Thursday, August 04, 2005

Intelligent Design And Evolution: President Bush's Remarks

On Monday, President Bush was giving an interview to a group of five Texas newspaper reporters. After answering questions on a variety of topics, one reporter then asked the President about the teaching of evolution and "intelligent design" in the schools: According to a transcript of the interview: (emphasis added)
QUESTION: 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.

QUESTION: Both sides should be properly taught?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, people -- so people can understand what the debate is about.

QUESTION: 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.
Heh. A quick review of The Department of Education's website doesn't yet have any "clarifications" of the President's remarks. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings hasn't given us any indication of when the teaching of "intelligent design" will be incorporated into the National Science Education Standards.

With testing in science
now mandated for public school students in each of the fifty states by The No Child Left Behind Act, we are more than a little curious to know if the Act will be amended in order to make it a requirement that the states also assess students' knowledge of I.D. as well as their grasp of traditional science concepts.

Since we classroom teachers already have our hands full working to comply with federal mandates, what's one more? Just add it to the stack.

Seriously though... I don't see the content standards being changed to incorporate the teaching of intelligent design nor do I see I.D. being made a part of any federally mandated assessment scheme in foreseeable future.

The whole episode does raise one or two questions, however.

If students' knowledge of intelligent design isn't going to be assessed, (per NCLB mandates) then why does the President want the nation's teachers to spend valuable class time teaching it?

More food for thought.

There's been quite a bit of discussion out in the 'Sphere concerning President Bush's remarks.

Generally, the President's comments haven't been met with much enthusiasm in the blogosphere. To the contrary.

Over at Instapundit, they have some good commentary with excerpts and links from an number of voices on the political right while at Pharyngula, they have a comprehensive listing (with links) of over 150 sites (from all political viewpoints) that have expressed disagreement with the President's wishes that intelligent design be taught in the schools.

Related:, HE&OS, Joanne Jacobs
View the latest edition of The Carnival Of Education as well as entry instructions for the next edition right here.

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