But science? Heck, no - asking someone to believe in science is like asking someone to believe in the existence of the United States. It is a fact, an empirically observable fact. Believe in it? Heck, I've been there! No need to believe in it; it just is a scientific fact. To demand "belief" in science is a category mistake.
So why do some people go around in pairs knocking on doors handing out "Believe in science or be doomed forever" tracts? Beats me, but it happened the other day in New Hampshire to Rick Perry. Here he was minding his own business campaigning for president of the United States when one of these secularist fanatics ambushed him using her child as a prop. (See video from ABC News here.)
Eric Kleefeld summarizes what happened:
Rick Perry, open-minded skeptic, meets "True Believer."
Rick Perry is sure about a lot of things. But the theory of evolution, or even how old the planet Earth is, are not on that list.
A woman who will probably not be supporting the Texas governor brought her young son along to a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, and had the boy ask Perry his views about science. "How old do you think the earth is?" the boy asked. This was an apparent allusion to how fundamentalist Christians often insist that Earth -- and indeed, the whole universe -- is about 6,000 years old.
"How old do I think the earth is? You know what, I don't have any idea," Perry responded. "I know it's pretty old. So it goes back a long, long ways. I'm not sure -- I'm not sure anybody actually knows completely and absolutely hold the earth is.
Perry then steered the conversation to some questions the boy's mother had been asking him, about evolution.
. . .
"Here your mom was asking about evolution. And you know, it's a theory that is out there -- it's got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools. Because I figure--"
The mother cut back in: "Ask him why he doesn't believe in science."
Perry continued: "Because I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."
As Ben Smith at Politico points out, this was a trap. She hoped to get a quote out of Perry to make him look ridiculous to New England secular materialists. She is probably a Democratic Party supporter.
As Kevin Williamson points out, the questioner is not at all interested in science; the question is blatantly political and rooted in the issue of worldview.
The broader question, however, is: Why would anybody ask a politician about his views on a scientific question? Nobody ever asks what Sarah Palin thinks about dark matter, or what John Boehner thinks about quantum entanglement. (For that matter, I’ve never heard Keith Ellison pressed for his views on evolution.) There are lots of good reasons not to wonder what Rick Perry thinks about scientific questions, foremost amongst them that there are probably fewer than 10,000 people in the United States whose views on disputed questions regarding evolution are worth consulting, and they are not politicians; they are scientists. In reality, of course, the progressive types who want to know politicians’ views on evolution are not asking a scientific question; they are asking a religious and political question, demanding a profession of faith in a particular materialist-secularist worldview.This is exactly right. The issue has to do with a materialist-secular worldview that claims to be based on science, but actually is not. It could not be based on science because science is limited to empirical questions of fact and cannot tell us answers to metaphysical or religious questions. The materialist-secular worldview gives answers to such questions, which is why it is something other than science.
There is a particular kind of voter (probably no more than 20% of the American electorate) for whom adherence to the materialist-secular worldview is all-important. These people have worked hard for a century to establish this new (actually as old as Epicureanism) religion as the de facto "State Religion" of America. In Europe their co-religionists have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in establishing the materialist-secular religion as the official religion of Europe instead of Christianity. But America is proving to be a tougher nut to crack.
This kind of question is not about science and people who accept the validity of natural selection as an efficient cause of evolutionary diversity can be on both sides of the worldview question. What divides Christians from materialist-secularists is the question of whether the universe is fundamentally personal and intelligently designed by a God or not. For the materialist-secular worldview, the denial of a Creator is essential to its project of human liberation from natural law, morality, traditional marriage and the sanctity of human life, with its limitations on the freedom of individuals to do anything they want up to and including aborting their babies and euthanizing their parents.
If God exists, then evolution or no evolution, the materialist-secular worldview is a dangerous delusion. Since evolution is denied by many Christians, the secularists think that by demanding that everyone accept evolution as "scientific" they can bludgeon believers into giving up faith in God. Of course, they are making numerous logical mistakes here. Evolution could be an accurate scientific theory and could be guided by Divine Providence in such a way as to maintain the sovereignty of God. Or, alternatively, evolution could be a mistake and simply the only conclusion one can come to if one begins by rejecting the existence of God.
But the real issue is which religion, going forward, will influence public policy decision on abortion, the sexual revolution, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, capital punishment, just war, religious freedom etc.
Clearly, the secular-materialist establishment is spooked by Rick Perry. He represents a challenge to their hegemony and they hate him. It is going to be a long, hate-filled, dirty campaign precisely because there are two different worldviews on offer here. Unlike the recent UK elections where the choice was between secular socialist and even more secular socialist, this election is a choice between the Judeo-Christian religion that built Western civilization and the materialist-secular worldview that is tearing it apart.
As the materialist-secular experiment in Europe continues to implode, it behooves Americans to be extremely skeptical about the wild-eyed fanatics who want to misuse science as a crutch for their irrational, immoral, anti-humanistic political agenda. They want us to "believe in science" but I think I'll stick with believing in God the Father Almighty.