Brownback: Evolution debate shouldn't separate faith, reason
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday May 31, 2007
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Defending his appearance in a recent Republican presidential debate among candidates who indicated they don't believe in evolution, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback explained the nuances of his position in a column published Thursday in the New York Times.

"The heart of the (evolution) issue is that we cannot drive a wedge between faith and reason," Brownback wrote. "...The truths of science and faith are complementary: they 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."

When Republican candidates gathered earlier this month for a debate on MSNBC, a moderator asked if any did not believe in evolution. Brownback, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee raised their hands indicating they did not.

In his Times essay, Brownback blamed "our sound-bite political culture" for preventing the issue from being addressed with the "nuance or subtlety it deserves."

Brownback said he accepted some aspects of evolutionary biology, such as small changes within species, but he rejected arguments for evolution that view humans as a kind of historical accident, rather than a divine creation.

"I believe, as do many biologists and people of faith, that the process of creation -- and indeed life today -- is sustained by the hand of God in a manner known fully only to him," Brownback wrote.



Biologists will have their debates about manís origins, but people of faith can also bring a great deal to the table. For this reason, I oppose the exclusion of either faith or reason from the discussion. An attempt by either to seek a monopoly on these questions would be wrong-headed. As science continues to explore the details of manís origin, faith can do its part as well. The fundamental question for me is how these theories affect our understanding of the human person.

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 manís 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.

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of manís 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. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

Without hesitation, I am happy to raise my hand to that.