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Does McCain Believe in Evolution?

Does McCain Believe in Evolution?

Sean McDowell


            President Bush set off a firestorm of controversy when he claimed, in a lighthearted conversation with a Texas journalist, that intelligent design out to be taught in public schools. He said, "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought, and I'm not suggesting-you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."[1]

            Bush's comments set off such a firestorm that Time magazine shortly had a cover story entitled, "Evolution Wars" that discussed the merits of intelligent design (ID) as a scientific enterprise. The controversy has continued into this election process, as the Republican candidates were asked in a nationally televised debate in 2007 whether they believed in evolution. Former Governor Mike Huckabee, Representative Tom Tancredo, and Senator Sam Brownback, indicated that they did not. John McCain said that local school districts should have the final say as to what is taught in their communities.

            Two years earlier, however, McCain had given a more complete answer. He told the Arizona Daily Star that he believed intelligent design should be taught in schools: "I think there has to be all points of view presented. But they've got to be thoroughly presented. There's nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought."[2]

            While issues such as oil prices, the economy, and Iran's nuclear ambitions seem to be the leading issues on the national agenda, intelligent design promises to continue to be a significant issue in our cultural conversation. Intelligent design theorists continue to do ground-breaking research and the public is becoming more aware of the growing scientific case for design and the shallowness of Darwinian evolution.. The movie Expelled brought the lack of academic freedom to the forefront of cultural dialogue, and with the release of the DVD this fall, the controversy will only continue. Currently there are a number of court cases looming that will potentially bring academic freedom to our schools.

            Given the importance of this issue, it is more critical than ever that Christians be conversant on the merits of ID. This is why I recently wrote Understanding Intelligent Design (along with William Dembski), to help educate people regarding this critical issue. The Darwinists are mounting their troops like never before (especially since the 150 year anniversary of the release of The Origin of Species is coming up next year). We must be prepared. Thus, please check out the first chapter of Understanding Intelligent Design, which is posted online for free:



Sean McDowell is a nationally recognized speaker. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Masters in Theology and Philosophy. He is the author of Understanding Intelligent Design and Ethix: Being Bold In A Whatever World.

[1] Matthew Cooper, "Fanning the Controversy over Intelligent Design," Time, August 3, 2005.

[2] C.J. Karamargin, "McCain Sounds Like Presidential Hopeful," Arizona Daily Star, August 24, 2005.