Creationism in a lab coat: “better to appear scientific than holy.” Wired News‘ Evan Ratliffreports on the “Intelligent Design” (ID) movement to introduce antievolution theory into classrooms — recently successful in Ohio, where a school board has voted to change state science standards, and mandated that biology teachers “‘critically analyze’” evolutionary theory. Scientists widely dismiss ID as based on a misunderstanding of evolution, flimsy probability calculations, and no testable explanations, but ID’s rhetorical strategy — avoid Bible-references, and make mention of Darwin and Scopes — is working, and the theory is now playing a central role in biology curricula and textbook controversies around the country. Its supporters have taken the “teach the controversy” message to seven states so far.
Cliché-in-the-coining: For those who weren’t yet cynical about the campaign or political reporting, The Washington Post counts the canyons we’re shouting aross: the God gap, party gap, gender gap, generation gap, ideology gap, racial-ethnic divide, veterans divide, grad-school divide, and now, having come near the end of conventional binaries, the doors are opened to our more ineffable differences, i.e., the Enthusiasm Gap.
Henry County commissioners in Georgia have put up another Ten Commandments display in another courthouse, this time flanked by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. With buddies like these, the county claims that the Ten Commandments are historical, not religious. We’re reminded of the Kierkegaardian aphorism that The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier identified last spring in the Newdow case, when Pledge defenders denied the religiosity of the words, “Under God”; once again, it’s the doubter with the best sense of the religious.
“When we learn everything about that prison, we’re going to be mighty ashamed…This group of zealots changed the way our country is viewed. The world doesn’t view us as moral any more.”Seymour M. Hersh, on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, predicts worse revelations to come about Guantanamo Bay prison conditions and the influence of the neocon agenda.