Romney elaborates on evolution

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That's the headline on Michael Luo's 11 May entry in The Caucus at the New York Times (link).

“I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”


While governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes.

“In my opinion, the science class is where to teach evolution, or if there are other scientific thoughts that need to be discussed,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that’s for the religion class or philosophy class or social studies class.”

Mr. Romney said he was asked about his belief in evolution when he was interviewed by faculty members for highest honors designations before his graduation from Brigham Young University.

He told his interviewers that he did not believe there was a “conflict between true science and true religion,” he said.

“True science and true religion are on exactly the same page,” he said. “they may come from different angles, but they reach the same conclusion. I’ve never found a conflict between the science of evolution and the belief that God created the universe. He uses scientific tools to do his work.”

That's a pretty clear statement that Governor Romney (a) sees no conflict between evolutionary theory and religious faith and (b) continues to hold his position that intelligent design creationism should not be taught in science classes (see this entry for why I say “continues” There are many, many reasons why I will not vote for Romney should he receive the Republican nomination, but it's nice to know that he has at least one sensible idea.

In contrast, the last remarks I could find from President Bush were in August, 2005

Bush told Texas newspaper reporters in a group interview at the White House on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution as competing theories (“Bush remarks on ‘intelligent design’ theory fuel debate,” by Peter Baker and Peter Slevin, the Washington Post, 3 August 2005).

It's more than a bit depressing when the leader of the free world wants to give equal time to rejected ideas, but it isn't too surprising. This is the same administration in which a deputy assistant secretary in the Interior department “rejected staff scientists' recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act at least six times” (source) and “resigned a week before a House congressional oversight committee was to hold a hearing on accusations that she violated the Endangered Species Act, censored science and mistreated staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” (source) . This is the same administration in which an aide accused Ron Suskind of being in the “reality-based community.” That aide defined the reality-based community as

people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That's not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.“ (“Without a doubt” The New York Times Magazine, 17 October 2004)

Call me naive, but give me a choice based on fantasy and and one based on reality, and I'll go with the one that's real.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, P.Z. Myers is not impressed.

Comments from Steve Reuland at The Panda's Thumb

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I mentioned that P.Z. Myers was not impressed with Romney's theistic evolution. Jason Rosenhouse has responded to Myers, and Myers has responded to the response. For what it's worth, I think Rosenhouse has it almost right. Theistic evolution takes a... Read More

In the first Republican presidential debate (May 3, 2007) Chris Matthews asked, “I'm curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?” (MSNBC transcript). Three candidates – Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabe... Read More

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