Thursday, May 31, 2007

Brownback on evolution

Senator Brownback clarified his position on evolution today in the New York Times. At first his remarks seem reasonably to echo the position of the Roman Catholic Church on evolution. Yet he reveals himself to be a creationist with little more understanding of science than those who believe humans and Tyrannosaurus rex lived peacefully together before the Fall.

For example, he reasonably says that Faith and scientific reasoning can't be contradictory:

"The scientific method, based on reason, seeks to discover truths about the
nature of the created order and how it operates, whereas faith deals with
spiritual truths. The truths of science and faith are complementary: they deal
with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the
spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God."

And he is absolutely correct when he asserts that how "these theories"-presumably evolutionary theories- affect our understanding of the "human person" is a fundamental question.

But read more closely and Brownback is unmasked as a creationist-not even a theistic evolutionist. First, he repeats the creationist line about the distinction believing in microevolution (evolution with in a species). For example he says:

"If belief in evolution means simply assenting to microevolution, small
changes over time within a species, I am happy to say, as I have in the past,
that I believe it to be true. If, on the other hand, it means assenting to an
exclusively materialistic, deterministic vision of the world that holds no place
for a guiding intelligence, then I reject it. "

Notice how he not only rejects the concept of evolution of new species but also conflates any belief in evolution of new species from preexisting species with materialism.

So rather than striking a reasonable accommodation between faith and science, Brownback reveals himself to be an extremist wedded to the same sorts of fundamentalist rhetoric, that rejects the power of science to help us understand our humble place in the universe.

Update! Pat Hayes over at Red State Rabble has also posted about Brownback here.

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