GOP Candidate Herschel Walker Expresses Doubt About Human Evolution: 'Why Are There Still Apes?'

The Senate hopeful and former football star spoke with a pastor about evolution at a church in Georgia, where he leads in polls for the Republican nomination

Herschel Walker
Photo: Nathan Posner/Shutterstock

Leading Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker expressed skepticism about human evolution during an appearance at a local church on Sunday.

"Now think about this: At one time, science said man came from apes. Did it not?" Walker, a Republican, asked his host, Sugar Hill Church pastor Chuck Allen.

"Every time I read or hear that, I think to myself, 'You just didn't read the same Bible I did,' " Allen replied.

"Well, this is what's interesting, though," Walker, 60, continued. "If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it."

Scientists have thought about it for hundreds of years. They have concluded that humans, like apes, are primates. Humans share DNA and many traits with other primates, including humans' closest living relatives, chimpanzees. But that does not mean humans evolved from chimpanzees or any other still-existing ape species.

Scientists say that what is true, however, is that all existing primates — including humans — evolved from a common ancestor that was distinct from other mammal species by at least 65 million years ago. Chimpanzees and humans' evolutionary path then separated six or seven million years ago, though the two species still share 98.8 percent of their DNA.

Walker, a College Football Hall of Famer who played for the University of Georgia and was an NFL running back, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate last summer.

"I will stand up for conservative values and get our country moving in the right direction," he said at the time. "I'm a kid from a small town in Georgia who lived the American Dream and I'm ready to fight to keep that dream alive for you too."

Walker currently has a strong lead in the Republican primary race as well as in some polls for a likely general election contest against Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock, a pastor himself.

A rep for Walker's campaign didn't address his remarks about evolution at Sugar Hill Church but did email a brief statement to PEOPLE. "The country is unraveling thanks to Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden and the media wants to talk about Herschel in church on a Sunday morning," Mallory Blount said. "No wonder we've got problems."

Former President Donald Trump offered Walker his sought-after and influential endorsement in September, calling Walker a "friend, a Patriot, and an outstanding American who is going to be a GREAT United States Senator."

Herschel Walker
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Walker's comments about a "spray" or a "mist" that can "kill" the virus that causes COVID-19 made headlines earlier this year after he made them on conservative commentator and author Glenn Beck's podcast in 2020.

Walker claimed the product, which does not exist, was "EPA-, FDA-approved."

In 2008, Walker wrote about having dissociative identity disorder, hoping to show a different portrayal of the condition.

At the time, his ex-wife said that he had violent episodes in their marriage, including holding a gun to her head — which CNN reported he did not deny, saying he had blackouts and memory loss.

"I'm troubled by my actions and will always deeply regret any pain I've caused Cindy," he said at the time.

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