Evolution has long generated bitter fights between the left and the right about whether God or science best explains the origins of life. But now a dispute has cropped up within conservative circles, not over science, but over political ideology: Does Darwinian theory undermine conservative notions of religion and morality or does it actually support conservative philosophy?
On one level the debate can be seen as a polite discussion of political theory among the members of a small group of intellectuals. But the argument also exposes tensions within the Republicans' "big tent," as could be seen Thursday night when the party's 10 candidates for president were asked during their first debate whether they believed in evolution. Three -- Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas; Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas; and Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado -- indicated they did not.