Rush Limbaugh zeroed in on the potential trap in a question posed to Sen. Marco Rubio during an interview for the December, 2012 Gentleman’s Quarterly.  Much of the interview was standard human-interest fare about favorite songs and best friends, but when Rubio was asked his opinion about the age of the Earth, liberal strategists were waiting for a quote to use against him in future attack ads. Rubio didn’t give them the quote, but he missed an opportunity to point out the fundamental contradiction between the left’s professed love of science and their constant moralizing about fairness, equality, and every other aspect of human life.

Given an implied choice between a creationist “young Earth” and an evolutionist “old Earth,” Rubio did not play into the left’s narrative that conservatives are ignorant of science by arguing for the former. But neither did he argue for the latter and alienate many conservative Christians who question the scientific evidence that the Earth is billions of years old. In pointing out that the age of the Earth has nothing to do with getting the economy back on track, and then by arguing for the right of parents to teach their children their own beliefs on the question, Rubio navigated safely out of the trap.

But the left has gotten away with a fast one for far too long when it comes to questions of origins, and it is time for conservatives to call them on it.

Darwin has few scientific disciples who will defend his theory with the religious fervor displayed by liberal activists when the theory of Intelligent Design is raised.  It does not matter to devout leftists that ID is grounded in sophistical mathematical analyses of scientific findings from cosmology and biology; the left greets any attempt to teach ID in tax-funded schools with cries that creationists are attempting to cram their religion down the throats of the more enlightened.

But there is more than scientific purity going on here; the left’s implication is that it is morally wrong for one group of people to force their beliefs on another group.  In fact, liberals withhold their harshest judgment for those who are judgmental. But leftists make claims about moral rectitude in every aspect of life, and they do so with a zeal that seems at odds with their insistence that moral standards are nothing more than evolved, arbitrary customs. What leftists are never asked to explain is how they make the leap from arguing that Darwinism is gospel to arguing that anything is morally right or wrong.

Fully-fledged Marxists insist openly that the universe just popped into existence without a divine cause, and that human life just evolved from blind physical processes. Liberal politicians – when they are not imposing their moral code on the rest of society – are less direct, preferring instead to insist that Darwinism is established science and ridiculing those who believe that there is a God behind creation. But Marxism and liberalism are fraternal twins when it comes to ideas about our origins, and ideas have logical implications.

If Darwin was right, then how can it be unfair for one group to impose its values on another?  Or why must successful people be forced to pay their “fair share” in taxes?  Darwin’s theory does not leave room for questions of fairness, only for questions of fitness.  If a trait like greed exists, it must have been fit for survival. A greedy robber baron can no more be accused of injustice than a hungry lion.

Those who ascribe to the Judeo-Christian worldview can argue for fairness, charity, and justice without contradicting our core beliefs. We can argue that it is wrong for one group to take the earnings of another group by force, or even by voting. And we can argue that humans have a moral responsibility to voluntarily help those who cannot help themselves. We can walk the line between discerning right and wrong on the one hand and being judgmental on the other, because we can refer to a standard that exists independently of our personal whims and prejudices.

Leftist and conservative worldviews are grounded in different beliefs about our origins, and those beliefs have very different implications. But no one ever cuts through the left’s veneer of scientific respectability by asking a simple question:  If life is a meaningless accident, then how can the left be so certain that they are right and that everyone else is wrong on moral questions?  That would have been an interesting question for Rubio to ask.

Conservatives can stop running like frightened rabbits from questions of science versus faith by turning the question against the left and holding them to the implications of their answer. If Darwin was right, then “social justice” can be nothing more than whatever happens when the fittest survive. “Fair share” does not follow from Darwinism.

So what do liberals really believe?

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Dr. Tim Daughtry is co-author of Waking The Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals At Their Own Game.