California’s 21-year-old Alyssa Campanella took the coveted crown in the 60th Miss USA competition last night. Campanella marks a redeeming win for the state after the now-disgraced Californian Carrie Prejean dismissed marriage equality — or as she put it “opposite marriage” — in 2009. Miss USA seemed to take a breather from political controversy until this year, when the pageant decided to ask the contestants whether they believe evolution should be taught in schools in the preliminary round. A self-proclaimed “science geek,” Campanella affirmed that evolution should indeed be taught in schools because she believes in evolution of humans throughout time. This answer, apparently, won her another title last night. She and Massachusetts’ Alida D’Angona were the only two out of 51 contestants to “unequivocally support” evolution:
I was taught evolution in high school. I do believe in it. I’m a huge science geek. [...] I like to believe in the big bang theory and, you know, the evolution of humans throughout time.
Kentucky’s Kia Ben-et Hampton, however, did her state’s Creation Museum proud by firmly rejecting evolution in schools. Believing that “scientists have their different theories,” she said, “I don’t believe it’s a good topic for school subjects. At all.” While Alaska’s Jessica Chuckran, Mississippi’s Keeley Patterson and West Virginia’s Whitney Veach at least thought evolution should be taught as “a theory” alongside religion, Alabama’s Madeline Mitchell simply declared, “I do not believe in evolution, I do not believe it should be taught in schools, and I would not encourage it.” Watch it: