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Friday, May 04, 2007

'Party of Ideas' Watch

As an addition to this blog's ongoing coverage of the evolution "debate," let's consider for a moment John McCain's reaction to being asked whether he believes in evolution, and the subsequent responses of other Republican presidential contenders. Go see it here in the media format of your choice (as long as your choice is QuickTime or Windows Media) then c'mon back.

Much as I might like to let this speak for itself, the nature of the medium puts us 'twixt Onan and Narcissus (*) — so here are a few words whether in order or not.

McCain's response seemed to follow a longer pause in the first viewing this morning than in the second this afternoon. Still, hard as it is to read minds, an interior monologue seems to play across McCain's face in the moment between the question and his response. I believe that must have gone something like:
Oh, shit, I want to evade this. But if I do, there goes what's left of the Straight Talk Express into Crazy Base World and so I might as well take my medicine and say Yes.
In case you hadn't gone and looked, the moderator asked for hands in disagreement with McCain, and got 'em from Brownback, Tancredo, and Huckabee. Brownback's disbelief in evolution is notable as Brownback's credentials in the anti-abortion movement stem from his archconservative Catholicism. As such, Brownback's stance is not terribly principled, theologically, in light of the Catholic church's development, since the mid-20th century, of a fairly sensible view that (once you plow through lots of tedious Papalese) the behavior of the material world is what it is. Discoveries regarding the material world's dynamics don't have any theological consequences of note as drawing such would be effing the ineffable "purposeful divine providence" or something like that.

As the National Catholic Reporter article (previous link) mentioned, that's not enough for the likes of Michael Behe (Catholic embarrassment to his department), who is linked via the Discovery [sic] Institute to the publication of a notorious ID-friendly NYT op-ed by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna (**). While Brownback could be an archconservative Catholic of the sort who believes that the Church let Galileo off easy back in 1633, is "building a bridge to the 16th century" much of a 21st century campaign slogan?

Similar thoughts from my intermittently-blogging friend and actual scientist Dr. Corndog, who offers additional discussions regarding evolution, our possible neo-pre-enlightenment future, and pie.

(*) If only I had come up with that.

(**) Where I'll be flying later this month to talk some sense into him, should he for some reason attend the Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad as that is, it appears that the American public is even farther behind. Saw a link to this on the National Geographic site earlier today:

Demonstrating that Turkey is the only Western nation with a smaller percentage of the population espousing a belief in evolution. This is one of those moments that I consider never leaving my Ivory Tower...

Friday, May 04, 2007 3:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Bozzo said...

Yeah, this is one of those facts that I periodically have to put out of my mind so that I don't go around thinking we deserve to go extinct.

Given where Crazy Base World falls in terms of evolution disbelief, having only three of the ten candidates raise their hands might be considered something of a victory. OTOH, an MSNBC debate months prior to the first primary is aimed in part at elite opinion makers who might actually think worse of them. Not sure where the equilibrium point is.

Friday, May 04, 2007 6:37:00 PM  

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