ALABAMA, EVOLUTION, AND THE 21ST CENTURY…. A couple of weeks ago, a campaign ad in the Alabama Republican gubernatorial race gained some notoriety for its uninformed xenophobia. In that case, the candidate didn’t want Alabamians to take driver’s license exams in foreign languages.

And while that ad was discomforting, a new ad in the same Alabama Republican gubernatorial race is arguably even worse. In this spot, by way of PZ Myers, Bradley Byrne, a leading GOP hopeful, is blasted as a “liberal” for embracing views Alabama primary voters might find offensive.

The ad tells viewers, for example, that Byrne supported “teaching evolution” because it “best explains the origin of life.” The voiceover is incredulous, as if the very idea is preposterous.

It goes on to note that Byrne told voters that he believes “there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not.” This, too, is characterized as some kind of radical, easily-dismissed belief.

Just so we’re clear, in the 21st century, Republican gubernatorial candidates are attacked for accepting modern biology and being only a partial Biblical literalist.

It’s not really surprising, but it is depressing.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.