Saturday, January 12, 2008

Evolutionary Politics

Why we should care what candidates think about biological evolution.

Ronald Bailey | January 8, 2008 | reasononline

Biological evolution became a hot topic in the presidential campaign last May when Republican presidential hopefuls were asked during a debate if "there was anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?" Three held up their hands, Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.). Evolution deniers Brownback and Tancredo have now dropped out of the race. So what do all the remaining candidates—Republican and Democratic—think about biological evolution? And does it matter?

The rest after the click ...

My comment: The reasoning that is responsible for outlining the Theory of Evolution is the same kind of reasoning and mind set that brought us flu vaccines, space flight (and all of its attendant spin-offs including computers, plastics and an understanding of outer space), the "Green Revolution", chemotherapy in cancer treatment, and the discovery of the roles of DNA and RNA.

To deny the thought process that yields an understanding of evolution is to also deny the thought process that makes our current way of life possible. To deny that thought process is to state that all of the scientific breakthroughs of the last 150 years are not to be relied upon.

Science only accepts things on a provisional basis. That is to say, science recognizes that new evidence may lead to modifications in currently accepted understandings. Religion, on the other hand, finds the underlying answer to all questions to be "the will of God" and strongly discourages any further investigation. Religion is hostile to evidence that may contradict "belief" or "faith". Often, the penalty for questioning religious faith has been death. It has been the case in the history of the Christian world. It is still the case in parts of the Islamic world.

It's the ultimate arrogance to imagine that one has "all the answers", yet that is precisely what religion proposes. Scientific though and method has never suggested that it has all of the answers. What it does state is that the answers it does have are supportable by fact-based evidence as well as tests and experiments that can be replicated. That's how facts are established.

In my opinion, anyone who denies fact-based evidence in favor dogmatic, unquestioning, unsupportable superstition should be barred from holding public office. We don't agree on our superstition sets. Believe me, it's far better to have a leadership that accepts the same facts that can be tested and accepted and supported by the preponderance of real evidence by all of us than to risk having someone in a position of power who's superstitions disagree with yours.

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