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January 04, 2008



"An acceptance of the theory of evolution is no evidence that one is rational..."

...but acceptance of creationism is evidence that one is irrational. So if you're looking for rational policy making, it's one to avoid.


Of course, if you're campaigning for the Republican party's presidential candidate, it might be rational to say you believe in creationist theory.

Maynard Handley

Actually, Chris, you mostly miss the point.

There are two problems with religion, and they both have nothing to do with god or creationism.

The first is universal, the issue of faith. The very point of faith is to shut your eyes and ears to evidence that goes against your preset ideas. This is not in anyone's interests.

The second tends to be limited to a more fundamentalist old-style view of religion, in that (for reasons that I've never seen fully explored by academia) this type of religion goes hand-in-hand with a view of the world based on impurity and disgust. The details of who exactly counts as impure varies from case to case --- it may be jews or homosexuals, people who speak french or people who work with leather. The constant theme, however is that "we" need to get rid of the impure "them", so as to further gods kingdom on earth.

Huckabee strikes me as exactly the kind of person who has bought into both of these very scary ways of looking at the world.


Creationism, as you suggest, is a signaller. On this basis, liberals have every reason to oppose and fear a Huckabee candidacy. All the evidence suggests that what matters is not what particular brand of religion is followed but the intensity with which it's held. Your attempt to separate extremism and fanaticism, while intellectually coherent, rarely holds true in the real world: a belief in Creationism would tend to indicate both extremism *and* fanaticism and the point is for liberals is that regardless of the religion, the stronger one believes in it, the less liberal they are.


Sorry, last sentence bit incoherent. Basically my point is that if liberals think Creationists are likely to be politically illiberal, all the evidence would suggest that their prejudices are likely to be confirmed in practice. You seem to be suggesting that there is evidence against this is Huckabee's case. This may well be so but I doubt it's strong enough to shift liberal from their default position vis-a-vis Creationists. I'd argue this is perfectly rational. A belief in creationism is *rightly* seen as an indicator of fanaticism because those who believe it are trying, in face of all the contrary evidence, to preserve a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.


Isn't there a strong link between Creationism and a "biblical" view of women's rights (or the lack of them)?

Backword Dave

Chris, I think you've oversimplified. Creationism is not simply a rejection of evolution (though this may have policy implications - I believe for instance that MRSA is an example of evolution in real time in the real world; Huckabee seems to believe that HIV is some kind of divine curse: these have funding implications). Creationists also believe in 'flood geology'. Oil companies, naturally, do not. But because Huckabee rejects the earth sciences - that ought to include tectonic plates, he won't understand the dangers along the San Andreas fault or the very real fact that oil will one day run out. (If god put it there, he can just put more there as long as we believe and make the right sacrifices, etc.) He won't understand the arguments around global warming, either. These are proper political concerns. They're how the world is, and should be above ideology. I'd rather have a Republican who believes in science than a Democrat who doesn't.


Stranger things have happened. Why, I can remember when people would vote for "socialists". Though not, I admit, in the USA.


Dearieme: They voted for Jimmy Carter, didn't they?

jen_chan, writer SureFireWealth.com

I'm no political expert and I rarely dab into politics but there's something I don't like about Mike Huckabee. But despite speculations about him, I've decided to wait around until dust settles down and he starts taking action. Still, it's interesting to read discussions about him all over the blogosphere.

Larry Teabag

...creationism itself, which has no obvious policy implications...

Well one policy implication it might have is to allow Intelligent Design into the classroom. This would be a disaster.

Then, as Backward Dave says, there are other very practical reasons to worry about a President with utterly inaccurate beliefs about how the world works.

And all that's before the creationism as signaller issue, which as Shuggy says you understate.

So all in all: no.


"Why, I can remember when people would vote for "socialists". Though not, I admit, in the USA."
Huh, that includes me! I'd vote for a socialist tomorrow if one was running. And, weirdly enough, I don't suffer from panic about Huckabee's creationism, since I believe we are electing a president, not one of the seven sages of Greece. Until Huckabee pulls support from research projects in the Agricultural department because they depend on the assumptions of evolution, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Huckabee strikes me as so much more rational than the catalog model that currently occupies the White House that even knows that sometimes, in order to make public investments, you should raise taxes instead of borrowing like there's no tomorrow. And he doesn't have a lot of appetite for staying in Iraq for one hundred years. Hard to believe he's a republican!


I posted about Huckabee on my blog, partly in response to a post expressing similar sentiments to roger by Aaron Heath at Tygerland.

The short version: Huckabee is a Christian fundamentalist, and his conservative, illiberal social views make him repugnant regardless of his economic policies.


chris y

First, what worries liberals is not so much creationism itself, which has no obvious policy implications, but rather that belief in creationism is correlated with views they find unpleasant.

well, no. It has the obvious policy implication that a creationist President is likely to at least connive at, and possibly encourage, the undermining of science education at all levels. I recognise that most policy wonks are supremely uninterested in science education, but the next time you contract MRSA and your doctor is unable to diagnose it because she has been taught that it is impossible for Staph. aureus to evolve resistance to antibiotics, you will be able to thank the creationists.

Dr Stephen Morris

Roger wrote "Until Huckabee pulls support from research projects in the Agricultural department because they depend on the assumptions of evolution, I wouldn't worry about it too much." This is unlikely, since as far as I know there aren't any research projects in any area, at all, that depend on the assumptions of evolution. In contrast to scientific theories such as, say, quantum theory or relativity, evolutionism does not make any specific predictions about how we should expect the natural world to behave and therefore can't be verified or (conveniently for some) falsified. In this sense, far from being "just a theory", it is not even a theory but rather a strictly unverifiable hypothesis. Holding to or rejecting it has little to do with one's acceptance of the "basic principles of science".

Dr Stephen Morris

Just to reply briefly to Chris y, whose posting appeared after I had drafted mine, it is a (regrettably common) fallacy to believe that the well-documented and entirely uncontroversial adaptation of existing species - such as Staph. aureus - to their changing environments is anything to do with Darwinian evolution. This was widely recognized long before Darwin, and indeed the millennia of animal and plant breeding that gave us domesticated farm animals and high-yielding food crops (and almost entirely carried out by people who belived in a divine creation) derived directly from this.

alan doesn't dunk crisps in beer

Yes but on the bright side if they elect a creationist we can all laugh at them.



Before we get too smug about how such a thing would never happen here, which appears to be the jist of your comment, please bear in mind that the last but one Prime Minister welcomed the establishment of creationist schools on the grounds that they spread 'diversity'.


Maynard & Others

We do seem to enjoy creating Straw Dogs round here, don't we?

"The very point of faith is to shut your eyes and ears to evidence that goes against your preset ideas."

Really. People have 'faith' in the fact that their wife/husband/tenant-of-their-affections loves them, it doesn't blind them to evidence to the contrary. Likewise I might have faith, but I don't go around with my hands over my ears, eyes screwed tight shut and screaming "shan't". Why is it felt necessary to imply that every Christian has the beliefs and behaviour patterns of a member of some obscure and tiny Tennessee snake handling sect? Well, I know why you do it, but it isn't the true picture, is it?


"Yes but on the bright side if they elect a creationist we can all laugh at them."

What more than now?


"A man who enters the White House with a reputation for being unreasonably irrational might make more effort to dispel this reputation, and so be unusually reasonable in office - in a similar way that Richard Nixon's reputation as a fierce anti-communist enabled him to pursue a policy of detente."

Such charming naivete! And let me guess further - if he doesn't have much experience, he'll surround himself with good advisors, right?

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