Dispatches from the Creation Wars

DeVos and Intelligent Design

Dick DeVos, the Republican candidate for governor in Michigan, has confirmed what we already knew from the report of one of our MCFS members in a letter to the editor last week, that he advocates teaching ID in public school science classrooms. The Detroit Free Press reports:

“I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory,” DeVos told the Associated Press this week during an interview on education. “That theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not less.”…

DeVos told the AP this week that allowing school districts to include intelligent design in science classes lets them to “expose students to a multitude of ideas, … to think through the challenges, to learn to discern between multiple theories.”

And as soon as ID advocates actually come up with a theory and publish research to support it, that might matter. As of now, it’s completely irrelevant. Another interesting tidbit:

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, funded by the candidate and his wife, gave the Thomas More Law Center $5,000 in 2002.

That’s hardly a surprise. DeVos is an Amway heir and his family has deep religious right ties. Jay Van Andel, the co-founder of Amway, funds a young earth creationist “research center” in Arizona.


  1. #1 Will
    September 21, 2006

    “I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory,”

    That sound you hear is almost every scientist in the world beating their heads on their desks.

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    September 21, 2006

    An amazing dichotomy, Ed, because Van Andel also endowed the academic cancer center and research institute in Grand Rapids where some of esteemed colleagues work. They have a whole program on germline modification and embryonic cryopreservation (in mice, not humans, of course).

    My guess is that most of them would be appalled at these other activities of the Van Andel and DeVos families.

  3. #3 Jason I.
    September 21, 2006

    For me, this is another situation that shows when voting, I won’t be choosing who I agree with more, I’ll be choosing who I disagree with least. And who I think will do the least damage. Or be the most ineffective. As cliche as it is, the lesser of two evils generally wins. Someday I’d like to choose the greater of two goods.

  4. #4 slpage
    September 21, 2006

    The DeVos familay has also given money to the ICR, and I believe they even financed the construction of ICR’s creation museum.

    They are well known for their right-wing Christian activities.

  5. #5 ZacharySmith
    September 21, 2006

    Yeah, DeVos’ bright idea will REALLY help Michigan’s economic potential. Let’s fill our kids’ heads with crap – that’ll create a really desirable talent pool for outside investors.

    Way to go, Dick!

    Has DeVos heard of the Kitzmiller decision? If not, he’s been living in a cave. If so, he’s pretending it doesn’t exist and lying about ID’s merits as all good Fundies do. Either way, he shows he’s unfit for office.

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    September 21, 2006

    Scott Page:

    Do you have any evidence that DeVos has donated to the ICR or helped fund their museum? I’d love to have that documented if it’s true.

  7. #7 mark
    September 21, 2006

    “I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory,”

    Won’t some journalist please get DeVos to explain exactly what this “theory” is?

  8. #8 Felix
    September 21, 2006

    Would it be allowable for a science teacher to use Judge Jones’s Kitzmiller ruling as a teaching resource?

  9. #9 SMC
    September 21, 2006

    L.Ron Hubbard Lives!

    Elron seemed to enjoy airily proclaiming that “there are thousands of study to support this” when he made whacky pseudo-scientific pronouncements. Now we’re getting the same “there are lots of scientists who support this” nonsense from ID.

  10. #10 Vic Vanity
    September 21, 2006

    Jason L thats why you can vote for
    for Michigan`s Governor

  11. #11 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 21, 2006

    Well, if the worse does come to pass and a school district here in Michigan does start teaching ID in science class, I am willing to help out however I can in the ensuing lawsuit. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

  12. #12 Michael Heath
    September 21, 2006

    I posted a letter to Mr. Devos’ website letting him know that as a Michigan Republican he won’t get my vote without retracting this statement. I then went on to fisk the ludicrous sections of this statement in my letter; I’m sure this thread needs no introduction on which portions of Devos’ comments were ludicrous.

    Michigan needs to emulate California in regards to retaining and attracting private capital investment, not Kansas and Missouri.

    Mr. Devos won’t inherit the strong economy Mr. Bush did in 2000 if he wins; we can’t afford to satisfy the social conservatives, a point I hope will ring clear with him. Michigan has a lot of independent-, libertarian-skewed Republicans like me that aren’t afraid to vote for moderate Democrats, I hope enough of us start turning the screws on him hard enough to take notice.

    I’ve never been a single issue voter, but my goodness, how does one attract the high-tech talent we so desparetely need if we’re catering to the Blue Law crowd? These items are noticed, I was part of a billionare-dollar start-up that decided to headquarter in San Diego rather than Ann Arbor, one driving factor was the environment the founders wanted to raise their kids in, this was during the Engler years when you couldn’t need get a road repaved; Michigan didn’t score well vs. San Diego. This sort of rhetoric and potential curriculm mutations will not be helpful either.

  13. #13 Michael Heath
    September 21, 2006

    I got a reply from a Devos staffer, they reply:

    “It is unfortunate that Dick DeVos was misrepresented by a reporter in a recent news article regarding his position on the teaching of intelligent design.

    The truth is Dick DeVos has always believed that our children should be provided with more knowledge, not less. Lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life. In the end, Dick DeVos believes in our system of local control. He believes local school boards should have the opportunity to offer evolution and intelligent design in their curriculums.” (sorry, I don’t know how to indent others posts)

    Unfortunately his staffer is also ignorant, they state,

    “Lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life”.

    Evolution doesn’t attempt to explain the origins of life. It attempts to explain the origin of species, these are two very different topics. I am not a science expert, far from it, and I know this.

    I do agree with the below statement,

    “opportunity to offer evolution and intelligent design in their curriculums”

    which I stated in my original email to Mr. Devos; as long as ID is taught in religion and social studies classes and not in a science class.

    Hopefully a sharp journalist will ask him whether he supports local school boards teaching ID as a competing “theory” to evolution in a science class-room.

  14. #14 Ed Brayton
    September 21, 2006


    Can you forward that email to me at ebrayton@crystalauto.com? Thanks.

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