19 January 2008

Mike Huckabee is a Primate!




Updated on Jan. 24 to respond to a comment.

In a republican debate held in Manchester, NH on May 6, 2007, candidate Mike Huckabee was asked about an earlier debate in which he raised his hand to indicate that he did not believe in evolution. "You're an ordained minister. What do you believe? Is it the story of creation, as it is reported in the Bible or described in the Bible?" The question and his response are in the video clip above. If you cannot see it, the transcript is available from Project Vote Smart.

In his response, I think former Gov. Huckabee made four major logical or linguistic errors.

  1. He presents a false dichotomy between believing in God and accepting evolution. As he puts it, "A person either believes that God created this process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own." He also said, "the basic question was an unfair question, because it simply asked us in a simplistic manner whether or not we believed, in my view, whether there is a God or not." The question at the debate to which he referes was not about God; it was about science. He seemed to twist the question based on the assumtion that belief in evolution and belief in God are mutually exclusive. My comments here are not about faith or God, they are about the candidates knowledge and use of the field I know best.
  2. I "wasn't there" for the American Revolution, but I have no doubts about who won. One does not need to be an eyewitness to an event in order to make a convincing reconstruction of that event from available evidence.
  3. According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online, a primate is a "mammal of the order Primates, which includes humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians" (emphasis mine). All humans, Huckabee's parents included, are primates. He is the descendant of a primate; he is a primate, and so am I.
  4. He would not be writing a science textbook as President, but science is very important in many decisions the President makes. This point has been made by a group calling for a debate on science among the presidential candidates and an editorial in the Jan. 4, 2008 issue of Science magazine. If Gov. Huckabee can dismiss and so profoundly misunderstand this scientific theory, I have doubts about his ability to make a scientifically well informed decision on global warming, nuclear power, alternative energy sources, basic research funding, human embryonic stem cell research, education, and a host of other important political issues. If I know a candidate is wrong or ill-informed in science, which is the are of human endeavor that I know best, how can I trust him or her in any other area?

5 comments:

Darius said...

While I am no fan of Huckabee's, you have taken some great liberties with his statement and misconstrued what he said.

For one, he does NOT present a false dichotomy between faith in God and acceptance of evolution. If anyone did this, it was the questioner. "Well, let me be very clear: I believe there is a God. I believe there's a God who was active in the creation process.

Now, how did he do it and when did he do it and how long did he take, I don't honestly know." It seems quite clear that he left it open that evolution might be viable.

He's much more humble in his answer than it appears you are in your rebuttal, acknowledging that he wasn't there so he can't say FOR CERTAIN how God created the world. And you seem to keep equating the young earth-old earth with creationism vs. evolution, when they are completely different topics. One deals with how species came into existence, the other with the age of the ground.

When Huckabee says primate, he is clearly talking about monkeys. While he could have used a different term, the vernacular use of "primate" almost always means monkey.

I agree with Huck, this question has no place in an election debate. He's already a disciple of global warming, at least give him that. :)

Darius said...

"A person either believes that God created this process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own."

This isn't a false dichotomy. One cannot be a Christian and believe that God didn't create the world and that we're mere accidents. God clearly tells us that He created everything. However, one can be a believer and believe that God "created this process" called evolution.

Luke C. said...

So, he accepts global warming and might be open to evolution? Be careful, or you will make a Huckabee supporter out of me! It may or may not matter since Ohio's primary is Mar. 4, and I have not decided which (if either) party I will join to vote.

I still think Huckabee clearly rejects the science behind evolution. However, he might not be as likely to try to eject it from school science curricula.

If he is not presenting a false dichotomy, why did he claim that the question about evolution in the "hand-raising" debate was really about whether they believed in God.

A question about evolution is a window into the candidate's views on science. As I mentioned in the post, I cannot support a candidate if I cannot trust him/her on the field I know best.

Darius said...

For you, the question might be about science. But everyone in that debate knows that it's the liberal media's attempt at painting every Republican into religious nuts who believe in God.

I guess I don't know of anyone who is trying to "eject" evolution from schools. Just merely trying to get teachers to be honest about it. It's a THEORY, and has very little evidence to support it over any other theory. So treat it as such, rather than a religion that can't be questioned.

Luke C. said...

I can only be sure of my on intentions and interpretations; I will not try to speak on behalf of "everyone in that debate." However, why ask about evolution if you want to know someone's belief in God.

Where have you looked to find evidence for evolution? What theory is supported by more evidence than evolution?