Earlier this week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos declared in an interview with the Associated Press that he believes “intelligent design” (also known as creationism) should be taught in schools. In the interview, DeVos said “I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design—that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory—that that theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not less.” He went on to state that he believes that the teaching of evolution or intelligent design is a decision that should be made by local school boards. While DeVos argues that “lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life,” the United States National Academy of Sciences has declared that intelligent design has no place in classrooms as it is not science.
It is no surprise that DeVos supports intelligent design, as the theory is widely supported by the religious right, with much of the current research on it being done by the conservative Christian Discovery Institute. Moreover, the religious right organizations and foundations that DeVos works with in his efforts in support of vouchers for religious education and on other causes are tied to the same religious right that supports intelligent design. DeVos gives considerable amounts of money to a variety of religious right organizations through his Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. In light of the rightwing effort to promote the teaching of creationism in public schools, People for the American Way has produced an online toolkit with resources for students, parents, and community members who are interested in organizing to stop efforts designed to eliminate evolution from science curriculums or to teach creationism as an alternative theory of the origins of life.