Right-centrist blogger John Cole says it all. The following is from him, but it echoes the sentiments of every educated person regardless of political persuasion:
By now you have probably already heard (the hazards of not blogging for a few hours) that President Bush has endorsed the inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula:
President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss “intelligent design” alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.
During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.
“I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” Bush said. “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”
The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation.
Christian conservatives — a substantial part of Bush’s voting base — have been pushing for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Scientists have rejected the theory as an attempt to force religion into science education.
I am beyond offended by the stupidity of this statement and President Bush’s position, and I am sort of glad I was too busy to write about this earlier, because it gave me a little time to cool down. Fat load of good it did, because I am still hopping mad. My days of defending this President are over.
To have the leader of the country, the leader of the party, and the person who proclaims that he wants to be known as the ‘education president’ to state, even casually, that he thinks intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution is lunacy of the first order. First, the facts:
1.) Intelligent design is not a theory. There is no theoretical basis to it. It is not scientific theory, and it is not just bad scientific theory, it is simply not theory. It is ascientific. It is a flight of fancy. It is a call to discard mountains of evidence, throw up ones hands, and state: “This is all too confusing and complex, and science is hard, so some ‘intelligent designer’ must be behind all this.”
2.) Intelligent design is creationism. It may not be quite as audaciously stupid as the nonsense peddled by the ‘young earth’ crowd, but it is creationism. Just who do you think this ‘intelligent designer’ is? One more time, let’s review who the candidates are for the title of ‘intelligent designer’ is:
Its advertising to the contrary notwithstanding, “intelligent design” is inherently a quest for the supernatural. Only one “candidate for the role of designer” need apply. Dembski himself—even while trying to deny this implication—concedes that “if there is design in biology and cosmology, then that design could not be the work of an evolved intelligence.” It must, he admits, be that of a “transcendent intelligence” to whom he euphemistically refers as “the big G.”
The supposedly nonreligious theory of “intelligent design” is nothing more than a crusade to peddle religion by giving it the veneer of science—to pretend, as one commentator put it, that “faith in God is something that holds up under the microscope.”
The insistence of “intelligent design” advocates that they are “agnostic regarding the source of design” is a bait-and-switch. They dangle out the groundless possibility of a “designer” who is susceptible of scientific study—in order to hide their real agenda of promoting faith in the supernatural. Their scientifically accessible “designer” is nothing more than a gateway god—metaphysical marijuana intended to draw students away from natural, scientific explanations and get them hooked on the supernatural.
No matter how fervently its salesmen wish “intelligent design” to be viewed as cutting-edge science, there is no disguising its true character. It is nothing more than a religiously motivated attack on science, and should be rejected as such.
That “Big G.” he was referring to isn’t Gaia, although injecting nonsensical druidic mysticism into science makes about as much sense as teaching intelligent design ‘alongside evolution.’ No, you can guess who the “Big G.” might actually be.
3.) Teaching ‘intelligent design’ as science, or as a viable theory, or whatever you want to call it other than bullshit, is to assault science. Criticism of evolutionary theory is always welcome, but attempting to replace evolutionary theory with fanciful tales is to assault not only the senses, but to attack the very manner science itself is conducted.
4.) People don’t want ‘intelligent design’ taught because it is a viable scientific theory, they want it taught because it is tailored to fit their pre-existing religious beliefs. The introduction of ‘intelligent design’ into the class room will be seen as a blow to the ‘evil secularists.’ It will be just another step in ‘taking back the culture.’
The culture of stupid.
This assault on science is not a new thing- there have been groups creating their own ‘science’ establishments to do research that produces the ‘right’ results to aid the political/social cause du jour. Their most notable production of these folks is their recent ‘report’ that was used as a basis to forbid same-sex couples from becoming foster parents:
Last week, the Texas House of Representatives passed a child-services bill with an amendment that would make Texas the first state in the nation to prevent same-sex couples from becoming foster parents. The state Senate passed a conflicting bill without that measure, and the two bodies are debating how to proceed.
The proposed ban attracted national media attention, and several “pro-family” groups seeking to drum up support for the bill have been circulating some troubling stats about gay parents. Among the most striking, stated during a CNN program: children in foster homes with same-sex parents are 11 times as likely to be sexually abused as those with heterosexual parents.
To get on CNN, that number snaked through a twisting path, from a little-noticed Illinois study published by an antigay scientist/activist in a psychological journal, to several conservative Web sites, to, finally, the attention of a Texas activist who presented her misinterpretation of the study on national television, essentially unchallenged. It’s a textbook example of how flawed numbers can gain national attention if advocates work hard enough—especially when there aren’t widely-known conflicting estimates.
I have no problem with a brief fifteen minute discussion of intelligent design as part of a religious/philosophy class, provided schools offer those courses. But I don’t think that is what Bush meant, and to teach intelligent design alongside evolution (which, by itself is difficult enough to teach high school students, and usually isn’t taught well enough), as a ‘school of thought’ is simple idiocy. And that won’t change no matter how many press releases the jackasses at the Discovery Institute release.
Maybe Bush just said this to play to the base. I don’t care. It was stupid, irresponsible, and he should be widely castigated for even suggesting that this be taught. In short, the next time President Bush asks “Is our children learning,” I know what I will be thinking to myself:
“Maybe, but no thanks to you, jackass.”