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early and awkward

Which GOP Presidential Candidates Believe in Evolution?

Earlier today, Rick Perry was pulled unwittingly off-message once again when he told a New Hampshire boy that evolution is a merely a "theory that's out there" with "some gaps." While witnessing a presidential candidate question the validity of one of the most basic and universally accepted tenets of science never ceases to be startling, it's hardly novel at this point. During the 2008 race, for example, three GOP candidates (Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee and also-rans Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo) raised their hands during a debate when the moderator asked if any of them did not believe in evolution. How many raised hands would there be this year, if the same question is asked of the GOP field? Let's take a look at where everyone stands.

No Doubts About Evolution:

Jon Huntsman: As Utah's governor in 2005, Huntsman said evolution alone should be taught in science classes because, "I would expect my kids in science class to be instructed in those things that are somewhat quantifiable and based on thorough and rigorous empirical research." Today, after the Rick Perry incident, Huntsman tweeted, "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."

Mitt Romney: During the 2007 campaign, Romney explained that he believes God created the universe and also "he used the process of evolution to create the human body."

Newt Gingrich: Asked his views of evolution in Discover in 2006, Gingrich said, "Evolution certainly seems to express the closest understanding we can now have." Earlier this year, he told a Minnesota Family Council audience, "I believe that creation as an act of faith is true and I believe that science as a mechanical process is true," during an afternoon session that preceded a more formal address. “Both can be true. I don’t think there is necessarily a conflict between the two.”

Some Doubts:

Ron Paul: In a Q&A with Reddit users in 2009, Paul, asked about evolution said, "You know it is a theory, nobody has concrete proof of any of this. But quite frankly I think it’s sort of irrelevant, that because we don’t know the exact details and we don’t have geologic support for evolutionary forms, it is a theory, even though it’s a pretty logical theory."

Big Doubts:

Michele Bachmann: In June, Bachmann said she supported teaching intelligent design in classrooms alongside evolution, because there's "reasonable doubt on both sides." Years ago, as a Minnesota state senator, she claimed that "'eminent, reasonable minds" in science disagree with evolutionary theory, and contended that "to believe in evolution is almost like a following; a cult following."

Rick Santorum: Santorum, a strong proponent of intelligent design, has called evolution one of the "controversial issues in science" and claims there are "legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution."

Unclear:

Herman Cain: As far as we can tell, Cain hasn't shared his thoughts on evolution.

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