Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A fair question, or not?

Various bloggers have commented on the recent Republican "debate" in which the eleven assembled contenders were asked if they "believed" in evolution, and three--Brownback, senator from Kansas; Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, and Tancredo, congressman from Colorado, indicated they did not. McCain, who was the only individual asked the question, replied that he did, but went on to waffle and try to please both sides.

There was also unfavorable discussion of Kathleen Parker's Washington Post article, which tried to tell the reader the issue was too complex to be meaningful in any way. She said The debate question was fundamentally a setup for ridicule.

I agree with that second point, but I say the ridicule was well-deserved. I disagree with the first point, however.

Yes, the science of evolution is complex, and we can't expect mere politicians to be able to explain it or to explain why Creationism (of the Intelligent Design or any other flavor) is not a valid alternative scientific theory in the brief time allotted in the entertainment piece gratuitously called a debate. However, all of the candidates have had ample time to listen to real scientists and to realize that evolution is considered the bedrock foundation of biology. If they dismiss evolution science in favor of Creationist publicity and eyewash, will they likewise dismiss scientific findings regarding climate change if those finding are inconsistent with their political ideology; will they advocate failed (as determined scientifically) policies regarding sex education in order to pander to their perceived constituency? Will they disregard scientific advice, preferring instead to embrace misinformation and wishful thinking to take America into unnecessary wars?

The question was fair. It gave voters some insight into the likelihood of candidates preferring to operate within a fantasy world, or at least pandering to a constituency that dwells in such a world.

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