The Miss USA Contestants on Evolution

A colleague of mine in biology shared this video, which brings together all the Miss USA contestants’ answers to the question “Should evolution be taught in schools.”

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The contestant from my own state of Indiana, Jillian Wunderlich, speaks at the 4:25 mark. Although on the one hand I am dismayed by her lack of knowledge on the subject, in some ways her admission of ignorance and deferral of the decision to others is better than what many of the contestants did, which was try to offer a definitive answer regarding a subject about which they are clearly not well informed.

Also relevant, the NCSE has shared videos from the Texas school board deliberations about supplementary materials on evolution, the British Center for Science Education looks at the fundamentals of creationism, Ted Herrlich notes the Discovery Institute’s disinterest in scientists harassed or dismissed by Christian schools because of their acceptance of evolution, and Arni Zachariassen shared a letter (images as well as transcription) to Charles Darwin from his wife, to which he later added a postscript saying that he had kissed and cried over it many times.

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  • http://kippahandcollar.wordpress.com/ Alana

    I am deeply depressed by the number of contestants who respond as though evolution is a new option that’s being added to the curriculum, rather than the dominant scientific consensus–and as though it’s an extra class, an elective that students can take or not take, instead of an integral part of science education (especially biological science). I know Miss America contestants aren’t really representative of the intellectual mainstream, but still: yikes.

    Also found Miss Iowa’s “I took evolution in college”, as though it’s a trendy drug that one experiments with in one’s youth, a bit odd.

  • Gary

    Glad I’m from California.
    Darwin’s wife sure beats around the bush. She should have done what my wife does. Just tell her children her side of the family descended from Adam and Eve. His side of the family descended from a common ancestor of a monkey. All sides are happy.

  • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

    in some ways her admission of ignorance and deferral of the decision to others is better than what many of the contestants did, which was try to offer a definitive answer regarding a subject about which they are clearly not well informed.

    Good point. Which reminds me, have you read any scholarly books on the nature of history and historical facts by historians well recognized by their peers as having made a major contribution to that discussion?

  • Anonymous

    “And for your next question Miss Wunderlich, what do these names mean to you.  Kennedy.  Johnson.  Nixon.” 

    “Uh, two presidents.  And a floor wax?”

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Neil, is there any particular reason why you have posted the same question on two different posts?

    • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

      Let’s just say I find it slightly ironical that the person who writes the passage I quoted elsewhere demonstrates a lack of awareness of major landmark scholarly works in the discussion of the nature of history and historical facts in the field of history generally, yet speaks with such authority on the matters.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Well, I find it extremely ironic that someone who claims to be a defender of mainstream historical methodology can’t bring himself to accept the conclusion of all professional historians who’ve looked at Jesus. But I still don’t see how that relates to what the Miss USA contestants had to say about evolution, or the matter of asking the same question in two places.

  • Andrew Chang

    This is, unfortunately, an accurate representation of where America stands today. Unsurprisingly, the Northeast and California are the best informed.

  • randall.morrison90

    Hey look, they are just a bunch of hot babes in a beauty constest.

    A find collection of nice, beautiful girls indeed.

    So what’s your problem?  Get off their assess!

    What are you, gay?

  • http://twitter.com/gbienzobas Gabriel Bienzobas

    It is unbelievable that video. In Spain everyone that goes to a public school is taught evolution and nothing else. The Adam and Eve (Genesis) idea is only taught if you go to Sunday school and Church.

    I am so gobsmacked. Some of them knew about evolution at least – that is the consolation prize I suppose.

    The question should be. Should “creationism” be taught in schools?

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