Monday, July 10, 2006


Calvert's No Sale

The utter weakness of the intelligent design case here in Kansas was brought home to RSR in a new way recently when we read an article (now archived, they'll want you to pay) in the Southwest Daily Times by Earl Watt.

Watt reports that intelligent design meddler John Calvert has been driving the lonely roads of western Kansas trying to drum up votes for Connie Morris, in part by attacking Liz Craig, an inoffensive and hard-working volunteer for Kansas Citizens for Science.

That Calvert must think the only way he can sell ID to an unwilling public is by attacking Craig says volumes about the real appeal of intelligent design "theory" and the mean-spirited people who are behind it.

Wine retailers would never dream of telling you the Merlot is bad in order to move the Zinfandel. The butcher never seems to find himself in the position of telling customers there's something wrong with the sirloin in order to push the Fillet Mignon. A baker would laugh if you told him that in order to sell cake, he had to tear down the cookies.

That Calvert has been reduced to scapegoating Craig indicates -- in a way that nothing else could -- that contrary to what you might have heard, intelligent design isn't exactly flying off the shelves even here in Kansas.

Calvert's grudge against Craig? Some 18 months ago she wrote a comment on a message board during a discussion about a series of meeting between right-wing school board members and Phill Kline, the Kansas Attorney General, that were thought to violate the state's Sunshine Laws.

The discussion was about what to do and Craig wrote she believed supporters of science education should "notify the national and local media about what's going on and portray them in the harshest light possible, as political opportunists, evangelical activists, ignoramuses, breakers of rules, unprincipled bullies, etc."

Personally, RSR wishes Craig hadn't bit her tongue quite so hard and really let them have it, lock, stock, and both smoking barrels, but as we said before, Liz Craig is hard-working, dedicated, and just about as inoffensive as they come.

Look over Craig's list yourself, as RSR has done, and see if you can find a single descriptive term applied to ultra-right board members and their enablers in the ID movement that isn't absolutely accurate. We couldn't find a one.

That the intelligent design busy bodies -- they're the Alice Kravitzes of this particular neighborhood -- have made a cottage industry out of holding up Craig's quote as an example of moderate perfidy demonstrates, in a way that almost nothing else could, just how empty and desperate the ID case really is.

Jeremy Mohn has now published a webpage, "Evolution of an ID Canard" that chronicles Calvert's campaign against Craig. After reading it, RSR came away with the sense that Calvert is a bit like the man who has found a way to write all the verses of the Bible on a grain of rice, you marvel at his single-mindedness but wonder about his sanity.

Calvert's attempt to sell ID by attacking Craig, it turns out, is the biggest thing since... since... edible deodorant.


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