(Photo: AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) submitted an opinion column to the New York Times on Thursday explaining in detail his position on evolution.
In his Op-Ed piece, the Catholic conservative specified how science and faith must be looked at together when discussing intricate issues such as evolution. He added that evolution, for the most part, has much validity to it while at the same time lacks substance in many instances.
The truths of science and faith are complementary, explained Brownback. [T]hey deal with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God.
The senators column is in response to a presidential debate earlier in May when candidates were asked to raise their hand if they did not believe in evolution. Brownback elevated his hand at that time, but thought it important to clarify his stance.
The premise behind the question seems to be that if one does not unhesitatingly assert belief in evolution, then one must necessarily believe that God created the world and everything in it in six 24-hour days, wrote the Kansas senator. But limiting this question to a stark choice between evolution and creationism does a disservice to the complexity of the interaction between science, faith and reason.
Brownback noted the importance of using both faith and scientific reasoning in the world. Both of these subjects together give a clearer answer to reality and creation, he wrote.
According to the senator, science allows man to learn answers about the natural world, but it cannot answer everything. Science does not include important aspects such as moral guidelines, he added, and it cannot give a full understanding of suffering in the world.
When it comes to evolution, Brownback agreed that there is indeed something dynamic working in nature, but that a materialistic viewpoint takes away value from man.
If belief in evolution means simply assenting to microevolution, 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, clarified the Kansas native. 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.
Brownback, who two years ago expressed support for President Bush's position on teaching both intelligent design and evolution amid raging debates over the controversial theory, has a number of times expressed his belief in the involvement of intelligence in the overall of creation.
In his Op-Ed Thursday, Brownback argued that evolutionary stances stating that man is only an accident from random mutation is wrong. Man is unique, he asserted, and a product of forethought from God.
The most passionate advocates of evolutionary theory offer a vision of man as a kind of historical accident, wrote Brownback. That being the case, many believers myself included reject arguments for evolution that dismiss the possibility of divine causality.
According to a Newsweek poll conducted late March, 73 percent of Evangelical Protestants said they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. In contrast, 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agreed.
Near the end of his column, Brownback said, The unique and special place of each and every person in creation is a fundamental truth that must be safeguarded. I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine mans essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos. I firmly believe that each human person, regardless of circumstance, was willed into being and made for a purpose.
To conclude, the senator reiterated his position about the importance of science and how it must walk hand-in-hand with faith. In areas that overreach the grasp of knowledge, scientists should not treat their theories as absolute fact, Brownback stated. He also noted how any science that directly goes against the truth should be rejected.
An attempt by [biologists or people of faith] to seek a monopoly on these questions would be wrong-headed, summarized the presidential contender. As science continues to explore the details of mans origin, faith can do its part as well. The fundamental question for me is how these theories affect our understanding of the human person.