Politics and belief
Sir, – Fintan O’ Toole argues that having a political leader who believes in a young Earth would be highly problematic (“Earth calling Edwin Poots – we have a problem”, Opinion & Analysis, May 4th).
I don’t think he makes his case. He correctly notes that a belief in creationism runs counter to findings in many branches of science, but that does not mean a person holding a creationist view rejects those sciences wholesale. Creationism is a specific belief about a past event. It doesn’t necessarily prevent someone from understanding the practical aspects of science as they apply to the modern world. Nor can we infer that someone holding such a belief is gullible.
There is no reason why a committed creationists could not also be a shrewd negotiator.
A case might be made that this view could become a problem when issues best understood through evidence from the earth sciences reach the political agenda of the day. Climate change is probably the most important modern example of this.
However, I suspect a fundamentalist belief in the majesty of the market, together with the prevalent notion that we should create our world on the basis of “Let there be profits”, are far more likely to blind us to ideologically inconvenient evidence, and are greater threats to our future than a handful of politicians holding unscientific beliefs about the past. – Yours, etc,