Sunday, August 15, 2010

More On The Angle Tapes

Today on AOL News, we broke the news of a surreptitious audio recording I was provided from a business networking breakfast featuring GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle. While the person who provided it thought the audio would embarrass the candidate, it actually struck me that she had found her footing in terms of responding to minefield-style questions.

Remember, she was appearing at a small, very Republican business group -- they cheer on the tape when she talks of her Sarah Palin endorsement -- and couldn't have anticipated being confronted on the topics she was quizzed on. Also, she had no idea she was being recorded.

You can read all about that over at AOL News and you can listen to the FULL tape, the gay-marriage part or the evolution segments by clicking on those links. Also, right-click to download same.

At first, I did think that this response regarding teaching evolution in schools was a little startling. Here's what she said:

Evolution is a theory just like creation is a theory. If we truly want educated children, we should give them opportunities to have every theory presented to them and then they can make up their minds which one makes the most sense. Because at the bottom of each theory, we can't prove it. We weren't there. We can't see and hear for ourselves and say absolutely this is how it happened. If we could, there would be no debate. When we're trying to raise logical thinkers, we have to give them every argument and allow for the debate.

Certainly, that's outrageous to anyone who cares about science or who doesn't view creation as a theory but a religious belief. And I did obtain this response from Jon Summers, Harry Reid's campaign spokesman. I didn't use it in the AOL piece because I went a different direction with it, but here's Summers' answer:

On creationism, Sen. Reid believes religion should be taught at home and at church.

Meanwhile, there was something else on the audio that was of local interest but not national relevance, which was Angle's claims regarding negotiations with Reid on possible debates. On the tape, she said:

He also would like to debate on NPR. We said, NPR has a very small listening audience. We want to debate on Fox. He said I want the local, Mitch Fox, to do the moderating of the debate. We said, no we’d like to have a national figure, someone like Rusty Humphries, to moderate the debate. He said he would like to have his talking points available to him, we said, no, we want a microphone, no podium and no notes. Let’s just talk.

Summers' response on behalf of Reid:

Her take on the debates is wrong and over-the-top. NPR never came up. Neither did this whole thing about talking points and podiums. We were invited to participate in two debates: Nevada Broadcasters, and Sunbelt/Las Vegas Sun, and we accepted them. We have accepted two debates with mainstream media, she has accepted none. Instead she's talking to people about how she wants a right-wing moderator on a right-wing outlet.

I went back to Jerry Stacy, Angle's press secretary, to respond to that. Here's what he wrote me back:

It’s possible that somebody from NPR approached the campaign. It could also be that she was referring to NBA (Nevada Broadcasting Association) because NBA discussed usage of notes and podiums. However the biggest issue we have is that the Reid campaign is refusing to do the NBA debate with Sharron until AFTER early voting begins, and we believe that would be a huge disservice to the voters because the voters deserve the right to know where both candidates stand on issues before they go to the polls. We have asked that both camps be allowed to sit at the same table and negotiate rather than letting Harry Reid dictate because the voting public deserves better.

And round and round it goes.


Anonymous said...

The problem with the evolution theory is that it isn't purely science. It delves into philosophical issues, just like religion. At some point, it conflicts with religion and that is where we should acknowledge that evolution cannot be proven as a theory. I would prefer that evolution be taught purely as a science. In science, evolution is not a fact, as it is constantly updated with new information. Science is a moving target. Do you realize how controversial it is to merely say evolution is a theory and not a fact?

David K said...

Anon: Nice try, but you well know that you're perverting the scientific definition of theory, which is: "an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena." It's not someone's random idea or deeply held belief; it is backed up by volumes of science, experiment and evidence that, for instance, proves easily that the Earth isn't 6000 years old. By contrast, creationism is magical thinking in every way; there's no scientific evidence supporting it. By Angle's remark, they should ALSO be teaching Scientiology's origin story in schools. Is that OK with you? Because there's as much science behind that as there is behind Genesis.

Hiker said...

Ture, she's thinking on her feet better, but she's coming back to the privatize SS refrain again. She's wrong. The SS Trust Fund can be solvent with not too many changes,

Anonymous said...

David K: There's an additional test for scientific theory, which is that the theory must be falsifiable. The evolution theory makes a lot of assumptions in many areas of expertise like biology, geology, etc. Not all of these evolution theories are falsifiable. Thus they delve into philosophy or logic or other rationalizations. Whatever you have against creationism, I have nothing to add.