Pope Francis doesn’t see science as an adversary.
In an address at the Vatican on Monday, Francis said scientific theories like the Big Bang and evolution are not at odds with faith. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”Francis may not be breaking ground with his remarks on evolution, as he has on same-sex marriage. The Catholic Church has generally been open to evolutionary science, although Pope Benedict XVI made comments that suggested a preference for “intelligent design” theories. But it does show that the pope — who said God “created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment" — might have more in common with scientists than your average Republican politician.
Consider climate. Katharine Hayhoe, a professor at Texas Tech University and director of the Climate Science Center, has shown how concern for the environment is compatible with faith and conservative values. She is an evangelical Christian who co-wrote a book about faith and global warming science. "What's more conservative than conserving our natural resources, making sure we have enough for the future, and not wasting them like we are today?" she said. And on NPR, Hayhoe has argued, "God gave us the brains to make good choices and there's consequences to the choices that we make." Hayhoe has argued, "God gave us the brains to make good choices and there's consequences to the choices that we make."
That's certainly not the popular view of science and faith in America. On climate change, deniers like Senator James Inhofe have argued it's hubris to think humans can alter the atmosphere. Florida Governor Rick Scott has used religion to dodge a question on if he thinks humans have caused global warming. On evolution, Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal have pled ignorance in order to avoid offending creationists. Lately Republicans have been invoking the same excuse, over and over again: When asked a question that touches upon science, they dodge the question by saying “I’m not a scientist.”
Francis isn't a scientist either. If he can have some faith in it, can't the GOP, too?