Getting evolution right


Odd thing happened the other day: The Philadelphia Inquirer carried an editorial that rather accurately described evolution theory. Just when I’m ready to lambaste my colleagues in print media, they come through.

The editorial’s point of departure was the Republican “debate” among presidential contenders, in which they were asked whether they support evolution or creationism. Three of the candidates confessed they don’t “believe” in evolution.

Why did these three, all of whom wish to be the leader of the most powerful country in history, say they did not believe in evolution? There might be thousands of reasons. Perhaps they misheard: “I’m just curious: Is there anyone on this stage who doesn’t believe in elocution?” But two reasons are more likely:

(1) They really don’t think evolution exists. As in, it’s not happening and never did. We got here some other way. There’s no evidence for it.

Uh, yeah, there is. Although technically a theory, Charles Darwin’s version of the evolution of species is a theory-with-the-status-of-fact, robust and vigorous, demonstrated in living color each and every day in field and laboratory everywhere. No jury is “out.” The verdict’s in and everybody’s gone home. Way home.

And,

(2) These men raised their hands because they knew it would get them votes from religious conservatives.

Tancredo, Huckabee and Brownback know they need the Christian conservative vote to win the Republican nomination. Christian conservatives don’t like Rudy Giuliani. They’re lukewarm on John McCain, perplexed by Mitt Romney.

But any candidate who would ignore science to attract conservative votes has made a lousy calculation.

The newspaper’s editorial board concluded:

So, while pundits are calling the evolution flap an embarrassment to the GOP, what it really is is a call to the Republican faithful: “We’re in trouble. If we don’t rally on the wedge issues now, by 2008, a Republican majority may seem as far away as the Planet of the Apes.”

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