…the whole article [by Jindal] is an illustration of the reality that extremely intelligent people can also be very ignorant. I have no doubt that Bobby Jindal has a world class mind; and he certainly succeeds and excels at any task which catches his attention. It seems clear to me that when it comes to science & religion he is out of his depth. His characterization of those who disagree with his own religious views is laughable in terms of the inaccuracies in the broad brush pictures which he paints for the reader, and that is surely a good indication of the superficiality of his knowledge base. Jindal can think fast and with great analytic agility, but without a base of facts to manipulate and put through the analytic grinder you produce no value added end product. In short: garbage in, garbage out.
Razib, who is a far kinder soul than the Mad Biologist, accounts for Jindal’s ignorance thusly (bold Razib’s; underline mine):
At this point Jindal had already received his undergraduate degree (with honors) in biology from Brown, but the whole article implies a very weak understanding of evolution, or, a purposeful misrepresentation. “Even if we grant Dawkin’s assumption that human beings are the product of unassisted evolution, which is quite a generous gesture since there is much controversy over the fossil evidence for evolution.” This may speak to the reality that most people with undergraduate biology degrees don’t necessarily have a strong understanding of evolutionary theory; frankly, many are careerist pre-medical types who are more focused on getting the best marks in organic and biochemistry than they are on knowing even the most minimal details of population genetics (which will likely be introduced once or twice in an introductory course). Jindal applied to medical school so one can surmise where his focus lay.
Razib lets Jindal off far too easy. Why? Because Jindal and I both received degrees in biology with honors from Brown in the exact same year. Having gone through that program at the same time, there is no conceivable way that he received his degree not knowing that there is overwhelming evidence from the fossil record for evolution regardless of his focus (“the most minimal details of population genetics” have nothing to do with what Jindal erroneously claimed).
Like Razib, I’m willing to posit that Jindal is very bright. That leaves two possibilities: either Jindal was being willfully ignorant when he wrote the essay four years after he graduated, or he wasn’t paying attention in class. Razib rightly concludes:
I don’t doubt that Bobby Jindal is extremely intelligent, but if I had to guess what sort of person wrote the essay above I wouldn’t have felt embarrassed assuming that the author was an average student at a Christian high school! This doesn’t mean that Jindal isn’t an efficient technocrat, his record speaks for itself. But I think that this piece would suggest he is not truly broadly educated.
And that devalues my degree.