WIKIMEDIA, UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYThe administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, said that evolution, at least as it concerns the origins of humans, is a philosophical and not scientific matter, according to audio from a 2005 radio show unearthed by Politico. “There aren’t sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution,” Pruitt said.
It’s not clear how Pruitt’s disregard for a basic tenet of modern biology affects his work at the agency. But Republican lawmakers tell Politico that Pruitt’s faith—he is an evangelical Christian—should indeed guide his decisions. “He’s a believer. He is a Jesus guy. He believes in the principles,” Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) tells Politico. “I think it does [have an impact], and I think it has to. Anyone who denies that that has an impact isn’t being totally honest.”
Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, counters that Pruitt should not act as “the nation’s pastor.”
Pruitt has questioned the contributions of humans to climate change, and his policy decisions have attempted to roll back environmental regulations aimed at safeguarding against anthropogenic sources of global warming.
According to Politico, the EPA’s press office took offense at a reporter asking if there could be a conflict between Pruitt’s anti-science beliefs and his job in running an agency that should be making evidence-based decisions. “If you’re insinuating that a Christian should not serve in capacity as EPA administrator,” the spokesperson said, “that is offensive and a question that does not warrant any further attention.”