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The Question of Evolution

March 23, 2015

One of the potential contenders for the Republican nomination for President, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, was surprise-asked the evolution question. The liberal media recurrently seeks to entertain itself with such "gotcha" questions.

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One of the potential contenders for the Republican nomination for President, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, was surprise-asked the evolution question. The liberal media recurrently seeks to entertain itself with such "gotcha" questions. Their guys can sound as though they are confused about the number of states, or refer to the "inter-continental railroad," and they'll dismiss these things as foibles. But, they have a different rule for Republicans. Back in the days of Warren Harding, his supposed lack of intelligence was due, the progressives intimated, to his mixed-race heritage. Nowadays, the progressives consider the white race to be suspect.

Walker responded to the evolution question by saying he wasn't going to respond to it. This was disappointing. First, the conservatives among us want to know what he says about the nature of our rights. According to the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." The words "created" and "Creator" are part of our conceptualization of ourselves. If we are not created, from where do our rights come? The progressives believe that our rights come from government. In our generation, they boldly say this in public. Were we to embrace this philosophy, we would truly transform this country in a fundamental way. But, instead of going forward, with government of the people, by the people and for the people, we would be going backward, to government of, by and for the ruling elite.

Second, there is no evidence of macro-evolution. We have evidence of micro-evolution. We have seen with our very eyes the survival of the fittest. Entire species have gone extinct. In other cases, only certain strains within the species have survived. It appears that natural selection has worked itself with us. The so-called races represents strains of us that have survived as we made our way to the far reaches of the planet, encountering widely different environmental challenges. Difference in pigmentation and eye color, resistance to certain diseases and ability to digest milk as an adult, all of these things enabled us to populate the entire planet with all its variegated environments.

What we have evidence of is punctuated equilibrium. It appears that at certain prehistoric times, there were mass extinctions and the emergence of new species. Somebody holding to the Biblical account of creation might suppose that the times of mass change correspond to the "days" in Genesis. God did not simply create the universe in one act, but having brought the universe into existence, intervened several times to bring about changes. The "missing link," then, does not refer to the past, but to the present. There is nothing like us on the planet. While there are variations among us, we are truly awesome. We are wonderfully made. The Bible tells us, you can't love God if you don't love people. How does somebody who denies the creation confirm to us that he believes we have rights that the government must respect?

The third issue concerns our joining in the creation. The Bible puts it this way. We are to go forth and subdue the earth. Thus far, our impact on the planet has mostly been local. For example, using dams to control the flow of water in our rivers. Through such efforts we have made large swaths of the surface of the planet fit for human habitation. We have converted deserts, swamps and prairie grasslands into pastures, farms, cities and parks.

Today, we are becoming aware of our impact or potential impact on the global environment. Without commenting on whether we currently having a discernible impact, I will say with confidence that we will control the global environment the way we have taken control of numerous local environments. The question isn't whether we will control the global environment, but how. Will we use a bottom-up, market-oriented approach, or will we use a top-down, government-regulation approach. We know what the progressives want. It is time that somebody who believes that we are created with certain inalienable rights, to speak to the matter of climate change.

Article Tags
Environment
Author
Clifford F. Thies is the Eldon R. Lindsay Professor of Economics and Finance at Shenandoah University. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Boston College.
cthies@su.edu

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