Creationism and Politics: Aaaargh!!

This issue has plagued us throughout the entire time we’ve been blogging here. We’ve tried to express our discomfort several times, of which this is typical: Creationism and American Politics. So is this: Open Letter to the Republican Party.

It’s very nice to sit back and write essays about the grand sweep of things, but elections are coming up in the US. There are decisions that must be made and we are faced with very limited and extremely imperfect choices. It’s no secret that your Curmudgeon is not of the political left, but that’s not important here. Like everyone else, our preference is for political candidates with whom we can agree. But here’s the problem: What is to be done when the candidate who agrees with us on most things is also a flaming ignoramus about other issues?

What brought this recurring problem to mind is a news article we found today in the Tampa Tribune: A once unknown Rubio takes over lead in the Senate race. Here’s the one relevant excerpt:

On some issues, Rubio hews closely to rightist ideology. He has said, for example, that he’s not convinced there are human causes for global warming, and advocates allowing schools to teach creationism as science.

That crystallizes the problem, and we’ve blogged about it before: Open Letter to Marco Rubio. We’ve done that sort of thing more than once. During the 2008 Presidential election campaign we wrote our: Open Letter to Sarah Palin. In the Palin letter we said:

Do you truly believe that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old? Do you reject the theory of evolution and all the evidence which supports it, in favor of the Genesis creation account?

This is important — not because a Vice President (and possibly President) needs to know anything about geology, biology, and astronomy, but because the person who occupies such a position needs to be rational. We must know if you understand the difference between science and faith. Do you accept the existence of objective reality, or do you deny it?

[…]

[C]an you keep your faith in Genesis apart from the way you evaluate evidence and make decisions in the secular world? If so, we can accept that. But you have to tell us.

That pretty much sums up our thinking on the “creationist candidate problem,” but we never achieved a satisfactory resolution of the problem with either Palin or Rubio. Palin isn’t on the ballot this time around, but Rubio is. In most cases he sounds like a solid, old-time Republican — but there are disturbing overtones. See Creationist Theocrat for Senator?

There’s no doubt that Rubio is a fool about creationism, and probably some other things too — although his “church and state” remark may have been mere pandering. So what’s to be done with a candidate like that?

We find ourselves wondering what old Ben Franklin would do in such a situation. Ben Franklin? Yes. He faced somewhat bigger problems than whether to vote for Marco Rubio. Could you, dear reader, have supported the US Constitution — which tolerated slavery? Ben Franklin could, although he had serious reservations. He famously said to the Constitutional Convention:

… I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us … . I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? …

Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. … On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.

That’s impressive, and it helps to put our little problems in perspective. But we still have decisions to make.

We know that way too many Republicans these days are creationists — or at least they say they are. We never hesitate to blog about them, even though it’s embarrassing. Does that mean the Republican party is a lost cause? What’s the alternative?

Don’t forget that there are idiots in both parties — and we can show that without discussing the Democrats’ economic views. Among the Dems there’s Senator Patty Murray, who praised Osama Bin Laden as a great humanitarian after 9/11. There’s Sheila Jackson Lee, who thought Neil Armstrong had landed on Mars. And let’s not overlook Hank Johnson, who feared that an “over-populated” military installation would cause Guam to tip over.

So we shouldn’t bog down over the fake issue of whether one party is smart and the other is stupid. They’re both stupid. Also, they’re both anti-science, but in different ways. We’ve previously pointed out that the Dems are just plain weird about their environmentalism — no oil drilling, and no nuclear plants either. We don’t know the principle involved (if there is one), but they also seem to oppose all weapons research. Further, they’re shutting down the space program, except, perhaps, for Muslim outreach. So the Dems aren’t very scientific at all.

And don’t get us started on what they’d like to do in the name of global warming. The climate may indeed be warming, but there are alternatives to putting the government in command of the economy. That’s the Dems’ “solution” to every “crisis,” and there comes a time when their motives should be questioned.

So we’re faced with making choices on Election Day — none of them perfect, and most of them very unpleasant. It’s agonizing to choose the lesser of two evils. When doing so, besides thinking of Ben Franklin, we should also remember the wisdom of Henny Youngman. When asked “How’s your wife?” he’d invariably respond: “Compared to what?” That’s more than a punchline; at times it’s profound.

Could you vote for someone whose ideas you respect generally, but who has one flawed idea? That depends on the idea, doesn’t it? Could you vote for slaveholders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison? No, you couldn’t — not now. But back then? Never mind; we live in the here and now.

We’re talking about what amounts to a reluctant policy of “practical compromise.” In theory that’s abhorrent. One should never compromise in matters of principle. But when casting a vote the choices are limited. What’s to be done?

There can be no doubt that a raging theocrat is definitely too far over the edge to be tolerated. We may be wearing blinders, but we haven’t seen any Don McLeroy types running for Congress — at least not this time around. So we don’t have to rule anyone out on those grounds. We’re left with some candidates who oppose what’s been going on these past two years, but who are admittedly goofy about creationism. Let’s get serious now.

We readily admit that Christine O’Donnell tests the limits of any compromise policy. The only reason we’d even consider her to be barely tolerable is that she doesn’t seem to be malevolent — just stupid. And what of Sarah Palin? She’s no genius, but she’s brighter than Christine and we’ve never seen any hint of malevolence from her. It all comes down to Youngman’s razor: “Compared to what?”

We’ve probably upset many of you with this essay. That’s only fair — your Curmudgeon is upset too, and we don’t have any solid answers. Everything is squishy. So we’re blogging about our troubles and bothering you with it. Sorry about that.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Creationism and Politics: Aaaargh!!

  1. “Could you vote for someone whose ideas you respect generally, but who has one flawed idea?”

    Yeah, I do that all the time. After all, candidates are human and what human doesn’t have at least ONE flawed idea. The problem is that they usually have more than one flawed idea and those flaws often impact other things. I often wish we had the choice to say, “NONE of the above” and if NONE won, then the parties would have to come up with new candidates for us to vote on. Unfortunately, that would quickly become very expensive.

  2. Few people “feel you pain” more than I do. I have not been excited about any candidate in any election in almost 40 years of voting. About 15 years ago (as I was changing from reluctant Democrat to reluctant Republican) it hit me why: An election is where 2 or more salesmen compete for the job of serviceman – and the best salesman usually wins.

    I can’t prove it, but I’m convinced that if we just stop listening to politicians sales pitches, it can only get better. It makes no sense to listen to campaign speeches about “creationism/evolution” because most politicians: (1) are science-illiterate, (2) get their science “education” from people of the same ideology (or more extreme) telling them what they want to hear, and (3) say what they think will get them the most votes whether they believe it or not.

    I can’t prove that this will work either, but we have nothing to lose by bombarding anti-evolution candidates with information on how they have been misled, and questions about their beliefs and understanding – politely, and with no criticism of their religion or ideology. If they don’t hear us, they’ll hear the activists, not to mention those who want them to lose, and reinforce their misconceptions.

  3. Frank J says:

    I can’t prove that this will work either, but we have nothing to lose by bombarding anti-evolution candidates with information on how they have been misled …

    I fear that’s a waste of time. I doubt that either party knows or cares about evolution. You think Nancy Pelosi understands the theory of evolution? Or any of them? They’re all idiots, in both parties. To them, evolution is just one more nonsensical talking point. They don’t know or care what it’s all about. I think we’re wasting our time to even worry about what they say.

  4. Curnudgeon: “I fear that’s a waste of time.”

    We’re already wasting out time listening to their campaign ads. If we stopped, eventually the bean counters will see that their expenses produce no results. So replacing what we know caters to the lowest common denominator, with something that at least doesn’t, will cost nothing. I see it kind of like basic research, where no immediate payoff is expected, but persistence will be rewarded in the long run.

  5. “Compared to what?”

    With almost all the media being focused on politics, I am doing the only sensible thing. And that is immersing myself in the baseball post-season and hope the World Series will go at least 6 games, so that it can save me from the post-election orgy of analysis.

  6. This is all well and good, dear Curmudgeon, but you know that in the end you and some others (Zombie, VDH, Instapundit, Derbyshire, Lileks?) are going to have to actually lead us out of this mess, right? I mean, this is fine for now–we can hold our nose and all–but the non-evangelical Right is going to have to actually step up and make things happen. Where is our Thatcher?

  7. Shane says:

    … but you know that in the end you and some others (Zombie, VDH, Instapundit, Derbyshire, Lileks?) are going to have to actually lead us out of this mess, right?

    Wrong. I don’t know about the others, but all I’m doing is saying what I think. If anyone pays attention, that’s fine. If not, that’s how it is.

  8. Carlsonjok – I hear ya on the playoffs. Of course, that can be painful too :)… but at least it’s baseball.

    Being a wild-eyed moderate, I usually vote for the politician I think is the most pragmatic, rational, and least ideological – my ideal would be a person who is relatively conservative fiscally but relatively liberal on social issues. We had two presidents in that general vein back to back, Bush Sr. and Clinton. It’s no accident they work together well on charity issues today. That seems to be a dying breed of politician, not because they aren’t out there, but it’s not very exciting to run a campaign on being moderate and the party’s nominate the candidates that excite the fringe (or base, as they term it), so we get creationist republicans and extreme democrats. Although, compared to tea party folks, the democrats look almost boringly normal.

  9. Political ads aren’t aimed at anyone aware of their political surroundings but at the silly s***s in the muddled middle too stupid to understand anything, let alone decide who is capable of running a government for the benefit of its citizens.

  10. I do not agree with all of the Republican positions nor do I agree with the Democrats for the most part. What is the true danger in this country now are the DOGMATIC religious conservatives. I believe that reasonable folks can and do work out their differences as Ben Franklin pointed out. The creationists and other religious zealots know they are right , they have blind faith and dogma to lead them and consequently they can not compromise. The beauty of our political system is that there are choices and politics as ugly as it is, is the art of compromise. The Discoveroids and their ilk do not listen to reason just dogma, they want to rule , they want to control all of us and make us “believers”. I myself find myself mistrusting any of the politicians who bring “God” into the conversation, that is the true danger.

  11. Kent Hovind says:

    Political ads aren’t aimed at anyone aware of their political surroundings …

    Jeepers, rev, you sound bitter.

  12. A pretty reasonable test to my view is whether the candidate in question can honestly say they uphold the principles

    Liberty and Justice For All
    and
    Separation of Church and State

    Palin, O’Donnel et al obviously FAIL this test.

    Anti gay rights…fail. Anti abortion rights…fail. Mouth off about any form of religion…first ammendment fail. Think kids should say prayers in schools….fail. Support a Chaplain Corps in the military…fail.

    Test 2…does the candidate have an IQ higher than your shoe size? Have they qualifications? Can they prove it?

    Test 3 – have they said a load of contradictory stuff depending on the prevailing wind…ie are they lying hypocrites? Or, as with Palin and O’Donkey just plain old delusional tards?

    When asked a yes/no question do they answer errr….and start talking across the point?

    See…makes it easier eh?

    I go with Lewis Black….your political system is one bowl of **** screaming abuse at itself in a mirror.

    Ours over here is much the same.

    But at least here “Im a person of faith” means you loose the election and get treated like Big Thick Jack McClod the Village Idiot and ripped on by the press.

    Personally id recommend placing your X in the None Of The Above box.

  13. The GOP either learns from the Tea Party experience and moves to emphasize fiscal responsibility and de-emphasize the “underwear drawer” issues (to use the Curmudgeon’s apt expression), or it will be marginalized in the next election as third party and independent candidates come out of the woodwork to fill the electoral void, and frustrated voters embrace them like long lost friends.

    In the meanwhile, when confronted with the choice between voting for a Marxist or a Creationsist, I often choose the principled option and vote Libertarian (unless the Libertarian candidate is a lunatic, excessively obsessed with hemp products and property rights in space, instead of fiscal issues — in such situations, writing in “Calvin Coolidge” provides an element of personal satisfaction, fleeting as it may be.)

    But in this election, a principled vote may not be a viable option. I do not think the country can afford another two years of profligate fiscal irresponsibility (regardless of which Party you blame for starting it,) trillion dollar deficits as far s the eye can see, fascist take-overs of vast sectors of the economy by government, and Keynesian boondoggles such as Cash-for-Clunkers™ and Stimulus Slush Funds™.

    Under extreme circumstances such as the present economic crisis, it is sometimes necessary to hold one’s nose and vote for the whomever is most likely to end the orgy of fiscal madness before it destroys the economy.

    Think of it as an interim solution, until the Enlightenment Party gets organized…..

  14. Hey Longie, you don’t like “the orgy of fiscal madness “?

  15. The Curmudgeon | 11-October-2010 at 11:32 am |

    Hey Longie, you don’t like “the orgy of fiscal madness “?

    To quote “The Mad Prophet of the Air Waves”:

    “I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!”

  16. What I find amusing in this discussion is that creationists tend to assume that anyone who is conservative must believe in god. It’s automatic – if you’re Republican, you go to church, believe in god, vote “family values”, etc.

    Here we have a thread of conservatives who are (probably) atheists, arguing over which is the worst evil – electing a creationist or electing a liberal – and finding the choice difficult. It IS a rather different discussion than you would find on most political blogs. 🙂

  17. Ed says:

    It IS a rather different discussion than you would find on most political blogs.

    But I think Ben Franklin (the original) would have no difficulty understanding the problem. The same goes for Washington, Jefferson, and Madison too.

  18. Does any us here know where Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers (and the other billionaires putting up the dough for the amazing blast of negative advertising we’re seeing now) stand on the Controversy and economic issues? It seems to me thats who will be calling the shots if enough of the Tea Party endorsed candidates make it to office.

  19. I’m a Florida voter. I’m not going to vote for Rubio because he’s an anti-science-education creationist. I’m not going to vote for Crist because he’s afraid of atheists, and he’s probably also a creationist. That leaves the Democrat candidate, who if I remember correctly, is expecting about 20% of the vote, therefore a vote for him is most certainly a wasted vote.

    So the three choices are an idiot, an idiot, and a nobody.

    There is no hope for this pathetic country.

    http://darwin-killed-god.blogspot.com/

  20. Does any us here know where Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers (and the other billionaires putting up the dough for the amazing blast of negative advertising we’re seeing now) stand on the Controversy and economic issues?

    IIRC Koch brothers are libertarians (one of them was a LP VP candidate many years ago), which translates in strict fiscal conservative on economic issues.

  21. Gabriel Hanna

    Billionaires paying for negative ads, it’s terrible, isn’t it? President Obama just said so, at a $30,000 per plate DNC fundraiser. Maybe MoveOn.org can get some more money from George Soros to make sure that everybody knows who the Kochs are and what they are funding.

  22. retiredsciguy

    SamF says, “The creationists and other religious zealots know they are right , they have blind faith and dogma to lead them and consequently they can not compromise.”

    Amen to that, brother. Here in Indiana, our Republican governor Mitch Daniels suggested we call a truce in the culture wars, a pragmatic move to avoid alienating the middle, which is crucial to winning elections.

    Predictably, he’s being pilloried by the religious right. If those idiots would only stop for a moment to consider the consequences of their actions…

    For my money, Mitch Daniels would be a great president. I hope he can be persuaded to run.