The media swarming about the controversy over evolution, Intelligent Design, and creationism are losing their cool, and showing their true colors in the process. In today’s commentary, I take a close look at the panic evident in the latest issue of The New Republic. Hendrick Hertzberg’s “The Talk of the Town,” column in the current edition of The New Yorker may even exceed the TNR articles in terms of anxiety. More than that, it demonstrates an antimosity toward conservative Christianity that is absolutely bracing.
“How did we — not just Americans but human beings in general — come to be? Opinions differ, but for most of recorded history the consensus view was that people were made out of mud,” Hertzberg opens his article. Watch where he goes from there:
The mud theory is still dominant in the United States, in the form of the Book of Genesis, whose version of the origin of our species, according to a recent Gallup poll, is deemed true by forty-five per cent of the American public. . . . Mud is not mentioned by name, but you’d have to be a pretty strict Biblical literalist not to infer that mud is what you get when you add water to dust.
A competing theory is that people, along with the rest of the earth’s animals and plants, evolved over billions of years, beginning as extremely simple organisms and, via the accumulation of the tiny fraction of random mutations that turn out to be useful, developing into more complex ones. This view has gained many adherents since it was conceived, a century and a half ago, by Charles Darwin. It commands solid majorities in most of the developed world, and, thanks to the overwhelming evidence for its validity, has the near-unanimous support of scientists everywhere. Here in the United States, according to Gallup, it is subscribed to by about one-third of the populace–still running second to mud, but too large a market share to ignore altogether, especially in some of the battleground states.
The fact that a solid majority of Americans perfer the biblical account of creation to the theory of evolution is, for Hertzberg, “an occasion for national shame.” Alas, The New Yorker is ashamed of America, this backwater of biblical literalists. This article represents the mudslinging of the elites.