Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado are on one side of a split that affects conservative intellectuals as well as the party rank and file. On Thursday, while the candidates were preparing to debate in California, the American Enterprise Institute sponsored a conference in Washington on Darwinian theory and intelligent design.
At the conference, Larry Arnhart, a professor at Northern Illinois University, and John Derbyshire, a contributing editor at the National Review, debated John West and George Gilder of the Discovery Institute, which supports intelligent design.
"The intellectual vitality of conservatism in the 21st century will depend on the success of conservatives in appealing to advances in the biology of human nature as confirming conservative thought," Arnhart said.
On the other side, West suggested that those who embrace "Darwinian reductionism" want to take the power to make moral choices away from ordinary people.