Sam Brownback on Evolution

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In a debate held a few weeks ago between the candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, the question of who did not believe in evolution was asked. Three of the candidates raised their hands: Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, and Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas. Huckabee has since clarified his view as seen in this article. In an opinion piece in today’s issue of The New York Times titled “What I Think About Evolution,” Sen. Brownback has explained his position on the creation/evolution debate. In this article, Brownback articulates the proper Christian understanding of the relationship between science and faith.

Sen. Brownback asserts in this article that there can be no real contradiction between science and faith, since the same God is the creator of both the spiritual and the material.

The heart of the issue is that we cannot drive a wedge between faith and reason. I believe wholeheartedly that there cannot be any contradiction between the two. The scientific method, based on reason, seeks to discover truths about the nature of the created order and how it operates, whereas faith deals with spiritual truths. The truths of science and faith are complementary: they deal with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God.

Brownback goes on to affirm the use of reason, while recognizing that reason alone cannot answer every question. Some questions can only be answered in the realm of faith. He also affirms his belief in micro-evolution which he defines as the belief in “small changes over time within a species.” This is not questioned by any creationist that I know of since it is observable in the world. The problem, however, comes when “scientists” use the evidence for micro-evolution as proof of macro-evolution (large changes between species). This has never been observed and is therefore outside of the realm of true science.

Sen. Brownback categorically rejects any theory of evolution that requires on to assent to “an exclusively materialistic, deterministic vision of the world that holds no place for a guiding intelligence.” He does, however, acknowledge that some aspects of evolutionary biology have revealed a lot about the natural world. Specifically he mentions “the small changes that take place within a species.” Nevertheless, Brownback declares his belief “that the process of creation — and indeed life today — is sustained by the hand of God in a manner known fully only to him.”

Another important point raised by the Senator is the validity of questioning the philosophical presuppositions of scientists who exclude “the possibility of design or purpose.” Why do certain scientists feel compelled to go beyond where the physical evidence takes them to assert a universe without design? This is a question worth pondering.

The final two paragraphs of this article are an excellent summary of the Christian position. I will allow Sen. Brownback to have these concluding words without my editorial comment.

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.

Without hesitation, I am happy to raise my hand to that.

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

7 comments

  1. Now there’s a refreshing post about a politician. I didn’t know much about Sen. Brownback. I like what I read on wikipedia about him as well. What kind of support (not monetary) does he have?
    I’ve been very interested in Congressman Ron Paul from Texas (republican). He’s an OB doc. who has served in Congress the past 20 years. He’s NEVER (yes, never in 20 years!) voted to raise taxes, remains a strong pro-life advocate, believes in a limited role for federal government and is a constitutionalist. I believe he’s fourth in fund raising among republicans but unfortunately he’s being left out of a lot of polls thus skewing the amount of supporters that he has. It also helps for me that he was born and raised in Pittsburgh (my hometown) and went to medical school at Duke University (go Blue Devils).

  2. Well I predict that this man will not win the Republican party’s nomination because he has revealed his creationist views and of course all the materialistic scientists are going to say that having him as president will set science back 200 years.

  3. Bryan,

    I agree with Pete that Brownback will not win. Unfortunately, many candidates cannot compete with the money and notoriety that other candidates bring with them before they even begin to campaign. My hope is that one of the solid guys, will be picked as a VP by one of the guys who can win. This will at least give voice to certain issues and set up a potential White House run in 8 years.

    Steve

  4. “I believe that there is a God and that he put the process in motion,” Huckabee said. (From the fox news story you linked to)

    Sounds like he could possibly believe in theistic evolution, huh? That statement gives him just enough room on both sides of the issue to slip through. Sounds like politics to me.

  5. Good point about being picked up as a vp for someone else Steve. DJ, he’s a politician to be sure but what he said is leaps and bounds from anything that I’ve heard recently from a politician on the subject.

    Has anyone heard of Ron Paul and his run for the Republican nomination?

  6. D.J.,
    I wasn’t as impressed with Huckabee’s answers as I was with Brownback’s. Of course the article I linked to quoted selectively, I’m not sure what he actually said in context.
    Bryan,
    D.J. was talking about Huckabee, not Brownback.
    I’ve heard of Ron Paul, you mentioned him four comments ago.
    Seriously, I’ve seen him at the debates, but I don’t know a lot about him.
    Steve

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