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Austin Cline

Weekly Poll: Will Intelligent Design Harm Conservatism?

By October 8, 2009

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Anti-science activities are playing an increasing role in American conservatism. The biggest example is the advocacy of Intelligent Design: a direct attack on a basic scientific theory because religious ideology demands it. This political and religious opposition to evolutionary theory (there is no scientific opposition to it) is made up exclusively of conservatives. The question is, will the anti-science attitudes of conservatives come to hurt them later?

Conservatives have often prided themselves on adhering to a very practical and realistic political philosophy, but a practical political philosophy is one that deals with reality as it is rather than as we wish it would be. Conservatives like David Frum -- who says he accepts evolution but opposes teaching it in school because it "offends" some -- do exactly the opposite: they favor teaching comfortable falsehoods if the facts are too inconvenient.

The immediate focus and target of defenders of Intelligent Design is evolution; the long-term target is, they admit, is methodological naturalism and materialism in science. Their ultimate goal, which they only rarely admit to openly, are reason and modernity themselves. It's a political agenda that seeks to replace secular politics and science with a theocratic regime based upon conservative, evangelical Christianity.

Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals view pretty much everything political, social, or religious through the lens of their "culture wars." They are the persecuted church which gospel texts have Jesus predicting and teaching about. They may control most of the levers of political power around the nation, but they have failed to capture enough hearts and minds in order to mold American culture according to their desires. There must be a reason for this and the most common "solution" is that the forces of Satan continue to have the upper hand.

October 8, 2009 at 9:22 am
(1) fauxrs says:

No, Stupidity has never harmed conservativism in the past, why should it now.

October 8, 2009 at 11:14 am
(2) tracieh says:

I’m inclined to agree with the above comment. Stupidity slides off like water from a duck’s back. Before cases like Teri Schiavo, the religious conservative view was that hooking a person up to a respirator was “unnatural.” Not too many years later, you’re a murderer if you take them off a respirator. Same conservative group, 180-degree shift in view. No apparent repercussions…?

I don’t think anyone is unfamiliar with the nonsense preached in the past that Galileo had to cope with. Still, the church is left standing–powerful as ever (it seems, at least, but maybe that’s not the case?).

As long as people are willing to argue about how many angels can stand on the head of pin, there will be pinheads who just follow along without a concern for what they’re promoting or agreeing with. It’s conservative. I’m conservative. So, this is what I say in the moment–whether it’s what conservatives said 10, 20, 30, 100 years ago or not is not relevant.

In the U.S. people of the past used the Bible to both support and decry slavery. But in the modern U.S., you don’t dare say the Bible supports slavery, unless you just want an onslaught of negative religious backlash. And yet there were volumes upon volumes of extremely religious people, conservatives, who argued powerfully in support of slavery, from a godly and Biblically supported perspective.

These were just ‘misguided Christians,’ however, or not “True Christians”(TM).

Nothing sticks. Conservative is whatever sounds good in the moment when it comes to religion. If it doesn’t work, you just drop it and pretend it never happened.

October 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm
(3) Larian LeQuella says:

fauxrs beat me to it. Besides, science and reason are Bad(TM) to the most vocal of conservatives (and Fox News, or Faux Noise as I call them). They can’t let things like science, evidence, reason, and logic get in the way of their faith!

October 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm
(4) Yossarian says:

I still don,t understand what conservatives have against evolution. Did they not notice the knuckle draggers at the “Tea Parties” ?

October 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm
(5) John Hanks says:

It may harm someone interested in the sciences by fostering an imaginary conflict. Otherwise some of the conflict could actually foster intelectual development.

October 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(6) Dave Y. says:

Dont pretend it hasn’t hurt them, Obama is president isn’t he?

Don’t pretend their not on their way out, thats the doubt they want you to hold on to.

just remember that their showing themselves to be a bunch of screaming chimps, just showing others and the world will figure it out.

these inbreeds are only a small number of the population and they all reside in the states were inbeeding is legal, wake up to this reality and there is no way the modern world will let these perverts win, its that simple folks!!!

Conservative Fundamentalist = Inbreed

Inbreed = Conservative Fundamentalists

October 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm
(7) seathanaich says:

No, it won’t hurt conservativism.

Remember in the 1970s how all Christians said dinosaurs weren’t real? And then they quietly stopped saying that in the 1980s or 1990s?

The same will happen with Intelligent Design when enough people realise it is indefensible. The same thing already happened to religious opposition to Atomic Theory centuries ago, and to claims that the world was round, not flat. The pattern is well established.

October 13, 2009 at 12:26 pm
(8) Joram Arentved says:

It should never have done it, therefore the next thing, I must tell you, is a finance issue, I still don’t know, don’t think, if I can explain to myself, since money IS the root of
(almost(?)) any evil act, an issue, whereon you’re still welcome to receive a few more anti-religion letters from me, religion itself, i.e. X-tianity: Worldly manipulation on the desire to become Economic World Leaders, so that I can of course tell & e.g. help us all find out & so on, which already & of course goes without saying, greetings, arentved@in.com. The suicide: A desperate cry for help because of a ‘chosen’ man ideology, i.e. a forced one, also
X-tianity: It’s your ‘right,’ however, chosen for you, that is, against your own will.

April 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm
(9) Michael says:

I’m catholic and I believe in theistic evolution (the belief that evolution was part of God’s master plan)

April 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

I’m catholic and I believe in theistic evolution (the belief that evolution was part of God’s master plan)

Thing is, scientists don’t “believe in” scientific theories – they accept those theories to the extent that evidence justifies it. Scientists don’t “believe in” gravity or plate tectonics.

So simply saying “believe in” indicates an unscientific attitude towards the subject.

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