Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Conservative Walks Away

Those of you who lean to the right may be familiar with a blogger by the name of Charles Johnson. He writes the blog Little Green Footballs. For some time, Charles has been getting disenchanted with the GOP and the modern conservative movement—many times for valid reasons—and he finally called it quits. In a post titled Why I Parted Ways with the Right, he outlines exactly why he has done this. I don't agree with some of the things he says, and I think that he sometimes has singled out some truly stoooopid people as representative of this or that movement. You get those no matter where you go. He does point out some problems, though, one of which is "anti-science bad craziness."

This caught the attention of Sigmund, Carl and Alfred. Given that Charles has been such a prominent blogger on the right for some time, they commented on the change. They write:
You don’t have to believe in God to be a Republican. You don’t have to reject Darwin or dismiss global warming science to be a part of the GOP. What you have to be is open. What you are supposed to be is welcoming. The Right is supposed to be welcoming and fiercely defend the right of the individual to have their own beliefs, whatever they might be. Groupthink is supposed to be anathema to the Right!

When did belief in God and Creationism become the litmus test of what it means to be a conservative or a Republican? In pandering to the religious right, the GOP has built a great wall they foolishly believe will isolate from the onslaught of progress.
This is so smack on the money it is almost prescient. The anti-science wave of the current conservative movement will sink them. Whatever you might think of your average liberal's politics, they are, as a group, pretty dang well educated. They know that creationism is junk science and that Intelligent Design isn't science at all. And they will hammer this home until it makes the GOP bleed. And science is booming!

Understanding of organ transplant and repair is now progressing by leaps and bounds with the help of evolutionary medicine. Understanding of how viruses respond to selection forces and how they affect populations differentially is possible with the understanding of evolutionary theory and the interaction of genetics and the environment. Quantum Mechanics allows us to understand the structure of basic particles and their role in the formation of the universe. The Large Hadron Collider works because of this understanding. New oil-discovering tools work because of our palaeontological and geological understanding of where the deposits of oil are which, in turn, is based on our understanding that the geological record is a picture of 3.5 billion years of life on the earth. Palaeoclimatic reconstructions of the earth have allowed us to understand how climate changes over time and how to recognize those changes before they happen. This understanding has led to the current debate on global warming and climate change.

Not one of these advancements would be possible if
creationism was taught in the public schools.

Not one.

I am proudly a Christian, and proudly an evolutionist. How am I going to vote in the next general election? Who knows. Ask me in three years.

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  1. Jim, I have been following your blog for some time now. How could you use the word "Smack"

    92% of the population believes in God so it would seem to be a popular position that both parties would want to enjoin.

    Second, once evolution is actually demonstrated, then we will have something to talk about; however, at this time they just have circumstantial facts that seem to fit better with ID theory rather than Darwinian evolutionary theory.

    The fact that you don't know how you will vote tells me that your views are merely a bridge to the left rather than a defense of the truth.

  2. Okay, so "smack on the money" was a bit gratuitous. Sorry. A bit about my political views. I am a social conservative. I do not support abortion, I believe in fiscal responsibility and limited government. I support the right to bear arms and the death penalty. At my next opportunity, I intend to shift my official political status to "independent" because I believe that the GOP no longer reflects the above beliefs. Don't get me wrong, I think that the party represented by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid is even further off the mark and I doubt I would even consider voting for a mainstream democrat for president.

    Evolution has been and is demonstrated almost daily. Longitudinal studies have been done on fish, snakes, turtles, birds and other animals that clearly show the effect of selection in the wild. Kenneth Miller recounts example after example in his book Finding Darwin's God. Where it gets circumstantial is the extrapolation into the fossil record. But even then, fossil trees mimic genetic trees.

    Isn't science about provisionally accepting the best theory that fits the evidence? ID has no theory at all. That has been admitted by one of the leaders of the movement.

  3. I too, believe in God.

    I see evolution as a magnification of the miracle of Creation.

    Science is not the enemy of believers- it never has been. For every scientific advance we make, more mysteries of Creation are uncovered.

    A simple belief in God is a wonderful thing for some, but deeper faith and understanding are profoundly more satisfying for many. If that were not the case, we would have no need for Thomas Aquinas, Newton, Spinoza or even Einstein- believers all. And the list goes on and is ever growing.

  4. "The Right is supposed to be welcoming and fiercely defend the right of the individual to have their own beliefs, whatever they might be. Groupthink is supposed to be anathema to the Right!"

    For the past twenty-five years or so (since I became politically involved as a young adult) my perception has been the opposite -- that the goal of the Right is to restrict liberty according to a powerful minority's bigoted beliefs and greediness. Any time I've come across a Republican, the likelihood of them being racist, sexist, egocentrist, wealthy, and privileged in myriad ways was pretty damn high, so that after a while I assumed that these things defined conservatism. In the past few years, however, I've increasingly come across individuals who regard themselves as "conservative" or "Republican" yet mean something very different by it. Does this mean that they themselves are deluded about what the party stands for, or that the party is changing or splintering off?

  5. I think, like most things, it depends on where you go. Most of the people that i go to church with are kind, honest, giving and...Republican. Plus, i think that you will have to agree that the current crop of left-leaning congress is not exactly brimming with integrity, although I am quite sure that there are some that are honest. I think that your average conservative views the general leftward slide of the federal government with a great deal of trepidation and fear, and wants to avoid it at all costs. Sometimes, i think that the methods they chose are okay and sometimes i think they are not. Charles Johnson always pointed out the Robert Stacy McCains and David Dukes of the world as if they represented the face of conservatism. They don't. I am sorry that your experience with Republicans has been bad. Mine has, up until recently, been positive. That is becoming less so and I do see somewhat of a narrow-mindedness creeping in. There certainly has been a polarization of the electorate.

  6. Linda-

    Notwithstanding your protestations vis a vis Republicans, let me ask you a question.

    If the Left is so all about pro choice, why do they excoriate women who choose to vote Republican? Why do they excoriate women who choose not to have abortions for moral reasons?

    Choice it seems, only matters if the PC choice is made.