Annie Waldman wrote this article for ProPublica in January, after DeVos’s confirmation hearing and before she was confirmed. I’m sorry I missed it. Waldman tried to pin down DeVos’s views on creationism. As we have learned, what Betsy is really good at is evasion. She and her spokespersons say she doesn’t take a position on how science should be taught. But: she and her family foundations have given large sums to Focus on the Family, which opposes teaching evolution and supports equal time for intelligent design.

She writes:

“DeVos and her family have poured millions of dollars into groups that champion intelligent design, the doctrine that the complexity of biological life can best be explained by the existence of a creator rather than by Darwinian evolution. Within this movement, “critical thinking” has become a code phrase to justify teaching of intelligent design.

“Candi Cushman, a policy analyst for the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, described DeVos’ nomination as a positive development for communities that want to include intelligent design in their school curricula. Both the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation and Betsy DeVos’ mother’s foundation have donated to Focus on the Family, which has promoted intelligent design.

“Mrs. DeVos will work toward ensuring parents and educators have a powerful voice at the local level on multiple issues, including science curriculum,” wrote Cushman in an email.

“DeVos has not publicly spoken about her personal views on intelligent design. A more nuanced outgrowth of creationism, the approach lost steam after a federal court ruled a decade ago that teaching it in public schools would violate the separation of church and state. Greg McNeilly, a longtime aide to DeVos and an executive at her and her husband’s privately held investment management firm, the Windquest Group, said he knows from personal discussions with DeVos that she does not believe that intelligent design should be taught in public schools. He added that her personal beliefs on the theory, whatever they are, shouldn’t matter.

“I don’t know the answer to whether she believes in intelligent design — it’s not relevant,” McNeilly told ProPublica. “There is no debate on intelligent design or creationism being taught in schools. According to federal law, it cannot be taught.”

“That assurance provides little comfort to those who worry that DeVos’ nomination could erode public schools’ commitment to teaching evolution.”

Hearing DeVos refer to “critical thinking” was “like hearing old catch phrases from a nearly forgotten TV show that never made prime time,” Michigan State University professor Robert Pennock told ProPublica. Pennock has written several books and articles about creationism and intelligent design, including “The Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism” (2000), and has testified as an expert witness that intelligent design should not be studied in public school science courses.

“She evaded what should have been a simple question about not teaching junk science,” Pennock wrote in an email. “More than that, she did so in a way that signaled her willingness to open the door to intelligent design creationism.”

Just remember that when someone from the far-right praises “critical thinking,” that’s a new code word for intelligent design (I.e., the Hand of God).