evolution smevolution… just give me a candidate who says his opponents hate jesus

OK, I know I probably spend way too much time on evolution and Creationism on this site, and that doing so is probably costing me a fortune in lost ad revenue, but I just had to share this quote from a press release issued by the polling company, Gallup, this morning:

The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. This suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain…

Just to put this in historical context; it is now 2007, Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” was published in 1859, and the Scopes “Monkey Trial” took place in 1925. Draw your own conclusions about our candidates.

[And, I know I probably say this every other day, but believing in evolution does not necessarily mean that one does not believe in God.]

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  1. edweird
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    If only we could all just understand and accept that the answer to the meaning of life is 42, the world (sorry super computer) would be a better place.

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Does believing in evolution preclude believing that God had some originating and/or guiding role in evolution?

  3. dr. teddy glass
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    The thing that pisses me off isn’t that they don’t believe in evolution – it’s that they do, and yet they say that they don’t. These men will say whatever they have to go get elected. And, if they lie about this, you can be sure, they’ll lie about other things too.

  4. Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Even Catholics “officially” believe in evolution. Hell, I went to Catholic schools for 12 years and we were taught evolution!!! I go to church and I believe in evolution. They are not mutually exclusive, as Mark says. Stupid people annoy me.

  5. egpenet
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    … evolved from Adam & Eve, perhaps … not Abel, nor Goliath … but most certainly Cain, Lilith … ooo! ooo! ooo! Bathsheba! (The Babe!) … etc.

  6. Chelsea
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Many modern Republicans are descended from monkeys.

  7. Robert
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Every day, Creationists scream that evolution is just a theory, and every day they prove devolution to be a fact.

  8. Robert
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Ok, maybe that was nasty.

    Isn’t evolution just creation seen in super-slow-mo?

    Are there people who believe that if they were able to be there at the time of Creation, they’d see some ginormous bearded guy arranging things or snapping his fingers, or however it is described in religious text? When really pressed, I would guess that most creationists would admit it wouldn’t look at all like that to human eyes. Nothing God is said to do looks to human eyes as it is described in human language. So why the problem with evolution?

    Do these people believe that it’s outrageous to suggest rainbows are the result of H2O prisms refracting light? Does anyone get all bent out of shape about that, saying it is simply God’s promise never to flood the earth again?

    Where do you stand on the refracting prism vs. God’s promise argument? Are you a refractionist or a promise..uh..ist?

    I’m starting to wish I were descended from Monkeys.

  9. mark
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another twist, as long as we’re on the subject – a campaign to “teach the controversy” surrounding pi.

  10. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    The problem for candidates is that the leading apologists for evolution (Dawkins, Gould, etc.) maintain(ed) that believing God guided/jump-started evolution is tantamount to believing in unicorns.

    We may all wish they were compatable, and may make them so in our minds, but the evolutionary spokesmen call us, Billy Graham, and the Catholic Church idiots for doing so.

    Evolution is chance, deplete of design. Faith is design, deplete of chance. The purists on each side say they don’t mix.

    There may be room for some deluded whimsy of God left in S.J. Gould’s mind, but a God who didn’t originate the universe is so undermining to most/all faith to leave no god at all.

    Is there a God? The spokesfolk for Evolution say, “Believe what you want.” Did said God create the universe. They say, “Hell no.”

    No, politicians shouldn’t be excused for being disingenous. But, for much of the population, it’s been painted as an either/or arguement. For many, evolution, based on the PR of the evolutionists, equals athiesism. And, athiests don’t get elected.

    We don’t need to inject God into the “gaps” of scientific theory. Science would suffer, for sure. But, I think some get a little emotional and let go of reason when they try to use science to scrape any possibility of god out of the cracks where god could, in reasoned fantasy, exist.

    I doubt most politicians take the time to figure out what they actually believe. Currently, the “there is a god” crowd outnumbers the “there ain’t.” For better or worse, evolution is, for many, the line that divides.

    For the record, I’m, at present, a theistic evolutionists, which makes me a heretic to some and idiot to others. And, for the record, I’m drunk again. My first impulse was “Don’t post, you’re drunk.” Forgive typos, and if this is incoherent, ask me again in morning.

  11. mark
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    There’s certainly a continuum. And, I suspect you and I are pretty close on it. I’m comfortable where I am. Maybe I haven’t put enough thought into it, but I don’t see how God and evolution are mutually exclusive. And I don’t give a fuck if someone calls me an idiot. It started several generations ago, but I’ve evolved not to care.

  12. degutails
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    bah! evolution’s not a belief system. unlike god(dess) figures, evolution has an existence independent of the human mind. a provable, measurable existence. i don’t understand the nature of the controversy at all. faith is the belief in something greater than you, and proof would just cheapen the whole thing, it seems to me. whereas evolution, as the scaffold by which life adapts to its environments, is not a faith-based proposition at all.

    also, we didn’t evolve from less advanced life forms. it’s a misunderstanding. evolution proceeds by a number of processes, but always a successful species is one that is well adapted to its environment. it’s not a ladder of progress. as stephen jay gould pointed out, we’re the last twig on a formerly branching bush – we’re successful for now, but in the grand scheme of things, it may not count for much.


  13. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a clip of the controvery.

    It’s one thing to realize faith can’t be proved, it’s another to take the step that Gould took modestly, and Dawkins takes aggressively, that evolution essentially proves faith is a fairytale.

    Dawkins is the public face of evolution. He’s the best seller on CNN and FOX. It may be knee-jerk guilt-by-association on their part, but you can see why folks would watch him and decide they don’t want evolution taught to their kids, or at least don’t want Dawkins’ version.

  14. degutails
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    um. the evolution in schools controversy significantly predates richard dawkins, and i’m not even going to go in to stephen jay gould, whose death only slightly blunted the ardor of my crush on him.

    the possibility that the information encoded in each atom could disappear in a black hole is much more damning (if you will) of god, but nobody’s complaining about that being taught.

    we are a simple people, and we like to be the most important. anything that imperils that primacy tends to be ill-met by the general public. but if you believe in god, she’s there whether evolution is being taught and information is being disassembled in black holes or not. that’s the part i don’t get – faith is faith – it’s got nothing to do with evidence.


  15. mark
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ll agree with you that Dawkins can be a bit smug, but I like having his voice in the conversation. As strident and confrontational as he can be, I don’t think he comes anywhere near the level reached by his adversaries. He doesn’t, for instance, condemn anyone to hell.

  16. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I’ve drawn this post so far away from the original intent that Republican’s are liars. I was just curious about Mark’s comment that evolution doesn’t preclude belief in god. Thanks for humoring me.

    Meredith, from a person of faith who believes life evolved slowly over time, here’s an explanation, however unsatisifying.

    For me, something that has nothing to do with evidence isn’t faith, it’s insanity or delusion. I.e., I have faith that John Edwards has a better shot of winning the presidency than Hillary. I don’t know that for sure. I can’t prove it. But, my interpretation of the evidence of US culture leads me to take the leap of faith and cast my vote to beloved JE.

    In contrast, believing that Paris Hilton has a better shot than Hillary is delusion (although, it would seem, decreasingly so). Faith isn’t divorced from reason, it comes when rationality reaches its end, is left with rationaly viable alternatives, and makes a leap to some shore. Faith is not blind until the last fateful step. Faith has everything to do with evidence. No person of faith still believes the sun revolves around the earth. Evidence trumps faith, but when evidence reaches its end, faith, for either side, steps in.

    For Dawkins, there is no faith but his. All else is delusion. My question is simply, does the evidence for evolution now eliminate the possiblity that God guided/started evolution, as Dawkins suggests it does, or is Dawkins strechting the evidence beyond what it reveals?

    Is there rational room for reasonable doubt?

    Most, if not all, faiths will crumble without a god who didn’t have some small hand in the origin of species.

    I’m sorry folks, I drink at night. I’m really only still posting on this because I benefit from hearing what others have to say.

  17. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Ah. Mark posted before I hit send.

    I suppose telling folks that they are stupid and deluded and that what the ideals they dedicate their lives to is the root of everything wrong in world is in some sense less severe then sentencing them to eternal torment but only because of the time factor.

    Honestly, I also like having Dawkins “in” the conversation, I just wish his celebrity didn’t make him “the” conversation.

  18. Robert
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey, you guys didn’t take a side in the pi controversy. Where do you all stand? And I wasn’t able to get anyone to state their position on the rainbow debate. Is it refracted light, or is it God’s promise?

    An infinite series of events, each pre-determined by an infinite set of variables, provides the perfect illusion of free will and randomness of events. Freedom of choice and pre-determination are not polar opposites in reality, only in the concepts of the mind.

    Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Mind is the best place I’ve found where the process is described by which the consciousness constructs these artificial dichotomies for the purposes of practical decision making. Hegel’s dialectic then describes the process of undoing these constructs through the synthesis of the two conceptual opposites. They are recombined into a new construct which serves as the new thesis. This is the perpetual process of learning, and the perceived experience of unlocking the secrets of the universe around us.

    I’m neither a creationist or an evolutionist. I am a Hegelian Dialectician. I believe the concept of creation is the thesis and the concept of evolution is the anti-thesis, and are both slivers of perception of the same event.

  19. dr. teddy glass
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    That’s some heavy shit, Robert.

    I was going to say someting about unicorns and rainbows, but now you’ve gone and fucked with my mind.

  20. dr. teddy glass
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    And Pi is the work of the devil.

  21. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I think Dawkins would argue that evolution is logical whereas theism is rhetorical and so Hegel’s dialectic would not apply. (I think Hegel requires logical opposites?)

    In any case, it sounds like we all don’t see the concepts as incompatible as Dawkins and I think we can all agree that the Devil is the work of Pi.

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