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2012 GOP Presidential Candidates on Evolution

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2012 presidential primary season in the United States is about to get under way starting in Iowa. While this year, the economy has been at the forefront of the minds of voters and focused the most on in GOP debates, many other issues should be considered before choosing the right candidate to support. How the candidates feel about evolution and whether or not they are for putting intelligent design or creationism in the science curriculum should be one of those issues that are considered.

Below, each major republican candidate in the 2012 presidential race is profiled (in alphabetical order by last name). Before beginning this article, I reached out to each candidate's camp for a quote or a confirmation of the information I had gathered. Most did not respond, and the rest pointed me toward their official websites (linked below).

Disclaimer: Evolution at About.com does not endorse any of the candidates discussed below. The information was collected from various news sites and official websites of the candidates and put forth for your convenience. I also included profiles of the candidates that were written by various other guides across the About.com network that include more information. The views of the other About.com guides are not necessarily the views of Evolution at About.com.

1. Michele Bachmann

michelebachmann.com

(Republican - Current Minnesota Representative)

Michele Bachmann officially announced her candidacy for president in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa in June 2011. A favorite of Tea Party faithfuls, Bachmann has stressed extreme socially conservative views throughout her run. A somewhat surprising win in the Ames Straw Poll in 2011 saw her jump to the front of the pack for a short time. Mrs. Bachmann's strong religious beliefs and background greatly influence her platform.

On the topic of evolution and evolution education in schools, Michele Bachmann has publicly declared her desire to push the teaching of intelligent design in science classes along with evolution education. Bachmann claims she is aware of "hundreds and hundreds" of scientists who believe in inelligent design and that it should be inserted into the science curriculum so students can decide for themselves what to believe. She even pushed for her home state of Minnesota to adopt intelligent design curricula.

For more information on Michele Bachmann, see her official website

2. Newt Gingrich

Scott Olson/Getty Images

(Republican - Former Speaker of the House)

In May 2011, Newt Gingrich was the first major republican candidate to announce his candidacy for the 2012 presidential race. The former Speaker of the House spent ten terms as a representative from Georgia before resigning in 1999 amid sanctions by the House of Representatives for ethics violations.

In a speech given during his campaign, Newt Gingrich defended his idea that the United States was founded on Christian principles and prayer and Creationism should be put back in schools. This includes teaching creationism and intelligent design along with or instead of evolution.

For more information on Newt Gingrich, see his official website

3. Jon Huntsman

US Department of State

(Republican - Former Ambassador to China)

Former Utah Representative and Ambassador to China under President Obama, Jon Huntsman declared his desire to seek the republican bid for president in June 2011. While a fiscal conservative, Huntsman's views on same sex marriage and scientific topics like global climate change are much more liberal than his opponents.

Mr. Huntsman's belief in evolution and global climate change had him Tweeting "Call me crazy." Huntsman has publicly declared in numerous places that he trusts and believes the scientists on scientific issues like the theory of evolution. He is the only one in the field who has repeatedly publicly declared his support of scientists on scientific issues.

For more information about Jon Huntsman, see his official website

4. Ron Paul

United States Congress

(Republican - Current Representative from Texas)

Ron Paul publicly decided in May 2011 to try, for the third time, to run for president. This time, however, he is running as a Republican instead of a Libertarian. Known for his extremely conservative views and desire to put drastically reduce federal government and leave major decisions up to the states, Dr. Paul is considered the most extreme candidate running in 2012.

Ron Paul wants to completely eliminate the Department of Education and leave decisions like whether or not to include alternatives to evolution in the science classroom up to the individual states. However, he publicly declared when asked at a town hall style campaign stop that evolution is a theory and he did not accept it.

For more information about Ron Paul, see his official website

5. Rick Perry

Sandy Wassenmiller

(Republican - Current Governor of Texas)

Governor Rick Perry is the most recent of the Republican candidates to declare his intent to run for the White House in August 2011. Another Tea Party favorite, Perry took some of the momentum off of Michele Bachmann and was instantly declared the front runner. After several poor showings at GOP debates, Rick Perry fell in the polls, but still has quite a large backing in the race.

Perhaps the most outspoken candidate on the topic of teaching evolution in schools, Mr. Perry has declared several times he does not believe in the theory of evolution and has even said that they teach intelligent design and creationism in Texas public schools (which is an untrue statement). After declaring that evolution is just a "theory that's out there", he could not seem to escape questions at most campaign stops about science related topics.

For more information on Rick Perry, see his official website

6. Mitt Romney

Gage Skidmore

(Republican - Former Massachusetts Governor)

For the second time in the past 8 years, Mitt Romney declared his intent to run for president on the Republican ticket in June 2011. As a successful governor and businessman (including a stint as the Salt Lake City Olympic Games Chairman), Romney is often seen as the frontrunner of the republican candidates this election cycle.

While governor in Massachusetts, Mr. Romney opposed teaching intelligent design or creationism in the science classroom. In a recent campaign stop, he was one of the only republicans who admitted to believing in evolution. Furthermore, Romney said there is no conflict between "true religion" and "true science".

For more information about Mitt Romney, see his official website

7. Rick Santorum

Gage Skidmore

(Republican - Former Pennsylvania Senator)

Rick Santorum declared his candidacy for the republican presidential nomination in June 2011 in his home state of Pennsylvania. He had previously served two terms in the senate as a delegate from Pennsylvania, but was defeated at the end of his second term for his reelection bid.

Mr. Santorum is an anti-evolution candidate who believes intelligent design should be taught in classrooms. He also does not believe in global warming or using embryonic stem cells for research.

For more information on Rick Santorum, see his offical website

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