THE VINE SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
Yesterday I noted that only one Republican running for a Senate seat this year believed in climate change. That was Delaware's Mike Castle, who got ousted in his state's primary last night by Christine O'Donnell. And what's O'Donnell's deal? Well, she doesn't believe in the greenhouse effect. But she also doesn't believe in evolution. New York's Dan Amira dug up an old discussion (I hesitate to use the term "debate") O'Donnell had with a University of Tennessee evolutionary biologist:
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, Concerned Women for America: Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it's exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put — that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it's merely a theory. But creation —
This is a good time to be crassly commercial and plug TNR contributor Jerry Coyne's excellent book Why Evolution Is True, which explains quite clearly that evolution does "consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests." That's why it's widely accepted as fact by scientists. Anyway, here's where O'Donnell gets nutty:
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: Now, he said that it's based on fact. I just want to point out a couple things. First of all, they use carbon dating, as an example, to prove that something was millions of years old. Well, we have the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and the carbon dating test that they used then would have to then prove that these were hundreds of millions of years younger, when what happened was they had the exact same results on the fossils and canyons that they did the tests on that were supposedly 100 millions of years old. And it's the kind of inconsistent tests like this that they're basing their 'facts' on.
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.
Remember, kids, fossils were placed there by Satan to test us.