Today, at the website of the Washington Post, there are three separate blog postings about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s creationism. Each one is an answer to this question:
Texas governor and GOP candidate Rick Perry, at a campaign event this week, told a boy that evolution is ”just a theory” with “gaps” and that in Texas they teach “both creationism and evolution.” Perry later added “God is how we got here.” According to a 2009 Gallup study , only 38 percent of Americans say they believe in evolution. If a majority of Americans are skeptical or unsure about evolution, should schools teach it as a mere “theory”? Why is evolution so threatening to religion?
We’ll visit them one at a time, with a few excerpts from each, and with bold font added by us. First we’ll go to the post by Richard Dawkins. That one is Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact. Dawkins says:
There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office. What is unusual about today’s Republican party … is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.
Strong words, but the first question one should ask is whether the words are true. After deciding that, one can worry about details such as the tone of delivery. Let’s read on:
[A] politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well.
We know you’ll want to click over there to read it all, so now we’ll jump over to the answer by Cal Thomas. That one is Evolution and its consequences. We once posted about him, approvingly, as a prominent conservative who regards ID as junk science: Conservatives and Intelligent Design. Here’s a sample of his response to the Post‘s question about Perry’s creationism:
It is a useless argument because creationists will never persuade evolutionists they are right and evolutionists will never persuade creationists they are right. No one was there “in the beginning” so I am going to trust what God said. … If [parents] choose to send [their children] to public schools where evolution — and the consequences of that theory — are taught, then they have made a decision that will result in their children learning humans are material and energy shaped by pure chance in a random universe, with no author of life, no purpose for living and no destination after we die. ..a little more complex than a cabbage, but of no greater moral significance.
We’ll have to re-think our opinion of Thomas. Now for the view from Biola University — a California bible college founded in 1908 as the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles. We’ve previously posted about the interlocking relationships between the Discoveroids and Biola. And as we reported earlier, for the celebration of their centennial year, Biola honored Philip E. Johnson: Godfather of Intelligent Design.
This one was written by John Mark Reynolds, a Biola philosophy professor: Governor Perry, like many Christians, wants to leave room for God. He says:
Rick Perry really did it this time. He dared wonder about Darwinism in public. He better realize that hell hath no fury to match that of a Darwinist scorned. Denunciations will follow, because every age produces people who enjoy denouncing anyone daring to wonder about what they know to be true.
Huh? We continue:
Darwin, like most scientists of his day, wanted to limit science to natural causes partly because they thought natural causes could explain everything. When he told how species originated naturally, he thought the story was done.
Darwin was a fool — he tried to do science without Oogity Boogity! Here’s more:
“Darwinism” is certainly incompatible with Christianity and quite possibly wrong. Nature, matter and energy, are not all there is. Mind exists and so things can be caused by intelligence as well as impersonal forces.
What do I think? I am very skeptical that evolution, as we understand it, is adequate, but cautious knowing I am not a scientist. Separately, I believe science should be more open, at some level, to intelligent causation and believe “creationism” solves some important philosophical problems.
So there you are, dear reader. Three separate opinions on Rick Perry’s flaming creationist outburst and what it all means. Take a good look at each one, because together they give a good summary of the situation. Oh, for a fourth perspective, we posted earlier about the Discovery Institute’s reaction to Perry’s remarks: Discovery Institute: Problems with Perry.
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