Miss USA Winner Alyssa Campanella One of Only Two Contestants who Believes in Evolution
Two years ago, Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant kicked in a hornet’s nest of political controversy when contestants were asked about their views on same-sex marriage. Miss California Carrie Prejean came out swinging against marriage equality, calling it “opposite marriage” and proclaiming that “marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
Last year’s pageant avoided political pitfalls and 2011’s contestants must have breathed a collective sigh of relief, believing they would be safe from such seemingly misplaced questions. Alas, it was not to be. This year’s aspirants to the coveted crown were at least told what they’d be asked before the pageant, whose organizers were no doubt keen to avoid this immortal abortion from Miss South Carolina at the ’07 Miss Teen USA contest:
Actress Aimee Teegarden: “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”
Miss South Carolina Caitlin Upton: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some . . . people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over HERE in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.”
And what political minefield would 2011’s Miss USA contestants have to gingerly navigate in their four-inch Jimmy Choos? Drum roll, please… Evolution. More specifically, should it be taught in schools?
Oh, brother, here we go…
According to Think Progress, only two out of the 51 contestants said they believed in what just about every scientist does. One of those young women, California’s (actually, she moved to Los Angeles from New Jersey just four months ago, but that’s a whole ‘nother story) Alyssa Campanella, went on to win the contest. The other was Miss Massachusetts Alida D’Angona.
Now, I know the Miss USA pageant isn’t and ought not to be about the intellectual prowess of these young women. And I think it’s fabulous that this year’s winner, a self-professed “science geek,” will be representing this country as a rational, educated individual who won’t automatically be the target of snickers and sneers when she travels abroad to compete in the Miss Universe pageant or on her official duties. But being that we love stories that shine sunlight on the utter absurdity of religious belief and the idiocy of the vast chunk of those who choose to believe in superstitious fairy tales over science and reason, we’re going to take a look at some of the less enlightened characters who graced Sunday’s stage.
Let’s begin with Miss Kentucky, Kia Ben-et Hampton. “Scientists have different theories,” she declared. Uh, no, they don’t. “I don’t believe it’s a good topic for school subjects,” she opined. Sure, and let’s stop teaching that the earth revolves around the sun while we’re at it. The Kia Optima parked in the street outside my house has more brainpower than the otherwise lovely Miss Hampton. But I bet Kia did the Bluegrass State proud. Kentucky is, after all, home of the infamous Creation Museum, where they’ve got a straigt-faced display featuring humans and dinosaurs living side by side in harmony.
Next up: Miss Mississippi, Keeley Patterson, who believes that “evolution should be taught as what it is; it’s a theory, so I don’t think it should be taught as fact.” Yes, Keeley, evolution is just a theory… kinda like gravity!
Not to be outdone, Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell minced no words: “I do not believe in evolution, I do not believe it should be taught in schools, and I would not encourage it.” Bravo, Madeline! Spoken like a true representative of the a state who’s new governor, Robert Bentley, publicly declared that anybody who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior was not his brother.
Other contestants said they believed that evolutionism and creationism ought to be taught side by side in science classes. Here’s Miss North Carolina Brittany York: “I think it’s great to get both sides of the story. I’m personally a Christian so I believe the Bible’s version but you can’t push opinions or beliefs on children so they need to know every side that’s out there. So yes, I do believe that (evolution) should be taught but so should the other side of the story.”
Sure, Brittany, and while we’re at it, let’s teach the Dreamtime theory, the Australian Aboriginal creation mythology, or, for something closer to home, the fascinating tale of Spider Woman, the Hopi Indians’ rough equivalent of Mother Earth, and Tawa, their Sun God? What’s that, you say? Those are just fairy tales? Well, what great fortune for you that you just happened to have been born into Christianity, the One True Faith! Rejoice! Hallelujah!
(Here they are, Miss Kentucky Kia Ben-et Hampton, Miss Mississippi Keeley Patterson and Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell, in all God’s glorious ignorance:
If you believe that a man parting the sea, a talking snake or a virgin giving birth to a man who rose from the dead like a zombie is any more credible than the African Boshongo tribe’s notion that the Great White God Bumba had a stomach ache, puked up the sun, moon, stars, animals and, finally, people, then you really ought to sit down, take a deep breath and think. What evidence is there that either one is true, or more true than the other? Does not the creation myth of Bumba very closely resemble that of the Book of Genesis?
Any reasonable, thinking human being can see the problem here. The mythology of Christ and Christianity is no more or less valid than that of Ahura Mazda, Quetzalcoatl or the Prophet Mohammed. It’s when we start believing in the superiority of our own gods that we really run into trouble, and placing utterly unprovable dogma on the same pedestal as proven science is an invitation to a life of ignorance.
Yes, evolution is still technically a theory, but like I said, so is gravity. And even if you want to be completely neutral and weigh the merits of creationism versus evolution (ignoring centuries of science in the process, but hey, we’re an ignorant country), consider this: Evolution, which is based on empirical observations, is fluid and makes adjustments to accommodate new discoveries. Creationism, on the other hand, is based on the unchanging, infallible, unquestionable (for the greatest crime in Christianity is to question the existence of the Holy Spirit) word of God, as told through a 2,000 year-old book that has been altered more times than Heidi Montag.
Think about it. Yes, think. The opposite of what those who believe in creationism do.
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