Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Becca's New and Hot-- Week 7

My new and hot for this week expands on our discussion last week on the GOP debate, and specifically the question, "Do you believe in evolution?" I found an article from the Charlotte Post (located at http://www.charlotte.com/409/story/122204.html) entitled, "Complexity comes up short in Darwin debate," which discusses the injustice of asking candidates to "choose between religion and science." There were several points raised in the article which simultaneously terrify and amuse me.

First, the writer applauds John McCain's answer to the question-- that is, "I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also." Whereas I myself, and I believe the majority of the class, found this answer ridiculous, the article says quite the opposite: "This is what you call a slam dunk. McCain was able to acknowledge both science and religion and make them mutually inclusive." I argue otherwise-- I think McCain's belief that "the hand of God" is present in his view of the Grand Canyon shows the weakness of his understanding of evolution.

Similarly, Huckabee's recovery attempt after answering that no, he did not believe in evolution (and suffering the contempt of much of the country) shows the superficiality of his concept of evolution. According to the article, "After the debate, Huckabee said, 'I wish life were so simple. If it were, we'd be in a game show and not running a presidential campaign. ... If I'd had time, I would have asked whether he meant macro or micro evolution.'" Excuse me? Huckabee goes on to explain that while he does know that species adapt and mutate, he believes that "the design has a designer and the creation has a creator." While qualifying his statements may pacify a few shocked by his original "no" answer, it does not change the fact that he does not believe in the science--and therefore doesn't change my view a bit. (Also, side note: I was confused about this, but the article explains that microevolution allows the possibility of a creator, but macro does not. Good to know).

The real thing to take from this, though, is the writer's overarching point: "In a nation where 91 percent of citizens profess to believe in God, it's a safe bet we won't see an atheist in the White House anytime soon. But what about a president who doesn't believe in Darwin? Are Darwin and God mutually exclusive?" Are they? And if voters believe they are, what are the implications for the country?

Last note: Alan Dershowitz, a famous criminal lawyer, spoke this weekend in MemAud. He mentioned the different religious views expected of leaders of different countries, paraphrased as such: "In the United States, you cannot be an atheist and be president. In Israel, you must be an atheist to be president. In France, you must be an atheist, but the God you don't believe in must be the Catholic God." The intersection between religion, science, and leadership has huge and various consequences for different countries-- very interesting to think about.

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