Washington Post’s knuckle-dragging grasp of evolution

What can you say of the debate(?) over evolution when WaPo’s education columnist Jay Mathews supports teaching intelligent design in Science classes?

Santorum’s good but hated education idea
Jay Mathews | Hiatt’s House of Monkeys

I won’t say who is getting my vote for president. But I confess a nonpartisan desire that former senator Rick Santorum (R) remain in the race long enough to focus attention on an intriguing, if deeply controversial, educational issue.

Wapo reader: “A controversial issue, you say? How fascinating. I am a smart and reasonable man. Therefore I will say that I am interested, columnist Mathews. Please good sir, do go on.”

So hang on, Senator. Show a little courage and you could spark new interest in one of the few causes we share: encouraging high school discussion of alternatives to evolutionary theory.

Teaching all sides of the evolution issue is supported in opinion polls.

“Evolution you say? Sounds terribly complicated. But, yes, let’s be reasonable and teach all sides of the controversy. What could be the harm?” Thanks Jay, you’ve performed a spineless and invaluable service.

But – oh no – now hear Science man. Shrill and unceasing he will un-intrigue and de-fascinate everything in a depressing WaPo-free manner…

Friends, I’m sorry to say there already exists a terrific place where we scientists squirrel away the many sides of the evolution ‘debate.’ Shocking, isn’t it? You may find the many many arguments in a school of thought called . . ‘Evolution.’ What? No kidding! The whole thing came out of a pile of arguments.

Think of it as a 152 year-long Science thread. Everyone who isn’t trolling agrees that the argument currently stands: Life on Earth evolved from earlier, less complicated forms by way of natural selection operating in and upon environmental change and genetic variation, blah blah.

How did you think scientists operate, incidentally? By way of conspiracy? Do you think a whole bunch of the older ones got together and planned the Theory of Evolution? As if it were a product, like the Chevy Volt? That’s a fine looking car, Jay Matthews says, but what if I want a four door? Reasonable people want alternatives.

When something is the product of every alternative being argued and tested across a century and a half, there are no alternatives. All the currently possible ‘sides’ have been exhausted. That’s how you build a great theory. Evolution is one of the greatest in history.

If you want to know how science guys like me feel when a WaPo columnist starts considering Martian Deconstruction for the curriculum, read this:

It is important to note that Santorum and I have different reasons for wanting high schools to allow discussion of intelligent design — the notion that some supernatural force (not necessarily God) brought life to earth.

Danger! Science is perfectly equipped to deal with us and our world. Because we exist. Science can never address the non-rational, non-existent world. We can’t tell you how often a unicorn farts in the 23rd dimension. No one knows who won the lemonade parabola rodeo. Who knows what sort of role Superman played in evolution? If there’s no evidence for it, why should science bother with it? Let’s not argue about peri-weather phenomena. Let’s not build skyscrapers from gestures.

The minute you drag fake things into the reality-obsessed argument, chaos ensues. The attempt to bring creationism into the world of science is an attempt to destroy science. I hope I made that clear. Also:

It was hard for me to become interested in classroom explanations of natural selection when I was a student. Introducing a contrary theory like intelligent design and having students discuss its differences from Darwinism would enliven the class.

Jay Mathews is a disgrace.


One thought Washington Post’s knuckle-dragging grasp of evolution

  1. avatar Grung_e_Gene says:

    Ha! I’ve got you! If evolution was true peanut butter would be turning into monkeys and bananas wouldn’t be smoothly fitting into Ray Comfot’s mouth!

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