Sunday, July 02, 2006

John McCain on Evolution

Just got very interested in reports of a Q&A session John McCain had a the Aspen Music Festival, as reported in the Aspen Times here. He was apparently, his normal self. Most interesting to me is his quote in response to a question about evolution

"I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view," he said. "I happen to believe in evolution. ... I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not."

It's too bad more of the Republican party is not like him on this issue. I would bet he really cannot stand Bush but he has been trying to be a little more policial recently and thus has not said anything too critical. But it is good to know that at least one (and maybe only one) of the possible Republican candidates for president is not as anti-science as the core of the party seems to be these days.


  1. Well, I'm not comfortable with McCain if he "respects" someone who believes the Earth was created in seven days even if he himself doesn't believe it.

    Yes, that's better than someone who believes in nonsense themselves, but why give respect to people who stubbonly wish to believe in falsified theories? Does McCain also respect people who believe the sun goes around the Earth? Or that the Earth is flat?

  2. I completely agree with you. However, I need to restate that I am just very happy that someone with some power in the Republican party is at least not so afraid of the religious right that they speak their mind. I would bet a few other Republicans do not want Intelligent Design taught in science classes but they are too wimpy to say anything about it.

  3. a year-and-a-half later....

    regarding the "respect" issue--this is no different from mccain saying that he can respect democrats who oppose the war in iraq. he may not agree with them, but that doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

    well-meaning people deserve respect despite their opposing views, rather than being demonized for their beliefs.

  4. a year and a half later is fine ...

    just to be clear since I am not sure what you are implying --- I support the notion that one should "respect" other opinions which is what McCain was saying. And I have respect for people who believe in Intelligent Design. However respecting others beliefs does not mean I want their beliefs taught in science classes if in fact they are not science. And Intelligent Design is a faith based belief and is not science. So it should not be taught in science classes and it should have no effect on science teaching.

  5. It is scientific

    There isnt a credible mathematician that would agree that the universe came into being and produced human life by chance.

    The numbers are too overwhelming. The oods are something like 1 in "every atom in the universe"

    Unfortunately for the sake of truth---the biologists and the mathematicians have not gotten together. Biologists have their heads too deep in cytoplasm to confront the sheer absurity of the probablities

    Its about pride. Their whole theory relies on it being random--yet they wont face it cant be random. Thats why the overwhelming majority of humans dont believe them. Even the simplest of humans get what these guys dont. The odds are just too great.

    To show how myopic and biased athiests are..just look at Carl Sagan. This supposed brilliant man thought all you needed was a few conditions to allow for life on a planet. One being its distance from the sun. "We now know", a phase used every year in science, that it takes trllions of variables---so many we cant even create life from lifeless matter on a planet teaming with life !!

    If thats not pathetic..I dont know what is. I do know that humans laugh at the notion of guys with 17pens in their pocket being Preists of the universe.
    In claiming life arouse at random, not only have you claimed the throne of is God empty--you placed yourself in His chair

  6. Yet another late comment.

    That is interesting to hear, I was under the mistaken impression that he was yet another republican who did not 'believe' in evolution.

    To the other anonymous, evolution is not random, it is the only valid alternative to random. This is basic probability theory for god sake: evolution is a long sequence of non-independent events.

  7. To the last anonymous, you said, "evolution is not random, it is the only valid alternative to random...evolution is a long sequence of non-independent events."

    Who decides whether it is a valid alternative? You and people who think just like you? I don't see its validity at all. In fact, I see evolution as a long sequence of quesses and grasps at trying to explain something that is not understood. It is a theory, not a science, and definitely requires enough human faith to make it a true faith-based one at that.

  8. To the last anonymous ... When Darwin first published his ideas, they were indeed theories because they had not been tested. But in the 150 or so years since then, evolution by natural selection (and evolution in general) has been supported by thousands if not tens of thousands of scientific papers. This includes people of every religious persuasion, people from every type of background, people from everywhere on the globe. There is no notion or idea in all of biology with more support. The existence of DNA has less support. The existence of brains has less support. Evolution is no longer in the realm of theory and there is no "faith" required to believe in it.

    You may not want to believe in it, and that is your right. But your reasons for not wanting to believe must lie in something other than science. Because the science regarding evolution is very clear.

  9. I don't understand how people could question the fact God made the earth in 6 days.
    All you have to do is look around you at how perfect and detailed everything is in life. To image how God could make everything so perfect....6 days is nothing to him..
    He made time itself...

  10. To nickname unavailable

    I am perfectly open to all possibilities for the origin of life. However, you are starting with the premise that the only possible explanation for what you see in the world is a divine creator. In essence, you are saying that there is no need to test ANY theories. And thus you are discussing faith, not science. I am not trying to disparage your personal beliefs, but just to point out that they are not in the realm of science.

  11. I would like to get back to the article about McCain. I'am not comfortable with a man you says he is a Christian and yet believes in evolution. How can you believe we are high evolved beast and also believe in a God who loved you so much that he would die for your sins. I think McCain and Obama both need to be more clear. I have a question for you If God is God and created all things why does that make the study of it any less science? Thank you for your site.

  12. Well, you may feel that way and that is fine. But 1000s of highly religious people including the Pope, major Rabbis, and others, have all publicly stated that they have no problem with evolution. Really, what you must mean is that a literal interpretation of the bible is in conflict with much of the science of evolution. That is true. It is also in conflict with the sciences of physics, chemistry, and geology as well as other scientific areas. So really a literal interpretation of the bible is in conflict with much of science.

  13. Thank you for getting back to me. I believe all creation has in it a God given abilty to adapt or evolve(due to weather or diet,etc.), but I don't believe that all of life started from lifeless matter. I would think the Pope and Rabbis would also agree that we are created in God's image otherwise they should look for a new career. I guess what I'm asking you is do you have to exclude God to study the world and how it works. I Think evolution is ok to be taught in school as theory, but I don't think a school or a teacher has the right to tell my children there is no God. I think this is wrong. Again I thank you for your time. ( I don't get to talk to evolutionist much that's why I'm asking so many questions)

  14. I personally think you do not have to exclude god in studying science. You just have to partition religion and science into different arenas. You also have to not take the Bible or other religious texts literally. Once you take them literally, they do have conflicts with science.

  15. The Bible has so many truths, but I understand if you have a hard time accepting the miracles.(that doen't mean they didn't happen). Well I pray a blessing on you, your family, and your research. May God reveal Himself to you in a real and personal way. Psalm 111:10

  16. I'm not sure if you noticed who McCain's VP choice is...but she's definitely one to want the biblical stories of Genesis taught in classrooms...

  17. yeah, jared, - i just wrote about Palin and he "issues"

  18. H'm - 'in God's image', eh? Well, I just looked around the place I work, and I can't decide which of the male and female, black, white, coloured and oriental people here actually looks like God...

    Also, evolution is NOT random. It is the result of selecting or choosing specific changes and differences which will improve the chances for that organism to pass on its genes to future generations. Yes, the statistics can be mind-boggling, but then, the chance of winning the UK National Lottery is 1 in 14 million, yet someone wins nearly every week. A very small chance is not the same as 'no chance'.

  19. I however have NO respect for any person who chooses not to "believe" in evolution. These people rightfully deserve to be marginalized and ridiculed until my lungs give out.

    "Evolution" and "creation science" are not only not in the same ballpark, they're not even in the same GAME.

    I would 1000% support intelligent design being taught in theology class, but never EVER science class.

  20. I just can't quite grasp why some people here are failing to see that the reality of evolution doesn't mean there can't be a god.

    You're letting your religious doctrine get in the way of reason by taking everything literally. It's got nothing to do with faith in some higher power.

    You've kind of worked yourselves into an ironic paradox. You're willing to throw mans intelligence out the window in favor of primitive, ancient stories that mostly defy logic and lack any real evidence. Yet if there is a god that created all of us, why would he gift us with the intelligence and curiosity necessary to examine ourselves and our environment -- to the point of being able to make progress, to evolve our thinking and make new discoveries? Why wouldn't that be a product of god as well?

    It seems that some people would rather just be dogmatically selective and completely ignore the realities existing around them. If you believe in god, you should know that he gave you a brain for a reason... use it!

  21. God gave u eyes use them for once and open the bible.

  22. Most people that claim the bible is the literal word of God have never read it all or selectively leave out the bad parts.

    The god of the old testament is the most vile, jealous, vengeful, murderous, hateful, spiteful, insecure, compassion-less monster that man has ever been able to imagine and make fictional stories about. A few estimates place the death toll from this beast at 33 million "own-images".

    Try this one for a quick example:
    Judges 11:29-40

    In thanks for god giving Jephthah the power to murder all his enemies (20 towns worth of people), he murders his daughter in a burnt offering of thanks.


    You simple-minded religious nuts should go do that very same thing if you truly believe.

  23. There isnt a credible mathematician that would agree that the universe came into being and produced human life by chance.

    No true Scotsman fallacy!

    I wonder what the probability of a god that just happens to eternally exit without a cause and is capable of creating everything is? Creationists never seem to discuss that for some reason.

    These creationist probabilities that I keep seeing also rely on false models of how evolution actually works. What they are attacking is not how evolution works.

    Does creationism actually have any verified testable predictions of its own?

  24. Well, I am not aware of any creationism practitioners who present their work in the model of "testable predictions" but I suppose there are some out there. And they may even get some right some of the time. That is not really the issue to me though. The issue is that it is a closed theory in that whatever the tests show, people can argue the result was consistent with the "theory". Hence it is not science.

  25. Jonathan,

    I agree. It is not science. I actually saw "Darwin's black box" in the science sectiomn of a bookshop today - I did consider suggesting that they move it to the religion section :-)

    I really dont like the use of the term theory with creationism. As you say, they will always claim that is how god did it - without arguing their case. The add ons that they keep having to make to protect their pre-concieved "conclusion" just makes their case all the more improbable

  26. that is why i put "theory" in quotes ... not really a theory in my mind either


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