Tuesday, August 02, 2005

We'll Do It For You In Six Minutes

by Tom Bozzo

Via Pandagon and Pharyngula, Fearless Leader steps into the evolution "debate":

WASHINGTON - President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and "intelligent design" Monday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life.

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools.

So, Bryan, ready to go Libertarian yet?

Addendum: The linked Pharyngula post compiles a long list of reactions. Blogistan is pretty quiet, though Ann Althouse's favorite linker has a humorously timed (if unrelated) "HMM. MAYBE BUSH IS AS SMART AS SOME PEOPLE SAY" (shouting in original, link to Hindquarters deleted). Why, if a Yale J.D. says so, it must be right! The catch is that "some people" is actually P.Z. Myers.

Second Addendum: Welcome DeLong readers. Please do see the Pharyngula post. For one pro-science voice out of the right blogosphere, see John Cole.

Third Addendum: Jonah Gelbach locates an on-topic Instapundit post from a not-too-thrilled Glenn Reynolds. My question is, why isn't it "lame" to pander to the Base by being stupid?

I am confident that the strongest theory will survive.

As far as the Pres. goes, I won't be voting for him anymore :-).

But yes, the Libertarians are rather appealing these days - if they only had a chance to win.

BTW, did you read that NYT editorial a few weeks ago by the cardinal who said that evolution was never embraced by Pope John Paul II, and his stance on evolution was twisted by Darwinists, and essentially Catholics have to believe in ID?

I've heard that Darwin was castigated for his book title "The Descent of Man." It should have been "The Ascent of Man." But, I guess Darwin might be right after all, as usual.
There will be ample opportunity to pick off the field of '08 Republican contenders, I'm sure.

I did read the Schonborn editorial, which I believe was subsequently outed as having a connection with the Discovery [sic] Institute's PR firm. I suppose it's true that Catholicism implies belief in "ID" in the sense that its theology includes a theistic creation myth.

I've even read the '50s-vintage encyclical that is sometimes cited as the original Catholic acceptance of evolution. The "English" translation is a sort of papalese that spends a lot of time railing against the evils of pure materialism (atheism and communism) before saying something along the lines that scientific explanations for physical phenomena are tolerable so long as they don't intrude upon matters of faith -- with apologies for this gross simplification of the argument. JPII, obviously without abandoning the basic theistic position on the matters of faith, *did* go further.

Why, exactly, some elements of the Catholic hierarchy feel a need to stuff that genie back in the bottle, given that literal belief in the biblical creation myth is not a fundamental tenet of Catholic belief, I can't say.
It's a unification of sects of the right. Heritage supposedly had a symposium on ID a few months ago; that's certainly not their niche. I remember seeing ID-accomidationalist posts from Juan Non-Volokh, and Alex Tabarrok (Marginal Revolution).

When some nominally libertarian right-wing econobloggers embrace a classical social/cultural right-wing idea, something's happening.
Barry: welcome to the commenting party.

There's nothing obvious about libertarianism that would stop a self-identified libertarian from believing in stuff like ID. The bigger move is arguably the incorporation of "market populism" in parts of the Christian right. That puts a lot of weight behind the economic libertarian agenda, w/o -- so far -- overcoming the hurdles in supermajoritarian institutions like the Senate to roll back civil liberties too much.
The instapundit link you provide is in relation to the US's new climate change pact with non-EU countries. Given that even climatologists admit that the Kyoto Treaty will only decrease temps by 0.1˚F even if all goals are met (when temperatures are projected to rise 4˚F to 10˚F by 2100) and most countries are not even coming close to meeting the Kyoto treaty goals, I would label any action on climate change by the US that avoids the Kyoto treaty as quite smart. The truth is that even if we pass Kyoto, the secret is that it would only scratch the surface of the CO2 reductions that would eventually need to be made.
Bryan: ?? I was just swiping Instapundit's lede.

I think a lot of religious conservatives are reacting to evolution in this way because the inexorable conclusion that science is heading towards is that the universe and everything in it was created without a God. If the Big Bang theory evolves to allow for actual possibilities about how something came from nothing (such as equal amounts of matter and anti-matter, energy and anti-energy were created in some sort of quantum flux) and we find enough evidence for such a mechanism, what are people to do? Accept that we're all just here by random chance and by mistake? I can accept that, but I doubt that most people could. Where does God(s) belong in science. Personally, I think nowhere, but then we are headed towards something that many people won't accept anyway.
Bryan, I mostly agree. The main exception I'd take is that for the non-literalist, there's always the fallback that religious belief isn't dependent on evidence. In that regard, religion is impervious to science. There's also the alternative of just ignoring the evidence that's out there, or making it up, which seems to be the preferred approach for biblical literalists.

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