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.
The state will likely decide on new science standards later this year.
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.And therein lies the problem. You don't “believe” in any part of science. I doubt seriously that most of these GOP candidates, if asked what the basic tenets of biological evolution are, would be able to respond coherently.Other candidates speak of teaching "both sides" and "strengths and weaknesses" as though there are two sides. In 150 years, no one has been able to promote a competing theory to biological evolution. All attempts to do so have failed and detractors are reduced to trying to find holes in the theory. As I have written before, all candidates for school boards should have to pass a test in basic science literacy. Rarely do I think that a federal solution is the answer but sometimes I wonder about this.
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.”