Evolution, Shmevolution, Part II
Looks like it's disagree with P. Z. Myers week here at EvolutionBlog. Regarding part two of The Daily Show's week of evolution segments, Myers thought it was better than part one, whereas I thought it was not as good. Kurt Vonnegut looked completely out of it, and he's an odd choice for a guest for an evolution show (they barely talked about evolution at all). The opening interview with a primatologist from the Bronx Zoo also fell flat, in my opinion.
But there were two excellent moments. One was where he skewered the asinine idea that the designer in ID is not necessarily God. Stewart said, “Basically, Intelligent Design is the idea that life on earth is too complex to have evolved without a guiding hand. We're not saying it's God, just someone with the basic skill set to create an entire universe.” Exactly right. So why haven't mainstream news outlets managed to make this obvious point in their coverage of this issue?
The other moment was unrelated to evolution. In discussing the hearings for potential Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts, arch right-wing Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn got all choked up about the extreme partisanship and polarization of Washington culture. Stewart wisely pointed out that Coburn is a major source of much of that polarization. (Alas, I don't have the specific quotes Stewart used, since the transcript does not seem to be available online.)
Indeed, as reported in The New Republic shortly after the election (also not available online, alas), Coburn won that race in large part because of the power of fundamentalist churches, which invariably preached to their audiences that it was God's will that they vote for Republicans. As Matt Miller describes here, Coburn described his race with Democrat Brad Carson as being a contest of good against evil, and believes the gay agenda is taking over America. He supported Alan Keyes, on of the most vicious and partisan conservatives out there, in the 2000 presidential race. For him to get choked up about partisanship now is pure phoniness.
But only Stewart bothered to point that out. The cable news chat shows invariably showed the clip of Coburn getting choked up, then shared a reflective moment about the evils of partisanship. Pointing out blatant right-wing hypocrisy is not part of their job description.