Republican congressional candidate Aaron Miller now insists that his story about his daughter coming home in distress at being taught evolution is "purely an analogy" and he was only making an analogy about local control.
An analogy, as the Merriam Webster Dictionary online tells us, is a "comparison of two things based on their being alike in some way." What was Miller comparing local control with? He's not telling and apparently, reporters aren't asking.
It's also unfortunate that coverage of his response in the Worthington Globe and Rochester Post Bulletin distort the media attention he's whining about. Mother Jones and others repeated the facts about science curriculum in Minnesota--first reported in Bluestem Prairie--which is set within the state and not by Washington.
They're not the one distorting the issue of who sets curriculum in Minnesota's classroom; Miller owns that part of the story.
Let's look at the atrocities by the gullible reporters--who also don't seem to understand that "evolution with divine intervention" has a name: creationism.
At the Worthington Globe, Aaron Hagen reports in Miller offers contrast to Walz:
Recent media attention has been given to Miller based on comments he made during conventions dealing with his daughter being upset about having to learn about evolution in the classroom.
“The funny thing about that is if you read beyond the headlines, you realize that there was a bunch of factually incorrect information that some bloggers got ahold of,” Miller said. “My point was really an analogy that I believe that the parents in the local school boards should have significantly more input on what’s taught in our school district.
“It had nothing to do with with evolution per se; it was purely an analogy,” he continued. “Some of the far left-leaning liberal blogs accused me of everything from being a neanderthal to an individual who doesn’t believe in science, and that’s ridiculous.
“I’ve been in the science industry and the medical industry for over 15 years. Of course I believe in evolution with divine intervention, but that’s a personal belief. The point was an analogy about government overreach and really government involvement in our local area and in our local school districts, but it kind of got spun out of control.”
Earlier in April, Bluestem posted in MNCD1: Aaron Miller repeats sketchy evolution tale, reaps First District Republican endorsement. We believe that we were the first blogger--liberal or not--to post about his remarks. Looking over the news reports on his statements, we're puzzled what he believes he was comparing in his anecdotes about his daughter, which he framed in terms of "values" and "religious freedom"
There's one belief that Quist and Miller shares: disbelief in evolution, although Miller stops before publicly suggesting that humans and dinosaurs frolicked together within historical memory. Freep staff writer Josh Moniz first reported in March:
Later, [Miller] shared a story about his daughter becoming very upset because she had to learn about evolution at school. He said his daughter told the teacher that she did not believe in evolution. He said the teacher expressed agreement with his daughter, but told her that they were forced to teach the lesson by the government.
"There's a war on our values by the government," Miller said. "We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C."
When asked for further detail, Miller declined to provide the name of the teacher in his story.
So, none of the dragon stuff.
In yesterday's article, Moniz reports that the Miller repeated the story:
He also called for more religious freedoms. He repeated his story about his daughter returning home from school because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.
"We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington D.C.," Miller said.
Miller has declined to provide any more information to verify his story.
So now Miller believes in "evolution with divine intervention" and the point wasn't about religious freedom or values, but local control. And it was "an analogy." "Evolution with divine intervention"? Google it, and the first hit is the Wikipedia entry for "creationism."
Apparently Miller missed the part in the blogs about just who sets curriculum in Minnesota schools. Hint? Bluestem wrote (and others repeated):
This is curious stuff, since the standards for curriculum in Minnesota are set by the Minnesota Department of Education. The K-12 science standards are introduced here, and a FAQ notes how the development of the standards are required by state statue (page 3).
While "Evolution in Living Systems" is a substrand under "Life Sciences" in the standards, in the primary grades, the content of the coursework has to do with life cycles of individual animals and plants, as well as the resemblance of offspring to parents. Reference to the fossil record and extinction begins at grade seven, with discussion of Darwin and theories of evolution slated for grade 9.
Bluestem thinks the standards are a bummer, since we grooved on learning about evolution from our independent reading about dinosaurs when we were in primary school. But we digress.
It's curious that Miller has chosen to select creationism as the banner for his crusade for religious freedom, when all the cool conservatives have rallied around Hobby Lobby's objecting to funding birth control in health insurance plans (pay no attention to the company's retirement fund investments in the drug companies that manufacture the pills) or the new-fund religious right to discriminate in public accommodations if one doesn't like cute boys marrying each other.
So perhaps he objects to the word "creationism."
But this is Miller's story and he's sticking with it. Liberal bloggers are mean to him. In Friday's Post Bulletin, Heather Carlson reports in Miller calls media coverage of evolution comments 'a complete distortion':
In a recent interview, Miller said those depictions of his comments were totally inaccurate. He said the point of his story was that it should be up to local communities to determine what is taught in schools.
"I believe that there should be more local control over school districts and less federal and state control over local schools," he said. "Obviously I wasn't advocating for what is taught in the schools. It is a complete fabrication and distortion of what was actually said."
Miller hadn't said anything objecting to state standards-- both times, the stump speech line was the same: "We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C."
Like the Globe reporter, Carlson seem incurious about this thing called "evolution with divine intervention":
Miller added that he personally believes in evolution with divine intervention. The Byron Army veteran notes he has spent the past 15 years working in the biotechnology industry.
"Of course I believe in evolution. I've been in the medical industry for many years," he said.
But Carlson does pick up on the point about local control that Bluestem raised on April 6 about where science curriculum is set for Minnesota. She writes:
In Minnesota, the science curriculum standards are established at the state level, not the federal level, according to Josh Collins, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Education. The commissioner convenes a committee of 20 to 50 people to review and revise the standards.
After a year of work, a draft of the recommended changes are reviewed by teachers and the public via town hall meetings held across the state. They are also reviewed by national experts. The feedback from the public and expert input are incorporated into the final draft of standards. Once the commissioner approves the final draft, the standards go through an 11- to 15-month rulemaking process. Minnesota's 2009 science standards were based on standards documents published by the National Research Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
We have to wonder why Carlson decided to allow Miller's distortion of the national coverage to pass. Her copy misrepresents the content of Mother Jones, Wonkette and Think Progress, all of which cited our material about the establishment of science standards.
Nor does she seem curious about this thing called "evolution with divine intervention." We're curious if that divine intervention works in the biotech industry.
Perhaps some of Carlson's readers will actually click on the link to the Mother Jones article and discover for themselves that Tim Murphy's copy included the material about local control.
The Evolution of Aaron Miller's Fundraising
Elsewhere, Miller tells the Fairmont Sentinel's Lee Smith in Miller: Health care reforms needed:
. . .his campaign coffers are starting to fill up.
"I think we have received more donations in the last week and a half than we did for the entire endorsement process," he said.
That's one of those contextless statements that a more competent journalist (the byline for the article lists Smith as a staff writer, although the masthead list him as editor) would check out for readers.
Since the right-leaning Sentinel can't bother, Bluestem checked out how much Miller raised in donations leading up to the endorsement in early April 2014.Before receiving the endorsement, Miller took in $28,507 from other people by the end of March 2014 for the entire cycle.
That being the case, we completely believe him.
Cartoon: An analogy for MNCD1 MNGOP candidate Aaron Miller. Miller appears to a peculiar definition of "analogy" and "evolution."
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