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Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

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Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby acereraser » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:57 pm

It is not the answer that is shocking, but rather, that his regional director couldn't say with certainty either way at a public listening session in Shorewood Hills. First she said no, but then she retracted when she realized it may be unwise to commit so strongly to a position involving facts. I can sympathize with her, as I often find myself hedging when working with my children on math problems.

Anyone know for sure? I'd like to give Sen. Johnson credit for not being a young earth creationist if that is indeed the case.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:39 pm

Johnson sits on the US Senate Subcomittee on Science and Space. It looks like space is his expertise, as all he does is occupy it.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby rabble » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:28 pm

UPDATE: 6:30 p.m. --
Melinda Schnell, Johnson's press secretary, told The Huffington Post via email that the senator does in fact believe in evolution. "Yes, Senator Johnson believes in evolution," she said.

Now all we need is to know is which kind. With all that talk about human evolution vs animal evolution, I can't tell if he believes in both.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:29 pm

he clearly believes in evolving his position to be more palatable to voters
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:56 am

Johnson belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which believes the earth is only 6,000 years old. If he also believes in evolution, to must have occurred very quickly.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:15 am

perhaps he believes in mutation as well :roll:

Honestly I doubt what he really believes has any bearing on either statement his staff made.

It be nice if committee appointments had anything to do with a senator's or congressman's skill set but that's not how it usually works. Which given the typical skill set of those two groups, isn't too shocking.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:31 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:Honestly I doubt what he really believes has any bearing on either statement his staff made.

Which begs, or raises, the question: why did she immediately assume he didn't believe in evolution?

That, to me, is of equal importance to the original question. If he believes in it, how come he sent out a spokesperson to a town hall meeting who was not only certain he didn't believe in evolution, she thought it was no big deal until the constituent started talking about all that "science" crap and she remembered she was being recorded.

Did she make that assumption because she doesn't believe in evolution and just naturally assumed he didn't either since they share the same beliefs otherwise?

Did he give her evidence of his disbelief, like making evolution jokes or lamenting about how the heathens were ignoring God's Plan?

I'd kinda like to know the back story on that. Because one would assume he wouldn't send just anybody out to these meetings. Seems like he'd hand pick someone who is very familiar with his opinions and world view.

Wouldn't he?
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby snoqueen » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:16 am

I think the big problem is he and his staff had to consult before answering such a straightforward question.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:33 pm

The question is bogus. If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:37 pm

green union terrace chair wrote: If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.

Link, please.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:49 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:
green union terrace chair wrote: If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.

Link, please.

Yeah. At least expand on it a little.

I don't know any evolutionary biologists but I know one paleontologist who has been with me in conversations about evolution deniers and has never mentioned she didn't believe in it.

I'll ask her directly next time we meet.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby Detritus » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:53 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:The question is bogus. If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.

For some reason, this made me think of an old joke: If a true masochist says "Beat me!" a true sadist says "No!"
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby fennel » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:08 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:The question is bogus. If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.
I guess they might if they were being sticklers for precision at the moment. But they would also likely follow up by saying that they operate under the assumption that the theory of evolution is correct — and that to do otherwise would be silly and reckless.
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:09 pm

Detritus wrote:
green union terrace chair wrote:The question is bogus. If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.

For some reason, this made me think of an old joke: If a true masochist says "Beat me!" a true sadist says "No!"

That is fantastic! Hadn't heard that one before.

My complaint is semantic. A scientist doesn't "believe" in a theory. They would say that it is a leading theory, or has the most evidence, or is the most plausible explanation.

A more proper question would be, "does the senator subscribe to the theory of evolution?"

Even that doesn't really tell you much since the average person doesn't understand evolution and natural selection vs. adaptation. And then there are people who don't even understand what they're disagreeing with. You don't think your ancestor was a gorilla? Well neither do these scientists! (You and a gorilla may have a common ancestor, but one is not descended from the other.)
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Re: Does Sen. Ron Johnson believe in evolution?

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:15 pm

fennel wrote:
green union terrace chair wrote:The question is bogus. If you ask an evolutionary biologist or a paleontologist if they believe in evolution, they will say no.
I guess they might if they were being sticklers for precision at the moment. But they would also likely follow up by saying that they operate under the assumption that the theory of evolution is correct — and that to do otherwise would be silly and reckless.

SIMUL-POST.

Yes, but they would say it's the most correct. It is a massive topic and elements are constantly under revision (example: there was a story in the last month about a bunch of skulls unearthed near the Caucasus Mountains that might rewrite a big chapter.)

So no scientist would say YUP THAT'S IT WE FIGURED IT ALL OUT.

I think that's an important distinction, because I've heard plenty of evolution deniers latch on to some new discovery with a "Haw haw, you was wrong before, you don't know nuthin'!"
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