After Georgia delivered two Democratic victories in a pair of crucial 2020 election cycle runoffs, endowing Democrats with a functional majority in the evenly-divided Senate, Republicans in the Peach State are placing their bets on former football star Herschel Walker to take back the Senate seat currently occupied by Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.
Walker's been endorsed by a number of Republican heavy hitters, including GOP kingmaker former President Donald Trump, but his campaign has already seen a number of scandals. Walker's website lied that he completed college, concerns that his wife voted illegally, and enhanced scrutiny of his past behavior.
Now, Walker's latest comments regarding evolution have raised eyebrows online.
The basics of evolution are fairly straightforward. Sometimes errors occur as DNA strands in dividing cells replicate, resulting in genetic mutations. While sometimes these mutations are benign or even harmful, every so often they make an organism more fit to survive than others within its species. This happy accident gives that organism a better chance of survival, and because the mutations are genetic, they're passed along to the organism's descendants, who also have a higher chance of survival, and so on. Over time, these descendants become dominant as the lesser-equipped organisms die out.
But evolution is controversial, to say the least, among the conservative Christians whose votes Walker will almost certainly need to win. The theory has largely been thought at odds with the Christian doctrine of creationism, which posits that God created two humans out of dust and ribs that went on to populate the entire earth. I
n making the case for creationism at a recent campaign event in a Georgia church, Walker made a botched attempt to discredit evolution at a recent campaign event in a Georgia church.
"At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not? ... If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it."
Evolution does not posit that humankind came from apes. In reality, we're more like cousins. Both humans and primates descended from a common ape-like ancestor, but evolved in different ways alongside each other. That common ancestor has been extinct for millions of years.
Social media users were taken aback by Walker's apparent misunderstanding of the pillar of biology.
Others noted that, among Republicans, Walker's comments likely wouldn't be too concerning—in fact, they may even be beneficial.
For what it's worth, virtually every American in the country witnessed evolution firsthand last year. The emergence of COVID-19 variants are evolution at work on a microscopic scale. As the virus spreads, mutations occur. In the case of the most recent omicron variant, more than a dozen mutations in its protein spikes endowed it with greater vaccine resistance and higher transmissibility.
It wasn't long before these attributes made omicron the dominant COVID-19 strain in the country.