It’s a good sign when the creationists are embarrassed to answer

Avidor has a video of an exchange between a defender of science (DFL) and creationist coward (R). It’s amusing. Kate Knuth (DFL) asks a simple question—whether Tom Emmer (R) believes the earth is thousands of years old, or billions of years old—and Emmer runs away from the question. First he babbles about how he has a different science than she does, and then he justs asks her whether she’s an evolutionist.

It’s just weird. They know enough to realize that they sound awfully silly when they claim the earth is ten thousand years old, but they don’t know enough to think that maybe they’re wrong.


  1. Great White Wonder says

    When it comes to science, Tom Emmer is an idiot or a liar or both.

    Application of some fairly basic principles would suggest that Tom Emmer should have his ignorant lying ass hauled out of that chamber and bid farewell.

  2. Hank Fox says

    Emmer starts “Ngah. Ngah. Ahhh …” like a drunk clown doing a broad comedic impression of someone choking, and then ends with not answering the very simple question.

    He looks stupid. AND gutless. No matter what the larger context, I can’t believe you could be absolutely blindsided by that question.

    I’m glad he’s not in MY state legislature (although I’m sure NY has its share of ’em). The guy appears to have some issues.

    On the other hand, it kinda looked like even Knuth was overdelicate about her belief in evolution. Maybe it was the company she was in.

  3. 386sx says

    How come Mr. Emmer thinks that people have to be either a creationist or an “evolutionist.” Why does he think the two are mutually exclusitory? He’s not making any freaking sense, man.

  4. Christian Burnham says

    I can’t view this video on my mac. Does anyone have the original youtube link?

  5. lytefoot says

    I don’t know, I’d be kind of reluctant to describe myself as an “evolutionist.” It’s a term almost as made up as “Darwinist,” in an attempt to put creationism on equal footing with scientific fact.

    Being asked if you’re an “evolutionist” has the same sort of weighting as being asked if you’ve stopped beating your wife. You have to hem and haw around it, because a straight yes-or-no answer is certain to concede things you don’t want conceded.

  6. 386sx says

    I guess an “evolutionist” is supposed to mean somebody who is not a young earth creationist. But, for example, Behe and Dembski aren’t young earth creationists and yet nobody ever calls them “evolutionists.” Uhhh, Behe and Dembski aren’t young earth creationists, right? Riiiiiiiighhhhhhtttt?? (I’ll bet they are.)

  7. gonzoknife says

    I could be wrong, but I think people like this Tom Emmer guy don’t actually believe the earth is only thousands of years old but they can’t say that in public or else their fundamentalist supporters will cut him off.

    Regardless of how he answers, he’s screwed. If he says the earth is only thousands of years old he pleases the religious nuts but looks like an idiot to everyone else. If he says he doesn’t believe the earth is only thousands of years old he pisses of the base . His goal is to never answer.

    The lesson here is this question should be asked repeatedly of all our elected officials. Put them on the spot and get them on record.

  8. raven says

    and then he justs asks her whether she’s an evolutionist.

    What is an evolutionist? Never thought we would need a noun for people who accept reality. Realist or realityist might do but then who else would know what that means.

    I guess I would describe myself as someone with a few degrees, internet access, and a library card.

  9. BlueIndependent says


    He didn’t answer (and thus looked gutless and stupid) because he was running his mental spin engine trying to come up with the most strategically worded answer to the question. Upon being asked the question again, he has nothing, so he uses the “evolutionist” term in a connotative fashion to push the heat back at the person doing the questioning.

    It’s republican debate tactics 101 material. How they consistently get away with speaking nothing and/or falsehoods punctuated by their own verbal insults is a question that people really should ask more often.

  10. says

    Update from the floor: according to Tim Mahoney, DFL 67A, Emmer later apologized to Knuth for his behavior on the floor. There was apparently more to the exchange than shown in this video.

  11. Scott Hatfield, OM says

    It was nice to see the fella sputter, but what a pity that Rep. Knuth did not parry his thrust. He basically tried to put the onus back on her. She should’ve replied something to the effect of, “You haven’t answered my question, and I don’t think what I believe has anything to do the answer to that question. Is the earth’s age in the order of billions of years, or thousands of years, sir?”

  12. bernarda says

    There is nothing surprising here. Emmer uses the typical tactic of wingnuts to avoid answering a direct question by asking another irrelevant question in turn

    Wingnuts do this frequently on blogs, forums, and threads. I can’t count the number of times I have had to repeat the question, but still only get yet another question in response. It is difficult to get a direct answer from these weasels on almost any subject, not just science.

  13. notthedroids says

    That’s a great clip. Ask a simple, specific question, and watch him wheel, sputter, and stammer.

  14. says

    That was the first question Pedro Irongonegeray(I probably spelled that wrong) asked of the ‘scientists’ brought in to testify at the kangaroo hearing at the Kansas board of education back in 2005. I’d have to go review the transcripts (they are available at the KSBOE website still), but I think only a few of the so called experts even answered the question.

    Better transcript available at talkorigin:


  15. says

    Scott Hatfield, OM:

    She should’ve replied something to the effect of, “You haven’t answered my question, and I don’t think what I believe has anything to do the answer to that question. Is the earth’s age in the order of billions of years, or thousands of years, sir?”

    I have always wanted the opportunity to say this to a creationist while on live TV: “Have you no decency, sir? Have you at last no decency?”

    (Or however that one goes. . . .)

  16. Mike says

    HAHAHAHA! In Alabama, ALL of our state representatives are intelligent, well spoken defenders of the public good!

  17. NonyNony says

    Emmer doesn’t have any idea one way or the other, nor does he care one way or the other, but he knows that his response is going to alienate some group of voters regardless of which way he answers. So he equivocates and refuses to answer the question.

    This is a classic example of the so-called “wedge issue” — an issue so divisive to a single political party that a candidate in that party cannot take a firm position on it lest he send some high fraction of voters off to the other party to vote against him (or just as bad, cause them to stay at home and stew instead of voting).

    The fact that this so-called “issue” is one of the least material to the day-to-day lives of Emmer’s voters AND has a clear answer based on long-term scientific inquiry makes it astounding that this could even BE a wedge issue — you’d think a wedge issue would be over something that actually had some impact on the voters, like immigration policies (separating immigrants from natural born citizens) or class divide (separating the haves from the have-less). The idea that there’s a wedge here on science (separating the educated and rational from the uneducated or irrational) says some very sad things about American politics.

  18. Frac says

    It’s not that they don’t know enough to think they’re wrong. They *can’t* think they’re wrong. That would be lack of faith. It’s an overriding concept. They’re trapped. I honestly think a “person of faith” has little control over this.

    Seeing “faith” clamp down on people I’ve talked to, I postulate that it’s actually a different part of the brain overseeing and censoring thoughts in other parts of the brain. I think this because there seems to be a slight delay, and you can see the change of expression when someone realizes they’re about to start thinking “out of bounds”.

    I’d be willing to bet you could see this “faith-based self-censorship” activate in the brain if you had a CAT scanner handy.

  19. ryan says

    What does the age of the earth have to do with global warming, which is what I thought they were talking about? Also, it looked to me like Emmer was making a joke. He started his response succintly, made a joke, and then went on, probably wondering what the hell it has to do with global warming.