DeVos, the Free Press & Intelligent Design: A broken record

So…as quoted in an article from the Detroit Free Press, “Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos says he thinks Michigan’s science curriculum should include a discussion about intelligent design.”

Oh, please.

If I believed there might be a hell in an afterlife, I am sure this would be a small taste of what it is like.

DeVos, and other proponents of Intelligent Design (ID), do not debate the topic in any rational way. Instead, the are like an old vinyl LP, stuck on a scratch and playing the same sound bite over and over again…and with the same level of conscious thought.

Never mind the overwhelming evidence and thousands of articles and books that make the case for evolution, never mind the virtual complete lack of any pro-ID articles in any refereed journals, never mind that there is no reason that the scientific community would oppose ID if there was any evidence to support it, never mind that 99+% of all scientists oppose the very idea of treating ID as science (much the same way they would oppose teaching that the world was created by invisible insects from Neptune), never mind that even if there was significant evidence opposing a theory of evolution that is not the same as support for ID, never mind all of that. They could all be the subject of another and much longer posting (not to mention that it has all been covered extensively and repeatedly by others).

Let’s just focus on the judge’s ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. If you read the full text, you’ll find an rock-solid well-reasoned set of arguments for why ID is nothing but religion in sheep’s clothing and should not be taught in science classes.

Ideally, in any reasonable debate, after each side states its arguments, you continue by rebutting your opponent. But not ID proponents. Did DeVos say, “I support the teaching of ID in schools, despite the ruling by Judge Jones, and here is why I believe he is wrong?” Or anything resembling that? No. He simply ignores the case made by the opposing side and repeats the exact same thing that he would have said if the judge’s ruling had never been issued.

It’s as if someone said: “It’s not raining where I am standing now.” And I replied: “But look at yourself, you are getting covered in water from the sky, your jacket is soaked, and there is no water source in sight that could account for this other than rain.” And that someone replied: “It’s not raining where I am standing now.”

Frustrating? Infuriating? You bet. Like a broken record? Yes again. But that’s what it’s like dealing with ID proponents. And amazingly, it is at least moderately successful. Otherwise, we would not still be here debating this. I see it all the time, such as in Ann Coulter’s latest book. She has a chapter on evolution in which she trots out virtually every anti-evolution argument ever made, despite the fact that they have been successfully rebutted over and over. There are no counter-rebuttals to the rebuttals. That would be expecting too much. No, it’s just the same “It’s not raining…” repeated again and again.

Finally, I can’t end this without commenting on the gutless nature of the cited Free Press article. In its misguided attempt to appear “unbiased and balanced,” it loses the very credibility it seeks.

Here is a key excerpt:

“Intelligent design’s proponents hold that living organisms are so complex they must have been created by a higher force rather than evolving from more primitive forms. Some want science teachers to teach that Darwin’s theory of evolution is not a fact and has gaps.

However, a federal judge in December barred the school system in Dover, Pa., from teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in high school biology classes. The judge said intelligent design is religion masquerading as science and that teaching it alongside evolution violates the separation of church and state.”

First off, it makes it sound as if the debate is between intelligent design’s proponents and a single federal judge. What about all the evolution proponents? Don’t they get a say?

Second, and much more importantly, it takes no position. It is simply a “he said, she said” piece with no attempt to evaluate anything. Now, I understand that the article is not an editorial. I am not saying this should be an opinion piece. But an article need not drift into opinion to take a fact-based position. Not every argument has two sides that are of equal merit. There is nothing wrong with pointing that out.

For example, imagine reading the following:

“A recent offshoot of intelligent design holds that living organisms consist entirely of tiny integrated circuits, as were first created by a group of immortal elves that lived in Antarctica but today reside on a space station that orbits the moon, where they continue to research new designs and send them to Earth.

However, one federal judge in California has barred teaching this offshoot theory in science classes, stating that it is a religious theory masquerading as science.”

Wouldn’t you expect to see a bit more? Wouldn’t you expect the article, at the very least, to point out that there is virtually no known evidence to support this wild assertion? That would be a factual truth, not an opinion. But no, that might offend someone. Somebody might claim that the paper was being anti-religion. So instead we get the sort of vacant drivel that passes as reporting in the current climate.

If only one could end all this as easily as you can remove the needle from a broken record. Sadly, this record is likely to keep spinning for a long long time.

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