Pence: evolution denialist

January 27, 2017 • 1:15 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re an American, hear the words of your new Vice President as he disses evolution. The first one is from 2002, with Pence emoting on the floor of the House of Representatives. Pence is making that old argument that evolution is “only a theory,” which is clear when he argues that evolution is not a FACT. By now we should all know what a genuine scientific theory is—and it’s not just a guess or an idle speculation.  He then asks that “other theories of the origin of species” be taught, like the creationism adhered to by this nation’s founders—a creationism described in the book of Genesis—or the “theory of intelligent design.” He then says that the “truth of faith” will become apparent, whatever that means.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades: here is your Vice President:

(See some quotes at alternative media syndicate).

And here’s Chris Matthews boring into Pence as he waffles about evolution and global warming on the “Hardball” show. (The evolution bit starts at 1:37 and continues sporadically to the end.) This took place in 2009. Pence is waffling a bit more and giving evolution a bit less of the stink-eye, but he simply refuses to sign on to the scientific facts. Sadly, Matthews keeps asking Pence if he “believes in evolution,” which puts evolution into the status of a belief system, like religion. Far better to ask if he “accepts the scientific fact of evolution.”

Pence finally says that we need to teach all the “facts” to the kids and let the kids themselves sort it out. Of course, some of the “facts” he’s referring to are misguided attacks on evolution.

Rarely does one see a reporter give a politician this hard a time on evolution and science in general. I don’t remember any reporter even asking Trump what he thought about evolution.

62 thoughts on “Pence: evolution denialist

      1. Neither measure is even slightly likely, but impeachment, followed by a trial resulting in a conviction and removal from office, is theoretically possible. There is also the possibility of his being declared incompetent and being removed by his cabinet and congress as provided in the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. Any scenario ends with President Pence.

        1. Section 4 of the 25th Amendment: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

      2. Well, since math is also just a theory, we should be questioning whether the number of votes won by Trump and Pence in any state was actually larger than those won by Clinton.

      3. “… it would be far better if the election results were proven fraudulent and invalid.”

        Yeah, it would, but that ship sailed a few months ago.

  1. Oh boy, and this guy is Vice President! It’s about the only reason I can think that I don’t want Trump slung out of office (not that that’s likely).

    1. Yes, it’s chilling to think that this “Tea-party robot” is one bullet or heartbeat away from the Presidency- the threat of this happening with Sarah Palin was bad enough, but he’s much more calculating and willing to completely “toe the party line” than she was…..the Tea Party don’t like “mavericks”.

  2. Maybe we’re doing this wrong.

    Maybe we should just tell them Jesus said evolution is good in 3 Corinthians, its not as if they’ve ever read or will read their bible to know the difference.

    1. Evolution is presented in the Genesis (3:1-17). Snakes evolved from quadrupedal ancestors who lost their legs. Female primates were the first to evolve trichromatic vision allowing them to recognize mature fruits. Later, brain enlargement greatly increased cognitive abilities and the pain of childbirth. The account ends with the Neolithic revolution and the spread of agriculture out of the Fertile Crescent. Indeed, it is a bit allegorical, but if Jesus talks in parables, then every part of the Bible could be a parable ;-).

  3. Years ago, say … say, about 1999 – I just picked up The Selfish Gene, soon to get The Blind Watchmaker – I really truly thought that Dawkins’ swipes at evolution opponents – or religion – I think TSG has a few – were merely showmanship – “pfff, he’s just making a bit of show, getting some talk out there for his book, on what is surely an insignificant fraction of people out there in the world, only the fraction who don’t really care about much, and keep to themselves – a rarity. It’s just evolution – what’s the big deal with that? Nothing to object to.”. Then slowly, yearly, bit by bit – “you mean people really don’t like it?”

    Now you tell me a guy took up time on the floor in the US HOR going to work against evolution. And not, say, against the germ theory of disease. Time for the Jerry Coyne of the germ theory of disease : “Why Infection By Viruses Is True”.

      1. They gave President Obama hell for being caught smoking early in his first term. Remember? That’s not a party thing btw.
        One does not have to be a denier of lung cancer to smoke btw.

  4. A careful president chooses an unappealing vice-president.

    I think the dying FDR was the last exception… and actually it was the party who pushed Truman on him.

  5. Poor Pence. He has very special light bulbs in his house that are powered by Mexican leprechauns. When the Orange Chaos Monkey builds the wall all the lights will go off…oh dear. What will he do?

    We can help. We can put up money to have George Takei come to the Pence household and install special fairy powered rainbow lights. A reminder to keep his ethical compass from pointing towards utter darkness.

    1. It seems he understands the meaning of ‘facts’ about as well he understands the meaning of ‘theories’.
      As for teaching ‘all the facts’, I can only say that if you have two sets of conflicting facts, it generally means that one set are not actually facts: they are incorrect. And to leave it to children to sort out the two is a dereliction of parental and pedagogical duty. It’s exactly the same as saying “Pi is 22/7, but some people say it’s 3; you decide, children, which you prefer.” We don’t do it with pi (except in 1897 Indiana) and we shouldn’t do it with evolution.

  6. Much as I’d like to see Trump chased from the people’s house, and as much as I hope that happens, a president Pence in most respects would be even worse. Pence and the Ryan/McConnell GOP congress are in total synch; together, they would enact a shitstorm of bad legislation.

    At least with the Donald, you can count on him not to get along with anyone for long. Already, the fissures are forming between his incoherent policy agenda (or what passes for an “agenda” in Trumpland) and that sought by the Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    1. What continues to amaze and amuse me is the clownish incompetence of der Drumpfenführer’s minions. My goodness, it would be hard to imagine a less skillful bunch (aside from President Bannon that is).

      They look and sound like a Monty Python sketch. “And NOW …. we got to America to see the clown prince take over the reigns of power … Look, his orangeness and his knights of sleazy brothel barroom!”

    2. You are quite correct. Pence is a conventional politician, but ultra-conservative. Since he lacks the flamboyance of Trump, I suspect he would get much less scrutiny from the press. He is ardently pro-life and addressed a rally today.

      The ultra-conservatives (whether led by Trump or Pence) will be riding quite high for at least the next four years. Indeed, since Trump perhaps bucks the party on some issues (who knows for sure?), Pence would become the right wing’s darling.

  7. What a moron. Simply thick as a brick on evolution. Never did understand it. Thinks new findings overturn evolution.

    Other theories of origin?

    There isn’t one. There are only fairy tales.

  8. He has faith that the truth of faith will be shown as science studies the world.

    I guess he never noticed that every single time religion and science have been in conflict, science has been correct and religion wrong. 100% of the time.

    He thinks that’s going to change.

    Mr. Pence, I have a bridge for sale that you really need to look at …

    1. A textbook example of Einstein’s quotation: insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  9. After listening to this guy for just a few minutes you have to give some thought to the “theory” that evolution has taken a 180.

  10. Pence was one wormy sonuvabitch in that interview with Matthews (who’s at his best when biting a pol in the leg and refusing to let go). I take it his thanking Pence at the end for his “honesty” was meant to be sarcastic.

    Republicans are in favor of things like science and the environment in the same sense that the illiberal left is in favor of free speech — they’re all in, as long as it comes without cost, as long as it doesn’t contravene any of the beliefs they hold even more dear.

    1. At least the ACLU is there watching every move being made as promised.
      I have not found the FFRF fighting the fight they could regarding Syrian Christians getting purported special treatment, and if I missed it I do apologize.

  11. And today Pence addressed the annual anti-abortion march, the highest ranking official to ever do so. He said that by many measures — the views of members of Congress and advances in science among them — “life is winning in America.” He didn’t detail what those “advances in science” were. He also said Trump will appoint a SC justice that will overturn Roe.

  12. I find it very difficult to watch an adult fool who is clueless how foolish they are. Pence and Trump are made for each other.

    I just hope enough of Trump’s bullshit smears itself on Pence so that after 4-years, neither Trump nor Pence will be viable POTUS nominees. And I think there is so much bullshit that will be hurled, Pence won’t be the only (R) that suffers insurmountable political damage.

  13. In that first clip, Pence sounds just like an evangelical preacher, complete with hand gestures. Only thing missing is the bible waving.

    His last statement that someday we will find the “truth through faith”. Oy vey.

    He got his evangelical wet-dream today, speaking at the anti-abortion march.

  14. I think a distinction needs to be made here. Are we asking whether evolution is true, or if evolution is a comprehensive explanation of human life? The former is true. Evolution because of natural selection happens–it seems commonsensical. But, does evolution alone account for the presence of human life?

      1. Clearly aliens – which themselves were not evolved but were created by turtles. Which themselves were not evolved but were created by turtles. Which themselves were not evolved but were created by turtles …

  15. Pence is only one member of the religious right that has saturated the Trump administration. I doubt that there has ever been an administration so overtly Christian. One of the great ironies of history is that Trump is their blessed leader. Michelle Goldberg in the NYT details the Christian parade.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-the-religious-rights-trojan-horse.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=0

    1. Just a tangential note–it appears that the NYT’s new practice of replacing a simple url with a visual, as above, also results in no url whatsoever appearing in our email notifications. I clicked in because I expected that you would have included an url, despite its lack in my inbox alert.

      Way to go, NYT.

  16. Well, in the spirit of finding commonalities with our opponents, Pence got one thing right: this ‘schoolbook’ imagery of a quadruped ape progressively -linearly- evolving into the upright (white, of course) male is wrong.
    However, it is a bit of a straw white male. We have known it to be wrong for many, many decades. Since the Laetioli footprints and the hip and knee articulations of australopithecines and the rejection of the ‘chain’ idea. It is just that many textbooks are way behind, if not wrong altogether.
    It is like the wrongheaded image that bacteria ‘learn’ resistance to antibiotics, instead of being selected.
    He’s also probably right about the founding fathers believing in creation, it is not as if at the time there was much of an alternative.

    1. He’s also probably right about the founding fathers believing in creation, it is not as if at the time there was much of an alternative.

      I repeat my question of earlier : do Americans routinely conflate the “Pilgrim Fathers” (or whatever that bunch of self-exiled religious maniacs were called) with the century-plus later writers and signers of the Constitution who were also traitorous rebels against their liege lord? The two were very different groups, TTBOMK.

  17. Assuming Pence knows what the periodic chart of the elements is, would he argue that kids in chemistry class should be exposed to alternative views of the relationship of elements and let then decide for themselves?

    1. I’d steer clear of that analogy if I were you. There are valid different representations of the relationships between elements. There’s even a Wiki page for it. It’s a messy argument to use for pedagogic purposes.

  18. As a Brit i would like to know what would happen if ,gods forbid they were both in the same car that ran over a land mine ,who would run the show then .

    1. The Speaker of the House of Representatives would be next in line. Currently, that is Paul Ryan. See the Wikipedia article entitled “United States presidential line of succession” to find out who would follow next.

    2. I’d suspect that the Secret Service are a bit less incompetent than that. Maybe after they’ve had a few months of Trump “improving” their lives they’ll reduce to that level, but they’d have to fall to pretty deep levels of incompetence to make such a tyro error.

  19. Ah yes, this nation’s founders, the brilliant 21st century scientists that they are. This Mike Pence chap, is he a grown adult by any chance?

  20. My 9 year old son told me today that Pence looks like Damien Darhk, the villian from DC comics who fights The Green Arrow. I can’t say I disagree. Plus, they both believe in magic.

  21. After everybody criticizing the Trump administration on scientific issues, I would like to point out something positive.

    To my knowledge, there was so far no greater popularizer of the many-world-interpretation of quantum theory than the Trump and his administration:
    There is most people’s reality and the many, many (often contradictory) trumpalities™.

    I think that the scientific literature will soon teem with technical terms such as ‘alternative facts™’ and so forth.

    What a great guy!
    Cheers,
    Michael

    (™ for Trump Mark’)

  22. I had to stop the first Video @ 3 minutes, I was too angry to continues, if you get rid of Trump you get this guy, who is a fundamentalist Christian, or appears to be, rather than a cynic who pays lip service, but I’m convinced cares less about Religion than we do, I think I prefer the former, God or whoever help me.

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