Background and Significance:
Recently, a pretty old YouTube clip of Ron Paul explaining that he does not accept the “theory of evolution” showed up in my Facebook feed. It was posted by the Secular Student Alliance and provoked quite a bit of debate in the comments. The video is from late 2007 and the relevant question posed to Paul was regarding whether or not he had raised his hand on May 3rd, 2007 when the Republican candidates at a televised debate were asked to do so if they did NOT believe in evolution. Only three candidates raised their hands; Ron Paul was NOT one of them, by the way.
However, in this video clip, set in a more conservative, Christian setting, he affirms that:
“Well, first I thought it was a very inappropriate question, you know, for the presidency to be decided on a scientific matter… and uh, I think it’s a theory…the theory of evolution and I don’t accept it as a theory. But it really doesn’t bother me… Its not the most important issue for me… to make the difference in my life to understand the exact origin. I think the creator that I know, you know… created us, every one of us and created the universe and the precise time and manner… and all. I just don’t think we’re at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side.” … “I think its a theological discussion and we can have our… but if that were the issue of the day, I wouldn’t be running for public office! [laughter]”
Now there are a LOT of things we could talk about in this one clip — like whether or not the leader of the most scientifically and technologically advanced nation in the world (which btw depends on “scientific matters” to produce the vast majority of its GDP) should reasonably be expected to demonstrate a basic understanding of rudimentary scientific topics; or the old, tried-and-true trick of claiming that this is a theological question that allows for multiple opinions and points-of-view — but I want to focus this post specifically on the miss-use of the word “theory” that Paul and almost every politician today commits on a regular basis.