Mike the Mad Biologist

Let’s leave aside decency and morality and try to forget that Romney eliminated funding for a gay teen suicide hotline to curry favor with the theopolitical Right. Let’s not plumb the dark, foul abyss that is Mitt Romney’s soul. Let’s not ask how morally decrepit one would have to be to attempt to gain political office through the suicide of a child. Let’s talk about evolution: Romney’s not half bad.

Here’s what Romney said:

“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.”

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.”

There are two issues here. First, it’s pretty clear that Romney thinks evolutionary biology, and not intelligent design, should be taught in science classes. Second, it’s also pretty clear that, philosophically, Romney thinks that there is at some metaphysical level purpose and design to the universe. While I don’t agree, I don’t think that has much to do with his future ability to support evolution*. One should not ‘overparse’ Romney’s words here. Like most people, he isn’t aware of the philosophical particulars of the evolution issue. Somehow, I don’t think he’s up on concepts of independent magesteria, so things come out a little mangled. To me, however, it’s seems clear: evolution belongs in the science class, ID doesn’t.

If you don’t agree with him on theological and philosophical grounds, fine. If you don’t think you could vote for someone who thinks what Romney does, that’s fine too. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say Romney’s bad on this issue. Just as I don’t want to hear candidates prattle on about religion, I don’t really want to hear them speculate about whether there is purpose or some overarching divine being–regardless of where they stand on the issue.

What’s really sad about this is that Romney is getting credit for not denying basic physical reality, which is akin to getting credit for not raping someone. He’s still a miserable excuse of a human being.

*Given that Romney has flip-flopped on virtually every major social issue, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t on evolution either. However, I think this will have absolutely nothing to do with his philosophical and theological views, but with his disgusting opportunistic streak.

Comments

  1. #1 sailor
    May 16, 2007

    It is amazing! America, a country where believing in a God (with no evidence) is absolutely NECCESSARY to become president, where FAILING to understanding evolution (for which there is ample and overwhelming evidence)is absolutely no barrier.
    No, Romney does not deserve any special kudos for this, It is a bit like telling a guy his is wonderful because he can walk on his own two legs.
    The very fact you think you have to give him credit for this shows you live in a very sick society.

  2. #2 Alex Hammer
    May 16, 2007
  3. #3 Matt-A
    May 16, 2007

    I could care less where people learn about ID, as long as they learn it. It is a widely held belief that God created the universe, and there is no evidence to disprove it. Children need to be taught it, it should be required.

  4. #4 Coin
    May 16, 2007

    I was happier with McCain’s response. Romney’s almost seems like word salad.

  5. #5 Tex
    May 17, 2007

    Matt-A:

    I could care less where people learn about last Wednesdayism, as long as they learn it. I believe that the world was created last Wednesday, and there is no evidence to disprove it. Children need to be taught it and it should be required.

    Geez, with logic like yours, no wonder you are supporting the Mormon candidate.

  6. #6 Paul A
    May 17, 2007

    Matt A:

    I agree wholeheartedly that people need to learn about ID. And they need to learn it in a comparative religion class alongside all the other kooky beliefs and myths. For example, the thoroughly non-disproven Flying Spaghetti Monster and his friends Mister Orbiting T. Cup and his delightful pet invisible purple unicorn :-)

  7. #7 Joshua
    May 17, 2007

    Given that Romney has flip-flopped on virtually every major social issue, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t on evolution either. However, I think this will have absolutely nothing to do with his philosophical and theological views, but with his disgusting opportunistic streak.

    Which is why I wonder why we’re supposed to take this as an accurate description of his views rather than an attempt to have his cake and eat it to by talking godly enough to appease the base while throwing a bone to some of the more moderate or science-friendly Republicans out there. (I’m assuming, for the sake of argument, that there are any of those left at this point.) He may be angling for an “electibility” thing, kinda like how John Kerry beat out a couple of candidates like Howard Dean who were technically closer to the Democratic base.

    Blake had some interesting things to say about this.

  8. #8 Science Avenger
    May 17, 2007

    Matt-A said: I could care less where people learn about ID, as long as they learn it. It is a widely held belief that God created the universe, and there is no evidence to disprove it.

    That is not ID, that is deism. ID is the belief held by a small minority of people that God created the universe incapable of producing what he wanted it to produce, so he had to tinker with it from time to time to give the bacteria their flagellum, humans their eyes, and most animals their blood clotting cascades.

  9. #9 Edward
    May 18, 2007

    The problem is that the people who are flocking under the ID banner have misnamed their movement. As science avenger notes, what they really believe in is an incompetent designer who couldn’t get it right the first time and is constantly coming back to fix things and leaving his finger prints all over the place in the process.

  10. #10 mirc
    March 16, 2009

    thanks

  11. #11 vakum pompas─▒
    November 2, 2009

    vakum pompas─▒

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