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Posted by on Dec 3, 2007 in Politics | 28 comments

Are Huckabee’s Views On Evolution Irrelevant?

Does it matter, or doesn’t it?

Fast-rising GOP Presidential hopeful Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee doesn’t believe in evolution, just intelligent design. You now have Huckabee picking up steam in the GOP and Senator Barack Obama seemingly ready to upset some of the conventional wisdom that New York Senator Hillary Clinton is “inevitable”. TMV favorite Andrew Sullivan thinks that’d be a great race with two good options, but Comment Central’s Daniel Finklestein thinks Huckabeee’s stand on evolution matters:

The reason that his support for intelligent design matters is that it is ridiculous. Who wants a President of the United States who doesn’t accept the basic principles of science, taking refuge instead in a load of mumbo jumbo?

The religious beliefs of a President are a matter of conscience, but intelligent design is not a religious idea. It is, deliberately, put as an alternative scientific theory. But it is, sadly, nonsense.

It is clearly vital that he or she be someone who accepts and understands scientific methods. By rejecting evolution in favour of intelligent design Huckabee illustrates that he does not reach scientific conclusions based on evidence.

From a purely political standpoint alone, he is correct. If the Republicans nominate someone who says he doesn’t believe in evolution there is a huge chunk of American voters who simply will not vote for him or her. His vote would be limited largely the Republican base. And BOTH parties will need independent voters to win in 2008.

But this is the continuing problem with early primaries. Each party’s base increasingly dictates the stands of the candidates but in a general election that could spell trouble.

On the other hand, Huckabee is a master at dealing with issues using humor — so perhaps in the end his skillful use of humor will neutralize any voters’ misgivings, if he gets the nomination.