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Evolution and the ‘Bible Belt’: the US presidential election

Are we really just a 6000-year-old race? The evidence piling against this idea is getting higher and higher by the decade, yet many key political and social figures in North America are still firm believers that our current human state is a mere 6000 years old.

As it has emerged in the past weeks, the US Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson believes that The Devil created the Theory of Evolution; why is it that Americans and other Western powerhouses are proudly and firmly holding their middle finger up to the masses of evidence stacked in front of them?

America, the country founded on the purest and strictest religion in the 18th century, has certainly had its fair share of liberal successes in the past year, for example the federal legislation of gay marriage.

However, when religion, evolution and creation stories come into the fray, we see a country well and truly stuck in its Puritan, Protestant past times. Ultimately, politics takes hold of what is an altogether religious country.

Every single US President has been a practising Christian. Whether it is Protestant Obama, Catholic Kennedy or Quaker Nixon; every president since the creation of an independent America in 1787 has been a staunch Christian.

This is perhaps one of the key reasons that political figures to this day feel the need to separate themselves from the clear scientific evidence of evolution.

Without a doubt, religious voters in America take up a huge part of the electorate and can swing an election one way or another depending on where the bulk of their support lies.

States including Texas, Georgia and Mississippi sit in the so-called ‘Bible Belt’ and without these states, candidates find themselves struggling to gain an overall majority.

As mentioned above, Ben Carson has positioned himself firmly on the religious side of the debate, denouncing all scientific evidence in the name of politics and searching for that Republican nomination next year.

Certainly, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Stephen Hawking’s similar and even more compelling evidence supporting evolution vastly contradict with Christian practices, disagreeing mostly on the concept of the human race being no older than 6000 years.

However, it seems that regardless of clear evidence from the most respected academics of our era, the religious right of America will not accept their findings.

Saddening as this is for us who do believe in the clear evidence supporting evolution, it seems that, as with most things in life, politics has taken over in the matter.

With Presidents gone by and Presidential candidates of the future aligning themselves with one religion and one religion only, it seems that rhetoric supporting Darwin’s and Hawking’s theories will not be aired in any form of American political discussion.

With many members of the Congress also fighting their elections on religious grounds, will we ever see the Theory of Evolution be supported by a majority of American politicians?

Well, with a massive 71% of the American population belonging to a Christian faction as of 2014, it seems it will have to be a long wait until we see a country that is led and supported by a group of people who see past the 6000 year boundary.

 

Daniel Parker

Image: Gage Skidmore

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