Nightline: Exposé on ID and the Discovery Institute

Oh man. The Discovery Institute Media Complaints Division really isn’t just going to like what just got broadcast on ABC’s Nightline. Nightline essentially did an exposé on (1) how ID has no scientific support, but (2) has gained national attention through clever marketing. Nightline, unlike most other media which tends to rely on the “dueling quotes” model in a “controversy,” did the obvious thing for once. They contacted their partner U.S. News and World Report, got the list of the top ten biology departments in the country, and got the chair of each department to give their opinion on ID. This seems to have informed the rest of Nightline’s analysis. Good for them.

Following the news segment was a discussion between Cal Thomas and George Will – theocon vs. neocon – on the politics of ID. Refreshingly, Cal Thomas didn’t attempt to obfuscate the fact that promoting a particular religious belief is really what ID is about. Thomas argued that ID is part of a larger cultural battle involving school prayer, ten commandments, and similar religion-and-government issues – a politically astute analysis, by a supporter of this agenda. George Will, on the other hand, acknowledged the political appeal of ID but made a stand for restricting science and science classes to studying testable empirical hypotheses, and leaving other discussions for other arenas. At the end of the show I was left with this indescribable fuzzy warmness for George Will. I assure you this is a singularly peculiar feeling for me – I may have to seek medical treatment if it doesn’t go away soon.