Sometimes I wish American politics would just hang clear of my Africa, but how naive I guess. Evolution is founded in, based in, spectacular in Africa, and it’s increasingly a hot-button issue in current Republican politics. I’m embarrassed to write about this, but the amount of ignorance among potentially very powerful people is flabbergasting and increasingly terrifying.
Herbert Cain hasn’t said, and that’s the point. He’s going to have to, soon. He can’t maintain his lead without addressing these issues which are part and parcel to the beliefs of those who will choose the candidate.
And by the way, Cain has a few other problems at the moment.
Jon Huntsman is the only major Republican candidate to embrace evolution. “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.” Jon Huntsman is also the only major Republic candidate without a chance of winning.
Mitt Romney accepts evolution as science. But his mission to stay afloat in the hurricane season in the Bermuda triangle forces him into multitudes of qualification. “God created the universe” and evolution “created the human body.”
Detailing exactly what he believes would probably wreck his campaign.
Only Newt Gingrich can out hedge Romney. When asked specifically about evolution, he angled his response, “I believe that creation as an act of faith is true, and I believe that science as a mechanical process is true,” Gingrich told reporters in May. “Both can be true.”
And have absolutely nothing to do with one another or evolution.
Rick Perry concedes that “evolution is a theory” but “with gaps in it.” No, there aren’t his kind of gaps in it, but more important, he pulls no punches in terms of what he’ll do if he can: “I am a firm believer [that] intelligent design … should be presented in schools. “
He’s been successful in Texas, where intelligent design has been incorporated into middle school text books and evolution qualified. It’s a huge and horrible story in itself.
Well, of course that’s not true, as is the case with much that Bachmann says day after day as though it’s gospel. (Maybe that’s the problem with her followers: they make up gospel.)
Unequivocally as his best credential Ron Paul states, “There is a theory… of evolution, and I don’t accept it,” Paul said.
Then there’s the bottom of the evolutionary chain, the last link so to speak. Rick Santorum makes the ridiculously untrue, not-even-a-metaphor pandering parallel that belief in evolution means you “are a descendant of a monkey,” and goes on to insist this nonsense is just one of “the many other liberal beliefs [of] Democrats.”
As a Senator from Pennsylvania he proposed the “Santorum Amendment” to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act that would have forced public schools to offer the creationist perspective in science classes, and to call into question the scientific evidence supporting evolution. That amendment was rejected.
That’s what we got to work with. One reasonable man without a hope who isn’t really a Republican, one man hiding on the run, two ducking and three wackos.
The candidates are driven by the right-wing Christian media, particularly talk radio. And the last few weeks have taken the ridiculous into the abstract sublime. You just won’t believe what right-wing talk radio is discussing these last few weeks with regards to evolution.
The current evolution topic is whether Darwin’s theories of natural selection contributed to Hitler’s Nazi holocaust.
And so, therefore, Hitler was not a Christian.
I know it’s unbelievable. I actually felt it was better to just not to wade into this, because the threads of logic were so knotted up.
“Nazism was not science-based,” Univ. of Minnesota biologist PZ Myers wrote last week, “Hitler was a true Christian.”
Somehow, whether Hitler was a Christian depends upon whether Christians believe in evolution, but evolution is science and if they don’t, then they aren’t Nazis, either? This is the new litmus test for Republican candidates. Can you phrase it better than me?
This ridiculous dispute became so prominent lately that University of Chicago professor Robert Richards issued a White Paper, “Was Hitler a Darwinian?“ with 45 pages of careful history, heavily annotated, in order to conclude “The only reasonable answer to the question that gives this essay its title is a very loud and unequivocal No!”
And Monday, the respected Philadelphia science journalist, Faye Flam, wrote that serious historians today “agree that any whiff of Darwinism in Hitler’s speech or writing was merely window-dressing.”
But we all know in today’s world that facts and logic don’t mean very much, so why try? We try, because it keeps us sane.
I just hope the election will fall however marginally with the sane.