Once upon a time, the Republican Party was also a good place to go if you wanted to find advocates of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution.
Yes, way back in a dust-covered day, people like Teddy Roosevelt talked up Darwin as an important and interesting writer that all educated readers and leaders needed to read and understand. Republicans, especially ones of a certain wealthy breed and worldview, embraced something called social Darwinism—which is not the scientific theory, but is a brutal riff on the supposed meritocratic implications of natural selection (or survival of the fittest).
In other words, these social Darwinist Republicans would argue, if the struggle for survival is rooted in our being and in the forces of change affecting our fortunes and outcomes in the world, by definition "the strongest" have risen to dominate the weaker beings, and this is right and even scientific. Thus, social engineering that sought to assist or change the economic plight of the poor, was essentially unnatural and misguided.
In fairness, Teddy Roosevelt did not sink to that level of twisting up of Darwin's theory and was sufficiently well-read about evolution and natural selection to speak of them as an obvious FACT:
"Scientific writers of note had grasped the fact of evolution long before Darwin and Huxley; and the theories advanced by these men to explain evolution were not much more unsatisfactory, as full explanations, than the theory of natural selection itself. Yet, where their predecessors had created hardly a ripple, Darwin and Huxley succeeded in effecting a complete revolution in the thought of the age, a revolution as great as that caused by the discovery of the truth about the solar system."Again, that was written by a Republican.
And if you had told turn-of-the-20th-century Republicans that their early 21st-century successors would be rejecting science and evolution as some kind of evil plot of Satan, they would have been aghast that their party had devolved into such a laughingstock. It would have mattered deeply to them, as a sign of a great disaster having happened to the GOP, that, as the new Pew poll shows, more than half of all Republicans say Darwin's theory is wrong, and the number who doubt evolution has increased eleven percentage points in just four years.
Only 43% of Republicans, compared with 67% of Democrats, believe in evolution.
Educated 19th-century Americans had a basic understanding that the laws of the world as indicated by science, were at the root of all industrial and economic progress the USA had learned and exploited, to the point of becoming the premier nation on the face of the Earth. They well understood that religious faith, if not entirely overthrown by science and its theories, had no place outside of Sunday services trying to compete in the marketplace with the intellectual fuel that ran capitalism.
So, what happened?
Well, in part, what happened was that the GOP made a pact with the Southern, Confederate, devil. This is the same devil that makes the GOP increasingly white, male, and deeply racist. It is the same devil that makes the GOP hate poor people as a religious duty (interestingly, the anti-Darwinians have retained their social Darwinism). It is the same devil that demands 21st-century Americans to fall down and worship ancient cave spirits, instead of trying to understand the scientific evidence gathered and processed by advocates of reason.
It is the same devil that is turning the Republican Party, more and more every day, into a circus freak show, instead of a viable political organization.
As the GOP's relevance to most Americans wanes, the faith in spirits over science increases in the Republican Party.
This is how a political party dies, not with a bang, but with a pointless, public prayer to the skygod to come and save them from Satan's science.
It would be funny, if the believers in this nonsense were not still granted such enormous power to dangerously afflict the national security of the USA.
The Constitution explicitly rejects any requirement that candidates for political office proclaim a belief in a religion or a god. But the Constitution should be amended to require all candidates for state and national office to affirm their acceptance of science, and its findings such as evolution, as true and factual things.