Brownback Rejects Science and Reason

Sam Brownback has an op-ed in The New York Times in which he tries to explain why he has stated he does not believe in evolution. The full op-ed needs to be read to appreciate the total lack of rational thought, but his argument can be summed up here:

The question of evolution goes to the heart of this issue. If belief in evolution means simply assenting to microevolution, small changes over time within a species, I am happy to say, as I have in the past, that I believe it to be true. If, on the other hand, it means assenting to an exclusively materialistic, deterministic vision of the world that holds no place for a guiding intelligence, then I reject it.

In other words, he doesn’t care if science has provided an excellent explanation for the development of complex species. He rejects it because it contradicts his religious views. He starts from the position that his religious views are correct, and therefore anything which he feels contradicts these views must be wrong. By the same logic, if someone follows a religion which claims that volcanos erupt to show the wrath of the gods, any scientific explanation for volcanos must be rejected without consideration of the science. Brownback is not only rejecting evolution. By his logic he is rejecting the entire scientific method.

There are people who manage to reconcile both religious thoughts and science. Brownback understands little about evolution, but does understand enough to realize that it does present a problem for his fundamentalist views. Brownback believes that a creator intended for humans to be present in their current form:

The unique and special place of each and every person in creation is a fundamental truth that must be safeguarded. I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine man’s essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos. I firmly believe that each human person, regardless of circumstance, was willed into being and made for a purpose.

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

While there is a tremendous body of scientific research demonstrating the validity of evolution, there is no evidence for this belief beyond religious teachings. Once you understand that facts about the universe should be determined based upon scientific research as opposed to religious faith, there is no longer any argument against evolution. Therefore Brownback must dismiss science where he believes it undermines “this truth,” and in the process dismisses the entire scientific method.

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6 Comments

  1. 1
    Bithead says:

    Your ability to read into a statement, intentions which are not there, is noted.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Bithead,

    Your inability to understand the consequences of Brownback’s argument is noted.

  3. 3
    Bithead says:

    No, I understand quite well the consequences of the argument. I also understand the arguments being presented by most of Alicia nests. It is because of that understanding of both,that I disagree with the latter.

    Do I deny that there have been changes since the creation of man? No.

    Do these changes mean that man is an accident? No.

    There are gaps in the narrative of both sides. Interestingly, those gaps appear to make the two narratives mesh better, not clash. I continue to study the matter. The more I do, the more I am convinced, but there is in fact no inherent discrepancy, in saying that both narratives contain large elements of truth. Anyone considering that atheism is not a religion, should watch closely the reaction when the Holy writ of Atheism gets challenged by a creationist. the righteous indignation which invariably occurs, can be compared to nothing so much as a religion.

    I’m sure, for example, that the old argument about the six day creation was impossible by every science we know. There are several answers to this, and I will save us both some time by addressing a couple of them.

    * What wonderful arrogance to assume that man knows all the sciences. And, that thereby, since man doesn’t know about it, it must not exist.

    * Specifically, as regards a 6 day creation, I submit to you that since God is referred to as a timeless being, that perhaps the definition of a day (and therefore 6 days) needs some adjustment within that context.

    To wit; God creating a universe WOULD make a rather large bang, no?

    Enjoy it…

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Bithead,

    Nobody is saying that man knows all the sciences (or all the facts about science, which I assume is what you mean). I am saying that science is the method by which we attempt to discover the truth about the universe. The opposing viewpoint, expressed by Brownback, is that science is to be ignored when it conflicts with his religious beliefs.

    In attempting to reconcile science with religion, as opposed to rejecting the science as Brownback did, you are supporting my argument against Brownback. In agreeing that man has evolved you are also supporting my argument against Brownback.

    Whether man came about by design or as a result of chance mutations cannot be proven, but evolution does explain the process without requiring the additional layer of a supernatural mechanism. Where I disagree with Brownback is that he takes for granted that his belief that man came about by design is fact. Once he accepts this as fact, he rejects science for believing it contradicts what he sees as fact. Of course there is no evidence for Brownback’s facts, which is based entirely on religious faith, while there is evidence supporting evolution. There are many people who can reconcile both evolution and their religious beliefs, but Brownback instead chooses to reject the science.

  5. 5
    Bithead says:

    Nobody is saying that man knows all the sciences (or all the facts about science, which I assume is what you mean). I am saying that science is the method by which we attempt to discover the truth about the universe. The opposing viewpoint, expressed by Brownback, is that science is to be ignored when it conflicts with his religious beliefs.

    You call it what you will. But the bottom line is that to take that position is to assume that science cannot be wrong, that man knows everything by way of science.

    Each, as I indicated, is it’s own religion. Thanks for proving my point so very well.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    No, nobody is taking the position that “science cannot be wrong.” Being “wrong” is part of the scientific method. Theories are proposed, and must stand up under experimentation. With science, as opposed to religion, theories can be prove to be correct or proven to be wrong. This provides an objective means to understand the universe, as opposed to blindly believing religious claims.

    Science is not at all like a religion as you claim. Scientific theories will be considered wrong if they cannot be proven wlth objective evidence. In contrast, Brownback, and apparently you, are taking the position that religion cannot be wrong. Claims are made without any type of evidence. There is no way in which religious claims can be verified or proven wrong by experimentation. In this respect, science and religion are opposites to each other.

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