New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wants GOP presidential candidates to answer some of his gotcha questions concerning religion. Fair enough, and let's have some candidates who favor evolution answer questions about their theology. Here are five:
- Woodrow Wilson argued, "Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice." He meant that they must evolve, moving from their primitive starts toward higher, more sophisticated understandings. Do you think the U.S. Constitution is a Darwinian document? How should it evolve?
- Princeton professor Peter Singer, the leading animal rights theoretician, says, "All we are doing is catching up with Darwin. He showed in the 19th century that we are simply animals. Humans had imagined we were a separate part of Creation, that there was some magical line between Us and Them. Darwin's theory undermined the foundations of that entire Western way of thinking." What do you believe about the relationship between mankind and other species? What special role, if any, does man have? If you had to choose between saving a baby chimp and a baby human, which would you choose, and why?
- Do you agree with Darwin that "higher races" should and will become dominant over "lower ones?" If not, what in Darwinian thinking suggests that races do not compete with each other in struggle for survival of the fittest?
- In what ways is abortion, in that it kills millions who have below-average prospects in life, a good Darwinian way to improve humanity?
- What future developments do you hope for in human evolution, and how do you think genetic engineering could speed up the process?
And while we're at it, here are two more I'd like Keller to answer:
- If a candidate believes that God (rather than an evolutionary process) created the world, what problems do you think flow from that?
- If by moving aggressively against "global warming" we hurt the poor, how much hurt should we allow?