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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bush is confused about science.... again.

In the midst of trying to finish up my degree and train people to replace me, I have to take time off to comment on this weirdness from the president. Apparently Bush thinks that students should learn about Intelligent Design.

"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."

Strangely, I actually agree with him. This will probably be in contrast to other scientists, but let's look at the president's rather odd commentary. He said he thinks that students should be exposed to ID "so people can understand what the debate is about."

I concur. Students need to know exactly what ID is, and why it does not qualify as science. What a way to teach critical thinking skills, by showing them how to distinguish science from snake oil! Kudos to the president for actually getting it right!

He's actually being somewhat deceptive, however. The article states:

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools.


Bush declined to state his personal views on "intelligent design," the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation can't be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theory alone, but rather points to intentional creation, presumably divine.

So it looks like Georgie is actually trying to walk that fine line between appeasing the crazy subset of religious conservatives, and not pissing off the rational people. Again. The result: ambiguity. He apparently thinks he can be both pro-science and pro-superstition.

Someone needs to tell George that ID doesn't deserve equal time because there has never been an actual formal statement of the Theory of ID, and no experiments conducted to demonstrate that ID is correct (despite the multimillion dollar annual operating budget of the Discovery Institute for the Renewal of Science and Culture, no actual research is performed.)

George, stick to lying about global warming. Otherwise keep your mouth shut, because you probably don't even know what your own opinion is. This sort of disingenuous rhetoric does nothing but harm our students, by tricking them into thinking science is done by popular vote.


  • OK, let's pretend we do that. And since whether an idea is accepted or rejected by the scientific community is unimportant, I say we teach ALL the sense and ALL the non-sense. For example, readers may be surprised to know that ID isn't the only idea to compete with evolution. Lamarckism, like "Intelligent Design", has also been rejected by the scientific community in favor of evolution. Why not teach all THREE theories? Surely having THREE choices is better than one?

    And why stop with evolution? When explaining why things burn, why not teach about combustion AND Phlogiston? When explaining sickness, let's teach the germ theory of disease, AND evil spirits. Astronomy AND astrology. Chemistry AND alchemy. Science AND pseudo-science.

    Unfortunately, the Board of Education is setting a poor example. Given the choice between Leadership AND pandering to an ideological base for votes, they have completely ignored the former for the latter.

    By Blogger Steve Stander, at 8/15/2005 12:53:00 PM  

  • Hear hear. The only problem is that we can't possibly teach *all* the alternatives because there simply isn't enough time to cover every single creation myth and why it isn't good science. A good context should include at the very least an historical overview of ideas and theories debunked in favor of the current one, and why. It just so happens that creationism and ID would be dealt with appropriately in such a scenario (as Lamarckism was covered in my biology exposure), but many of our biology teachers avoid the troublesome topics entirely!

    By Blogger Evil Monkey, at 8/15/2005 08:25:00 PM  

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