Sam Brownback has an opinion piece in today’s New York Times elaborating on his disbelief in evolution. We’ve got him all wrong, he says; he’s not a creationist, he’s… well, a creationist. Hope that cleared things up for you. Quote the *gag* Kansas Senator;
While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.
So science can keep moving along, just so long as it supports the “created order.” Sounds awfully familiar, but certainly it’s a new take on the debate in an attempt to compromise, right? What I can’t stand is all the posturing by creationists about how much they “love” science, but whenever something conflicts with their faith, they try and shove it under the rug. Why? Because “faith” (faith in what? That you’re right 100% of the time based upon your own interpretation of an ancient and mutated book?) trumps reason and observation every time. Quote the Senator;
People of faith should be rational, using the gift of reason that God has given us. At the same time, reason itself cannot answer every question. Faith seeks to purify reason so that we might be able to see more clearly, not less. Faith supplements the scientific method by providing an understanding of values, meaning and purpose. More than that, faith — not science — can help us understand the breadth of human suffering or the depth of human love.
Yes, faith has always led the way to new discovery, rather than hanging back, trying to pull us backward into dogmatic, tribal religion. I’m sure that in Brownback’s view, however, some faith is more equal than others; I don’t suppose he’ll be looking to Norse creation mythology to help us “see more clearly.” I also like how he threw in some baraminology for good measure; species can change, but they were all “created kinds.” He’s not a “creationist,” no; he just believes that there were some created kinds, created by a creator who sustains his creation. Why don’t we ask Brownback how old the earth is and watch his head spin.
Evolution is something of an issue at the moment, but like others I don’t see it being even a little-ticket item in (as the Daily Show aptly puts it) the clusterf#@k to the White House. Even so, I just don’t understand why people like Brownback think they’ve got any kind of scientific authority on the issue; even candidates who accept evolution seem to do so because of political strategy and beliefs, so don’t go asking John McCain to tell you what a hox gene is or what he thinks of Pakicetus. If a candidate accepts evolution, great, but I would much rather see them refer to good scientists than trying and filter what is or is not true through their theological (and hence political) beliefs. Steve Reuland at The Panda’s Thumb also chronicles Brownback’s battle against gravity, and I can only wonder if any of the other candidates that do not accept evolution will volunteer some editorials in which they’ll proceed to fall all over themselves, muttering about faith and reason.