An interesting Yahoo News article recently surfaced that cries out for comment. It begins as follows:
It’s no surprise that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took heat for an interview he gave to GQ magazine this month: Departing from scientific consensus, the rising Republican star refused to state whether the Earth is billions of years old or a few thousand, as many fundamentalist Christians believe.
What no one expected was the rebuke from televangelist and longtime Christian conservative leader Pat Robertson, dismissing theories of a “young Earth.”
“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children,” Robertson said last week during an appearance on the Christian Broadcast Network, the television empire he founded three decades ago
Robertson has shown considerable political savvy in taking this stand, though it puts him at risk of expulsion from the Society of the Spiritually Smug — of which he is a founding member. He dares to swim against the tide of group prejudice built on the blind conviction that any science is hogwash that embraces such disturbing notions as evolution, the ridiculous notion that the earth is billions of years old, and denies that dinosaurs and humans walked the face of this earth together. Robertson is showing a side of himself we never thought we would see. Huzzah!
The interesting thing about this declaration coming from such an unlikely source is that it doesn’t appear to be based on the conviction that science might actually be correct in its claims about the age of the earth and other disturbing facts that are dismissed as mere opinions by the spiritually certain. I recall with fondness Penny’s boyfriend Zack in “The Big Bang Theory” telling the science geeks that the thing he liked about science is that “there is no one right answer.” Now that’s the sort of thing we might expect Pat Robertson to say.
In any event, Robertson hasn’t swung the full weight of his great stature behind science in making this astonishing statement: he is merely calculating that if the Republicans are going to stay married to the religious Right (which is always RIGHT, of course) then they are going to have to bring the young voters back into the fold, as it were. And those younger voters are apparently not buying into the load of anti-scientific malarkey that is being fed to them by the right hand of the righteous. And this despite the fact that “creationism” is being taught in many schools along with evolution (if the latter is taught at all) and there really are biology teachers out there in our high schools who think the dinosaurs and humans walked the earth together a few thousand years ago.
I must say I don’t give the young that much credit, knowing what I do about what passes for science in so many of our schools. But if it brings Robertson out from under his rock and causes him to declare that religion must stop fighting science (which St. Thomas Aquinas said centuries ago) then it’s fine with me. Let’s hear it for Pat Robertson!