darwin and the theory of evolution, per a study conducted by Theos and ComRes. (Rescuing Darwin, 2009) In America, Gallup found that 42% favor creationism over evolution. (Gallup Values and Beliefs 2014)
It seems clear from other answers that at least some of the likely candidates for President do actually accept the theory of evolution, but either don’t want to say so or feel that it’s better to deny it while on the campaign trail.
Why do you think that British politicians are comfortable asserting the theory of evolution where American politicians are not? Is it meaningful that the divide seems to be based on party lines? Does it say anything about our political system that our politicians seem to try and identify with the electorate on matters of faith and belief in a way that British politicians do not?
Posted by David Streever