Four out of the five Republican candidates running for state superintendent of public instruction said they believe Arizona students should be taught creationism and intelligent design as part of science learning requirements.
The candidates’ comments came during Wednesday night’s debate hosted by The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com.
Jonathan Gelbart was the sole Republican candidate who opposed teaching students creationism and intelligent design. He is joined by Democrats Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira.
The four others — Bob Branch, Frank Riggs, Tracy Livingston and incumbent Diane Douglas — each said they believed students should be taught those topics in some capacity.
Republican candidates were asked by moderator and Republic reporter Richard Ruelas whether they were in favor of teaching accepted science, including climate change and evolution.
The question morphed into a broader discussion over the teachings of creationism and intelligent design in Arizona public schools.
Gelbart, 29, a former director of charter development for BASIS.ed, touted that he is the only Republican candidate to say that he “absolutely (does) not support” including the teachings of creationism and intelligent design as part of the science standards they are required to learn.
“It’s not science,” Gelbart said.
Branch, 60, a professor and Maricopa County Parks and Recreation commissioner, is running on a pro-President Trump platform, emphasizing Christian conservative values.
His stance contrasted Gelbart’s.
“I believe in intelligent design — I don’t believe it’s mutually exclusive from evolution,” Branch said. “I believe that there is a science behind intelligent design, so where Mr. Gelbart said science should be left to science, I believe in the science of intelligent design.”
Livingston, 55, a Maricopa Community College board member and former classroom teacher, said that while she supports creationism, “it’s just a no-no” for teachers to bring it up in front of students.
Multiple candidates accused her of backtracking from an earlier stance at a previous debate.
“Schools don’t even allow Merry Christmas anymore,” Livingston said. “I wish we could say something (that) there is creationism, there are these things. We can’t say it. There’s one thing to want it, there’s another thing to actually do it.”
Read the full story at AZCentral