Darwin, God, and politics: I see that the HBD-ers and social conservatives are currently duking it out. Since I consider myself to be both, I suppose I should punch myself in the face.
It seems to me that what is essential for a viable political movement is that it tells a persuasive, coherent story to a large segment of the population. I say coherent, but I didn't say something that was so internally tight, it must have been developed by Aristotle. Conservatism, I don't think, has ever claimed such internal consistency. It's more like a stance.
We can't all be Burkes. Someone needs to do the market research: I volunteer. This time around, let's look at the two Men who people seem to be siding with: God or Darwin. A movement needs to either: 1) favor a thing; 2) oppose it; or 3) shut up about it. The data indicate that in America, on the question of Darwin and God, it's probably best to shut up about both of them, but if we need someone to rally around, just make sure he's not Nietzsche.
In 2000, 1,023 Americans (GSS) were asked: 1) their confidence in the existence of God; and 2) how true is the statement that humans evolved from animals. Here are the top ten most common combinations of answers:
Percent of all respondents
1. Knows God exists--Evolution definitely not true 33.0
2. Knows God exists--Evolution probably true 14.7
3. Knows God exists--Evolution probably not true 11.5
4. Believes but doubts--Evolution probably true 7.7
5. Knows God exists--Evolution definitely true 5.8
6. Believes but doubts--Evolution probably not true 4.1
7. Some higher power--Evolution probably true 3.7
8. Believes but doubts--Evolution definitely true 2.9
9. Some higher power--Evolution definitely true 2.5
10. No way to know--Evolution definitely true 2.0
10. Doesn't believe in God--Evolution definitely true 2.0
Any American who likes to push atheism or likes to criticize believers must enjoy having no political voice whatsoever.
People are divided, on the other hand, when it comes to evolution. It's not popular with most people--my students think the whole thing stinks, as much as I push it--and it's especially unpopular among folks on the Right. On the other hand, it's intellectually satisfying to smart people.
So what's the solution? It looks to me like the only realistic way to go is for conservative elites to inform their worldview by sneaking peaks at HBD stuff when no one is looking, but they will have to fashion their ideas in a way that appeals to the common man. Does that sound like lying? Of course it does because that's what politics is, or haven't you noticed?
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