A good deal has been made about Rick Perry's doubts about evolution and global warming. And so the concern that we have yet another know-nothing Republican on our hands is pretty popular (though Hitchens has an interesting take, too, namely, that he's cynically just putting on). Rich Lowry, over at National Review, has seen this game before, and he warns his readers that this is an old familiar canard, the "Anti-Science Smear" on Republicans. Here's how he responds to the evolution line:
According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans think God created man in his present form, and 38 percent think man developed over millions of years with God guiding the process. Is three-quarters of the country potentially anti-science?
Seriously. That's the response about evolution.
The trouble is that I am unsure that those three quarters polled by Gallup that day could answer many detailed questions about evolution. They may not be anti-science, but they aren't science literate, at least most of them. That's probably the case about many, many things. (I'd love to see if Gallup could produce a percentage of people who think that there's a highest number.) Calling people who answer a poll question in a fashion that does not reflect the scientific consensus 'anti-science' is probably too quick, but calling a Presidential candidate who should know better the same is just about right. Or else, perhaps, Hitchens is right, and he's just putting on for the cameras and the 75% that really think that way.