Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Creationism and the candidates

Transcript of today's show:

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee bristled when asked recently if creationism should be taught in public schools. Huckabee, one of 3 candidates who has confessed his disbelief in evolution, now asks why there is such fascination with his beliefs. He expressed frustration that he is asked about it so often, arguing with the questioner that it ultimately doesn't matter what his personal views are. "That's an irrelevant question to ask me - I'm happy to answer what I believe, but what I believe is not what's going to be taught in 50 different states," Huckabee said. "Education is a state function. The more state it is, and the less federal it is, the better off we are."
[source: Associated Press]

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from an editorial by Daniel Finkelstein in the London Times:
Huckabee contends that it doesn't matter, because he is not intending to insist that schools stop teaching evolution. But that really isn't the point.

The reason that his support for intelligent design matters is that it is ridiculous. Who wants a President of the United States who doesn't accept the basic principles of science, taking refuge instead in a load of mumbo jumbo?

The religious beliefs of a President are a matter of conscience, but intelligent design is not a religious idea. It is, deliberately, put as an alternative scientific theory. But it is, sadly, nonsense.

It is clearly vital that he or she be someone who accepts and understands scientific methods. By rejecting evolution in favour of intelligent design Huckabee illustrates that he does not reach scientific conclusions based on evidence.

This is a serious downside in a President, whatever his other qualities.

from the blog Uncommon Ground:
Huckabee wants to avoid the issue, because “I'm not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth grade science book.” He seems to think that it's irrelevant that his personal beliefs contradict an overwhelming body of scientific evidence. And don't think he can escape by arguing that he's a theistic evolutionist, a la Mitt Romney. He clearly doesn't accept the idea of common descent. He clearly doesn't understand that he shares a common ancestor with chimps and gorillas (and fruit flies and fungus and sunflowers, for that matter). It is dangerous to have someone so resistant to evidence and reason as President of the United States. [read full blog post]

related news story, Huckabee Declines Theology Discussion, published December 7, 2007 by the AP:

Republican presidential candidate and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee says he won't discuss "intricate, nit-picky things of church doctrine," such as the role of women in the ministry, because the issues aren't relevant to the presidency.

The former Arkansas governor said that while he's open to discussing the basic pillars of his faith - and praised rival Mitt Romney for opening up in a speech Thursday about his - he won't voice his views on the often-discussed controversies in Southern Baptist denominations.

"I think (discussing faith) is an important part of helping people get to know the candidates," Huckabee said Friday morning after a breakfast fundraiser in Charlotte. "(But) sometimes the questions get a little laborious when they start asking you about intricate, nit-picky things of church doctrine that's probably not all that relevant to being president."

As in his decision not to discuss his views on the creation of the earth, Huckabee passed on a chance Thursday night explain his views on whether women should be able to serve in pastoral leadership roles.

"It's so irrelevant to being president that I wouldn't even get into that," Huckabee said before meeting with about 350 supporters in Greensboro, N.C. "Churches have different views on that and my personal views are completely immaterial as it would relate to being president." [read complete article]