David Harsanyi

So every now and then, liberals are treated to a big self-righteous laugh at the expense of some backwoods Christian conservative candidate who "ignores science" by doubting evolution or global warming -- or, gasp, both.

Much, for instance, has been made of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent suggestion that evolution is a "theory that's out there" with "gaps in it." He even insinuated that evolution and creationism should both be taught in schools -- because folks are "smart enough to figure out which one is right."

Sanctimony to red alert!

Now, I have no interest in watching my kids waste their time with creationism, but unlike progressives, I have no interest in dictating what other kids should learn. Remember that these folks, bothered by the very thought of their offspring's hearing a God-infused concept in school, have no problem forcing millions of parents to accept bureaucrat-written curricula at government-run school monopolies. They oppose home schooling. They oppose school choice. They oppose parents choosing a religious education with their tax dollars.

As a voter, like me, you may find Perry's view on creationism disconcerting and a sign of an unsophisticated candidate. But the fact is that the progressives' faith-based devotion to government is far more consequential than Perry's faith-based position on evolution.

Despite the rare political dispute, in the real world, science -- real science -- is rarely controversial. It's politicized science that is prickly. And science is easy to politicize. Maybe if schools began teaching students that "life" begins at conception and that each zygote, embryo and fetus is a unique human being in some early stage of development just waiting to be born, liberals would see the point.

No, my kids haven't been chewing over Charles Darwin text or the Holy Bible in elementary school. There's simply no time. Not with global warming out there.

Perry, not surprisingly, was also recently asked about "global warming." He responded that "the issue has been politicized" and that pouring billions of dollars into "a scientific theory that has not been proven and ... is more and more being put into question" is not worthwhile.

It is interesting watching the nation's defenders of reason, empirical evidence and science fail to display a hint of skepticism over the transparently political "science" of global warming. Rarely are scientists so certain in predicting the future. Yet this is a special case. It is also curious that these supposed champions of Darwin don't believe that human beings -- or nature -- have the ability to adapt to changing climate.

Like 99 percent of pundits and politicians, though, I have no business chiming in on the science of climate change -- though my kids' teachers sure are experts. Needless to say, there is a spectacular array of viewpoints on this issue. The answers are far from settled. There are debates over how much humans contribute. There are debates over how much warming we're seeing. There are debates over many things.

But even if one believed the most terrifying projections of global warming alarmist "science," it certainly doesn't mean one has to support the anti-capitalist technocracy to fix it. And try as some may to conflate the two, global warming policy is not "science." The left sees civilization's salvation in a massive Luddite undertaking that inhibits technological growth by turning back the clock, undoing footprints, forcing technology that doesn't exist, banning products that do and badgering consumers who have not adhered to the plan through all kinds of punishment. Yet there is no real science that has shown that any of it makes a whit of difference.

So no doubt, it is reasonable for voters to query presidential candidates about their views on faith, religion, God, Darwin and science. It matters. Sometimes, though, it matters less than they'd like you to think it does.

 


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.