Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, appearing on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect TV show, was recorded on videotape declaring, “You know what, evolution is a myth… why arenâ€™t monkeys still evolving into humans?”
As anyone who paid attention in high school biology class understands, biological evolution through natural selection is a largely divergent process, causing separate populations within a species that experience different selective pressures to split into different species. The process of evolution isn’t something that’s divinely ordained through some kind of simple script that plays in a single line running from single-celled organisms to fish to monkeys to human beings. Monkeys continue to evolve, as do human beings, but they’re mostly not in the kind of situations that led one monkey species long ago to diverge into an ape form, much less undergoing the sort of selective pressures that led one species of ape to diverge into australopithecines.
It’s not the sort of idea you encounter on Saturday morning cartoons, but it’s not really very difficult to understand… if one cares to try to understand. A candidate for the United States Senate, the most powerful legislative body in the history of the world, ought to have enough basic scientific literacy so as not to believe that the concept of biological evolution requires all monkeys to evolve into human beings.
O’Donnell can’t fathom an answer to the question of “why arenâ€™t monkeys still evolving into humans?” A more relevant question for the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Delaware is this: Why isn’t Christine O’Donnell evolving into a more credible candidate for public office?