Maybe I’ll Vote For Gravel…

As reported in this article in Reason Magazine:

My favorite response from any candidate about the evolution/creationism debate was from former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska). When LiveScience asked the senator if he thought creationism should be taught in public schools, Gravel replied, “Oh God, no. Oh, Jesus. We thought we had made a big advance with the Scopes monkey trial….My God, evolution is a fact, and if these people are disturbed by being the descendants of monkeys and fishes, they’ve got a mental problem. We can’t afford the psychiatric bill for them. That ends the story as far as I’m concerned.”

Knowing you can’t win can be liberating. I suspect that’s how all of the Democratic candidates feel about this issue, but it is only the ones on the fringe who can actually say it.


  1. #1 JamesLS
    January 15, 2008

    While I agree that Gravel’s position does demonstate his own intelligence, we must not, at risk of our own peril, forget that John Scopes was convicted of dening the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible.

    Who we vote for does make a difference!

  2. #2 Ian
    January 15, 2008

    Gravel has been entertaining if nothing else. As much as I agree with what he’s trying to say, I always cringe a little when someone uses the word “fact” to describe evolution. Even if we’re completely right about our current description of evolution, which we surely aren’t, it isn’t a “fact”. It’s a process, which we understand better as time goes on. And I don’t go so far as to describe those that disagree with me as mental patients, but I seem to be in the minority there too.

  3. #3 John Conway
    January 16, 2008

    I think the word “evolution” can legitimately refer to either the theory or the history of the evolutionary process. The history of the evolutionary process can reasonably be called a fact.

    I think his quip about “mental problem” was pretty funny in the context. I don’t think it was meant as a serious diagnosis.

  4. #4 Jason Rosenhouse
    January 16, 2008


    I think that depending on the context “evolution” can refer either to common descent, which I have no problem describing as a fact, or to the various processes that lead to change in organisms over time, about which our knowledge is, er, evolving. And I agree with John Conway that the mental patient remark, while a bit flamboyant, is pretty funny in context.

    And you’ve just got to love a politician who will liken the views of a large segment of the voting population to those of a mental patient!

  5. #5 georgann
    January 23, 2008

    If more people would listen to what the candidates are actually saying and believe in, rather than what the TV tells them, more would be supporting Gravel!

    Gravel has been open and honest with us, and people still flock to the “packaged” candidates? Someone is paying for that packaging.

    How can people continue to scream for honesty and then reject the few candidates who are honest with them?

    When this mess all collaspses, have fun explaining to your children why you didn’t vote for honest candidates because “they couldn’t win”.

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