Creationism question evolves into a campaign controversy for Michael Hancock


godfinger.jpg
In the beginning, Michael Hancock had a very good start to Thursday: Coming off a smooth performance in a bumpy mayoral debate, he survived an appearance on Peter Boyles's show and then learned he was ahead of Chris Romer in two polls -- one by RBI, one by his own pollster. But then the creation question came to smite him.

For weeks, there have been rumors that Hancock does not believe in evolution, rumors fueled by a debate at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, back when the mayoral race was still packed with a lineup of all creatures great and small. Asked if he believed in evolution, Hancock said that he believed in God.

His campaign later said he didn't have enough time to fully answer -- but he didn't have any more time at last night's debate at East High School sponsored by the Denver Democrats, when, in a lightning round that only allowed yes or no answers, the candidates were asked "Do you believe creationism and intelligent design should be taught in public schools?"

Romer said "no." Hancock said "yes."

This time, Hancock misunderstood the question, his campaign says, and released this statement from Hancock to clarify his position:

"While I am a man of great faith, I believe Creationism and Intelligent Design are religious beliefs that have no place in a public school curriculum. The best place for religion to be taught is at home or place of worship."

Romer's campaign clearly understood that whatever Hancock meant to say, his answer provided an opening, and released this late last night:


"We believe science should be taught in science classes, especially as we strive to improve math and science proficiency among Denver students. Both candidates were asked this question clearly by the moderator. Chris Romer said no. Michael Hancock said yes."

Heaven help us! If this is the beginning of the really tough campaigning, just imagine how rough the next 25 days could get...

Who would make the better ringmaster in the circus that is Denver? See Kenny Be's "Mayoral Menagerie."


My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
Flaffel
Flaffel

Hancock just lost my vote.

superbad
superbad

Me too. I don't particularly like either candidate, but this made it easy to choose.

friend
friend

It is clear that Hancock does not believe creationism should be taught in schools. Buying into this means you are susceptible to the lowest forms dirty politics- which is all the Romer campaign has been up to. 

R2D3
R2D3

"In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America youcan criticize the government but not Darwin."-- Chinese paleontologist(quoted in Wall Street Journal, "The Church of Darwin" by Phillip E.Johnson, Aug. 16, 1999)I wonder how many students would say they have the academic freedomto critique evolution in their science classes? There should be schooldistrict and state polls of high-school and college/university studentsstudying evolution, asking two questions:In this class: a) Is evolution taught as fact, theory, or both fact andtheory? b) Do you have the academic freedom to critique evolution?[Students should be asked anonymously]The same two questions could be asked of their instructors.The article, "Valley of the Whales", in the August 2010 issue of NationalGeographic, is a good example of an evolutionary article. It's typical ofreadings given to students studying evolution:http://ngm.nationalgeographic.... should be encouraged to distribute such articles and threedifferent colored markers to each student, then ask them to mark theverified facts with one color, the opinions with another, and thesuppositions with another. Students should be taught to weigh the factualevidence, evaluate statements and recognize the writer's purpose and pointof view.The following suggested Origins of Life policy, is a realistic, practicaland legal way for local and state school boards to achieve a win-win withregard to evolution teaching. Even the ACLU, the NCSE, and AmericansUnited for the Separation of Church and State should find the policyacceptable:"As no theory in science is immune from critical examination andevaluation, and recognizing that evolutionary theory is the only approvedtheory of origins that can be taught in the [school district/state]science curriculum: whenever evolutionary theory is taught, students andteachers are encouraged to discuss the scientific information that_supports_ and _questions_ evolution and its underlying assumptions, inorder to promote the development of critical thinking skills. Thisdiscussion would include only the scientific evidence/information _for_and _against_ evolutionary theory, as it seeks to explain the origin ofthe universe and the diversity of life on our planet."What follows is a partial list of questions that could be used tocritically examine and evaluate evolution. They would make good classroomdiscussions, initiated by either teacher or student, or researchassignments.1. Edward Blyth, English chemist/zoologist (and creationist), wrote hisfirst of three major articles on natural selection in The Magazine ofNatural History, 24 years before Darwin's "Origin of Species" waspublished. Why then, do evolutionists think of natural selection asDarwin's idea?2. On page one of Richard Dawkins' 1986 book, "The Blind Watchmaker" hewrites: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give theappearance of having been designed for a purpose".a) If living things look designed--if the empirical evidence suggestspurpose--then how do evolutionists know they weren't designed? b) What isthe criteria for "apparent" design?3. How does evolution explain the Cambrian explosion of new life? StephenJay Gould noted that the Burgess Shale fossils turn the cone of increasingspecies diversity predicted by neo-Darwinian theory virtually upside down.Do you agree with Gould's assessment: that the disparity of the phylaprecedes the diversity of species? Isn't this, in fact, backwards fromDarwinian predictions?4. How does geology explain dinosaur bones with soft tissue, supposedlydated at "80 million years"? (Schweitzer et al, Science 324:626-631).Watch: 60 Minutes Presents: B-Rex (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJOQiy.... Most geologists believe diamonds formed deep below the earth’s surface,1 to 3 billion years ago. How do these geologists explain the presence ofcarbon-14 in a number of diamond samples?6. All radiometric dating methods assume that a) no decay product waspresent initially or that initial quantities can be accurately estimatedb) the decay system was closed through the years and c) the decay rate wasconstant over time. What conditions could invalidate these assumptions?7. Regarding vertical evolution (information-enhancing evolution), can yougive an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which canbe seen to increase the information in the genome?If science is a search for truth, no scientific theory should be allowedto freeze into dogma, immune from critical examination and evaluation.For further reference:Teaching Evolution-- Is There a Better Way?http://www.creationmoments.com... Origins in Public Schoolshttp://mall.turnpike.ne... questions to ask your biology teacher about evolutionhttp://www.iconsofevo... 

Pete
Pete

Ah-worthless critical analysis.  Giving kids their choice between the magic and safety of creationism/intelligent design and evolutionary theory that has mountain ranges of evidence to support it is like allowing them to choose between Twinkies or broccoli for dinner.  Their understanding of the world is simplistic and driven by their gut.  A lot like your entry.  Every last creationist/intelligent design proponent needs to ask themselves a very clear question—where does intelligent design lead?  To the Holocaust?  To Rawanda?  To psychotic murderers like Dahlmer?  Who designed that stuff?  And frankly if god was nothing more than a watchmaker who set the watch in motion then stepped back to observe, what kind of a loving god is that?  You guys are deeply confused and wanting more confusion.

Flaffel
Flaffel

To say that you cannot question Darwin in the United States is just absurd, nobody is going to 'come for you' because of this post, I guarantee it.  Metaphysics don't belong in the classroom and creationism/intelligent design are clearly trying to fit reality into the parameters of your religious views.   Evolution, like gravity, has overwhelming proof (not evidence! PROOF) that it is correct.   Go ahead and question it if you like, just don't try to force some sort of alternate 'christian-based' science on our young people.  Our schools are falling behind as it is, lets not muddy the waters with this silliness.

R2D3
R2D3

Flaffel: Are you in favor of this poll of students and teachers? Why or why not?---

There should be school district and state polls of high-school and college/university students studying evolution, asking two questions: In this class: a) Is evolution taught as fact, theory, or both fact and theory? b) Do you have the academic freedom to critique evolution?[Students should be asked anonymously] The same two questions could be asked of their instructors.====

You won't know what the students and their instructors think unless you ask them.

Robert
Robert

missing a lot of spaces from that -- does OCR software make that mistake a lot?   That's OK, as a robot you accept that greater minds than yours have crafted this scattershot attack on that fundamentalist bugbear, Darwinism, so as to be most effective in dressing up your dogma in the guise of science.  Go forth and disrupt school board meetings -- only five days left according to various wackos.

Robert
Robert

On behalf of patients, caregivers, MMCs, and all users of cannabis in Colorado, I have submitted a questionnaire to the candidates on their views on cannabis.  There is already ample reason not to support either candidate on the basis of several issues, and failing some kind of positive response, I plan to urge a boycott of the runoff.  It is hard to imagine either candidate saying or doing anything to merit the active support of the cannabis-community, but the questionnaire will serve as a last chance to avoid the opprobrium which should fall on the head of any prohibitionist running for office in Denver.

TeacherTeacher
TeacherTeacher

The only creationism we care about is job creationism.  The other one is a stupid, irrelevant issue.  No one is going to start monkeying (yes, I said it) with the public school curriculum, so quit campaigning and reporting like infants; "he said this, no he didn't, he said that, waaaah!"

If the statements raise serious concerns about Hancock's judgment, the decision to pounce on them raises serious concerns about Romer's judgment.  It's a wash.  Move on. 

Standson9
Standson9

I cannot believe that Michael Hancock did not "Understand" the question as it was clearly stated.  The audience certainly understood the question and Hancock' reply.  His press release reeks of political CYA and reminds one of "Both Ways Bob."

Chris
Chris

Although this is not a decision for the mayor to make, Michael Hancock's response raises serious concerns about his judgement. When asked whether creationism or "intelligent design" should be taught in public schools, any reasonable, well informed person is not likely to struggle with saying, "No." Hancock said, "Yes." Then he issued a statement saying, "No." I'm not sure which is more troubling: his initial answer, or the retraction.

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...