Scott Walker’s inartful dodge in London

Feb 18, 2015

AP Photo/Tim Ireland

By Richard Cohen

If I were a Republican, I think I might have supported Scott Walker for president. The man has a nice smile, nearly flunked French in college (so did I) and, most important, has fought for what he believes. What he believes, I must emphasize, is not what I believe, but I nevertheless could respect his tenacity and adherence to principle. Until last week.

It was last week that Walker made a trip to Britain. It was one of those so-called trade missions in which he emphasized the importance of Wisconsin exports, cheese and stuff. Apparently, simply being photographed with Big Ben in the background was supposed to enhance his foreign policy credentials, which, as far as I can tell, are nonexistent. He is virtually a different man.

But it was in London that a Brit, somehow overlooking the significance of cheese, asked the governor whether he believes in evolution. This is precisely no different than asking whether one believes in the theory of gravity or general relativity, but Walker would not answer. He said he had come to London to deal not with philosophical matters but, as cannot be emphasized enough, cheese. Good day, gentlemen!

My faux conservative heart sank. My pretend hero is either an ignoramus or a coward. It is simply not possible to contest evolution, since it is the basis of all the biological sciences. The issue is closed, not debatable, and while I am obliged to say something nice about those who prefer the biblical story of creation, I have to point out that countless people somehow manage a practical synthesis and believe in both — evolution and religion. It can be done.


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22 comments on “Scott Walker’s inartful dodge in London

  • If I were a Republican, I think I might have supported Scott Walker
    for president. The man has a nice smile…

    ‘There is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face’ – Macbeth Act 1, Scene 4.

    I sometimes wonder whether the democratic process might be improved if politicians were heard and not seen.



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  • So evolution is apparently a “philosophical” question is it ? Our cheese salesman apparently doesn’t know his curds from his whey. Of course the wily politicians know that whatever they say might well come back to haunt them like Banquo’s ghost did to Macbeth. (Thanks Geoff 21).



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  • The man has a nice smile, nearly flunked French in college
    . . . . . . .
    It was last week that Walker made a trip to Britain. It was one of those so-called trade missions in which he emphasized the importance of Wisconsin exports, cheese and stuff.

    He is obviously a salesman/politician who knows nothing French cruisine!

    The culture of those carefully bred and selected mould cultures is crucial!

    https://gianacliscaldwell.wordpress.com/tag/making-white-mold-ripened-cheese/



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  • Consider Mitt Romney. Every time he would answer a question, he would answer what he thought the room wanted to hear. He trusted that reporting would primarily reach people who also liked that answer.

    This strategy took him to leading presidential candidate. Mr. Walker is just trying out the strategy.



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  • Dodging the evolution question may increase his odds in the primaries, but if he continues to evade, or, worse yet, decides to be honest and admit that he doesn’t believe in it (after all, it’s “just a theory, not a fact”), he has no chance in the general election against a Democratic candidate who is much more likely to be (relatively) scientifically literate and not beholden to a “conservative” religious worldview.



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  • Fox News is not likely to report stories that show their darlings in a bad light. The more “progressive” and “liberal” media organizations have (and will), but the people who need to see the reporting aren’t reading, listening, or watching them.



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  • For those who don’t know, Walker is the Kochs’ poster-boy. He’s done a lot to dismantle and defeat the previously strong union movement in Wisconsin, and he’s actually a plausible contender for the Republican presidential candidacy, though it’d require J.E.B. (G.W.B.’s little brother) to seriously mess things up (as I understand it).



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  • PERSON Feb 19, 2015 at 8:38 am

    though it’d require J.E.B. (G.W.B.’s little brother) to seriously mess things up (as I understand it).

    I understand Jeb Bush was the one who fiddled the Florida votes, to get his oily brother elected so he could waste $6 trillion of tax-payers money on oil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while creating misery for millions.

    Bush administrations have done much to obstruct the operation of reductions in carbon pollution, but it appears the climate is in the process of exacting its revenge on Florida!!!

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/climate-change-economics/florida-coast-map



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  • I always have a problem with the question “do you believe in evolution?”

    If something is established over 150 years to be fact with more evidence than you can shake a bone at that it is true and it fits every time a question is raised as to how life in all its forms is as it is, then is it possible to use the term “believe”
    You can know about it, you can understand it, but as I understand things, belief means you don’t have facts, you just believe.
    Am I wrong?



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  • @OP But it was in London that a Brit, somehow overlooking the significance of cheese, asked the governor whether he believes in evolution. This is precisely no different than asking whether one believes in the theory of gravity or general relativity, but Walker would not answer.

    Meanwhile, evolving superbugs don’t care what ignoramuses think, or who is responsible for the lack of testing and regulation, but will take advantage of the misuse of antibiotics and sloppy hygiene procedures!

    The reported infections are resistant to most known antibioticshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31537617
    .Nearly 180 people at a Los Angeles hospital may have been exposed to a deadly strain of bacteria from contaminated medical equipment.

    Two deaths at UCLA Medical Center have been linked to the case and seven others are being treated.

    The patients were exposed to Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) during endoscopic procedures between October and January.

    A similar outbreak was reported last month in Seattle. Eleven patients died.

    The infections are difficult to treat because many strains are resistant to antibiotics.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that CRE can lead to death in up to half of seriously infected patients.

    The CDC said that national figures on the bacteria are not kept, but 47 states have seen cases.

    UCLA said the devices were sterilised according to the manufacturer’s specifications but two of them still carried bacteria. “We removed the infected instruments, and we have heightened the sterilisation process,” Tate said.

    Thirty-two patients at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle were infected by contaminated endoscopes from 2012 to 2014 with a bacterial strain similar to CRE, the hospital acknowledged in January.

    Amid the outbreaks, hospitals, medical-device companies and regulators have been criticised over safety standards.



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  • Actually, as some here have already implied, the question was incorrectly posed. It is not a matter of “belief”.

    The questioner should have asked : ” Do you understand the Theory of Evolution? ”



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  • I live in Wisconsin and I have a hard time organizing my thoughts in an eloquent and polite manner when it comes to Scott Walker. He takes a dangerously misguided liberty in believing that he speaks for the people of Wisconsin. Please, lets not allow him to gain more political power.



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  • Could we say do you understand the Theory of Natural Selection? To me, evolution is not a theory. Natural selection is a theory (the best one we have) that explains evolution. That organisms evolve over time is an observable fact not in dispute. Just as objects fall to ground is an observable fact. Gravity and relativity explain why that happens.

    I think we do a continual disservice to refer to it as the theory of evolution rather than the theory of natural selection.

    But I could certainly be very wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last…



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  • Ric Feb 23, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Could we say do you understand the Theory of Natural Selection? To me, evolution is not a theory. Natural selection is a theory (the best one we have) that explains evolution.

    The confusion arises because of the abbreviation of Darwin’s original title, and subsequent abbreviations!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species
    .On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
    For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species.

    Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection.

    It is now referred to as: “The (scientific) theory of evolution by way of natural selection”, but is often abbreviated to just: “The theory of evolution”!

    Further confusion is added by the pseudo-science, pseudo-“theory”, of “theistic evolution”, which is not science at all, but is a fudge of Darwin’s theory and god-did-it, concocted by Old Earth Creationists.



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  • 22
    cjcadden says:

    Good point. Although I am not an evolutionary biologist and lack the wealth of knowledge that Mr Dawkins possesses, the theory of evolution makes sense to me when explained in layman’s terms via documentaries and other forms, and Biology was my best subject at school too. The creationist model on the other hand is just a willingness to believe based on what is written in the Old Testament instead of acknowledging centuries of inquisitive discovery.
    Maybe the question should have been do you accept the wealth of evidence supporting evolution or do you prefer to believe the Earth was created.



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