As you’re probably well aware, President Bush has come out in support (again) of teaching intelligent design/creationism in schools. At least it sort of looks like he has; as he frequently is when off-script, he’s so tongue-tied and spacy that he makes Spongebob Squarepants look almost serious by comparison. Here’s the relevant portion of the roundtable transcript from 1 August 2005; I’ve italicized questions and bold-faced relevant portions of Bush’s responses:
Q I wanted to ask you about the — what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus intelligent design. What are your personal views on that, and do you think both should be taught in public schools?
THE PRESIDENT: I think — as I said, harking back to my days as my governor — both you and Herman are doing a fine job of dragging me back to the past. (Laughter.) Then, I said that, first of all, that decision should be made to local school districts, but I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.
Q Both sides should be properly taught?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, people — so people can understand what the debate is about.
Q So the answer accepts the validity of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought, and I’m not suggesting — you’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.
Q So we’ve got to give these groups —
THE PRESIDENT: Very interesting question, Hutch. (Laughter.)
It may just be me, but he seemed to be evading the "validity" question.
Personally, I’d like to see this question posed to more politicians, at every level of government from school boards on up. But I’d like to see another line of questioning followed, as well, about what advantage the interviewee sees instruction in ID/C giving American children competing in a global marketplace over children in countries like Japan, China, India, Russia, Germany, France, the UK, and Italy where they learn science in their science classes, not "debate".
I know many politicians are likely to soft-peddle any qualms they might have about ID/C in their urge to triangulate religious voters. But sometimes you have to tell people unpleasant truths. Intelligent design isn’t science. Creationism isn’t science. It belongs in church, not in biology class. And the people who are intent on introducing it into public school curricula are undermining three-quarters of a century of American scientific leadership in the world, something we used to be proud of. That last point can’t be said often — or forcefully — enough.