Louisiana Republicans: Can Bacteria “Evolve” Into Humans?

by Stuart Shapiro

The Republicans did extremely well in state legislative elections in 2010.  This helped them in redistricting which helped them retain Congress in 2012.  On the other hand it brought into office many people who will makes fools of themselves and give bloggers like me material.  Yesterday it was Arizona’s loyalty oath.  Today as shown in the video above, it is Louisiana State Senator Mike Walsworth asking if E Coli could evolve into a person in a laboratory.  Ashutosh Joalekar explains:

The senator’s quip might be regarded as a particularly startling admission of ignorance – not to mention anthropomorphism – if it weren’t one of the oldest ploys in the creationist playbook. The march of evolutionary science has left creationists very few places to hide, but one of the most common, apparently killer questions they have lobbed from these nooks is to question the difference between “microevolution” and “macroevolution”. Microevolution in which mutations in amino acids lead to gain or loss of  functions is all well and good they say (well, not all of them), but presumably there’s still no evidence of macroevolution. The skeptics refuse to be convinced unless, as the senator helpfully points out, they see an example of a bacterium directly transforming into a human being.

One has to hope that as idiotic positions like this are exposed, state elections will become as difficult for the far right to win as national ones have become.

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart Shapiro Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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