Apart from the egregious dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) he’s in charge of, Scott Pruitt’s personal beliefs regarding the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change regularly make headline news. Regardless of what he believes in private, his role as the Trump administration’s public obfuscator-in-chief is one he’s clearly taken on with relish.
Now, as revealed by a stunning report over at Politico, it seems that climatological research is far from the only science he’s averse to. In an interview given to Oklahoma talk radio show in 2005, he mentioned – in-between a cornucopia of other questionable things – that he's also not a fan of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
“I think the basis of humanism is evolution, and there aren’t sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution, and it deals with the origins of man which is more from a philosophical standpoint than a scientific standpoint,” the then-State Senator said during his chat.
Saying that “there aren’t sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution” is akin to suggesting that it’s not quite clear if magnets can be explained using the theory of electromagnetism. Perhaps they’re just magic.
In the same way, how is dealing with the origin of our species – or any species – more of a philosophical thing than something deserving scientific discourse? Extend that inexcusable lapse of logic to the rest of reality, and we’d have doctors philosophizing about treating cancer. We’d grow crops and fly to the Moon merely by getting people to sit down and have a good, long ponder.
We're sure at this point some of Pruitt’s defenders will try to point out that, as head of the EPA, it’s not his job to deal with the theory of evolution, but then they’d be missing the point. It’s unquestionably concerning that the administrator of the EPA – an agency that is supposed to constantly deal with and engage in scientific research and turn that into public policy – is publically dismissing a scientific theory so thoroughly accepted and fundamental to our understanding of the wider world.
It’s very much like Rick Perry, the inexplicable Secretary of the Department of Energy, publically stating that he just doesn't buy gravity. What if the head of the Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, suddenly declared that Pythagoras was talking out of his posterior?
They haven't actually said these things, and they don't have to directly address them in their line of work. Nevertheless, if they ever did make such utterances, you’d (hopefully) be quite concerned.
At this point, it’d be more pertinent to ask Pruitt if there’s any science he does accept.