Evolution, Politics and Religion

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Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby romansh » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:39 pm

Is asking a politician do they believe in evolution, a valid question?

I would argue yes.
For me there are a few reasons including ...
    1) It allows me to judge whether that politician has the ability to evaluate evidence and come to a sound conclusion. (Personally I would not want a politician that on examining all the evidence, comes to a conclusion that evolution is false because it conflicts with a six thousand year old Earth).

    2) If the politician avoids the question (as has our Prime Minister) ... that politician is not worthy my vote or anyone else's for that matter. In that if a politician avoids giving an honest answer that politician is in effect lying by omission. That politician does not have the courage of their belief to state openly their position for fear of being not electable. They want to be elected more than they want to be honest. I want a courageous politician.

    3) The politician has trouble understanding what can be divvied up into science, religion and politics with their personal belief. In this they are one.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:13 am

I personally think a more intelligent question would go along the lines of "Do you believe that people should be allowed to believe in evolution?" or possibly one on the lines of "Do you believe religious content should be mandated as part of science classes in Schools?".

I am not particularly interested in the religious convictions of those who serve in political posts, provided that those convictions are not going to be used to promote that way of thinking on the electorate at large.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Inquisitor » Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:02 am

Even before Francis Collins popped up on the radar, there were many who were convinced of the evidence of evolution, even being christian. Now there has been titled...."Evolutionary Theist". Given these developments, it is more likely now a days to find a christian politician who is evolutionary in thought. Because of the problems with the garden story and scriptural allegory, it was only a matter of time before more and more people had to admit to a certain form of Darwinism. Politics being what they are, I don't see how one can just openly accept what a politician says on any level and accept it as truth. There may be some that go into politics to "change things", but ultimately, they become changed into the very thing they wanted to change. Kinda like forcing a genetic mutation according to our time line needs. Political life has its own nature and world view.
If a politician "believes" in evolution, I think it would have little impact on how he /she does their job. If they are a conservative theist, there is likelihood that they have an agenda born of their constituents. This, I would not trust to be open minded. I don't mind at all a politician keeping his/her religious orientation to themselves, as long as it does not become a driver of policy. If we demand to know a politicians religious beliefs, we are placing them in a precarious position that they need not be in and we place ourselves in a position where a potentially good person's capacity to improve our lot is compromised by our bias, not theirs.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby AB517 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:02 am

I am more of a
"with the present data how do you think earth formed" type.

But in the US, I thinks valid. maybe not the "be all", but valid.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:59 am

I think the real issue is not the actual question that should be used to probe a candidate's ability to reject faith in light of scientific evidence, but whether such a question is ever appropriate.

If you turn the questioning around, it might become clearer how inappropriate that line is. Imagine how you might feel if you were on the campaign trail and were required to answer the question "Are you now, or have you ever have been an agnostic or atheist?" If I hold that my lack of faith should not be of any concern to the electorate at large, I think that I am forced to concede that my opponent's faith, or equal lack of, is also a matter that should not be at issue in any decision to cast a vote one way or the other.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby romansh » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:46 pm

Bill wrote: I personally think a more intelligent question would go along the lines of "Do you believe that people should be allowed to believe in evolution?"

I must I don't find this a more intelligent question. Are you suggesting a politician is going to say "no" to this question?
This goes back to an oft discussed question do we actually choose our beliefs.

Now if you are asking should we be allowed to express our beliefs then I would say yes, and this is actually what I would ask the politician to do rather than hide behind some claim that asking whether someone believes in evolution is somehow a religious question. It is a scientific one, I would argue.

Bill wrote: or possibly one on the lines of "Do you believe religious content should be mandated as part of science classes in Schools?".

This question I agree with ... but then is a global flood a religious question or is it scientific question?

Bill wrote:I am not particularly interested in the religious convictions of those who serve in political posts, provided that those convictions are not going to be used to promote that way of thinking on the electorate at large.

On paper neither am I. But if a politician happens believe in say a global flood or a flat Earth then that politician is not one I would want to vote for regardless of their religious belief or lack thereof.

I think the real issue is not the actual question that should be used to probe a candidate's ability to reject faith in light of scientific evidence, but whether such a question is ever appropriate.

The issue is not about rejecting faith it is about the ability to assess evidence, being honest and not confounding a religious position with a scientific one.

Imagine how you might feel if you were on the campaign trail and were required to answer the question "Are you now, or have you ever have been an agnostic or atheist?"

Not being particularly savvy ... I would answer "yes". Politicians where appropriate are more than happy to wear a Christian mantle.

The thing is I would answer honestly. I do understand lying and being a politician go hand in hand.

Essentially your position appears to condone or at least enable politicians getting elected with strange beliefs like a 6000 thousand year old Earth and a global flood.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:58 am

romansh wrote:Essentially your position appears to condone or at least enable politicians getting elected with strange beliefs like a 6000 thousand year old Earth and a global flood.

Essentially your position appears to be that there is a One True Way of acquiring belief systems and anyone who fails your acid test of whether they have a permitted belief system should be debarred from public office.

Without offering a single link to show how a fundamental baptist is totally incapable of making a rational decision over, say, voting on a proposal to re-zone a parcel of land, you admonish us for not casting them out for the thought crime of being people of faith. Your claim that bible literalists are unfit for office is as empty as the claim that people who do not believe in a God are equally unfit to do so, as well.

Perhaps we really need to reconsider what we mean when we purport to support the ability of people of all persuasions to express their world views - unless we are simply inviting them to speak honestly in order that we can then ridicule and harass them.
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Karen » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:22 pm

Politicians in general seem to have difficulty with straight 'yes' or 'no' answers ;)
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby romansh » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:11 am

Caught a bit of this on CBC radio this morning ... seemed like a reasonable discussion to me.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio_template_2012/a ... 2656160015
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Re: Evolution, Politics and Religion

Postby Bill » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:42 am

Well, if a Canadian talk-jockey thinks there is an innate right for the electorate to know if a candidate has undesirable belief systems, who am I to disagree? It was not made clear where the innate right originates only that politicians must reveal aspects of their personal world views in order that they could automatically be dismissed from the running. A passing comment was that there is not one fundamental Christian at large in the British parliament, neatly ignoring Tony Blair's involvement in making it possible for ALL faith-based children's schools in the UK to get public funding. Even the Carmel Christian Centres get tax-payer money to help pay the bills.

(For those who do not have time to sit through a long audio tape, I heard no new evidence to support the case that people of belief are unfit to be administrators or cast votes on the enactment of new laws.).
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