This video shows why people have so little respect for both politicians and media talking heads. Republican Congressman Mike Pence, an otherwise admirable man, simply doesn't know how to answer a question that probably 99% of people in Congress wouldn't know how to answer, but instead of admitting that he hasn't really given the matter much thought he bobs and weaves and temporizes hoping that the clock will run out and rescue him from Chris Matthews' hectoring. It's not his finest hour.
Matthews, on the other hand, doesn't know any more than Pence, and probably wouldn't understand a reasonable answer to his question if Pence had given him one. The host of Hardball claims that there are people in the GOP who oppose stem cell research, but I challenge him to name one. His assertion is completely uninformed. There are people who oppose embryonic stem cell research, to be sure, but that's hardly the same thing as opposing stem cell research. He later avers that some Republicans believe that liberal scientists have "planted" fossils in order to provide confirmation of evolutionary theory, a notion that is certainly a revelation to me. I have never heard of anyone who believes such a ridiculous hypothesis except, of course, for those scholars who freely acknowledge that exactly this was done in the case of the Piltdown hoax (c.1912).
Anyway, I was hoping Pence would ask Matthews to define "evolution." That would have ended the matter right then, I suspect, because I doubt that Matthews could have given a non-trivial response to the request. Anyone who believes that the debate today over evolution is between science and religion, as Matthews apparently does, simply doesn't understand the issues. If Matthews was able to give an adequate definition of what he meant by evolution he would have had to define it in such a way as to make Pence's objections to it seem perfectly reasonable to the majority of his viewers. But, alas, Mr. Pence didn't ask for the definition. Too bad. It would've been fun to watch.
It would've been even more fun if Pence had thought to ask Matthews, who is a Catholic, if he believed in transubstantiation, the immaculate conception, the assumption of the virgin Mary, or papal infallibility. If Matthews affirmed these doctrines of his Church Pence might have then asked his audience to judge whether such beliefs are more scientifically plausible than the belief that the universe and life show evidence of intentional engineering.RLC