Science journalist Denyse O'Leary in an e-mail to me summed up today's Washington Post story this way.
Who published this story?
Answer: The Washington Post
What is true about Washington D.C.?
Answer: It is the biggest concentration of political/military power in the
world right now.
What tends to be true of the Beltway folks?
Answer: They see everything in terms of politics.
Here's a useful gauge for assessing a story like this: Don't look only at
what it does say.
Look also at what it DOESN'T say.
Nowhere does the story address the main points I would make myself, if asked
to account for the growing popularity of ID:
O'Leary's main points: Current science evidence does NOT support Carl
Sagan's view of the universe or PBS Evolution's view of life forms. Current
evidence reasonably suggests intelligent design instead.
Religious groups can, of course, exploit this situation. But they did not
and could not create it.
That is the huge fact that this story does not address.
No story from the Beltway is going to address it.
That's what's wrong with Beltway thinking, by the way. They are so focused
on power in the present and the very immediate future that they cannot
possibly see even imminent changes in a slightly further term. Plus, they
are totally blind to the past and can learn nothing from it. Also, they know
nothing about a world of ideas where people do not even aim at power
particularly and are bored by it.
So Beltway stories will simply record the fact that some (not many)
religious groups are moving into a favorable position on account of ID. And
that is the only story the Beltways can see.
How would the Beltway have handled Copernicus's redrawing of the solar
Answer: They would have seen the entire controversy as a subset of the
international row about calendar reform.
How should you address this story and similar ones?
Answer: Do you have a cat? Put the story down on the floor in a darkish corner and see what the cat does with it.
As usual Denyse hits the nail on the head.