While pressing the flesh in New Hampshire in his campaign for the presidency, Rick Perry of Texas was asked by a mom who was supposedly speaking for her son to explain “why he doesn’t believe in science.” Without looking at the mom Perry tells the kid, “Evolution is a theory that’s out there. It’s got some gaps in it but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution…”
When pressed again by the mom to encourage her son to explain why Perry doesn’t believe in science, Perry again looks directly at the boy who appears to be about 7 or 8 years old and says, “…because I figured you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.” SOURCE
Perry is right about evolution being a theory and everyone who accepts the premise of evolution knows it is not an absolute. I don’t think we can say the same about how Perry and many of the fundamentalist Christians he mingles with regard their creationist’s view.
To rigid conservative Christians like Perry the Bible is “the inerrant word of God” and if the Bible says it they take a literal interpretation and claim it to be essentially an absolute truth. According to scripture the Earth was created in 6 days a little over 5000 years ago, Adam and Eve were the first humans, dinosaurs roamed the earth with man and Moses stopped the sun from setting so they could complete their battle and go on to be victorious over the Amorites (Josh 10). There is even a report in 2 Kings 20:9-11 that time went backwards.
If Perry thinks the theory of evolution has gaps in it he would have to reject the physical evidence that blows big old holes in these few examples of beliefs held by those who say the bible is a literal truth. Through radiometric dating along with other non-radiometric dates of objects, such as historical accounts, tree rings, ice cores, etc., the results repeatedly demonstrate the validity of radiometric dating which shows earth to be around 4.5 million years old. Even though creationists have challenged the reliability of this data they have used it themselves to verify certain biblical historical claims such as the “tunnel believed to be built by King Hezekiah and described in the Bible (Kings II 20:20; Chronicles II 32:3, 4), was dated using carbon-14 and uranium-thorium dating to show that it was built near the time of the Judean king (700 B.C.).” SOURCE
There is no archeological evidence that shows humans were around the same time that dinosaurs were. Some creationists try to refute this with the claim that human and dinosaur footprints have been found together in Cretaceous rocks of the Paluxy Riverbed near Glen Rose, Texas. The close scientific scrutiny of these sites however have disproved this contention to the point where most creationist “no longer use the Paluxy tracks among their arguments, and major creationist organizations such as ICR and AIG have advised that the Paluxy tracks not be cited as evidence against evolution. Continuing ‘man track’ claims by a few individuals such as Carl Baugh and Don Patton have not stood up to close scrutiny.”
The notion that Adam and Eve were the first people is easily disputed by claims made later in Genesis that says Cain met his wife shortly after he was “driven out from the face of the earth. And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Gen.4:16-17). If he was the son of the first people, where did his wife come from? Creationists can answer the question anyway they want but there is no evidence provided in the Bible to support them.
And lastly, for people to believe that the sun was stopped so Joshua could defeat the Amorites strongly implies that they believed the sun revolved around the earth. We now know this is not true. Even the hard-core fundamentalist will not argue this point today. The next step to take would then conclude that the earth stopped its rotation on its axis, leaving the sun at a point in the sky and making it appear that it had stopped. But for the earth to stop rotating meant that every living thing on the planet that was not tied down solidly would have gone floating out into space. It is the earth’s rotation that keeps us on earth through the gravitational pull that occurs as the planet spins.
Is this really how fundamentalists see our universe?
So, if the New Hampshire kid that confronted Perry by proxy is left to decide what is and isn’t sound judgment, it is likely that he will conclude Perry was an idiot. Sadly many kids in Texas will be less likely to come to this decision because their young developing minds had to contend with the superstition that their eternal soul would be thrown into the fiery pits of hell if they accepted the physical realities over the creationist view.
By suggesting that religious notions contrived by ancient civilizations had a more realistic take on how we came to be, Perry has demonstrated that he is no smarter than a 5th grader. Clearly though this doesn’t disqualify him to be President of the U.S. in the eyes of many voters. George Bush, Jr. is living proof of this.
- Rick Perry: ‘In Texas We Teach Both Creationism and Evolution’ (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- It’s going to be a long election season… (scienceblogs.com)