Miss USA contestants on evolution

Posted on June 23, 2011

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I had heard that one of the questions for Miss USA contestants this year was going to be “Do you think evolution should be taught in school?”  I expected the answers to be bad, since I don’t think MOST Americans could give a good answer to that question, but I certainly didn’t expect the answers to be THIS bad.

*shudder*

I had a very hard time listening to all of those answers.  Even the ones that answered “yes” made me queasy.  The most common “yes” answer seemed to be along these lines:

“I think evolution should be taught in schools, as well as other theories, so people can choose what they want to believe.”

It is really a testament to our education system that not one of these women had any clue as to what the proper definition of a scientific theory is.  One of the contestants even said “We shouldn’t teach theories, we should teach facts!”  *facepalm*  Not one contestant came out and said “Yes, we should teach evolution, because it is supported by mountains of evidence and is true, unlike creationism, which is not supported by evidence, and is based on faith.”  Is that so difficult?

What is also a stick in my spokes is how the contestants supported teaching both sides so that “people can choose what they want to believe.”  The idea that you can actively choose what it is you believe is ridiculous.  You don’t choose what you believe in, you either believe it or you don’t for compelling reasons.  If I “choose to believe” that I aced a test when I actually failed it, my grade doesn’t magically change to an A+.  If I “choose to believe” I served in the Vietnam war, despite the fact that I was born after the conflict took place, I cannot truthfully claim to be a veteran.  You have two choices, you can either believe something because of evidence and reason, or you can believe something based on faith.  If you believe in something based on the latter, you have forfeited your right to be making truth claims.  So, what these contestants are saying is that they want people to choose what they believe independent of what is true and supported by the facts.  Amazing.

Now, I hope I didn’t come off as somehow targeting women specifically for my rant.  I don’t for one second think that a cast of 50 men, one from each state, ages 18-30, would have answered any more coherently.  This is a problem with the American education system, not any one particular sex.

Lastly, and on a high note, there was one contestant that I thought had a good answer.  Not a GREAT answer, but a good one nonetheless.  It was Miss Vermont.

“I think evolution should be taught in schools because not everybody necessarily has the same religious background, and it’s important to have scientific facts about the world. And we do know that evolution exists, even on a small scale like with people, and with bacteria that are becoming resistant to drugs and what not. So, might as well learn about it.”

There we go!  It looks better in writing than it sounds verbally.  She seemed a bit unsure of herself, but the words stand on their own all the same.  Brava!

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Posted in: Religion, Science