You stare at the scantron, the your number two pencil clutched in your sweaty fingers. Desperately you wonder: why is this question on the test?
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin may have shared your anxiety when a London reporter asked him whether he was "comfortable with the idea of evolution."
He dodged with a straightforward " I'm going to punt on this one. "
But would his answer matter?
According to Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, the question was absolutely relevant. He argues that the real inquiry in this case was
" Do you stand with reason and evidence sufficiently to anger people among your allies who don’t? "
Likewise, he cautions against the danger of leaders who seek to" replace...insights with dogmas," and makes the case that science is integrated with all aspects of modern government.
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, however, takes an opposing view. She connects "gotcha" questions to toxic polarization, stating:
" If we want less political venom in politics, less personality and more substance and more serious news, one step in the right direction would be to rebuff the media when they ask questions that are not appropriate."
Logically, she suggests that questions " should pertain to something one can imagine coming up in public life."
Still, this category does not exclude much. Just ask the Oklahoma State House of Representative's education committee, who recently voted to defund AP US History curriculum in the state.
As Rubin points out, however, politicians' opinions only matter when applied.
Maybe what matters the most is whether our politicians know how much they know.