Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Conservative Leaders on Evolution

A reader sent me this link to an article in the New Republic (he thought he’d be the millionth person to send it to me, but in fact it’s the first I’d seen it, so thanks!) about how many prominent conservatives feel about evolution. The good news is that many of them were strongly supportive of evolution and saw through the ID marketing campaign quite well. I particularly liked Charles Krauthammer’s answers:

Whether he personally believes in evolution: “Of course.”

What he thinks of intelligent design: “At most, interesting.”

Whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools: “The idea that [intelligent design] should be taught as a competing theory to evolution is ridiculous. … The entire structure of modern biology, and every branch of it [is] built around evolution and to teach anything but evolution would be a tremendous disservice to scientific education. If you wanna have one lecture at the end of your year on evolutionary biology, on intelligent design as a way to understand evolution, that’s fine. But the idea that there are these two competing scientific schools is ridiculous.”

James Taranto, Richard Brookhiser, Jonah Goldberg and others expressed similar opinions. But by far the dumbest statement of all came, not surprisingly, from Pat Buchanan:

Do I believe in absolute evolution? No. I don’t believe that evolution can explain the creation of matter.

I like that – absolute evolution…whatever that means. I’ve got news for you, Pat. Evolution doesn’t explain the creation of matter because it doesn’t attempt to. Evolution deals with biodiversity on earth, not the origin of everything.


  1. #1 Ginger Yellow
    July 7, 2005

    That’s got to be the first sensible thing I’ve ever heard from Krauthammer.

  2. #2 raj
    July 7, 2005

    Ginger Yellow at July 7, 2005 12:33 PM

    I’m sure you have heard the term “backhanded slap.” That’s what you gave to Krauthammer.

    Funny as heck.

    I still can’t figure this out. I have a master’s degree in physics. As far as I can tell, scientists try to discern patterns from evidence. The patterns are called theories. The people who don’t like the theories, get other evidence.

  3. #3 Jason Kuznicki
    July 7, 2005

    Krauthammer’s original training was as a medical doctor, so it’s not surprising that he accepts evolution. Much more frightening would be if he didn’t!

  4. #4 MDS
    July 7, 2005

    I blogged about this here. I’m as liberal as they come, but I do respect Charles Krauthammer. He’s a good writer and a smart person. I’m not at all surprised that he had the best answers of any of them.

  5. #5 FLJerseyBoy
    July 7, 2005

    Oh, this is great. Thanks for the heads-up on the TNR piece; there was a related “essay” in the NYT today, which I opted to pick on before reading your post.



  6. #6 raj
    July 7, 2005

    I’m sure that you have heard the term “false dichotomy.” Of course they can teach creationisn/”intelligent design” in public schools. But they can’t teach it in a science curriculum. Because there is no evidence–scientific or otherwise–behind either of them.

  7. #7 raj
    July 7, 2005

    BTW, does anyone other than I find it odd that Pat Buchanon, who claims to be a faithful and conservative Roman Catholic, has failed to produce any children? He can’t blame his failure on being “injured in the war”. His war would have been Vietnam, which he successfully avoided serving in. We have noted his failure to reproduce, and have found it–um–interesting.

    I’m being snarky, since “we” a gay couple, aren’t going to reproduce, either.

  8. #8 Anon
    July 8, 2005

    “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king”

    The leaders of the conservative movement are smart. No way they could have gotten this far being stupid. They realize that religion can be used on their followers while they themselves only need to pay lip service to it, or quietly refuse to dissent. That’s probably why it’s so important for them to toe the party line at all times. It’s not surprising as they do promote a hierarchical class structure in terms of education and higher education as being for leaders while home schooling by parents who only got through 8th grade is an excellent solution for the commoner. It would be funnier if they weren’t dragging the rest of us through it as well instead of just their followers. Then again, maybe we’re not smart enough to join them instead of being on the losing end of it.

  9. #9 Dave S.
    July 10, 2005

    Interesting to note the difference between the public face of evolutionism in editorials, politics, the recent Smithsonian stupidity, etc. and what Darwinists say on public forums where they might have to answer challenges about their Naturalism.

    Yeah, and I’d like to know how those damn Daltonists defend their Naturalism too. Atoms indeed!

    Those bastards have a lot to answer for.

    And so on, one could compile lists of quotes illustrating this from the Darwinists. Ed’s attack on those who supposedly do not understand the pollution of language subsumed under the term “evolution” is specious.

    You go girl!

    Do they think they can just get away with that nonsense that the word ‘evolution’ has several definitions – some more general, “A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.”, and some more specific, “Biology. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.”

    C’mon, no dictionary would support such claptrap!

    Note: Definitions from dictionary.com

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