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President Bush's recent remarks (August 1) that endorsed public school children learning about intelligent design alongside evolution are drawing praise from some and criticism from others.
His comments about the teaching of origins, made to reporters from five Texas newspapers, made headlines around the world with reports that either bashed or backed Bush's statements.
When asked whether he accepted the view that intelligent design (the idea that certain features of living and non-living things were designed by an "intelligent cause" as opposed to being formed through natural causes) was an alternative to evolution, Bush told the reporters in a Washington Post article (August 3), "Both sides ought to be properly taught … so people can understand what the debate is about." He then added, "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."
Those critical of Bush's comments include the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), an organization devoted to helping teachers teach evolution in public schools and to combat creationists. Susan Spath, an NCSE spokesperson, said in a New York Times article (August 3), "It sounds like you're being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint, and intelligent design is a sectarian religious viewpoint."
In the same article, Spath added that intelligent design was viewed as more respectable and sophisticated than biblical creationism but was fundamentally anti-evolution.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said in the same Times article, that "when it comes to evolution, there is only one school of scientific thought, and that is evolution occurred and is still occurring."
Not surprisingly, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world's largest organization of science educators, said it was "stunned and disappointed" that President Bush is endorsing the teaching of intelligent design, a theory they don't consider as science. In a Yahoo article (August 3), the NSTA president said, "It is simply not fair to present pseudoscience to students in the science classroom. Nonscientific viewpoints have little value in increasing students' knowledge of the natural world."
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based intelligent design "think tank," applauded Bush's remarks that "support freedom of inquiry and free speech about the issue of biological origins." Stephen Meyer, the director of the institute's Center for Science and Culture, said in the New York Times (August 3), "It's extremely timely and welcome because so many scientists are experiencing recriminations for breaking with Darwinist orthodoxy."
[o]f course, scientific critiques of any theory should be a normal part of the science curriculum.
According to a Discovery Institute News press release (August 2), President Bush's comments are consistent with what he told Science magazine in the fall of 2004. When asked whether "'intelligent design' or other scientific critiques of evolutionary theory [should] be taught in public schools?" Bush responded that "it is not the federal government's role to tell states and local boards of education what they should teach in the classroom" but "[o]f course, scientific critiques of any theory should be a normal part of the science curriculum."
But just days later, some in Bush's camps seem to be doing a bit of backpedaling. Bush's science adviser, John H. Marburger told the New York Times (August 3) that "evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology" and "intelligent design is not a scientific concept." He went on to say that Mr. Bush's remarks should be interpreted to mean that the president believes that intelligent design should be discussed as part of the "social context" in science classes.
While design arguments used in the Intelligent Design Movement may seem very appealing at first, the central problem with the ID movement, as stated numerous times by AiG's newest speaker Dr. Georgia Purdom, is that it divorces the Creator from creation. The Creator cannot be separated from creation; they reflect on each other.)
The only real hope for rebuilding the broken foundation of our once-Christian nation is to return to the authority of God's Word, beginning with Genesis 1-11. This is where we find the only effective explanation and solution for the problems found in our sin-cursed world.