Bobby Jindal: “I’m Not an Evolutionary Biologist”

And yet he supported a law that undermines evolutionary biology.

Bobby Jindal speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference.Pete Marovich/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


At a breakfast event today, a journalist reportedly questioned Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal about whether he believes in evolution. This is pretty pertinent. Several years ago Jindal signed into law the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act. The law, according to the National Center for Science Education, “invites lessons in creationism and climate change denial.” Jindal himself has said in the past that he has “no problem” if school boards want to teach creationism or intelligent design.

Jindal’s response to today’s question (as reported by TPM) was all too familiar. “The reality is I’m not an evolutionary biologist,” he said. Jindal went on to say that while “as a father, I want my kids to be taught about evolution in their schools,” he also believes that “local school districts should make decisions about what should be taught in their classroom.”

The reply brings to mind numerous other Republicans saying “I’m not a scientist” (or Marco Rubio’s “I’m not a scientist, man“) to dodge uncomfortable questions about scientific topics like evolution and climate change. It looks an awful lot like somebody wrote a memo, doesn’t it?

Here’s why this “I’m not a scientist” patter represents such an indefensible dodge. Nobody expects our politicians to be scientists. With a few exceptions, like Rush Holt, we know they won’t be. But it is precisely because they are not experts that we expect them to heed the consensus of experts in, er, areas in which they are not experts.

When politicians fail to do this, claiming a lack of scientific expertise is no excuse. Rather, it’s the opposite: A condemnation.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate