During a stop in New Hampshire on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised skepticism about the theory of evolution.
"How old do I think the earth is? You know what, I don't have any idea," said the Texas governor when asked about his position on the issue by a woman and her son. "I know it's pretty old so it goes back a long long way. I'm not sure anybody actually knows completely and absolutely how long, how old the earth is."
Perry regarded evolution as "a theory that's out there" and one that's "got some gaps in it." He added that in the Lone Star State both creationism and evolution are taught to students in public schools. He explained, "I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."
The Texas Tribune reports that some in Texas dispute the governor's claim about whether creationism is taught in the classroom in the state. The Tribune notes:
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism in public schools was unconstitutional. In the case Edwards v. Aguillard, the court ruled that teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools was the equivalent of teaching religion — and violated the Constitution because it advanced a particular religion.
Earlier this summer, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann expressed doubt about the theory of evolution.
"I support intelligent design," she said after speaking at this year's Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. "What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don't think it's a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides."
In 2006, Bachmann suggested that some within the scientific community discredit the theory of evolution. "There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design," she said.
Meanwhile, GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman signaled a different stance on the issue on Thursday. In a tweet he wrote, "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."