Earlier this month, when Jim Vandehei asked the Republican candidates for President to raise their hands if they did not believe in evolution, three candidates did so, naturally subjecting themselves to great ridicule.
Among those who raised his hand was Senator Brownback of Kansas, who has since decided he needs to clarify his position in an op-ed in today's New York Times (available online here). The clarification is welcome and enlightening: We now know for sure that Sen. Brownback is a dogmatic creationist who rejects basic scientific truths.
The crucial passage is this one:
If belief in evolution means simply assenting to micro-evolution, small changes over time within a species, I am happy to say, as I have in the past, that I believe it to be true. If, on the other hand, it means assenting to an exclusively materialistic, deterministic vision of the world that holds no place for a guiding intelligence, then I reject it.
There's sure a wide gulf between those two positions, but take note of the creationist code-words, including making a distinction of "micro-evolution" and changes "within a species." Later he reiterates about "small changes within a species." This is a way in which creationists try to acknowledge that they are not totally ignorant of the scientific evidence for evolution, but it's the most limited acknowledgment conceivable. The careful way that Sen. Brownback uses the term "within a species" clearly indicates that he does not accept evolution as having anything to do with "the origin of species" (as Charles Darwin put it in 1859).
Sen. Brownback's dogmatic beliefs ring throughout this op-ed piece. Towards the end he writes:
While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man's origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order.
"We can say with conviction that we know with certainty" that man "reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order." Sen. Brownback doesn't provide any hints why he believes this with such assuredness, and I hesitate to speculate.
We still don't know if Sen. Brownback believes that humans and dinosaurs lived together, but now we do know that the Senator has a dogmatic disdain for science that precludes him from the job he's currently seeking.