Pharyngula

It is so predictable that Michigan candidate for governor Dick DeVos is a Republican and a Christian.

“Lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life. In the end, I believe in our system of local control,” he said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. “Local school boards should have the opportunity to offer evolution and intelligent design in their curriculums.”

What is intelligent design?
Intelligent design is the belief that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection cannot explain some life forms, and that an unseen, intelligent force created them. Most scientists view intelligent design as nonscientific and based on religious beliefs. They strongly object to presenting it to students as part of a science curriculum.

Why should we put the interpretation of universal, well-established ideas at the mercy of the whims of uninformed people who managed to win a popularity contest in a small town or county? The local school board system has been a long-running disaster in our country—and I’m sorry, but math and science are not issues determined by Republican or Democratic pols, that vary from school district to school district.

One nice thing about this article in the Detroit Free Press is that little sidebar to the right that defines Intelligent Design for the reader: it’s based on a belief in the inadequacy of scientific explanations, it’s non-scientific, and it’s based on religious beliefs. Those are all good reasons to leave it out of the official science curriculum.

But of course, DeVos can’t let it slide by without making stuff up, or parroting the lies we hear from creationists all the time.

In the AP interview, during which DeVos discussed a range of education issues, he was also quoted as saying, “I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design — that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory — that that theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not less.”

Ah, the good ol’ “many scientists believe…” fallacy and lie. No, many scientists — either measured as a proportion of the community or in absolute numbers &mdashl do not accept ID as credible. That a few cranks do, and receive widespread attention because they are such weird outliers, does not indict evolutionary theory.

I agree with the president of the MSTA: Intelligent Design is neither a science nor a theory. It’s a concatenation of ad hoc excuses used to justify an unsupported and largely unsupportable belief.

“It’s not science. It’s not theory. And it really should never be referred to as theory,” Paul Drummond, president of the Michigan Science Teachers Association and a science consultant at the Macomb Intermediate School District, said Wednesday.

So why should all these people like DeVos be pushing unscientific nonsense on the public. Here’s the all-too-predictable answer.

Asked whether DeVos believes in either intelligent design or evolution as a scientific explanation of life, Truscott said he didn’t know, adding, “His Christian beliefs dictate how he approaches the issue and how he believes.”

I’m sure that he and many others get the message from their religious leaders that they’ll be going to hell if they deny literal acceptance of Christian dogma. There’s the root cause, and it’s not scientific: it’s based on fear and delusions.