Jeb Bush and evolution

One of my favorite bloggers, the Sensuous Curmudgeon, asked about Republican Presidential Candidates & Creationism. What are the candidates’ opinions on the subject? I know a little about former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s thoughts.

When Jeb Bush was governor here in the Sunshine State he was caught up in the controversy over our revised state science standards. The old set of standards didn’t mention the word evolution. But the draft of the new and improved standards had evolution prominently front and center in the life sciences.

When he was first asked about this in 2005, Bush expressed his approval of the old way of handling the issue: avoidance. “I like what we have right now. And I don’t think there needs to be any changes. I don’t think we need to restrict discussion, but it doesn’t need to be required, either.”

Later, he said: “I am a practicing Catholic and my own person belief is God created man and all life on earth. However, I do not believe an individual’s personal beliefs should be the basis for determining Florida’s Sunshine State Standards. Perhaps more importantly, we should encourage the vigorous discussion of varying viewpoints in our classrooms. A healthy debate of issues challenges our students’ minds.”

Bush also succeeded in instituting a few school voucher programs that encouraged the flow of public funds to private (mostly religious) schools. The biggest program was later challenged and the flow of money to private schools through it was blocked. But there are a couple of smaller programs here in Florida that weren’t challenged and the money is still flowing into private schools, many of which are blatantly creationist.