Let’s leave aside decency and morality and try to forget that Romney eliminated funding for a gay teen suicide hotline to curry favor with the theopolitical Right. Let’s not plumb the dark, foul abyss that is Mitt Romney’s soul. Let’s not ask how morally decrepit one would have to be to attempt to gain political office through the suicide of a child. Let’s talk about evolution: Romney’s not half bad.
Here’s what Romney said:
“I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe,” Mr. Romney said in an interview this week. “And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.”
He was asked: Is that intelligent design?
“I’m not exactly sure what is meant by intelligent design,” he said. “But I believe God is intelligent and I believe he designed the creation. And I believe he used the process of evolution to create the human body.”
While governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney opposed the teaching of intelligent design in science classes.
“In my opinion, the science class is where to teach evolution, or if there are other scientific thoughts that need to be discussed,” he said. “If we’re going to talk about more philosophical matters, like why it was created, and was there an intelligent designer behind it, that’s for the religion class or philosophy class or social studies class.”
There are two issues here. First, it’s pretty clear that Romney thinks evolutionary biology, and not intelligent design, should be taught in science classes. Second, it’s also pretty clear that, philosophically, Romney thinks that there is at some metaphysical level purpose and design to the universe. While I don’t agree, I don’t think that has much to do with his future ability to support evolution*. One should not ‘overparse’ Romney’s words here. Like most people, he isn’t aware of the philosophical particulars of the evolution issue. Somehow, I don’t think he’s up on concepts of independent magesteria, so things come out a little mangled. To me, however, it’s seems clear: evolution belongs in the science class, ID doesn’t.
If you don’t agree with him on theological and philosophical grounds, fine. If you don’t think you could vote for someone who thinks what Romney does, that’s fine too. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say Romney’s bad on this issue. Just as I don’t want to hear candidates prattle on about religion, I don’t really want to hear them speculate about whether there is purpose or some overarching divine being–regardless of where they stand on the issue.
What’s really sad about this is that Romney is getting credit for not denying basic physical reality, which is akin to getting credit for not raping someone. He’s still a miserable excuse of a human being.
*Given that Romney has flip-flopped on virtually every major social issue, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t on evolution either. However, I think this will have absolutely nothing to do with his philosophical and theological views, but with his disgusting opportunistic streak.