Monday, April 28, 2008
Dangerous Working Conditions
John H. Marburger III, President Bush's science adviser, is interviewed at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Here is some of what he had to say about Intelligent Design Creationism, starting off with the President's statement seemingly supporting the teaching of ID:
If you go back and look at the circumstances of the way he made a statement, it was hardly a statement. It was a little press roundtable and someone asked him what I would regard as a gotcha question, and he answered it about as innocuously as I think he felt he could. And I think the media was prepared to sort of — a community of watchful observers on this issue jumped on it and built it into something much more than it could be. I've never had any problem in responding to questions —.
My statements about intelligent design are pretty straightforward. It's not science and in no way should it be compared with science or discussed as a science topic. And as far as evolution is concerned, it's inconceivable that we could be where we are in our understanding of biology if we didn't have evolution as a guiding intellectual tool. So, I have no problems speaking about those things. I'm not trying to defend something — anyone's belief on this or to attack it. But I don't think the president needs very much defending. This is not an issue that he has tried to make anything of.
... It is regrettable that there are school districts and people of good faith that are out there who press this issue to the detriment of the education of young Americans in their neighborhoods. And that's a mistake. On the other hand, I think that like many issues, it has become polarized to an extent that it's difficult to talk about it rationally. Should a biology teacher in high school or middle school today talk about evolution, making no reference whatsoever to the controversy or whatever it is? I think that would be a mistake. I think that these issues should be confronted. And that there should be a frank discussion about it. That doesn't mean that you teach it then as if they were equal. It means that you talk about why are people so upset about this.
Great idea. I'm sure there would be absolutely no uproar from conservative Christians over educators saying, "Intelligent Design is not science, here's why, and the reason why people are upset is because they're god-blind, narrow-minded gits."
Sorry for getting sarcasm all over your nice shirt, there, John.
Not to worry. I fling the stuff around so much, I've learned how to get it out.