May 7, 2007


Eager to Be Reagan's Heir, but Not Bonzo's Cousin (Chris Cillizza And Shailagh Murray, May 6, 2007, Washington Post)

When former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) each raised his hand in response to a question from moderator Chris Matthews during Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in California, signaling that they did not believe in evolution, it raised more than a few eyebrows among journalists.

But a look at public polling on the issue reveals that the three men aren't far from the mainstream in that belief.

A recent Newsweek survey presented people with three explanations for the origins of human life: that humans developed over millions of years, from lesser to more advanced forms of life, while God guided the process; that God played no hand in the process; and that God created humans in their present form.

The first option is a sort of hybrid creation-evolution endorsed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the debate; "I believe in evolution," he said. "But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon . . . that the hand of God is there also."

The second option is evolution as explained by science, and the third summarizes the idea of creationism.

Nearly half the sample, 48 percent, said the creationism option was closest to their beliefs, and 30 percent chose the hybrid option. Just 13 percent of the sample chose evolution alone as the best approximation of their view of human development.

Those results have been mirrored in a series of Gallup polls that have asked nearly the same question at several points over the past 25 years.

It's revealing that the folks on the Right who espouse Darwinism are generally those obsessed with racial matters, whether affirmative action, immigration, or Arabs and are, of course, secular (basically, the libertarians, neocons, and nativists).

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2007 7:26 AM

Nice try, but Tancredo's on your side in this one.

Posted by: HT at May 7, 2007 9:32 AM

He says he's not: "Tancredo's office released a statement saying: 'Evolution explains changes in life.'"

Posted by: oj at May 7, 2007 10:02 AM

Good grief. A 90 minute debate, with 10 candidates, and they ask questions like this one, and whether the Constitution should be altered to let Arnold run? Idiotic. Considering that these debates are for the Republican nomination, they need to be moderated by a Republican who will ask questions that Republicans care about.

Posted by: b at May 7, 2007 10:47 AM

Some time back you recommended the Language of God by Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project. In the book, which I am reading now, he expresses his belief in God and in evolution. Are you planning a review of the book?

Posted by: KB at May 7, 2007 1:49 PM

Planning, but I'm way backed up. Four big bios have slowed me down, including great ones of de Tocqueville and EA Robinson.

Posted by: oj at May 7, 2007 3:08 PM