A Question For The President

After a day-long road trip from Ohio, I finally had the chance to read the news that President Bush thinks that schools should discuss Intelligent Design alongside evolution, so that students can “understand what the debate is about.”

As Bush himself said, this is pretty much the same attitude he had towards creationism when he was a governor. His statements back in Texas didn’t actually lead to any changes in Texas schools, and I doubt that these new remarks will have much direct effect, either. But, like Chris Mooney, I’m a journalist, and like him I would have loved to have been in the crowd of reporters when Bush made these remarks.

Mooney would have asked Bush how he squares his comments with those of his own science advisor, John Marburger, who dismisses Intelligent Design out of hand. I would follow up on his question by expanding it to a much bigger scale.

Mr. President, I would ask, how do you reconcile your statement that Intelligent Design should be taught alongside evolution with the fact that your administration, like both Republican and Democratic administrations before it, has supported research in evolution by our country’s leading scientists, while failing to support a single study that is explicitly based on Intelligent Design? The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and even the Department of Energy have all decided that evolution is a cornerstone to advances in our understanding of diseases, the environment, and even biotechnology. They have found no such value in Intelligent Design. Are they wrong? Can you tell us why?

For plenty of other comments, you can follow the links at Pharyngula

Update 8/2 7:45 pm: I might also ask the President to respond to 43,000 scientists who think he’s putting schoolchildren at risk.

Update 8/3 5:30 pm: Or 55,000 science teachers who are shocked and disappointed by his remarks.

Update 8/6 9:30 am: Or the nation’s astronomers, who think his remarks are bad for all science.