It seems that at one of the Republican debates a reporter asked if any candidates who did not "believe in evolution" would raise their hands. Brownback was one of three two did so, and attempts to explain his reasoning for this more clearly in his letter:
The premise behind the question seems to be that if one does not unhesitatingly assert belief in evolution, then one must necessarily believe that God created the world and everything in it in six 24-hour days. But limiting this question to a stark choice between evolution and creationism does a disservice to the complexity of the interaction between science, faith and reason.From some of his comments (such as pointing to the debate concerning punctuated equilibrium vs. "classical Darwinism") I think Sen. Brownback may be as well informed on some of the issues as one could be. However, he seems to show a good understanding of what he does and does not know, and does not attempt to impose an order on those scientific issues which he is not familiar with. Rather, he focuses on the philosophical/theological point which is truly important to him. (Would that Cardinal Shonborn could bring himself to do the same when he writes on the topic.)
The heart of the issue is that we cannot drive a wedge between faith and reason. I believe wholeheartedly that there cannot be any contradiction between the two. The scientific method, based on reason, seeks to discover truths about the nature of the created order and how it operates, whereas faith deals with spiritual truths. The truths of science and faith are complementary: they deal with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God....
While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.