So the Republicans find themselves confused about science (especially evolution), and are arguing among themselves about how to cope with reality. Perhaps you think this is a promising development—they’re at least considering the issues, and their hidebound attachment to fantasy is weakening. Can we someday hope that the Republican Party will once again be the home of pragmatists? Will the political props supporting creationism disappear? Does the fact that only 3 of the Republican candidates raised their hands to deny evolution promise that reason may yet reign?
No. There is another tactic growing stronger in the ranks of the creationists, one that is stealthy and devious, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the majority of Republicans (and Democrats!) adhere to this peculiar view of evolution.
For a perfect example of the new creationist strategy, look to Dinesh D’Souza. Not only is he a good example, but he’s also stupid enough to let all the flaws and inconsistencies in this new view hang out, exposed for all to see.
The new strategy is to embrace the word “evolution”. Ask them if they believe in evolution, and they will happily declare that “Yes, I believe in ‘evolution’!” Unfortunately, what they call “evolution” is not evolution as evolutionary biologists understand it. If they’re willing to redefine science, what’s to stop them from redefining mere evolution to suit them?
D’Souza’s latest eructation is an attempt to rally conservatives to support “evolution” — he wants them to know that they shouldn’t be afraid of it, and that opposing it makes them look like yahoos. He’s even writing a book about it.
In my forthcoming book “What’s So Great About Christianity” I will show why, contrary to the claims of Dawkins and company, Darwinian evolution does not undermine the design argument for God. On the contrary, the latest findings of modern science have greatly strengthened that argument. Paley was right and Dawkins is wrong.
Note the sleight of hand: he’s babbling about “design”, Paley, the common creationist lie that modern science supports belief in God, his book is about Christianity, and he’s calling that “Darwinian evolution”. If you’ve been wondering what the new name for repackaged Intelligent Design was going to be after the drubbing it took in Dover, look no further: it’s going to be called “evolution”. The new textbook from the gang at the DI, intended to replace Of Pandas and People is going to be titled “Explore Evolution”.
It’s a cunning plan to sow confusion, which is ultimately all the Intelligent Design creationists are good at. If state education standards mandate instruction in evolution and if the laws of the land make teaching Intelligent Design creationism illegal, well, they’ll adapt and teach “evolution” … it’s just that this version of “evolution” flouts the ideas of experts, ignores the evidence, misrepresents the theory, and promotes a role for design in “evolutionary” history.
It’s an interesting tactic. Simply write a very bad book about evolution, market it appropriately, and find enough ideologically motivated science teachers to use it, and they will have effectively continued their efforts to subvert science education in this country. After all, the successful court challenges to block creationism in the classroom have done so on the basis of their violation of the separation of church and state, not so much on their quality and competence; propagating awful science is probably constitutional.