I tried to warn them. In addition, back in 2012, after Marco Rubio was asked about the age of the earth, I provided conservative politicians (and others interested) a primer for answering some of the “gotcha” questions that most every conservative running for political office in the U.S. will inevitably face. It seems that Scott Walker or his staff need to spend more time on my website, or on American Thinker (one of the top conservative websites in America).
Byron York hopes Walker learned a valuable lesson. Silvio Canto at American Thinker doesn’t care what Scott Walker (or Hillary Clinton) thinks about evolution and wants to “pound on the guy asking these stupid questions.” Jonah Goldberg, like I did, correctly points out that, “the evolution question really isn’t about evolution at all,” and concludes that this incessant question “deserves to be cessant.”
As Goldberg puts it, on the surface, questions about evolution are really questions about the culture war (or, as I have alluded, the moral wars), and, beneath the surface, such questions are ultimately about the nature of man. And for liberalism to prosper, any notion of God or absolute truth to which man is ultimately accountable must at least be compromised, if not completely rejected.
This is why evolution—or, better put, Darwinian evolution (D.E.)—is deeply embedded in the foundation of liberalism. D.E. teaches that all life—plant, animal, human—billions of years ago sprang from the same single-celled source, strictly as a product of nature and natural processes (billions of years of death and struggle). Thus, as a liberal at Salon recently put it, “Darwin…explained the evolution of life in a way that doesn’t require the hand of God.” (His piece is gleefully entitled “God is on the Ropes,” and writes about the “brilliant new science”—isn’t it always—that expands on Darwin’s work and will finally liberate us from any idea that God was involved in creating life.)
Many, including those who call themselves Christians and/or conservatives, would like to ignore this tenet of D.E. Thus we now have the nonsense that is “theistic evolution.” This is nothing more than the sad attempt to reconcile God’s Word with what is perceived as the “settled science”—isn’t it always—on the beginning of life (that has misled the likes of even the Pope).
Even the rabid atheist and Darwinist Richard Dawkins understands the fallacy here. When asked recently what was the particular point at which he was able to conclude that God doesn’t exist, Dawkins replied that “by far” the most significant event for him was “understanding evolution.” He went on to say that he thought the evangelical Christians have it “sort-of” right when they see (Darwinian) evolution as “the enemy,” adding that there “really is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity.” The “sophisticated theologians” who are “quite happy to live with evolution” are, as Dawkins puts it, “deluded.” How sad that it takes an atheist to point out the truth in this debate!
Nevertheless, well-meaning Christians, especially those aspiring to win elections, will continue to seek compromise here. Scott Walker himself demonstrated this when, after his perceived attempt at “weaseling on evolution,” he later benignly tweeted, “I believe faith & science are compatible, & go hand in hand.”
Politically speaking, I have no problem with Scott Walker “punting” on the question. (Right now, he’s my favorite potential GOP presidential candidate.) It’s no different than then presidential candidate Barack Obama’s “above my pay grade” response when he was asked about the beginning of human life. However, such a response by a conservative candidate is only likely to draw further such questions (whether on evolution, abortion, marriage, global warming, and the like). As I noted in 2012, it would have been better to turn the tables in such a way that would give left-wing reporters significant pause before again venturing down this path of questioning.
What’s more, again, as I noted in 2012, and as others have similarly pointed out in the last few days, Walker, or any other candidate, can use the approach taken by Jesus Christ Himself. Often, when doubters were attempting to trap Jesus with their “gotcha” questions, to reveal their ignorance and hypocrisy, Christ responded with a wise question of His own.
For example, first of all, when asked about evolution (i.e., as Walker was asked, “Do you believe in evolution?”), I would ask the reporter to clarify what she means by evolution (it’s highly unlikely that she will be able to do this articulately). If the reporter stumbles around and is unable to explain what she means by evolution, the candidate can reply: “If by evolution you mean the idea that all living things, such as humans, monkeys, elephants, antelopes, lions, lizards, apples, apricots, roses, and rhododendrons all have a common ancestor and are nothing more than the result of natural processes, and leave no role for a Creator, then no.”
Additionally, one could respond with (as James Taranto alluded to), “Why must one ‘believe in’ evolution?” I suppose it’s for the same reason that one must “believe in” man-made global warming: the science doesn’t really reveal what liberals want it to reveal.
If the reporter gives some silly response that, by evolution, he means that “things change over long periods of time” (i.e. “natural selection”), then the proper reply would be: “Of course I ‘believe in’ natural selection. But if by natural selection you mean the idea that all living things, such as humans, monkeys, elephants, antelopes, lions, lizards, apples, apricots, roses, and rhododendrons all have a common ancestor and are nothing more than the result of natural processes, and leave no role for a Creator, then no.” (What’s more, the VAST majority of Americans allow God at least some special role in creation.) In other words, natural selection is not synonymous with Darwinian evolution.
One could also do as Marco Rubio hinted at in 2012 and ask, “What does D.E. have to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States?” If a candidate really wanted to get cute, he could ask, “Why is it possible to reject completely D.E. and millions/billions of years (as did Newton and Kepler, who both actually took the time to calculate the age of the earth and found it to be only a few thousand years old), and still operate perfectly well in any scientific field including medicine (i.e. Pasteur)?”
Conservative candidates are never going to get the slack that liberals do when it comes to anything related to the moral issues. The liberals in the media are too personally invested in having those that share their (mostly) godless worldview win elections. Thus, any serious conservative candidate for higher office better spend some time thinking about how to answer such questions.
Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
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