DISTANCING ONE’S SELF FROM ACCURATE BELIEFS…. We talked yesterday about Bradley Byrne, a leading GOP gubernatorial candidate in Alabama, who’s been targeted this week with a new attack ad. The commercial blasts Byrne for having supported “teaching evolution” in schools because it “best explains the origin of life.” The same ad criticizes him saying that he believes “there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not.”

In one of the saddest walk-backs in recent history, Byrne has distanced himself from his stated beliefs — which, by the way, needn’t be controversial — issuing a statement in support of creationism and Biblical literalism.

“I believe the Bible is the Word of God and that every single word of it is true. From the earliest parts of this campaign, a paraphrased and incomplete parsing of my words have been knowingly used to insinuate that I believe something different than that. My faith is at the center of my life and my belief in Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord guides my every action.

“As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God. As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books.”

Just so we’re clear, Byrne said modern biology “best explains the origin of life,” and now he’s having to quickly move in the opposite direction. Under sane circumstances, Byrne could respond to this attack ad by saying, “Of course I accept modern biology. Doesn’t everyone?”

But this is Alabama and Byrne is in a Republican primary.

I can’t wait for future press releases in which Byrne feels forced to say the sun revolves around the Earth; electromagnetism is “only a theory”; and the value of pi is exactly three.

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Steve Benen

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.