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June 02, 2007



I disagree: I thought it was muddled, unable to be clear or concise about Brownback's actual position. I can be forgiving in part because he's clearly trying to straddle too many different constituencies, so saying anything clearly would anger SOMEONE (he can't even get around to saying that a 6000year old earth is wrong, even though that's a straightforwardly condoned position of his own church).

Furthermore, recycling canards like "there is debate within science... so therefore nothing can be said with any certainty" and lumping everything outside of small changes within species into a category of pure atheist materialism do not reflect well on either his candor or his knowledge of what he's talking about.

Mike Erickson

He does address the issue of the boundaries of science. The scientific method (used by scientists) creates an hypothesis and then proves or disproves it with empirical evidence. How the universe is created is for the realm of theology or metaphysics, not science.

Is it appropriate for a scientist to draw theories based on known scientific facts? Sure, but it is inappropriate to call the theories, "science."


"How the universe is created is for the realm of theology or metaphysics, not science."

Tell that to physicists then. The realm of science is the testable. I think the best on can say is that we don't yet know whether or not we can know anything, empirically, about how the universe began or what came before it.

But of course, none of that has anything to do with evolution per se: that's a subject solidly on this side of the start of the universe and well within the ream of testable science. And in science "theory" is a term used to describe frameworks of explanation: it is not meant as synonymous with "speculation."

Resident Atheist

Well said, plunge. I really don't understand why 'how the universe was created' would be out of bounds for science. For that matter, I don't think there is any question science may not be able to help us answer (including breadth of human suffering or depth of love). We may not know exactly how at this point, but why would we ever exclude a method of investigation?

I love how Brownback goes to great lengths to say both science and theology should be welcome in discussions, then ends his statement with "Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order." He then says that any theories that disagree with this aren't science.

In other words, science (by his extremely limited definition) is welcome as long as it agrees with his predetermined 'right' answer. Actually quite an elegant fence-straddling.

Unfortunately for Sam, that hand raising eliminated any chance of him ever being elected in a general election.


Oh, I don't think that's true: Brownback has very little chance regardless in a field dominated by much more well-known names. I don't think the American public cares all that much about where one stands on this issue either. The President rarely even set curricula policy in the first place. School board elections have a lot more impact on this issue than Presidents, in many respects.

Resident Atheist

While I agree that Brownback had very little chance to begin with, my point was, even if he did miraculously win the primary, he could never hope that his nuanced explanation would play to broader audience.

I find it very telling that he could have chosen either answer during the debate and written this response. He chose 'no evolution.'

I completely disagree on your second point. The evolution debate is a proxy for the sanctity of life debate, which is a proxy for abortion, the most contentious topic out there. (If the public doesn't care, why did it get so much press?) What's more, it is a great indicator of the question 'does this guy see the world the way I do?' Viewing it simply as a curricula discussion is too narrow.


What broader audience? Evolution is suspect in the US by most people, and it does not rank high on the list of issues people in the US care about for President. I also don't think people, except for those that are already solidly with Brownback ,see it as a proxy for another debate.


Thank you for the link.

You said, "From my perspective, it presents one of the most concise, balanced articulations I have read on this controversial issue."

I disagree wholeheartedly. Brownback is simply trying to backpeddle to appeal to the widest amount of constituents possible. It's truly sad that he can't agree with evolution without feeling like he's disenfranchising his religious right base. He only issued the statement because people were upset with someone disagreeing with such a fundamental basic of biological science. This is high school stuff, cmon! His "clarification" does nothing but muddle his stance on evolution.


For me, I'm dissapointed that only three rejected evolution. I believe this is less than the national average and that worries me. I'd like to hear how each of the ten explain their stance.

While a standalone issue, evolution may not be much of a voting criteria, but it would tell me alot about where they are coming from as a whole.

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