Friday, May 04, 2007

The Evolution of Republicans

In the Republican debate last night, moderator Chris Matthews asked the candidates to raise their hand if they did not believe in evolution. Kansas senator Sam Brownback, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, and Tom Tancredo all raised their hands.

I find it depressing how far one of the only two viable political parties in our nation has fallen. Thirty percent of those who are potential Republican candidates for the office of the most powerful person in the world do not accept a scientific explanation as fundamental to our understanding of the universe as gravity or the germ theory of disease. They might as well have raised their hands to say they don't believe the Earth is round. How can you expect someone to make sound decisions about the direction of our nation when they can't even understand something so fundamental, so clearly true?

I remember when Republicans stood for sober reality, for dealing with the universe and the world as they are and not as we might wish them to be, for wrestling honestly and openly with the problems that beset us. Agree or disagree with their take on how to address the issues, they had the reputation for being realistic about the true nature of the world.

And yet here we are, with thirty percent of their candidates preferring to believe an overly literal translation of an ancient book over what science has clearly proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be true. You can be a Christian and still accept the physical reality of the world -- hundreds of millions of Catholics, including the Pope, understand this along with tens of thousands of theistic scientists -- but that is not what these deeply misguided men have done. They are instead turning their backs on the Enlightenment, refusing to accept the evidence of reason, of rationality, of the intellect, retreating behind a foolish consistency that is as blasphemous as it is wrong.

And they are, potentially, in line to be elected President of the United States of America.

What has happened to this once great party? Where is the spirit of Ronald Reagan, who had the vision to imagine a better world but let it be guided by hard-headed rationality? We've only got two parties to choose from in America, for better or for worse, and one of them is badly, badly broken. If you're a Republican and you're reading this, I beg you, for the health of our country's political future, get involved with your local party organization to change your course, to get back to the good parts of conservatism. Those ideals are being betrayed by these deeply unserious, foolish, misguided men, and in the end it is all of America who will pay as our already limited choices are whittled down to only one.


Annie said...

I will tell ya what happened to the Republican Party:

George W. Bush

He put all of his campaign donors and BFFs into positions that matter and they have -- as a rotten, immoral group -- ruined the United States.

Not that I feel strongly about this. Or anything like that.

Anonymous said...

I was doing some research on 1st century Greek philosophy. It was for my New Testament class I am taking, and the subject was dualism- the flesh vs. spirit. One college professor had an article that I think holds the key to your question. Her theory: for many there is a basic misunderstanding of the Bible. They misread St. Paul and believe that the flesh and spirit, as well as faith and reason (intellect), are at odds.
I will post a snippet of her column,
Dueling with Dualism by Nancy Scott.
The clash in the first century between the Greek and the Hebrew world views was familiar to Paul. He wrote from a strongly-held Hebrew world view. Therefore, the Greek separation of the spiritual and the material world, which was imported into Christianity after Paul wrote his epistles, provides an incorrect interpretive grid for understanding Paul's writings. And since much of evangelical Christianity assumes Greek dualism, we bring an incorrect framework to our reading of Paul's epistles.
How does the difference between Paul's Hebrew perspective and the Greek dualistic world view impact our view of faith and reason? Is faith intellectual assent to a set of propositions? In today's common view influenced by Greek dualism, faith is a mystical, non-rational thing, not related to reason. It is the act of believing something, of holding to a set of propositions, despite evidence that may contradict it. How "hard" we believe something becomes a measure of the strength of our faith. According to this view, questioning one's beliefs is seen as doubting, and is strongly discouraged. The act of believing something becomes morally virtuous, and to risk rejecting one or more propositions is seen as risking one's faith. The intellectual or mystical knowledge of God becomes the focus of our salvation. Faith, therefore, is seen in opposition to reason

So, then, my theory is the candidates could not risk losing their base votes, as a vote for evolution is a vote for not believing in God. The fear of a photo with their hands being raised as they voted was too great a risk. It’s all about image, baby! As we see in so much of the world, most people can only accept either/or. Either I believe in a literal 7-day creation or I do not believe the Bible. The FACT that the first two chapters of Genesis holds two entirely different creation stories seems to be forgotten, but then again never let the facts get in the way of a good argument.
P.s. On an unrelated aspect of your post, I still believe both creation stories in Genesis are true. They both give two great insights on WHY we were made- to the wise people who wrote them the exact HOW, the science, was not important. They had a great point.

Anonymous said...

To clarify my post, I am confining my comments to the topic your post brought up. We ahve delved into faith and reason in other areas. Politics plus religion equals "I gotta laugh to keep me from crying"