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British politicians and Darwinism

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Dom Tuk | 16:32 Fri 27th May 2005 | News
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What were the views of the main UK party leaders apropos the Darwinian theory of evolution or the creationist view. I know that Blair has more than once professed to his belief in a higher being (god?) and mentioned 'I will square it with my maker'. What about the Tory and Lib Dem leaders?. Is it a convenient vote winner to show belief in a God and political suicide not to. Please could responses not take party politics into account (the election is over).


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I'm not sure about the evolution thing but I'm pretty sure they're all religious. Basically it's become like America - nobody is going to win an election from now on unless they have their own hair, and claim to believe in god.
Charles Kennedy is a Catholic and Michael Howard is a Jew. I don't doubt but that they accept these religions' interpretations of evolution/creationism. (Appropriate Google-searching will reveal whatever those may be, I'm sure.)
Certainly in the USA, no political leader would dare claim to be an atheist and - to a lesser extent - the same applies here in the UK.
There was a wonderful comment in a letter to 'The Times' today to the effect that, if there really was an "intelligent designer" behind the universe, perhaps it was time for Him to think about a product recall!
I'm not sure it would make much difference in a UK election, certainly not as much as in the USA. Lord Melbourne, a 19th-century prime minister, claimed to be a buttress of the church - supporting it from the outside.

All MPs take account of 'postbags'.  I don't think individual pleas/petitions are much taken up by MPs but they take account of a general movement, a flow of opinion.  If public opinion is massively one way, it is noted and come election time each Party leader knows there is that groundswell of public opinion to contend with.  If they feel that there is a general adherence by voters to one thing or another, they know they will not get away with going against it.  The 'backlash' we read about is because many, many sackfuls of mail about one issue arrive;  these indicators of the public mood do, in total, cause the 'watering down' or 'action' we later hear about.  Any lobbying by the people can be long and hard but come election time it's a wise politician who takes note of the deluge of concerns/protests about any one issue.  I would say that in recent years religious fundamentalism seen in all the major organised religions has caused the Party leaders to 'talk up' any religious beliefs they hold, knowing this will go down well with voters.  I think the PM has genuine religious fervour but, notice, he likes everyone to know about it!  Years back I think Party leaders of the day would hardly have dared touch upon the subject, feeling that they oughtn't to say much about religious beliefs in case it put them in the 'religious maniac' camp.

I think remember an article recently, about Bush's anti-Darwinian stance, to the extent he is 'pulling' it from the school curriculum.  Now that's  being sure of the majority being pro-religion!

I do think politicians present themselves as the person the voters want.  The top politicians are actors of a sort, after all.  The thing is to sound  convincing.

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flaming, even in the US, I don't think being pro religion automatically means anti Darwin!!
woofgang, religion doesn't automatically mean denying Darwin - but there's been a substantial spread of fundamentalist Christianity in the USA which does indeed insist that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that Darwin was wrong. Typical news story here 
jno, you are right. I was contesting Flaming's statement in the post above mine.
My guess is that Blair, Kennedy and other political leaders believe in both Darwin's theory of evolution and  also believe in God, as do the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, etc. It is perfectly possible for a person to believe in both God and evolution. Unless, of course, they are a fundamentalist, in which case they will only believe what is written in the Bible (but most mainstream churches take a modern view).

You're right on the whole about the mainstream churches in UK, Tartanwiz. Having said that you can find some people with fundamentalist views within them - but generally the views are more progressive - and most tend more to favour evolution. 

The main party leaders in UK are church members but I would hate to think that they would use their political platform to promote their particular brand of faith.

I'm a former minister of the Church of Scotland but now live in Sweden and am a minister here. In Sweden there are more political parties represented in parliament all with good representation (due to proportional representation which the Swedes love as they say that they really feel their vote counts). One of the parties is the Christian Party. Although their policies are fairly reasonable and sensible, I would never vote for this party in principle because even the name excludes people with different faiths and ideologies. The Social Democrats (equiv to Labour) have been in power for many years. The other main parties are the Moderates (equiv to Tory), Central Party (originated by farmers when Sweden was mostly rural, the Folk Party (very similar to Lib Dems), the Left Party (formerly the Communist Party) and the Environmental Party (Green).

Sorry, Dom Tuk,  I'm rambling now... Most of the talking and writing I do now is in Swedish so any opportunity to blether in English...

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