Newt Gingrich: Probably Not a Creationist

This news is a few days old, but we couldn’t get to it because of the predicted Rapture. Now we can return to our usual concern with The Controversy between evolution and creationism.

From the start of our humble blog we’ve been tracking the Republican presidential candidates to see which were creationists. It’s not that we need a President who knows biology, but we’d like one who isn’t insane — that’s not too much to ask, is it? — and creationism is a good indicator. As we said in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Creationist?:

We use creationism as a defining issue because, although no one cares if a President understands biology or geology or physics, we need a President with enough sense to consult scientists whenever necessary. If a President is a creationist, he thinks he knows as much as all the scientists out there; and in today’s world that’s exceedingly dangerous. The problem goes far beyond science — if a President truly is a creationist, his mental deficiencies will inevitably become manifest in other areas. Crazy people can’t be trusted.

Our earlier post that we periodically update to keep track of things is Which 2012 Presidential Challengers Are Creationists? Of the current crop of GOP hopefuls, the only one we knew of who definitely isn’t a creationist is Romney. Christie may not be, but he won’t say. We didn’t — until now — have anything definite on Newt Gingrich.

Newt always impressed us with his intelligence, so we’ve been assuming that he’s not a creationist. That’s despite the fact that he’s been shamelessly (albeit necessarily) pandering to the social conservative crowd. It may no longer matter what he thinks because his campaign seems to be foundering at the moment; but it’s too early in the game to know who the nominee will be. Besides, we finally have some information on Newt’s thinking about creationism, so it’s definitely worth mentioning.

In the Greenwich Time of Greenwich, Connecticut we read Gingrich showered with confetti, faith questions. Here are the relevant excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich refused to be pinned down Tuesday as a believer in creationism or evolution as the origin of human life during a gathering of Minnesota social conservatives, where he also endured a protester’s confetti shower.

He wouldn’t be pinned down? That’s not quite true, as you will soon see. And observe the journalist’s description of evolution as “the origin of human life.” We’ll have to look for Newt’s words, not the journalist’s, so let’s read some more:

The former House speaker adopted a nuanced stance in the thorny debate over how life first formed, telling his Minnesota Family Council audience that both theological and scientific views can be right.

Again, the journalist displays his ignorance of what evolution is, but that’s typical. Note also that Newt’s audience was a group with “Family” in its name, so he was speaking to a bunch of creationists. Tough crowed to please, if one isn’t a creationist. As we continue, we finally get Newt’s position in his own words:

“I believe that creation as an act of faith is true and I believe that science as a mechanical process is true,” Gingrich said at an afternoon session that preceded a more formal address. “Both can be true. I don’t think there is necessarily a conflict between the two.”

That sounds like he’s declaring theistic evolution as his position. You may disagree, but we find that very acceptable — especially considering the realities of the GOP nomination process. Yes, Newt does a lot of pandering — he has to, he’s a politician — but it looks like he’s not a creationist. We’ll understand his position better if he’s ever asked about teaching creationism in public schools.

There’s much more in the article. If you’re interested in Newt as a candidate, then click over to the Greenwich Time and check it out.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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21 responses to “Newt Gingrich: Probably Not a Creationist

  1. Newt has very strongly-held beliefs. They consist of whatever the folks he’s talking to at the moment believe.

  2. From Kill Bill 2, Budd is commenting to Ellie about Bea:

    You gotta hand it to the old girl. I never saw nobody buffalo Bill the way she buffaloed Bill. Bill used to think she was so damn smart. I tried to tell him… “Bill, she’s just smart for a blonde.”

    Whenever I hear someone refer to The Grinch as an “intellectual” I have the same thought: Yep, for a Republican.

  3. Newt is a Republican, therefore a believer of superstitious nonsense.

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    Gingrich is a Republican, and is a serious intellectual, but he is not a serious candidate.

  5. The phrases “creation as an act of faith” and “science as a mechanical process” are nonsensical — deliberately vague enough so that anyone in the audience would hear what they wanted to hear.

    But in October 2006, he told Discover Magazine, “I believe evolution should be taught as science, and intelligent design should be taught as philosophy.” Nothing vague about that; wonder why he didn’t say that to the Minnesota Family Council?

  6. I recall a 2006 interview where he declared that he had no problem with evolution, but then added a curious disclaimer that he heard about the Dover trial but knew very little about it. Surely by know he must know enough to decide whether the conservative Christian GWB-appointed judge made the proper decision, or was an “activist” judges, as the DI whined (after Judge Jones predicted they would!). BTW, there’s a question that begs to be asked of GWB, especially now that he doesn’t need to pander to votes. He said that he thought it was OK to “teach both sides,” but that was a month before Dover.

    Note that one’s position on teaching creationism/ID/”strengths and weaknesses”/academic “freedom” has no bearing whatever on one’s personal belief of “what happened when” in biological history, or which is the correct scientific explanation. I too fell for the “fairness” scam briefly, after having accepted evolution for 30 years. I figured that students would see how poor the evidence for creationism (I only knew of YEC at the time) was compared to that of evolution. Then I learned that all anti-evolution scams are all about promoting unreasonable doubt of evolution first, and belief of God or literal Genesis a distant second. And that they would never present the evidence fairly.

  7. satchmodog

    Gingrich is a statist pig and a political whore whose exit from the spotlight will hopefully be as quick as Trump’s. Newt always talks small government, but he’s full of guano.
    Newt also talks the Jesus talk when politically expedient and leaves it home when he speaks in front of thinking people. Gladly, the thinking and the non-thinking are both casting him aside right now.

  8. I get the impression, satchmodog, that Newt isn’t your favorite.

  9. carlsonjok

    I had thought Gingrich was an intellectual until I saw that he had used Thomas Jefferson’s “altar of God” quote in support of the Christian Nation nonsense in his book “Rediscovering God in America: Reflections of the Role of Faith in Our Nation.”

    The quote comes from the September 23, 1800 letter to Benjamin Rush which anyone can read here. Pay particular attention to the third paragraph. You will see not only does the letter not say what Gingrich implies, but it says the exact opposite.

  10. His third wife is a pretty serious and devout RCC. It’s why he had to have the previous two marriages annulled.* So I’m not surprised he seems to be toeing the RCC line on this one. JPII’s comments were mostly thestic evolutionist in nature. Benedict seems to be leaning more creationist but he hasn’t repudiated anything JPII said on the matter…yet….

    *Its really surprising to me that Newt’s kids stuck by him after that. It’s pretty much a giant finger in their face. Newt’s conduct basically demonstrates that if there’s ever a conflict between their legitimacy or his current paramour’s religious beliefs, he’s going to side with the paramour.

  11. Gabriel Hanna

    @eric:It’s why he had to have the previous two marriages annulled.*

    I don’t believe he could have had them LEGALLY annulled. Maybe “anulled” as far the Church is concerned. But legally, I don’t think so. Do you have some kind of source that can back up what you are saying?

    According to the anti-Gingrich source these are not legal annulments, but Church “annulments”.

    Consequently the legitimacy of Gingrich’s children is not, and never will be, in question.

  12. Gabriel Hanna

    @ericIts really surprising to me that Newt’s kids stuck by him after that. It’s pretty much a giant finger in their face.

    Maybe it will help if I explain that my mother married a Catholic and did a similar procedure. It is purely a Church matter. Her previous marriages are still legally valid. In fact she married my stepfather legally long before she married him again, in the Church, but they had to do a lot of paperwork first–Church paperwork, not legal.

    I don’t feel like she stuck a giant finger in my face. I don’t know or care whether the Church considers me “legitimate” or not. I’m not a Catholic and my legal status is unaffected. My mother certainly does not consider me illegitimate.

    While it is kind of you to be outraged on behalf of people you never met, it may be that the Gingriches feel the same way I do about it.

  13. Gabriel,
    I have no idea whether it was legal or religious or both. Though we’d probably agree that it was likely religious or religious+, and not likely ‘legal only.’

    You’re a better person than I would be. Were one of my parents to act this way, I would be very disappointed in them. And as a parent, if some person or organization told me that the only way I could be a member was to symbolically invalidate a previous relationship with my kids, I would tell them to take a hike.

  14. eric: “JPII’s comments were mostly thestic evolutionist in nature.”

    I’m not sure how intentional it was, but his description of the evidence for evolution as “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated,” is a devastaing indictment of creationism, especially the evasive ID variety. 150+ years of seeking and fabricating evidence, they are further than ever from convergence on a promising alternate explanation. Hence ID’s “don’t ask, don’t tell what the designer did, when or how” policy that was “evolving” before court losses added “don’t ask, don’t tell the designer’s identity.”

    The popes may not understand science very well, but they must be versed enough in the Galileo affair to know that geocentrism, YEC and OEC can’t be all true at the same time. So they must see the games that anti-evolution activists play. Even Pope Benedict, who was initially scammed by the DI via his friend Cardinal Schonborn, later said things more favorable to science.

  15. Gabriel Hanna

    if some person or organization told me that the only way I could be a member was to symbolically invalidate a previous relationship with my kids, I would tell them to take a hike.

    There was no such condition implied in what my mother did, or she’d not have done it.

    I know we love to twit Republicans with family-value hypocrisy, and Newt provides plenty of material even without this, but maybe this situation is more complex than it appears to someone who does not share the Catholic faith and is not in the Gingrich family.

  16. GH wrote about Newt:

    Gingrich is a Republican, and is a serious intellectual, but he is not a serious candidate.

    Republican, yes, in voter registration. Serious intellectual, rubbish! Let’s pick a serious Republican intellectual and I’ll pick William Buckley. Compare and contrast.

    Newt is a moron in comparison and, now, a pandering moron. If Newt were a real Republican then he would drop the “Moral Majority” and what they have become, denounce the Tea Party and conspiracy theorists and espouse clear, conservative principles: support for business and private enterprise, a strong military, clear and consistent foreign policy, strong support for science and education. And dump any organization with the name “family” who pretends to support him.

    Yes, jettison the nuts on the right. That would be the intellectual thing to do and, you know, he’s get my vote. However, Newt doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you or me. All he cares about is the power of the White House, personal fame and sexual gratification. Actually, he’s the perfect 21st Century Republican candidate!

    But intellectual? GH, you are pissing on my back and calling it rain, my friend!

  17. Gabriel Hanna

    @Doc Bill:Let’s pick a serious Republican intellectual and I’ll pick William Buckley. Compare and contrast.

    The only smart Republicans are dead, my friend. Think I don’t remember what people said about Buckley and Goldwater and Reagan and Eisenhower when they were alive?

  18. Gabriel Hanna

    Anwyay, Gingrich got a Ph.D. in history and taught it at the university level for 8 years. You may not like him, but that doesn’t make him not an intellectual.

  19. Yesterday, Michael Medved (talk radio host, Discoveroid and Bigfoot-believer) sounded convinced that Tim Pawlenty was the most likely Republican candidate. I recalled Pawlenty as having some sympathy to the anti-evolution movement. So I followed your links, and found a 2008 interview in which he insisted that ID is not “creationism.” That suggests that he was at least partly in on the scam (Biblical literalist rubes regularly confuse ID with creationism, and the Discoveroids bite their tongues in start contrast to the tantrums they throw when critics say the same thing).

    To see if his position has evolved, I strongly recommend that everyone ask him hard questions, such as “Do you still think that ID is not creationism, and if so do you reject the testable claims made by self-described creationists regarding the origin of life and species?” Or “Do you think that the conservative, Christian, GWB-appointed Judge Jones made the right decision regarding teaching ID in public schools?”

  20. Frank J says: “I recalled Pawlenty as having some sympathy to the anti-evolution movement.”

    I’ll have something to s ay about that today, probably in my next post.

  21. Aaaaarg! I meant Santorum, not Pawlenty.