Well, now that we know Bob McDonnell is uncertain about whether human activity is causing climate change on our planet, I wonder what Mr. McDonnell's views are on Evolution and the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools?
I would be very curious to know, for example, whether Mr. McDonnell accepts the Theory of Evolution, in the sense that humans evolved into our present form, or whether is he a Biblical literalist like his mentor Pat Robertson, who completely rejects Evolution as an explanation for human existence and contends G-d created the universe in seven days as set forth in Genesis.
But even if Mr. McDonnell chooses not to share his personal belief on that score with the voters, he should specifically answer whether as Governor, would Bob McDonnell permit, or even advocate, the teaching of Intelligent Design in science classes along with Evolution, or any place else in Virginia's public schools? Would he limit the teaching of Evolution in any way in our public schools?
These are legitimate questions to ask for several reasons.
First, it involves the education of our children, and so these questions are not really about Mr. McDonnell's personal beliefs, but the extent to which those personal beliefs would manifest themselves into public policy.
Second, given his aforementioned comments about climate change, Mr. McDonnell has demonstrated that he views science through a lends of ideology. That is his right, but voters have an even more powerful right to know what he believes.
Finally, and not to beat a dead horse, there is Mr. McDonnell's background at Regent University. His alma mater is steeped in advocating the teaching of Creationism in public schools.
1. At a 2007 "Faith, Facts and Evolution Conference" held at the school, for example, seminars included the following, all of which are designed to train participants to create the impression that Intelligent Design is science that is on equal footing with Evolution, and should be taught in schools::
- Tools for Resolution: A Scientific Model of Creation – Dr. Hugh Ross
- Origin of Life: Comparing Models – Dr. Fazale Rana
- Scientific Challenges to the Evolution Model – Dr. Fazale Rana
- Scientific Support for the Creation Model – Dr. Fazale Rana
- Cosmic Design: Fine Tuning the Universe – Dr. Hugh Ross
- Cosmic Design (cont’d) – Dr. Hugh Ross
2. As for the school's founder, Rev. Robertson's belief in Creationism has gone much further than mere personal belief on his part, and into the realm of advocacy of teaching Creationism in public schools. In 2005, the Rev. Robertson condemned the town of Dover, PA, for example, suggesting G-d might smite it down, for ousting a school board that had advocated the teaching of Creationism as science.
3. Finally, consider this 2005 LTE from Dr. William Cox, Professor and Director of the Christian School Program at Regent, to the Virginia Pilot, stating:
If intelligent design is banned as theory from discussion on the basis of a “faith” orientation, so should evolution be banned. If evolution is allowed in the classroom, then so must be intelligent design. To do otherwise is to hold a double standard in both science and religion.
Of course, not all of the beliefs prevalent at Regent should automatically be attributed to Mr. McDonnell, but given his official positions with the school, and the school's mission to train graduates to implement Regent's fundamentalist tenets as public policy, it is fair to ask which ideas he adheres to and which ones he does not.
I don't really care what Mr. McDonnell thinks about Evolution privately, or what he chooses to teach his children about it.
But I profoundly care what he proposes to teach mine.