#ask a science question
Here Are The Science Questions Reporters Should Ask Politicians
The governor of Wisconsin was on a trade mission to the United Kingdom. So, naturally, a reporter asked him whether he believed that Moses had ridden atop a Tyrannosaurus Rex to receive the Ten Commandments.
I mean, that’s the point of asking “do you believe in evolution?,” right? Because, surely, the questioner isn’t interested in Scott Walker’s feelings on the successive generational changes in biological populations. And surely, no one really cares what Scott Walker thinks about genetic drift.
“For me, I’m going to punt on that one as well,” Walker responded. “That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another. So, I’m going to leave that up to you.” In the real world that answer would suffice. In the political world, it prompts thousands of twitter accounts to erupt in contrived scorn.
As useless and distasteful I find these gotcha questions, I would concede that it wouldn’t hurt for GOP candidates to have some succinct answers that reconcile their faith and science. Me? I’d be happy to vote for a proselytizing creationist, if that candidate believed in basic economics and individual liberty.
The real problem is that these episodes feed the bogus notion that Democrats are less prone to ignore settled science than Republicans. And the same journalists who fixate on “science” that makes the faithful look like slack-jawed yokels almost inevitably ignore science that has genuine moral and policy implications.
How many of candidates or journalists could answer this question with any useful specificity? (My colleague Sean Davis has already exposed how some of the pundits who unconditionally believe in evolution” know very little about it.) This is because “do you believe in evolution” is an inane question. Do I believe in natural selection? Or do I obediently accept every macroevolutionary theory that’s ever been thrown my way?
For me, it’s plausible to believe that slug-like creatures emerged from primordial slime and after millions of fortuitous accidents over hundreds of millions of years emerged as politicians. Most people, though, disagree. According to 2012 Gallup poll, along with plenty of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats believe God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. So, around the same number of liberals that believe there’s something to astrology. What are the views of Democratic candidates?
If the evolution question is too theoretical, journalists can bring it back to something a bit more straightforward: