April 27, 2006

Tony Snow's new job

Now that it's official and Tony Snow's the new White House spokesman propagandist, charged with shuttling White House information propaganda to the "press" corps, I wanted to take a minute to point out some quotations that obviously qualifiy him to such an important post.

[Thanks to mediamatters for the links]

Tony Snow on Evolution.

In a column published at, Mr Snow equated Intelligent Design with Evolution - that both are "untestable theories." A snippet:
Today, evolutionary theorists find themselves at wits' end because the fossil record provides no evidence of any species ever turning into another. We know species adjust to environmental conditions -- ever notice how tall kids are these days? -- and that natural selection does occur. But there's nothing to vindicate the notion of an evolutionary leap.

That said, ID does not qualify as science because it gives us nothing to test or measure. Science requires replicable tests involving measurable variables. But you can't shake a beaker and find God. If God exists, He reveals himself through faith, not science.

These little insights give us the basis for admitting both views into the educational system. Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable. It's pure hypothesis -- like ID -- although very popular in the scientific community. Its limits help illuminate the fact that hypotheses are only as durable as the evidence that supports them.
But take a careful look at what he's doing. He does say that "ID does not qualify as science" because it's untestable. Fine - that's absolutely true. But then he says that "Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or testable."

Ergo, Evolution is as scientifically valid as ID - which is not true.

He also brings up the canard:
This brings us back to the two threshold questions. Most people believe science unravels deep, eternal truths -- that it is "perfect." But the history of science teaches that today's cocksure theory is tomorrow's crackpot superstition.

A century ago, physicists boasted of having solved all the major problems involved in studying the universe. The following year, their smugness collapsed when a patent clerk named Einstein published his paper on general relativity.
I recall Phoebe Buffay used roughly the same argument against Ross Geller a few years ago. If you missed it it was on Friends.

The argument turns one of the strengths of science back on itself. Because it's a discipline that is self-correcting, everything that is said in science to be "true" today will inevitably be "false" tomorrow.

Ergo, Evolution is (or will one day be shown to be) false. And actually, I think Snow got it wrong. Einstein's paper on special relativity was published in 1905. General relativity came a decade or so after.

Also note that he says "Most people believe..." not "Most scientists believe..." a big distinction - and a huge misdirection. If "most people" believed that most scientists were satanists in their spare time, would that alone make that belief true? Of course not. For some reason Snow chose not to say that "Most scientists believe..." and instead rested his argument on the broader "people." Why do you think that's so?

With everything else in the piece, Snow is preparing the ground for his readers to plant the notion that Evolution, while today's scientists believe it true, may be just another one of those "cocksure" theories but it could just as well be another "crackpot superstition."

A masterful spin. With such qualifications I am sure he'd be much at home in the web if lies that surround the worst president ever.


Anonymous said...

This is hardly Snow's new job - he's been a spokesperson for the White House since Bush was sworn into office in 2001.

Shawn said...

Um, is that a Chinese flag in the background?

Kinda looks like one.

Maria said...

thought it was the FOX logo

Anonymous said...

It might be a morph of the Chinese flag and Fox News logo - courtesy of their shared laison WalMart.