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I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries...
June 21, 2011 11:09 AM   Subscribe

A Miss USA delegate from each state (and D.C.) was asked whether or not they felt evolution should be taught in schools.
posted by gman (230 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
wait wait wait wait

DC has a Miss USA delegate but not one in the actual Congress?

Keep true to the important things, USA.
posted by DU at 11:11 AM on June 21, 2011 [51 favorites]


This is worse than I thought it would be which is really saying something.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:14 AM on June 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


Alyssa Campanella says yes. She also defended medical marijuana during the pageant. And she won.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:16 AM on June 21, 2011 [109 favorites]


"Personally, I was never taught evolution in school..."

Thank you Miss Arkansas.
posted by ghharr at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Eh, Miss USA is cool guy. She kills aliens, and doesn't afraid of anything.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


Roll Truck Roll - Urgh! You HAVE to say "Spoiler Alert" before stuff like that! Twice, in fact. =)
posted by indiebass at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We seem to be refighting battles over and over. Next year the question will be whether women should be allowed to vote, year after that will be slavery: pro or con.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2011 [46 favorites]


Question 3: do you think that the meaning of "separation of church and state" should be taught in schools?
posted by phunniemee at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


"We're smarter than ever these days so, I mean, why not teach everything and let people make their own decisions?"
- Kaylin Reque, 22, Miss Georgia
posted by stinkycheese at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, a lot of these women do look like future Republican trophy wives...
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:19 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here is the entirety of Miss Wisconsin's portion: "I feel that evolution should be taught in schools only because it's a great subject to touch base on."

what.

Also, her accent isn't right. I call fake. I don't know where she's from but it ain't here.
posted by desjardins at 11:19 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


People listen to Miss U.S.A. contestants? What's the point of that?
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Math class is tough!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Now I realize America is number one because that is as high as we can count.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2011 [95 favorites]


New drinking game: take a shot every time one of them says "both sides of the story."
posted by phunniemee at 11:23 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah. Let's get drunk while the kids make up their minds on which side of the story they're gonna vote.
posted by Namlit at 11:24 AM on June 21, 2011


Alyssa Campanella says yes. She also defended medical marijuana during the pageant. And she won.

And she also supports gay marriage, unlike some Miss Californias I can think of.
posted by TedW at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


I don't.. even...
posted by odinsdream at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2011


Evolution will punish those that do not study evolution.
posted by Muddler at 11:26 AM on June 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


Some of the responses are fun to watch in a train-wreck kind of way, just like Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segments are fun to watch. I think the a more interesting question would be whether the Miss USA candidate responses are more or less cringe-worthy than an otherwise representative sample of the population.

A quick search led me to a study from a few years ago that in the U.S., only 14 percent of adults thought that evolution was "definitely true," while about a third firmly rejected the idea.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2011


Science: It work's whether or not you believe !
posted by hot_monster at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2011 [21 favorites]


What the fuck is up with Zombie Miss Idaho? Is that just my monitor calibration?
posted by odinsdream at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2011


Vermont: Evolution. Might as well learn about it.
posted by starman at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


GAH MY EARS ARE BLEEDING.. FUCKING SHIT GOD DAMN IT>
posted by odinsdream at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was never taught creationism in public school, only in Sunday school. And even then, it wasn't taught to me past a very young age. I'm really curious how creationism could be taught to older children in public school science class. Do they really take passages from the Bible and put them in the text books? Do they go on to teach other truths from the Bible beyond creationism, like the great flood, or the parting of the Red Sea?
posted by jermsplan at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus wept.
posted by cashman at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


We should give children none of the tools they need to tell the difference between science and fairy stories, give teach them science and a fairy story, and let them "decide."
posted by 1adam12 at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


YES! Teach both sides.

Also, I want to be taught about unicorns along with geometry. Teach both sides, then let me decide which is better!

I want to be read The Lord of the Rings and learn about WWI, then I want to decide for myself which is true for me.

Finally, I to learn about Cthulu alongside neuroscience. Who says insanity has only one explanation?





OMG! I HATE PEOPLE RIGHT NOW!
posted by oddman at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2011 [74 favorites]


Evolution will punish those that do not study evolution.

Not quickly enough, unfortunately.
posted by contessa at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


If the Miss U.S.A. pageant is where evolution has brought us, then no we shouldn't be bragging about it in schools.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 11:36 AM on June 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Okay, I just watched the whole video. And seriously, it was better than I expected. Yes, many of them are parroting the old "teach the controversy" line. But if you really listen, a lot of them are obviously for evolution being taught in school, and are just tempering their answer to make it less controversial (see North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota). Vermont's answer is awesome.

And again, look at who won the pageant.

There's something just needlessly cruel about creating a competition that encourages uncontroversial opinions, and then making fun of the contestants for contriving opinions to sound uncontroversial to the pageant-watching audience. These are people trying to win a game. These aren't their own real opinions, let alone a representative sample of anyone's real opinions. They don't need you calling them future trophy wives.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:38 AM on June 21, 2011 [68 favorites]


Fine. Evolution, maybe. Just don't teach any of that heathen theory of universal gravitation.
posted by adamrice at 11:39 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


desjardins, She's a Green Bay girl, they're always a little over the top. She also had to step in at the last minute:
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WHBL) - Wisconsin’s entry in the Miss USA Pageant did not make the Top-16 in last night’s televised finals. 21-year-old Jordan Morkin of Green Bay stepped into the contest just a month ago, after the state’s previous contestant was charged with three felony counts of identity theft. Shaletta Porterfield of Madison stepped down last month as Miss Wisconsin USA. She has pleaded innocent and is scheduled to go on trial July 19th in Dane County Circuit Court.
posted by Floydd at 11:39 AM on June 21, 2011


I can't wait to see how the toddler/pedobear pageants will emulate this.

Maybe they'll haul out an effigy of Darwin and all the little beauties will descend upon and tear it apart with their hands and teeth while screaming FOR JESUS! FOR JESUS AND UNCLE SAM!

And then they'll go outside where there will be a huge wicker man with a man dressed as Karl Marx tied to it...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'd pay to see that, actually.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Evolution will punish those that do not study evolution.

Tragically, this is not true. As it stands today, evolution favours go-forth-and-multiply religious fundamentalists over practical, rational scientists. There is little selection pressure against irrationality, at least up to a certain drunken jackass level.
posted by CaseyB at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


SPOILER ALERT: Most of them use a lot of words to say "No."

WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO HEAR BUT NEVER WILL: At least ONE of them facing the camera squarely, blinking twice in confusion, then stammering "Yes. I mean, of course, absolutely. What kind of stupid question is that, anyway?"
posted by caution live frogs at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2011 [26 favorites]


ghharr: ""Personally, I was never taught evolution in school..."

Thank you Miss Arkansas
"

Apparently things have gotten much worse since I was in an Arkansas public school..
posted by wierdo at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2011


EVERYONE RACE TO THE BOTTOM GO GO GO
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you mute the volume, it's much more enjoyable.
posted by zarq at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2011


From the same set of interviews, see also Question 1: "Have you, or would you, use an online dating service?" and Question 2: "How do you feel about being in a tasteful nude photo shoot?"
posted by cjelli at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2011


These are people trying to win a game. These aren't their own real opinions, let alone a representative sample of anyone's real opinions.

Look, I realise it's embarrassing to go from World's Only Superpower to this, but c'mon -- do you even believe that, let alone expect anyone else to believe that?
posted by stinkycheese at 11:44 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would have been more impressive if Miss California lit a fatty while giving her answer.
posted by stormpooper at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


These are people trying to win a game.

Miss Arkansas wasn't. She said she never learned evolution in her school. I just can't even imagine it. How does that happen.
posted by cashman at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and here's the official Miss USA page with interviews sorted out by contestant, rather than by question. In case you want to compare questions-by-state for some crazy reason. And at the end they ask them to make noises? "Do a motor boat! Do a police siren!" I'm not really sure what's going on here.
posted by cjelli at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2011


stinkycheese: "do you even believe that, let alone expect anyone else to believe that?"

Um, both. I mean come on, this is a huge thing. Most of these women have been in dozens of pageants. Training, practice interviews, the whole deal.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Curious how people would have responded had they asked "Should creationism be taught in schools?"

Lots of people will say "teach the controversy" but wonder how many are actually comfortable with schools indoctrinating kids in a myth only relevant to one specific religious group.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


desjardins, She's a Green Bay girl, they're always a little over the top. She also had to step in at the last minute:
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WHBL) - Wisconsin’s entry in the Miss USA Pageant did not make the Top-16 in last night’s televised finals. 21-year-old Jordan Morkin of Green Bay stepped into the contest just a month ago, after the state’s previous contestant was charged with three felony counts of identity theft. Shaletta Porterfield of Madison stepped down last month as Miss Wisconsin USA. She has pleaded innocent and is scheduled to go on trial July 19th in Dane County Circuit Court.


Huh, it's Wisconsin, you'd have thought it would be DUI.
posted by desjardins at 11:51 AM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think these contestants are clever enough to lie about what they actually think in order to win a game.
posted by emelenjr at 11:52 AM on June 21, 2011


Wait, wait, wait... you mean I could have been learning comparative theology that included Unicorns? Or Rusulka? Or Oni in general? Maaaaaannnn.
posted by LD Feral at 11:53 AM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's something just needlessly cruel about creating a competition that encourages uncontroversial opinions, and then making fun of the contestants for contriving opinions to sound uncontroversial to the pageant-watching audience.


Yeah, most clearly have had some elocution lessons (less uptalking than you would find in a random group of 51 twenty-something women), but this is is mostly Stupid Rhetoric Tricks, where we watch as people untrained in argument try to simultaneously answer a question, bring up the talking points their state tourism board has hammered into them, and offend no one.

Quoth Sarah Chapman, Miss Nevada, "I think evolution definitely should be taught in schools. I think... there's different ways to view evolution, um, but as everyone can probably agree upon, everything evolves. We evolve as communities that build ourselves from scratch and Nevada is a good example of that, um, that we've evolved from a very small community to something much much bigger and much more successful, so I think evolution can be taught, um, in many different ways -- it doesn't necessarily have to be about people and how people have evolved, but it can also be about communities as well."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:54 AM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


caution live frogs - there is more than one religious group?
posted by rude.boy at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2011


Did you know Donald Trump owns the rights to the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants? They are just playing to their audience.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2011


I've got a real challenge question for these lovely womannequins: What would it be like to participate in a mirror fast (posted earlier today) for one hour?
posted by obscurator at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2011


There's something just needlessly cruel about creating a competition that encourages uncontroversial opinions, and then making fun of the contestants for contriving opinions to sound uncontroversial

I agree. Which makes me a hypocrite as I stand by American democracy and also watch The Daily Show.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2011


She said she never learned evolution in her school. I just can't even imagine it. How does that happen.

she never learned it, that doesn't mean that they didn't try to teach it to her
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Idiocracy is not just a movie, it's a prophesy.
posted by photoslob at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whether they're lying or not, there's a marked stated preference for Creationsm being taught. That should strike any intelligent person as baffling and/or frightening because it's a big national contest catering to a national mainstream audience.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:56 AM on June 21, 2011


I was personally amazed at how well this kind of interview could work as a way to screen potential dates.
posted by hellslinger at 11:57 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The one that really pissed me off was Miss TN's final answer. The First Amendment has nothing to do with patriotism.
posted by sbutler at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2011


Nice that they do it alphabetically by state, so as not to show any bias.
I couldn't go beyond Arkansas, though.
posted by Lukenlogs at 11:59 AM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


young rope-rider: Sorry, yes. I was trying.

I was also trying to criticize the FPP. It is, predictably, 90% "Ha, ha! Stupid beauty queens!"

I will misspell with all caps in my future attempts at satire.
posted by xod at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, there's plenty actual sexism here.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can someone draw us a map here? I need to know which areas of the USA to mock based on the type of women they send to their beauty pageants.

Miss Utah expressed their predicament honestly: she wants to be diplomatic and not to offend anyone with her answer, but she knows that a real answer is going to make a lot of people dismiss her (which is why so many went with the insanely unworkable and dishonest "give the children all of the opinions in the universe and let the children make up their own children minds" option).
posted by pracowity at 12:04 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Despite the fact that many of the women were actually semi-open to having evolutionary theory in the curriculum (which was surprising), this still depressed the hell me. Why did so many of them say they thought "everything" should be taught? Really, everything? All creation stories? I'm just trying to imagine the sheer vitriol and furious uproar across the Bible Belt that would result. Obviously they don't mean everything, they mean they evolution plus the first few chapters of Genesis. But come the fuck on. So kids can "choose what they want to believe?"

Come ON, America. Please don't make me want to emigrate! I'm too lazy to think about that kind of move.
posted by hegemone at 12:04 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of the responses are fun to watch in a train-wreck kind of way, just like Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segments are fun to watch.

i got really excited when i read this because i never heard of it and thought it was clips of people jaywalking and like almost getting hit by trains or something... it wasn't
posted by lulz at 12:04 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, there's plenty actual sexism here.

Ooo! Ooo! Pick me! Pick me!

Okay. My dad always had the infamous rhetorical question regarding beauty pageants: What are the two most important attributes for a beauty pageant contestant? I'll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with the interview.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


oddman, my husband is a biology teacher, and if you ask him if he'll ever teach creationism, he says, "Sure! Right after the unit on gargoyles." Of course we are in Massachusetts, not Real America.

Who cares what Miss USA thinks? Unless we're trading makeup secrets.
posted by theredpen at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


CaseyB: "Evolution will punish those that do not study evolution.

Tragically, this is not true. As it stands today, evolution favours go-forth-and-multiply religious fundamentalists over practical, rational scientists. There is little selection pressure against irrationality, at least up to a certain drunken jackass level.
"

We've gotta stop giving them nuclear bombs, ffs.
posted by symbioid at 12:12 PM on June 21, 2011


Did you know Donald Trump owns the rights to the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants?

Yes, and I must say that I expected better of the Donald. Not a single question asked contestants if Obama's birth certificate was a fraud!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:13 PM on June 21, 2011


Funny (scary?) story: one of those girls just recently cleaned my teeth.
posted by menschlich at 12:13 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Evolution will punish those that do not study evolution.

You think these people are unlikely to reproduce?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:13 PM on June 21, 2011


"Evolution will punish those that do not study evolution.

Tragically, this is not true. As it stands today, evolution favours go-forth-and-multiply religious fundamentalists over practical, rational scientists. There is little selection pressure against irrationality, at least up to a certain drunken jackass level."


I'd say it's getting truer all the time. Of course, the more rational folks don't seem likely to make it out alive either, but that's incidental.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2011


What's really funny is that I teach creationism all of the time!


Don't look at me like that it's not my fault that Saints Anselm and Aquinas made it a lynchpin of their metaphysical theories. (I also give them Hume's response!)
posted by oddman at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you were in Estonia on business, say, and turned on the TV to find a Miss Estonia contest, and the contestants were all speaking earnestly about trolls or fairies or magic spells... see how that would look? What impression might that leave with you?
posted by stinkycheese at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was never taught evolution until college, and even then it was as a small side note to the awesome skeleton stuff in biological anthro.

I don't think you can even give anyone a decent understanding of evolution until they've had a good solid scientific foundation, which most people don't get in high school. It will just be "species change over time" which, okay, yawn. At that level of detail and irrelevance it might as well be creationism.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:18 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


and the contestants were all speaking earnestly about trolls or fairies or magic spells... see how that would look? What impression might that leave with you?

Umm... those hotties play D&D?! Sweet!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:19 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I watched this, just hoping and hoping one of those women would roll her eyes and respond in an annoyed tone, "What the hell? Why are you presenting me with this false dichotomy? Are you nuts?" But it didn't happen, dammit.
posted by aught at 12:21 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what really needs to be taught in schools? What 'theory' means in a scientific context. Far too many of these women trotted out the old 'it's just a theory' line. I mean, they're all in college these contestants, right? Shouldn't they understand this by now?
posted by IanMorr at 12:21 PM on June 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't think you can even give anyone a decent understanding of evolution until they've had a good solid scientific foundation

You could teach evolution through computer modeling to pretty young people who might not get it without seeing it in action ("OK, here goes 100 million years of tiny changes!") and then teach them the hard stuff after they get an intuitive grasp of what's going on.
posted by pracowity at 12:22 PM on June 21, 2011


Who cares what Miss USA thinks? Unless we're trading makeup secrets.

"I think everyone should be taught good posture AND how to apply mascara, so that they can learn both sides of the story and after praying with their families, decide for themselves what to believe in."
posted by aught at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think we are mostly hearing a scripted answer that will get them past the interview section and on to the swimsuit competition. I mean, come on. How many of us have fielded the interview question "Tell us your greatest weakness," and how many of us have confessed that it's getting to work sober and on time?
posted by Foam Pants at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


I was in high school in the 70's. The early 70's. I was taught evolution. However, even way back then, the teacher felt he had to preface the evolution section with a "I know there are some of you who disagree with this. But this is a science class and we teach accepted science in this class." declaration. In the fucking 70's!
posted by Thorzdad at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why did so many of them say they thought "everything" should be taught? Really, everything? All creation stories? I'm just trying to imagine the sheer vitriol and furious uproar across the Bible Belt that would result.

You may have been joking, but you may be on to something.

For the record, I tend to take a "give an idiot enough rope and he'll hang himself" approach to Creationism -- many Creationists complain that they aren't taken seriously enough by mainstream scientists. Granted, this is because mainstream scientists already know that Creationist "science" is Grade-A bullshit. But -- to the layman, it may just look like "oh the snooty scientists are just being mean.

So, it strikes me that giving the Creationists what they want-- that is, subjecting the Creationist claims to the very scientific methods they're asking for -- may be the best way to cut them off at the knees ("Well, one of the elements of Creationist theory is that a Global Flood is responsible for this particular fossil pattern. However, let's see if fluid dynamics works that way....ah. If you'll see here, it doesn't work that way. so this particular element of the Creationist theory is incorrect. And now that we've established it's incorrect, let's see what else it connects to....ah, see here, this other theory cannot possibly happen without the element we've just disproven, which means we have to take this out too....")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I pointed out to a more religious friend of mine that if one religions theory of creation is going to be taiught in schools, then all religions should be covered. Point taken, argument won.
posted by annsunny at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


After clicking on the link re: "posing for a tasteful nude photo shoot", I think I can unequivocally state that many of these women are more comfortable with nudity than evolution. Which I find interesting in that both can be controversial issues.
posted by rmhsinc at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2011


"Tell us your greatest weakness," and how many of us have confessed that it's getting to work sober and on time?

A person who interviewed to get into my department explained to us that he would commonly get very drunk regularly. To make sure his attendance was good, he would come back to work and sleep under his desk to assure that he would be to work on time, every day.

He was not hired.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:27 PM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I believe that the Bible should be taught in public schools.

Because when you study it seriously, you see how ridiculous it is.
posted by ColdChef at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Really, everything? All creation stories?

I assume they're comfortable saying "everything" because it never remotely occurred to most of them how many alternatives and variations in thought, belief, and point of view there actually are in humanity.
posted by aught at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Saints Anselm and Aquinas made it a lynchpin of their metaphysical theories. (I also give them Hume's response!)

So you are literally teaching the controversy?
posted by Phalene at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2011


Mister Fabulous, thank you for not mentioning my name. And my resume is on file should you ever change your mind.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Summary: "I think schools should teach everything and let kids decide what is true for themselves."
posted by ColdChef at 12:31 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Phalene, I teach philosophy, it's controversies all the way down.
posted by oddman at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Do a motor boat! Do a police siren!"

It's the final "Do a barrel roll!" challenge which is (to my mind, at least) truly decisive.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that people actually "get" the idea that things change over time.

It's stuff like how genetic diversity happens, what it means that something is a "theory", the various evidence for evolution, the different proposed mechanisms for evolution, etc...before you get that kind of foundation and understanding, evolution and creationism are both vague ideas that someone tells you about and it doesn't seem to make a huge difference which one you learn or teach.

Quibbling about evolution vs creationism when people are almost completely scientifically illiterate seems to be missing the big picture.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


oddman: "Phalene, I teach philosophy, it's controversies all the way down."

Infinite regress baby!
posted by symbioid at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2011


Also: I love how all the responses treat the theory of evolution as the weak sister of creationism. "Awww. Widdle evolution. So cute. Sure...we'll teach you, too. Little dickens."
posted by ColdChef at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2011


I pointed out to a more religious friend of mine that if one religions theory of creation is going to be taiught in schools, then all religions should be covered.

I cannot wait to see the controversy around teaching Shiva-Vomitism.
posted by Errant at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Buncha comments removed, please make the least effort not to shitbomb threads out of the gate.]
posted by cortex at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2011


So ... almost all of them said that yes, it should be taught.

But you all are freaking out because they didn't say yes HARD ENOUGH?

Eh. This did not really ping on my "U.S. Sliding Into Decadent Annihilation" meter.
posted by kyrademon at 12:39 PM on June 21, 2011


The problem is, most of them seemed to think it should be taught as an alternative.
posted by annsunny at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


"to each his own!"
posted by mrgrimm at 12:41 PM on June 21, 2011


WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO HEAR BUT NEVER WILL: At least ONE of them facing the camera squarely, blinking twice in confusion, then stammering "Yes. I mean, of course, absolutely. What kind of stupid question is that, anyway?"

I was crossing my fingers the entire time for something like this too. An unequivocal "Um, yeah, duh, why would you not teach science in science class??" I wonder if any of them might actually have thought that -- and I think maybe one or two of them did -- but know that saying it means sacrificing the tiara.
posted by hegemone at 12:43 PM on June 21, 2011


Q: Should we hug our children?
A: Yes, but we should also punch them in the face and let them decide which is better. And then, if they prefer hugs, keep on punching them in face, because they're just kids, how do they know what's good for them? Thank you.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:45 PM on June 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


If one of them had said: "Of course we should teach evolution. The evidence in its favor is overwhelming. Blind faith in religious dogma is an outmoded relic of a pre-scientific age!"... do you think they would have won the contest?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:46 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wanted one of them to look into the camera and say, "That racist, imperialist, capitalist, sexist claptrap? No, of course I don't think it should be taught in schools."
posted by No Robots at 12:46 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nobody's gonna make a comment about the contestants from the U.S. South?

Their responses are notably different than the rest of the country.

Facepalm, Kentucky. Super facepalm.

"how do you teach a child the true meaning of evolution when so many different cultures have their different beliefs?"

But you all are freaking out because they didn't say yes HARD ENOUGH?

I think that some people are freaking out a little because a lot of these women don't even seem to know WHAT EVOLUTION IS.

Most of the contestants think that evolution is a belief, not a scientific theory, or they don't know the difference between the two.

Louisiana has to be my favorite.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:48 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If one of them had said: "Of course we should teach evolution. The evidence in its favor is overwhelming. Blind faith in religious dogma is an outmoded relic of a pre-scientific age!"... do you think they would have won the contest?

The contest of life, yes.
posted by grubi at 12:48 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"That's a very difficult question"

NO IT FUCKING ISN'T COCKFUCKSHITPISSASSGODDAMNIT
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


I wonder what the result would have been if they'd asked a random cross section of the American public, with some incentive to be civilized and 'nice', rather than beauty queens. Not much different I expect.
posted by Summer at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2011


I wasn't paying that much attention, but the contestants from the South didn't seem that much different. Most of them thought it should be taught alongside creationism, which is what basically everyone said.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2011


"After hearing the rest of the contestants' answers, I now think we're regressing into a more primitive species. So I think devolution should be taught in schools."
posted by naju at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's something just needlessly cruel about creating a competition that encourages uncontroversial opinions, and then making fun of the contestants for contriving opinions to sound uncontroversial to the pageant-watching audience.

I think the problem here is more how the fuck we got to the point where, 86 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, "it's just a theory, we should teach 'both' sides and let the kids decide for themselves what they believe" is the uncontroversial position to take.
posted by RogerB at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


I had a year-long email argument with a fundamentalist over creationism and evolution. It was very interesting, as I could quote scripture but he couldn't accurately use science (I was arguing for evolution).

But really, I think it would be good for public schools to have a cultural studies elective where various religions are taught and explained.

And evolution taught in science class.

I mean, gravity is a theory. Maybe we shouldn't teach that, either.
posted by rich at 12:54 PM on June 21, 2011


Gravity is just the invisible hand of God pushing you down 'cause you're not ready for heaven yet! Teach both!
posted by naju at 12:56 PM on June 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


But you all are freaking out because they didn't say yes HARD ENOUGH?

Also, there is a common refrain of "both should be taught in schools."

Both of ... what?

The general consensus is that evolution isn't something any of these women personally "believe" in, but a (slight, imo) majority feel that it should be taught in school alongside the other, "real" explanation of human genesis.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2011


Gravity is no theory, Rich. Just take a look at these chiquitas in about 20 years and then let's talk theory.

But anyone who thinks these women are "playing the game" are playing it safe and don't actually come across this ignorant in real life...well, you just haven't talked to too many pageant ladies. It's the real deal.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Miss Vermont gave a definite yes. somewhere around 13 minutes, or a little after. I was too busy grinding my teeth to finish the first time.
posted by annsunny at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2011


I think the way the question was framed wasn't helpful. 'Should evolution be taught in schools?' suggests:

1. It isn't already, so introducing it would be radical
2. It's a really controversial topic, and you'd be upsetting a lot of people

With that in mind, I don't think they did too badly. If the question had been 'should evolution be withdrawn from the school curriculum?' it might have been a bit different. Actually no, it probably wouldn't have been.
posted by Summer at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the problem here is more how the fuck we got to the point where, 86 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, "it's just a theory, we should teach 'both' sides and let the kids decide for themselves what they believe" is the uncontroversial position to take.

More specifically, "uncontroversial for the people who judge or care about the Miss USA contest."

That's a limited set.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Allow me to settle this:

Evolution is composed of miracles. Every generation is marked by the sins of genetic encoding errors and unlawful combinations. These sins against the law destine them to a miserable failure. But it is through the glory of grace, that some few mutations are saved by the light of God. It is through this very grace of God that these mutations become miracles, and it is these miracles that a dying world is blessed anew.

DONE.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:59 PM on June 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


TwelveTwo: " Evolution is composed of miracles. Every generation is marked by the sins of genetic encoding errors and unlawful combinations. These sins against the law destine them to a miserable failure. But it is through the glory of grace, that some few mutations are saved by the light of God. It is through this very grace of God that these mutations become miracles, and it is these miracles that a dying world is blessed anew."

Stop that.

You're making my eyelids twitch.
posted by zarq at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gravity is no theory, Rich.

No joke. I don't think anyone can explain it. It's a stupid old law.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2011


well, after watching and listening to the whole thing, i must say that i've changed my mind

i no longer believe in evolution

devolution, however ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:00 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look, yes, the ideal answer would be "Yeah, duh."

But if that's not what you get, I'd much rather hear, "I was personally raised to believe in Gozer the Destructor, and will raise my kids to do so, but want them exposed to other information and believe more knowledge is better", than "THOSE WHO TEACH EVOLUTION SHALL BE ROASTED IN THE DEPTHS OF THE SLOR!"
posted by kyrademon at 1:01 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


My personal winner was the woman who was like "Well, yes. The problem is either way you're going to offend someone. Yes, I think evolution should be taught in schools. But now I just made some people angry [laughs semi-dismissively]"
posted by naju at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the concepts of "creationism" should be taught, but not promoted, in History or Sociology class. Biology class is for science.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No joke. I don't think anyone can explain it. It's a stupid old law.

I heard gravity bends space/time (whatever that is) so planets roll towards the sun like ping pong balls in a saucer. Yeah, that's what scientists want you to be believe.
posted by Summer at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2011


Well, I know what to ask when I sponsor the MetaFilter Pageant.

(Also, yeah, we got taught both Creationism and the Bible in public school — we were taught to examine them critically and come to our own conclusions. Our school really primed kids for atheism.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:05 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


seriously, miss vermont was the only one who said the most important word of all

"fact"

not option, belief, perspective, controversy, choice, "theory", "religion", or any of the other weasel words our public discourse has been corrupted by

evolution is a fact of biology and must be taught in school - those who don't want to learn it can just go through the motions and forget about it when the class is over
posted by pyramid termite at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


(FWIW, my gf says she found the answers horribly depressing. I guess I'm just more of a pessimist. My reaction was to be pleasantly surprised that the majority of them were not screaming "BURN THE WITCHES!")
posted by kyrademon at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Well, in the American version, the lizard lost and the monkey won, but in the Japanese version it was the other way around. I think we should show both and let the kids decide. You know, teach the Kongtroversy."
posted by klangklangston at 1:08 PM on June 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


I like Miss Utah's answer. Simple, honest, and calling out the shittiness of this aspect of the competition.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:09 PM on June 21, 2011


Science: It work's whether or not you believe !

Then theres fuckin English.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:09 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are any of them intelligent enough to just flat-out say : "Fucking-A it should be taught. It's science. I actually have a brain under here."? If part of the strategy of winning this thing is you can't respond honestly when you are asked directly, then they are either sell-outs or idiots. Smart adds to beauty.

It's super scary that even the ones who support teaching evolution believe (or, at least, imply) that creationism should be given equal footing.

And, if not offending people was the measure of whether or not something is taught, I wouldn't know half the stuff I do. Calculus, for example, offended me greatly when I was younger.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:11 PM on June 21, 2011


DU: "wait wait wait wait

DC has a Miss USA delegate but not one in the actual Congress?
"


To be fair, Elanor Holmes Norton is also our delegate to Miss USA, so that vote doesn't really count either.
posted by schmod at 1:12 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Alyssa Campanella says yes. She also defended medical marijuana during the pageant. And she won.

Now there's a Miss USA I can get behind. (No pun intended but, now that you mention it, I totally would.)
posted by asnider at 1:13 PM on June 21, 2011


The Law of Gravity is what you see when you drop a pen and it hits the ground, but that is a Law based on the Theory of Gravity, which has not been proven through the scientific method and tries to explain the actual phenomenom.

The fact is that you can observe it, and even predict it. The theory is that you still haven't come up with a way to prove it.
posted by rich at 1:13 PM on June 21, 2011


How about we give them exactly what they think they want and teach 'creationism' by giving their children a thorough and rigorous theological studies curriculum. By the time they hit middle school, those fuckers' kids will have the doubt and cynicism of third year religious studies graduate students.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


pyramid termite: "seriously, miss vermont was the only one who said the most important word of all

"fact"

not option, belief, perspective, controversy, choice, "theory", "religion", or any of the other weasel words our public discourse has been corrupted by

evolution is a fact of biology and must be taught in school - those who don't want to learn it can just go through the motions and forget about it when the class is over
"

I understand what you're trying to say. But we should be clear that calling evolution a theory is not inaccurate. Calling it a theory in an effort to elevate creationist theology is absolutely wrong.

However, evolution is both a theory and accepted fact of biology. Which means that it will remain scientific fact until a better theory to explain observed biological phenomenon comes along and displaces it. And even if it's doubtful that one ever will, that distinction is incredibly important. It separates science from theological dogma and recognizes that our understanding of the universe is not unchanging or based on blind faith.
posted by zarq at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


More specifically, "uncontroversial for the people who judge or care about the Miss USA contest." That's a limited set.

Do you really think it's that biased a sample? I don't care enough to look too hard into this and can't find rock-solid demographic info, but AFAICT, the pageant's viewer demographic doesn't seem skewed toward likely creationists. There's apparently an online vote at some point; does the Internet-voting viewership really skew anti-evolution? The judges are a random batch of celebrities, but they include people like Penn Jillette, who's obviously not going to be favorably disposed to the "teach the controversy" nonsense. If this idiocy isn't genuinely believed by the contestants, then to whom, exactly, are they trying to pander?
posted by RogerB at 1:17 PM on June 21, 2011


I think what they mean by saying 'theory' is different than what you mean when you say 'theory.'
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:18 PM on June 21, 2011


I was taught evolution in school, in a well-funded pilot school in a county that's the fifth wealthiest county in the country, and sadly, at least in those days, the way it was taught was so piss poor that it came off as a sort of lysenkoism determined by will, with organisms essentially changing because they wanted to in order to better function in their environment. They taught human evolution off that idiotic poster that paints evolution as a set of stairs leading from inferior to superior, did nothing to address the massively parallel process of actual evolution, as if things have to follow a single chain from amino acids to erudite caucasianhood. Survival of the fittest was communicated in a sort of value-laden way, rather than what it is, in that what survives, survives.

I'm a science freak from all the way back, but I really didn't get a handle on evolution until I was in my twenties, when I started reading the like of Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and the non-fiction writings of Douglas Adams (the puddle metaphor he uses to discuss the anthropic principle is brilliant), and had some of this accumulated bullshit knocked out of my brain by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. I raise this to lament that even when evolution's been taught, it has very often been taught wrong, which makes it all the easier for idiots with divine bananas to sneeringly say "See? See? It's just a theory, and it's not even a very good one!"

To say that my life's never been quite the same since I stopped believing in the mutilated imperialist version of evolution as commonly understood and properly grasped how that exceedingly simple system works and what it means for us, is an understatement. Read up on the Burgess Shale, for instance, and the fact that we came about as what we are isn't such a forgone conclusion (this has, of course, ruined a lot of science fiction for me, but you can't read Solaris forever). An inopportune meteor here, a methane clathrate disaster there, and suddenly we're down to just the four limbs and an easily infected appendix. It's just staggering, really.

Worst of all, the people who lay claim to the concepts of awe, wonder, joy, and the incomprehensibly complex majesty of life end up further spoiling it for everyone. Maybe we'll teach "the controversy" and maybe we'll teach a neutral selection of science, pseudoscience, and whatever the hell some powerful insane people believe, but I fear the word "awesome" will continue to mean "I really like those shoes. Seriously, I mean, they're just brilliantly designed, exquisite shoes" instead of addressing our ability to revel in the immensity of things as they are.

Mind you, people in sashes aren't always the best representatives of revel-worthy immensity.
posted by sonascope at 1:19 PM on June 21, 2011 [25 favorites]


This mayor sash has served me well at bars.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2011


Are we not men?
posted by stonepharisee at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2011


"... 86 years after the Scopes Monkey Trial, 'it's just a theory ...' is the uncontroversial position to take."

It's been 2600 years since Diagoras of Melos started to say, "So, is it just me, or does anyone else think this whole 'gods' idea is ... kind of silly, really."

I'm starting to think the concept is going to take a while to really catch on.
posted by kyrademon at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2011


hegemone: " I wonder if any of them might actually have thought that -- and I think maybe one or two of them did -- but know that saying it means sacrificing the tiara."

People need to speak their minds without fear of repercussions.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:29 PM on June 21, 2011


An unequivocal "Um, yeah, duh, why would you not teach science in science class??" I wonder if any of them might actually have thought that -- and I think maybe one or two of them did -- but know that saying it means sacrificing the tiara.
posted by hegemone at 12:43 PM on June 21 [+] [!]

This may be true. The disgusting thing is that this then leads to a cultural environment wherein saying it means sacrificing election to nearly every national governing body in our country. Tomorrow we are all collectively at the mercy of the children we, collectively, educate today.
posted by nickjadlowe at 1:29 PM on June 21, 2011


If evolution is true, then WHY AREN'T THERE MONKEYS IN THE MISS USA PAGEANT?
posted by perhapses at 1:39 PM on June 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


sonascope: "I'm a science freak from all the way back, but I really didn't get a handle on evolution until I was in my twenties, when I started reading the like of Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and the non-fiction writings of Douglas Adams (the puddle metaphor he uses to discuss the anthropic principle is brilliant), and had some of this accumulated bullshit knocked out of my brain by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. "

The puddle metaphor has always been one of my favorites. :)
posted by zarq at 1:40 PM on June 21, 2011


Disturbingly fascinating and painful.
posted by nickyskye at 1:40 PM on June 21, 2011


perhapses: "If evolution is true, then WHY AREN'T THERE MONKEYS IN THE MISS USA PAGEANT?"

Judging from the clip, they probably exceeded the pageant's intelligence requirement.
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


People need to speak their minds without fear of repercussions.

The disgusting thing is that this then leads to a cultural environment wherein saying it means sacrificing election to nearly every national governing body


Exactly, this and this. Part of me recognizes that, y'know, it's a fuckin' pageant. They're not there to speak their minds honestly (unless their beliefs honestly align with the status quo, then no big), they're there to win. But yeah, not saying what you really think is endemic to basically every type of election, and that's a little frightening to me. And nothing changes, as long as elections are basically slightly more (but barely!) respectable versions of pageants.
posted by hegemone at 1:45 PM on June 21, 2011


Watching this really, really hurt my head. Not just because of the lack of scientific understanding on display, or the contestants' lack of knowledge about the First Amendment and two hundred years of legal precedent confirming the separation of church and state. It also really hurt to watch because most of them aren't even marginally articulate. I mean, a few spoke quite nicely but most of these young women, who have theoretically spent years in training to present themselves well on stage, could barely string together a coherent sentence. I know beauty contestants are supposed to be airheaded according to stereotype, but it's not like there aren't beautiful women who are also intelligent, learned and articulate speakers. I've met many.

And yet these women, these women who can barely begin to express a cogent opinion let alone examine it critically, are the women we are putting on display as the ideal American girls should aspire to. It makes me physically ill to think about all the little girls out there who've watched this dreck and thought, "When I grow up I want to be just like her!"

It's the 21st century already. Where the hell is our celebratory parade of women doctors or engineers or philosophers or writers on national TV? USA, this culture thing: we are doing it wrong.
posted by BlueJae at 1:50 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


This ignorance has been long in the making.
posted by nickyskye at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2011


I think we're being too hard on these women for their performance in what is essentially a highly specialized type of competition, just like professional football or bull-riding. No one is like "oh shit all the menfolk are going to grow up to hit each other and wear tights!!!! Where are the role models!!!"

My role models were actual professional women like my mother, and people will see plenty of female doctors and lawyers out there, especially with women outpacing men in college and graduate school.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:56 PM on June 21, 2011


This ignorance has been long in the making.

I like the knowing look that the dog and cat are giving each other. They know they didn't win.

posted by roll truck roll at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2011


This ignorance has been long in the making.

I can't read. Why is a clam most loved by god?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


But we should be clear that calling evolution a theory is not inaccurate.

that's why i put theory in quotes - because what they mean by it and what a scientist means by it are two different things
posted by pyramid termite at 1:58 PM on June 21, 2011


Why is a clam most loved by god?

Thetan levels?
posted by Navelgazer at 2:00 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


That makes sense.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:01 PM on June 21, 2011


Miss Connecticut FTW.
posted by alby at 2:02 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of the comments here are a lot less charming than the video.
posted by eeeeeez at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not the women themselves I have a problem with, the young rope rider. It's the people who decided that these women should be picked to represent their states / the nation as an ideal of female accomplishment and beauty.

And I didn't mean "where are the role models" so much as "why does our culture persist in celebrating these not-so-good role models when there are much more positive role models who could be celebrated instead?"
posted by BlueJae at 2:07 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"knowledged" !?
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:14 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually don't think these girls were pandering to an audience. Listen to how many of them temper their "okay" responses with "it's not what I believe, but"... The fact that any adult would NOT believe in evolution is shameful.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2011


"I honestly don't think you can have too much knowledge on any subject, that's my personal view, but I do think evolution shouldn't be taught in school, just because it's so many different views on it, so many different definitions, like, how do you teach a child the true meaning of evolution when so many cultures have different beliefs? And scientists have their different theories? It's just ...not a good subject that I feel everyone will agree on in classrooms when kids come from all different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs. So I just don't think it's a good topic for school subjects at all."

—Miss Kentucky, Kia Hampton
I think Miss Kentucky is laboring under the belief that evolution is a religion.
posted by me3dia at 2:25 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


If they don't teach evolution in schools, kids are just going to learn about it out on the streets, from older siblings, the internet, late-night cable shows, and by sneaking peeks at that copy of Origin of the Species hidden under Mom's side of the bed.
posted by straight at 2:25 PM on June 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Teaching a kid about evolution is the same as telling them "Go out and evolve".
posted by Ad hominem at 2:29 PM on June 21, 2011


I wish just one of these women would straight-up troll the competition. Like, "I'd like to make it clear that evolution is a fact, undisputed by an reputable member of the scientific community. That said, I do not think it should be taught in schools. Kids already have youth and vitality on us, and they'll work for lower wages. Giving them knowledge is just signing our own pink slips, I say."

I think that'd go over nicely.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:30 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Bible isn't even a book - it's a collection of disparate texts, from mostly unknown authors, covering a few thousand years of Hebrew traditions and history. It is unpossible for the Bible to have any sort of cohesive message, and ridiculous to see people nutpicking verses to justify their hateful actions. For every bible verse, there is an equal and opposite bible verse. So, when someone tells you that the Bible proscribes homosexuality and damns any who practice it, you may want to point them to the ENTIRE FUCKING NEW TESTAMENT for a little counterpoint. And when they trot out the creation story, you might want to take their Bible and clout them over the head with it.
posted by Mister_A at 2:32 PM on June 21, 2011


It's a rare Metafilter consensus. Yay! We're smarter than an outmoded, irrelevant beauty pagent.
posted by xod at 2:37 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not. Also, I look great in heels and a swimsuit.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:38 PM on June 21, 2011


this thread makes my head hurt. i'm starting to think that these interview questions are just a test to see who will, and who will not "perform" properly at the public appearances that miss usa will do over the course of the year. don't you think they're just vetting folks to avoid having to deal with a messy pr event?

i don't like or support this at all, but i'm starting to think the content of the questions themselves is moot, and it's the nature of the answers that are being judged.

shrug.
posted by rude.boy at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay! We're smarter than an outmoded, irrelevant beauty pagent.

Pass out the tiaras!
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:42 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess it's official: They won.

We could have prevented it.

Might still be able to turn the tide, but it will take a lot of work.
posted by mygoditsbob at 2:47 PM on June 21, 2011


I wish they had the asked the contestants to tell the story of Paul Revere.
posted by turaho at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, I found Miss Kansas' answer rather elegant and surprisingly intelligent. Or perhaps it was just the contrast with Miss Kentucky's right afterwards...
posted by Skeptic at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2011


To be fair, until recently I thought Paul Revere was an entertainer of the kind that hosts beauty pageants and tv variety shows. That was an embarrassing bonus round at my local pub quiz.
posted by doublehappy at 3:02 PM on June 21, 2011


In all seriousness, religion has an appropriate place in history education. People slaughter each other en masse because they disagree over who presided over the caliphate in the 8th century, or because people got all tribal when Henry VIII wanted a divorce. Whether or not people kill each other over bullshit - that's something you can "argue both sides" about.
posted by moammargaret at 3:05 PM on June 21, 2011


I believe that creationism should be taught in school. In some sort of social studies class, along with a broad survey about what various religious and cultural groups think about how the world came to be.

Does it belong in a science class? No, unless there is peer-reviewed reproducable evidence for such. Science is about teaching children to think, not about how to believe. And I say this as a religious nutjob.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:07 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


First you have to introduce the concept of peer-reviewed reproducible evidence, how to find out what that evidence is, the way that "facts" change over time as more evidence comes in...

That's teaching kids how to think. Teaching them "hey here's this fact and it has peer-reviewed science behind it!" leads to people who suck at science but know a snapshot of facts from that year they took science. It is not horrendous, but it's not that useful, either.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:14 PM on June 21, 2011


You put religion and science in separate boxes, no?
I went to an American school in 1971-72, and was taught evolution as part of the general science curriculum. The teaching and the books were excellent - far better than what I later experienced in my home country.
Bible classes were good too.
Actually, the excellence of both assured me a free ride for several years back home (which probably wasn't very smart). I kept my American books and could look them up for reference up till the 7th grade or something. In secondary school, I majored in biology, and evolution wasn't exactly the difficult part of the curriculum.
So America - what is happening? Once you were the centre, not only of capitalism and invention and nice things, but also of learning.
posted by mumimor at 3:16 PM on June 21, 2011


If I was a Miss USA contender (and by golly what a fine one I'd make) I'd answer this question as follows. "That's about as stupid as asking whether I think reading and writing should be taught in schools. The only thing more stupid than that question is a person who thinks it needs to be asked."

I would so win after that. I'd have to lose the beard,maybe.
posted by Decani at 3:18 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was taught evolution in school, in a well-funded pilot school in a county that's the fifth wealthiest county in the country, and sadly, at least in those days, the way it was taught was so piss poor that it came off as a sort of lysenkoism determined by will, with organisms essentially changing because they wanted to in order to better function in their environment.

This is one of the reasons why I stopped worrying that my relatives homeschool, at least for my absolutely brilliant nieces and nephews. They will grow up in a safer environment, and learn whatever the heck they want as adults. Both the ideological camps for and against Evolution are loaded with people saying the stupidest things about the theory, so I suspect that both educational systems and pop-science journalism have largely failed.

Not that I support "equal time" or "teach the controversy" either, only that I see little hope for teaching the theory properly at the K-12 level without overhauling the entire curriculum and standards in most states.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:23 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find it amazing that some here feel that it is impossible or very difficult to understand evolution until college. I feel like I had a pretty good grasp on it in elementary school.
posted by futz at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2011


You know, when someone starts a sentence with "I personally", I always scream "BULLSHIT!".

Miss Arkansas, you.

Miss Teen USA 2007, you.

*sigh* :D
posted by Vamier at 3:28 PM on June 21, 2011


I attended 12 years of Catholic schools. I can spell, diagram a sentence, and was taught evolution and the actual facts of sex and birth control. It was quite different than what is taught now. I was also taught New Math, which screwed me for any interest in science or math. I had some fabulous teachers, and some appalling ones (looking at you 2nd, 3rd & 4th grade arithmetic). I've also been becoming an atheist since about 5th or 6th grade.

Evolution, Global Climate Change, Economics, Social Justice, Universal Health Care. Such scary ideas. I understand that Global Climate Change, Social Justice, Universal Health Care are offensive to the Capitalist MegaCorporations that are really running things because they affect short-term and/or long-term profit, but why not teach actual science, and let the US keep producing smart people who can invent stuff and make money?
posted by theora55 at 3:30 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Miss New Mexico actually gives an answer similarly awesome to Miss Vermont's.

"I think evolution should be taught, because evolution is based off of science, and I think science is a huge thing that we need to enrich our schools with."

Her delivery sounds more Valley Girl than snarky, but I like to think the snark is there.

Miss Nebraska: "I think that in public schools, you have to give all credited theories-"

Oh! Oh! This is good-

"-equal amount of time, so I think creation and evolution should both be taught."

Aw, damn. Miffed the landing.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:06 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am quite certain that the USA's global competitors LOVE stories like this. Advances in technology were America's primary advantage this past half-century or so. Not for very much longer: the retarding of scientific education will result in a corresponding loss of invention and enterprise.

Feet, meet bullets.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:10 PM on June 21, 2011


Miss Maine: I feel that we should have evolution taught in schools as well as a belief in faith. I believe that people should be able to choose what they believe in and that is something I was taught in elementary school and it hasn't hurt what I believe in and stand for today. (shrug.)

What the hell. We should be teaching kids to "believe in faith?" What does that even mean? "Johnny, pay attention, this is going to be on the test. Faith is real, it does exist and here is an actual picture of faith.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:10 PM on June 21, 2011


Sounds like Maine to me. I attended a high school graduation last week and the graduates who got the loudest cheers were the ones who were either joining the workforce or the army.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:13 PM on June 21, 2011


futz: I find it amazing that some here feel that it is impossible or very difficult to understand evolution until college. I feel like I had a pretty good grasp on it in elementary school.

Because the grand synthesis involves an understanding of additive genetic effects, the binomial theorem, and multivariate statistics? I remember doing Mendel's Punnett Squares in middle school with two alleles. I raised my hand and asked about eye color and got a few minutes of stuttered BS. But with Evolution marginalized in most states to one week of a curriculum that involves more vocabulary than intermediate French, I'm not certain there's much room to do much more than drop Evolution as a just-so-story. "How the whale got its fins!" "How the human got its brain!"

Not that I think it's impossible or difficult to teach Evolution at any level, just that it isn't taught consistently well below the college level. Many people who claim understanding usually end up defending Evolution-as-a-narrative along these lines. And this isn't entirely wrong but it is shallow in the same way that being able to describe the twin paradox or Schrödinger's cat isn't fully understanding Special Relativity or Quantum Mechanics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:17 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, I have an acquaintance who used to be a very successful beauty pageant contestant. She also is highly intelligent, now a well-trained and highly educated lawyer, but very, very conservative. Like, she was the president of our law school's chapter of the Federalist Society. I don't know for sure, but I think if she even claims any religion at all, she doesn't practice it.

She's a hell of a politician, though.

I'd be really curious to see how she'd answer this one.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:18 PM on June 21, 2011


One more: I might be wrong, but isn't the Miss USA Pageant Donald Trump's outfit? Interesting to me that the most outspokenly liberal contestant won.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:18 PM on June 21, 2011


I was taught evolution in school, in a well-funded pilot school in a county that's the fifth wealthiest county in the country, and sadly, at least in those days, the way it was taught was so piss poor that it came off as a sort of lysenkoism determined by will, with organisms essentially changing because they wanted to in order to better function in their environment.

I was taught evolution in Ninth Grade Biology in Houston, Texas and it was taught very well, actually, as an integrated aspect of genetics. We started with Mendel and moved along to individual chromosones and they information they carry. This was Spring of '96. There was one girl in the class who, while very smart, refused to buy into the "theory." Mind you, again, that this was Texas 15 years ago, and everyone else in the class would shout her down whenever it came up. "Are you crazy? Are you ignorant? This is truth." She didn't back down. SHe was Catholic and evolution wasn't true.

I'm curious how her views changed six months later, with JP II's pronouncement.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:26 PM on June 21, 2011


Am I wrong, or didn't Miss Delaware say, "Yes, I think it should be taught?"

J'accord with the teeth-gnashing over the misuse of the word, "believe." Evolution exists whether you believe it or not, just like gravity. You don't start flying into space if you stop believing in gravity.

Though, seriously, how cool would that be?
posted by misha at 4:27 PM on June 21, 2011


Sounds like Maine. I attended a high school graduation last week and the graduates who got the loudest cheers were the ones who were either joining the workforce or the army.

I'm interested in what being proud of kid entering the service or the workforce has to do with Miss Maine's creationist moronism?

My son graduated from high school last Saturday, at the top of his vocational (Culinary) program. His class Valedictorian also came from one of the school's vocational programs, his GPA stomping the shit out of the kid heading off to Harvard. He started working for a local robotics firm months ago.

I don't expect either of them to suddenly spout creationist nonsense simply because they're joining the workforce.
posted by MissySedai at 4:49 PM on June 21, 2011


She didn't back down. She was Catholic and evolution wasn't true.

Too bad she didn't go to Catholic school, then. She would have learned evolution there as well.
posted by contessa at 4:57 PM on June 21, 2011


Sadly, none of them said, "Of course, you dolt."
posted by chairface at 5:00 PM on June 21, 2011


Miss New Mexico came pretty close:)
posted by eviemath at 5:03 PM on June 21, 2011


Perhaps Miss Nevada is commenting on the Lamarkian versus Darwinian evolution debate? :P
posted by eviemath at 5:04 PM on June 21, 2011


Too bad she didn't go to Catholic school, then. She would have learned evolution there as well.

Yeah, the anecdote doesn't make sense to me either. Evolution is taught as fact in Catholic schools. Catholics are not young earth creationists. At least non-heretical Catholics.
posted by Justinian at 5:23 PM on June 21, 2011


I'd say a shallow understanding of evolution is an appropriate goal for high school.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on June 21, 2011


What? If they learned what they needed to learn in high school then there would be no need for college!
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:29 PM on June 21, 2011


I wish they had the asked the contestants to tell the story of Paul Revere.

...just me and my horsie and a quart of beer?
posted by elizardbits at 5:35 PM on June 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you were in Estonia on business, say, and turned on the TV to find a Miss Estonia contest, and the contestants were all speaking earnestly about trolls or fairies or magic spells... see how that would look? What impression might that leave with you?

I believe I would kinda like it.
posted by Glinn at 5:35 PM on June 21, 2011


contessa: "Too bad she didn't go to Catholic school, then. She would have learned evolution there as well."

You all should maybe read the sentence that follows your quote:

"I'm curious how her views changed six months later, with JP II's pronouncement."

citation
posted by pwnguin at 6:09 PM on June 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whether or not people kill each other over bullshit - that's something you can "argue both sides" about.

I'd argue that the good die mostly over bullshit.
posted by cashman at 7:36 PM on June 21, 2011


Navelgazer: "One more: I might be wrong, but isn't the Miss USA Pageant Donald Trump's outfit? Interesting to me that the most outspokenly liberal contestant won."

I wonder about this too. I'm pleasantly surprised that her involvement with the H8 campaign didn't get her swept under the rug. I suspect that a general ability to keep it together and talk into a camera is more important to the Miss USA establishment than a contestant's actual politics.

She's also stunningly beautiful.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:44 PM on June 21, 2011


You know what I blame this on the downfall of? Society!
posted by vitabellosi at 7:50 PM on June 21, 2011


YES! Teach both sides.

Yes, indeed.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:10 PM on June 21, 2011


"We're smarter than ever these days."

-Miss Georgia
posted by Danf at 8:30 PM on June 21, 2011


contessa: "Too bad she didn't go to Catholic school, then. She would have learned evolution there as well."

pwnguin: "You all should maybe read the sentence that follows your quote: "'I'm curious how her views changed six months later, with JP II's pronouncement.'"

In civilised countries at least, Catholic schools have taught evolution largely as fact since at least the 70's, if not earlier.

As spelled out rather well in your JPII cite, the issue Pius XII had was with the idea that the mind - that which makes man Man - was an emergent property of life, rather than instilled by God. That never stopped the Catholic education system from teaching evolution in science classes - they just also had theology classes which taught that, while evolution provided the vessel, God provided the mind.
posted by Pinback at 8:50 PM on June 21, 2011


Regardless, I was talking about one girl in my ninth grade bio class, who is hardly representative of all Catholics and almost certainly wasn't the only Catholic in that classroom. I was just stating where her personal rejection of evolution came from. For the record I love the Catholic church, far out of proportion for an atheist, and most of my closest friends are scholarly Catholics. I didn't mean to impugn anybody.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:56 PM on June 21, 2011


Yeah, sorry, wasn't having a go at your comment - just the all-too-frequent assumption that the Catholics were against it until JPII said it was time to stop worrying and learn to love evolution.

I also forgot to say that what the video really shows it that anybody can be trained to give non-answers that sound like just like the real thing. I mean, "I feel that evolution should be taught in schools only because it's a great subject to touch base on" is a total non-sequitur to throw out, but it sounds good.
posted by Pinback at 9:09 PM on June 21, 2011


The perfect answer would be: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution".
posted by neuron at 9:15 PM on June 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


sonascope: I was taught evolution in school, in a well-funded pilot school in a county that's the fifth wealthiest county in the country, and sadly, at least in those days, the way it was taught was so piss poor that it came off as a sort of lysenkoism determined by will ...
The morning we reached our first lesson in the evolution module, our biology teacher (who was also head of the biology department) announced, "Now boys, I'm a fundamentalist Christian. I don't believe in evolution. I'm teaching this because it's in the curriculum and I have to." He then proceeded to do what, after studying biology at University, I came to suspect was a deliberately shitty job of teaching the unit. He then got one of his church mates in at the end of the course to lecture us all (attendance compulsory, of course) on why evolution was a lie.* This was final year of secondary school at the much-vaunted "top" state school in New Zealand in 1993. American evangelical churches have longer arms than most people realize.

*Favourite memory: watching my classmate Chris Caseley (who would go on to pretty much top the country in bursary biology that year) relentlessly rip the guy apart during question time on the subject of chemical evolution, causing said guest lecturer to literally run out of the theatre and back to his car due to an "urgent lunchtime appointment." Good times.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:02 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sonny Jim, I can tell you that ten years later at the other much-vaunted "top"* state school in New Zealand the quality of science education had improved very little. My favourite memory was being part of the half of my 4th form English class that walked out of a particular teacher's sermon about how we only ever really needed one book and about how studying English was merely a path to understanding it.

*My brothers attended both and report that the only material difference was the traffic.
posted by doublehappy at 2:52 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


a particular teacher's sermon about how we only ever really needed one book and about how studying English was merely a path to understanding it

Wouldn't Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek be more appropriate?
posted by Skeptic at 3:13 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gravity is just the invisible hand of God pushing you down 'cause you're not ready for heaven yet! Teach both!

Should Wrathful Dispersionism be taught alongside evolutionary theories of historical linguistics?
posted by acb at 4:11 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think Miss Kentucky is laboring under the belief that evolution is a religion.

Part of the anti-science, anti-evolution crowd's attack has been to frame science (and especially evolution) as a religion. Just sayin'.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:25 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. This is the scariest thing I've ever seen on YouTube.

Maybe it's the whole "pageant poise" angle, but it was shocking to see such ridiculous rationales delivered so directly. It's as though these girls really believe what they are saying. Has someone switched on a time machine set for 1960, back when math was too hard for girls?

When you say "we're so smart we can decide for ourselves" what you really convey is "we're so stupid we think that we know it all and we can't appreciate that real scientists have examined the question with more rigor than the preacher we listen to on Sunday". No way I'd want a clip of me talking like that on the Internet. While I'm not usually a feminist, this might be an example of why pageant's should be stopped. You just can't have potentially useful young women demean themselves in this sort of pursuit, clearly many of these girls need to get back to class.
posted by RSaunders at 7:43 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Miss Kentucky is laboring under the belief that evolution is a religion.

Miss Kentucky is particularly egregious, but let's be fair. A good chunk, more than half, of these contestants are answering as if evolution is a subject to be taught (if at all) as "the other side" to religion.

As if exposing children to "evolution" were akin to promoting multiculturalism. "Hey, kids, look at the wacky stuff some other cultures believe--let's be tolerant!"

While I'm not usually a feminist, this might be an example of why pageant's should be stopped.

Sounds like you are a feminist, but don't like the label. Kinda like a lot of American liberals. ;)

I have enough libertarian in me to say that "stopping" these pageants, however done, isn't a great idea, but mocking them is OK.

You just can't have potentially useful young women demean themselves in this sort of pursuit, clearly many of these girls need to get back to class.

Ah, but it's right there in the USA DoI. Everyone (well, it helps to be rich and white) is free to demean themselves for whatever pursuit they choose. And the very first amendment lets us say whatever stupid stuff we want to say for whatever reason. (Or some might argue.)

I also forgot to say that what the video really shows it that anybody can be trained to give non-answers that sound like just like the real thing.

These contests always remind me of the spokesmodel "competitions" on Star Search. Basically you are being judged on your ability to look attractive and poised while moving and spouting small talk.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:20 AM on June 22, 2011


You put religion and science in separate boxes, no?

I watched with this in mind, rather than RSaunders much more dogmatic and worrying take on the topic. Many of the contestants picked up on it, but only a couple were able to be clear: we should teach religion, and we should teach science. It was very interesting to see.
posted by Chuckles at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2011


This feels so odd to me. If it makes you less depressed, I at least had an awesome Biology teacher in high school. At the beginning of the year, he flat out said "this creationism stuff is bullsh*t" and proceeded to focus the ENTIRE year's curriculum on evolution and then taught an elective course the following year called Human Evolution. His efforts were heroic, to say the least.

But as a result, for years, I thought this was pretty much the way it was in all public schools (I went to school in NJ) until I went to college and met people who had never been taught evolution and all I could think was, 'if you take out evolution, what else is there to teach in Biology other than, like, taxonomic categories?' I'm still getting over that initial shock, I guess, and this isn't helping.
posted by adso at 3:53 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


'if you take out evolution, what else is there to teach in Biology other than, like, taxonomic categories?'

How about the Krebs Cycle?

Or human sexuality? You don't need to teach evolutionary theory to instruct kids on sexual technique or birth control.

My school had no religion, and the theory of evolution was certainly taught, but it was hardly the centerpiece of our biology classes.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:14 PM on June 23, 2011


"Researchers found that only 28 percent of biology teachers consistently follow the recommendations of the National Research Council to describe straightforwardly the evidence for evolution and explain the ways in which it is a unifying theme in all of biology. At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light."

- On Evolution, Biology Teachers Stray From Lesson Plan (2/7/2011, NYT)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:23 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beauty pageants for guys, please, please! So women don't look so fucking stupid all by themselves.
posted by b33j at 1:36 AM on June 25, 2011


Should math be taught in schools?
posted by knave at 12:33 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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