According to Michael Luo at The New York Times blog, Mitt Romney has clarified his views on evolution. Here’s the set-up:
Mitt Romney expanded on his belief in evolution in an interview earlier this week, staking out a position that could put him at odds with some conservative Christians, a key voting bloc he is courting.
Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon, surprised some observers when he was not among those Republican candidates who raised their hands last week when asked at the Republican presidential debate if they did not believe in evolution. (Senator Sam Brownback, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Representative Tom Tancredo said they did not.)
Putting him at odds with conservative Christians? I’m starting to like this guy. So what are his views on evolution:
“I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”
He was asked: Is that intelligent design?
“I’m not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design,” he said. “But I believe God is intelligent and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body.”
Well, I’m impressed. From a Republican that’s downright intelligent. How about teaching ID in schools?
While governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes.
“In my opinion, the science class is where to teach evolution, or if there are other scientific thoughts that need to be discussed,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that’s for the religion class or philosophy class or social studies class.”
The usual, evasive answer would be for Romney to talk about local control of school curricula and how each school district has to make that decision for itself. That’s a standard tactic. You get asked for your opinion on a controversial topic, and you reply by explaining who ought to make the final decisions regarding that topic.
At any rate, my opinion of Romney has gone up a tad. He’s still an opportunistic flip-flopper, but at least he’s right on this issue. The blog entry goes on to describe Romney’s views on science and religion (short version: they’re not in conflict). I disagree with him there, of course, but he seems to be a considerable improvement over the mainstream of his party.