Gene Expression

The candidates on evolution

Ron Bailey at Reason has a long piece where he surveys what the various presidential candidates in regards to their attitudes and beliefs about evolution. He also makes a case for why their beliefs on this topic are important.


  1. #1 Caledonian
    January 14, 2008

    It doesn’t matter what the candidates believe. What matters is whether the American people desire someone to parrot their beliefs back to them, and what those beliefs are.

    Electing a Creationist won’t cause people to become Creationists. It’s a question of which groups will wield social and political dominance.

  2. #2 Thursday
    January 15, 2008

    Here is an old Derb piece on the matter:

  3. #3 PhysicistDave
    January 20, 2008

    Actually, the issue seems to be more complicated than Bailey makes out.

    For example, some time ago, a creationist wrote to the Ron Paul campaign and received the reply from the campaign, “Dr. Paul is physician and believes in evolution.” ( )

    Later statements by Paul seem to contradict this.

    I suspect this boils down to the exact meaning of evolution: simply descent with modification vs. pure selfish geneism vs. naïve materialism vs. theistic evolutionism vs…

    I myself view descent with modification as established beyond a reasonable doubt (i.e., our ancestors were fish) and I’m not a theistic evolutionist since I’m an atheist (or agnostic or skeptic or.. definitional problems again!).

    On the other hand, I’m willing to entertain some of Gould’s critiques of naïve selfish geneism, and, in my professional judgment as a Ph.D. physicist, naïve materialism does not work (for reasons that Colin McGinn has ably explained in “The Mysterious Flame”).

    So perhaps Dawkins might claim that I’m not really a true evolutionist (though I’m an admirer of Dawkins).

    Someone who was dogmatically committed to the idea that the universe is only 6010 years old would worry me a bit, whether he was trying out to be President or my dermatologist – it would betray an extraordinary lack of education or judgment.

    But even Huckabee does not seem to go that far.

    The range of views the candidates do hold, though none seems to agree exactly with me (i.e., a non-theistic, non-IDer, non-materialist neo-Darwinian) does not seem to me terribly important.


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