Michigan: I presume you won’t actually elect this clown, right?

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.


  1. says

    “local control”? Didn’t that used to be a code-word for “school districts should be able to ignore Brown v. Board of Education”?

  2. Stogoe says

    Much as I depise the tactic, shame is very effective. Our ‘side’ needs to start the public mockings immediately. Really, it’s the only way to win the DFWs and TFMs over: Shame them into accepting evidence-based evaluation.

  3. Uber says

    they’ll be going to hell

    In all honesty is there a more disgusting belief in all of humanitys efforts? Is there any idea like this that is so unjust and literally goes against any and all things we think of when we think of justice?

    This one disgusting idea is the real root of the fight. Perhaps all religious fights.Not a belief in God but a fear and man’s fear of suffering so manifest that it must be fought against in every arena lest the belief that one can escape such a place by their personal religious leanings falls by the wayside.

  4. Alex says

    I’m so sick of the dishonesty cloaked as righteousness and reason. Their constant attempts to foist their myth fantasy into everyone’s life are disgusting. I agree with Stogoe – someone or some group of stature needs to politely fling that crappola back in their faces, publicly.

    “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not real, he becomes furious when they are disputed.” [Bertrand Russell, “Human Society in Ethics and Politics”]

  5. says

    I appreciate the sidebar that the Detroit Free Press included, but I really wish the popular press would stop reducing all of Evolutionary Biology down to one man–albeit an extremely brilliant and important man–who has been dead for more than a hundred years. Sure, Darwin’s ideas are still critical to evolutionary biology, but the theory has moved on since the 1870’s, too. Meh.

  6. quork says

    Newt Gingrich was saying pretty much the same thing in his October Discover magazine interview. He personally believes in evolution, but he doesn’t like judges interfering with “community standards”. I guess the talking points must have made the rounds.

  7. ts says

    His opponent should hang this around his neck like a dead albatross.

    Remind the voters that it cost the dover school board 1 million dollars.

  8. Essjay says

    Unfortunately, he’s probably gonna get elected.

    Most voters don’t know anything outsidce what they see on TV, and the airwaves are saturated with Devos commercials.

  9. eric taylor says

    here in michigan governer granholm is well liked by the people, she really doesn’t have any negativies, she extremely sharp and a terrific speaker, the republicans like her too, the only drawback she has is that in a state like ours where the main product is automobiles, GM, Ford and Chrysler are having their hats handed to them by Toyota and Honda, but what more can she do, really.

    The polls show a close race but I don’t think it’s as close as it seems. The rednecks all out on the west side of the state of course will vote for this DeVos guy (that’s where Ted Nuget lives btw), and the urban area near detroit will go for granholm, and those who don’t know any better will vote for Granholm, because well, she’s an incumbent, and she’s not doing a bad job unlike kwame, the unreformed gangsta’ who’s now in charge of detroit but that’s another story.

    The whole creationism bullshit actually isn’t that high up in terms of the issues right now. The big issues are the war in Iraq, and the problems with the big car companies.

    People don’t know this DeVos guy they don’t trust him, don’t worry about the polls which show a close race Granholm is gonna get re-elected, but not because she opposes religious fundamentalism, but because she’s smart, capable and people trust her to turn the economy around in this state more than they trust the other guy.

  10. J-Dog says

    Someone from Granholm’s campaign needs to contact Derek Jeter and ask him to dis DeVos. Jeter grew up in Kalamazoo and I would bet the red neck Repubs have not been good to him in the past. I usually don’t like celebs taking sides, but this is too importnat an issue not to use every weapon available.

  11. says


    You should set that definition of Intelligent Design up on a separate page and everyone should google bomb it so whenever anyone searches for “Intelligent Design” that’s the first thing that comes up.

  12. says

    As I “mature,” I’m getting a little heavier. I’m looking for a community that has local control over gravity. Keeping a hopeful eye on Michigan.

  13. JaysonB says

    I found it an amazing coincidence that the day de vos started his political campaign pro-amway commercials started popping up JUST as much as his political ads.

  14. says

    I was just thinking yesterday about whether DICK would make his religious wacko-ness apparent eventually. And the next day, the Freep publishes that.

    DICK has more money than the FSM allowing him to saturate the MI (especially the Detroit) airwaves with his ridiculous claims that he’ll bring jobs to MI and that (sc)Amway didn’t outsource to China.

    “Oh! But Chinese rules prevented us from selling to China unless we manufactured everything there!” What-evah. Not that I’m completely thrilled with Granholm, but at least she’s not an IDiot.

    The Dems really ought to pound away at him with the IDiot issue. Do I think that’ll happen? Naaaah.

  15. Anonymous says

    I used the think Granholm was guaranteed to win until I saw that Les Jenkins (of Stupid Evil Bastard) was considering voting for Devos until this creationism nonsense came out. If a smart guy like Les thinks that Devos is somehow NOT an inherently worse candidate for Governor than ANYONE, I’m not sure this election is going to turn out all that well for the people of Michigan.

  16. says

    DeVos writes:

    …that that theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not less

    That should be “more ideas, not fewer“. Seems like he wasn’t paying attention in school during English classes as well as in science.

  17. Hank Fox says

    Some tidbits from Wikipedia:

    Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dick is a graduate of the Forest Hills public schools and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University. He later went on to attend, but never earned a degree from, both the Harvard Business School and the Wharton School’s Executive Study Programs.

    In 1990, DeVos won election to the Michigan State Board of Education, resigning after only two years of an eight-year term, following a series of missed meetings, citing his father’s heart attack and his need to spend more time working at Amway.[5] In 1996, DeVos was appointed by John Engler to the Grand Valley State University Board of Control. He also resigned from this post before his term was up.

    He doesn’t sound like a finisher.

  18. Chayanov says

    “His Christian beliefs dictate how he approaches the issue and how he believes.”

    I am so fed up with people who let their religious beliefs influence how they do their jobs. When that happens you end up with a president who thinks he’s a Crusader, doctors who refuse to prescribe contraceptives, biology professors who refuse to teach evolution, and the list goes on. Unless you work in a church, temple, or mosque, leave the religion out of it already!

  19. nate says

    I’m from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area originally, and the guy is horrible. His wife–Betsy DeVos (who I think is head of the Michigan Republican Party)–was behind many an initiative that would have put more money in the coffers of religious schools (being a huge advocate of a very expansive voucher program because she wants to get public money into religious schools), and the passed codification of homophobia constitutional amendment that passed in 2004. One of the elder Van Andel or DeVos (the founders of Amway) funds a Creation Studies institute of some sort that is trying to prove that the Bible is literally true concerning the origins of life–I always thought that would be a sweet job, getting paid to do nothing all day. Dick is one of those scary ultra-Christian, ultra-Rich Republicans that believes that he has somehow earned all of his riches here on earth (and therefore should be able to accumulate them unabated) and that he is heading for eternal riches in heaven. Nothing like that great sense of entitlement. I really can’t believe he is polling so close to Granholm, when any problems with the state can either be blamed on former-governor Engler or the horribly Republican legislature.

  20. Gentlewoman says

    Newt Gingrich was saying pretty much the same thing in his October Discover magazine interview. He personally believes in evolution, but he doesn’t like judges interfering with “community standards”. I guess the talking points must have made the rounds.

    This is the sort of hypocrisy that enrages me. Gingrich is not even trying to hide what he’s saying here. Which is basically, ‘Well, my kids (and the other children of the ruling class) will learn the truth in their expensive private schools. You proles basically get to struggle along with whatever crap your fundie school boards care to foist on you. Praise Jeebus!’

    Immoral. These people are shamelessly immoral. And no one seems to care, and the press never calls them on it.

  21. Matthius says

    My grandfather founded the MSTA – It is good to see the MSTA noted there, along with Paul Drummond.

  22. Sectoid_Dev says

    It’s truly is scary that the polls show such a close race, but that goes to show just how effective a fully funded campaign can be. You think people would remember all the damage former Republican governor Engler did to Michigan before he hopped a plane to become a Washington DC lobbyist.
    But the people in the state have been bombarded with Dick DeVos ads quite early and he has done a jood job of getting his name out there and convincing people he’s going to bring jobs to Michigan by eliminating the single business tax. Well it never fails to amaze me how quickly people buy into issues they really don’t understand just because somebody promises them something they want to hear, like “We’re going to bring back jobs to Michigan”.
    Yeah right, and George Bush is a uniter and not a divider.
    People didn’t like it when Governor Granholm admitted that the old manufacturing jobs are gone and aren’t coming back, but damn it, at least she’s honest about it.
    I think this latest comment by DeVos was a not so subtle hint to his conservative base that he is a right wing conservative in disguise and that if he’s elected he’ll make the ‘right’ decisions for the people of Michigan.

    Will he get elected? I hope not. But I’m still in shock that we outlawed gay marriage and hip-hop Kwayme got re-elected, so don’t underestimate the power of a well run political campaign to elect a scoundrel.

  23. Dave Eaton says

    I’m a tranplant up here in West Michigan. The corridor from Grand Rapids to Lake Michigan is very Republican, very Calvinist (I think Dutch Reformed Church members settled the area) and quite vocal in their support of ‘local control’. I once tried to buy a bottle of wine on Sunday (heretic that I am) at a local supermarket and the checkout clerk was not merely content to tell me that local ordinance forbade it. He made certain I knew that the community had chosen blue laws for Jesus, and mockingly ‘apologized’ for not being able to change things just for me. I explained that I had just moved to the area, and that he could fuck himself. IDers abound up here. I work with seemingly sane people that show their true colors when we start talking about ‘Evil-lution’. So DeVos is playing to his homefolks, though I’m sure he’s down with ID.

    Michigan’s problem is that the economy is in tatters. The political ads point out that Michigan was the only state in the country to lose jobs in 2005 that wasn’t hit by a hurricane. There’s a lot more wrong with GM, Ford, and the general Michigan economy than Granholm, if she is a problem at all, but people always blame the one in the top slot for economic woes.

    Counter ads have begun to appear, though, and they seem pretty damning. I know this swath of the state is very red, but I’d be surprised if DeVos wins statewide.

  24. says

    I notice that over at the suggestively-named “PZ Myers Exposed”, dear Jason accuses you of saying “Don’t vote for Christians.” Thus does he demonstrate his usual level of reading comprehension.