Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why I will never vote for a candidate who thinks creationism is arguable

William Jennings Bryan was a Democrat. I am quite sure that had I been alive at the time he was running for President, I would have voted Republican, because of Bryan's know-nothing, anti-scientific views.

I cannot vote for someone who has contempt for evidence. A suggestion that creationism is an arguable alternative to evolution is equivilent to a suggestion that Ptolemy's Earth-centered model of the universe is an arguable alternative to Copernicus' deplacement of the Earth from the center (although to be fair, Ptolemy was a great empiricist, and his views had much stronger scientific foundations than creationism).

We have now experimented with government that does not care about evidence. I don't like it, and I fervently hope that it doesn't continue.


Robert Boyd said...

I'm sure you meant "k now-nothing". I completely agree with you. I am scared of having pre-enlightenment (or perhaps more accurately, anti-enlightenment) thinkers running things.

homer said...

Its scary. While the creationists seem happy to accept current medical care (based entirely on evolution-based concepts), they are happy to force their ignorant opinions on our school children (who will create the advances or declines in the quality of our medical care). I doubt the McCain-Palin will even believe that a market based medical system will be able to overcome the disadvantage of a creation-based medical system (at least not for their personal healthcare).

Uncle Billy said...

Off topic, but still reflective of our recent years of delusion:

I predict that Phony and Fraudy management will be taking a serious hair cut in the next week.

When your blog gets nationalized, we'll know things have gotten out of hand.

Anonymous said...

Liberals protesting creationism are always sort of funny... Why? Because liberals are almost invariably fanatical creationists when it comes to their issues.

Don't believe me?

How many liberals are willing to even admit the possibility that evolution continued after the human race started.

See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

"How many liberals are willing to even admit the possibility that evolution continued after the human race started.

See what I mean?"

I am not sure what you mean. I believe evolution continues today and its not hard to see in species with short life cycles. Even if your talking about humans I believe genetics have changed. For example, some studies show a fraction of European descendants are immune to AIDS because survivors of the Black Death had a unique cellular structure (i.e. natural selection occurred).

Scott said...

I think there may be a bit of anachronism here although I am not entirely sure. Bryan ran for president in '96, '00 and '08 with national debut "Cross of Gold" speech catapulting him into prominence in 1896 much as Humphrey, Reagan, and Obama would later be sent into orbit (Reagan literally) by their national debuts. The Scopes trial was in 1925, and Bryan had started to vehemently attack Darwinism after WWI. He had spoken out against it earlier as well, but after his initial run.

Bryan was not a young earth creationist and not really one in the modern sense. And it was not really uncommon to reject Darwinism at the turn of the century. Indeed, most scientists did. They didn't reject evolution, but they did reject Darwinism, primarily because a workable theory of heredity was lacking. This was rectified from 1900-1918 from the rediscovery of Mendel to Fisher's crucial paper integrating Mendelism and Darwinism. But it really should be emphasized that many major scientists rejected Darwinism before 1900. Now they probably rejected it for different reasons from Bryan, but the Darwinian mechanism of evolution certainly wasn't a settled fact at the time.

Did Bryan have contempt for the evidence at the time that he ran (which is when you could have voted for him)? Very unclear. How far was he willing to integrate evidence into his biblical worldview? I don't really know, but at least one historian (Ronald Numbers) claims that he was willing to accept a geologically old earth and read 7 days figuratively.

So while it is true that at the end of his life (or a few days before the end) he rejected Darwinism because he was very worried that the mechanism of natural selection (espcially as seen through the light of Social Darwinism) led to the moral decay he saw in WWI, he may not have held that view 3 decades before and certainly the science wasn't settled at that time.