Q&A Friday #18: Creationism Vs. Evolution
Question: “Where do you think the Republican Party should stand on teaching evolution/ID in public schools? Should we let the scientific community decide – or should non-scientists have a say in scientific matters even if they are at odds with the scientific community itself?
What’s your opinion of evolution?
Where do you think most of your party stands?” — brs04wsc
Answer: Personally, I don’t spend a lot of time talking about evolution because my views on the subject tend to come across as very convoluted. However, I’ll take a crack at explaining my position since I got a question on it.
The short version is that I’m skeptical of evolution, but for non-religious reasons. Furthermore, I do believe God created the earth, but I don’t believe creationism should be taught in the classroom.
Now, let me flesh that out a bit.
While obviously we can see changes within a species, I don’t buy into the central tenet of evolution: that over time, one species can become another species.
Put another way, if the whole planet were populated by nothing but 10 billion racoons and we left it that way for 500 million years, I believe that if you looked in at the end of that period of time, you’d see every variation of racoon imaginable, but you wouldn’t see any birds, fish, squirrels, lizards, cats, etc.
Admittedly, this is extremely difficult to prove one way or the other because the changes are supposed to take place over millions of years and we haven’t been around to catalogue it.
Of course, there are proponents of evolution who say that very slight changes in a plant called goatsbeard (along with a few even less impressive examples) prove one species can change into another, but I think that’s a thin reed to hang your hat on if you’re trying to prove that all life on earth started with single cell organisms and evolved from there.
From there, most people usually ask: “Well, if not evolution, then what?” As Donald Rumsfeld has been known to say, “That answer is above my pay grade.”
Moving on to creationism, I do believe God created the earth. But, that’s religion, not science, and thus it has no business being taught in a science classroom.
So, I’m of the opinion that evolution should be taught, but it should be treated like what it is: the prevailing scientific theory, but one that could quite possibly be wrong.
As to where the GOP stands on evolution vs. creationism, most of the people who would like to see creationism replace or at least be taught side by side with evolution are Christian Republicans, but the GOP as a whole is all over the place on the issue.
In any case, this is really a matter that should be decided on the local level. As I noted earlier, I don’t think that creationism should be taught in a science class, but the parents and staff at the schools should be able to make their own choices about what’s taught to the children.
Told ya my views on the subject are convoluted…