Yesterday, President George W. Bush told a group of Texas journalists that he supports the teaching of Intelligent Design in the public schools. “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” the President said. “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.” [see coverage from MSNBC].
The Boston Globe reported: The theory of evolution, first articulated by British naturalist Charles Darwin in 1859, is based on the idea that life organisms developed over time through random mutations and factors in nature that favored certain traits that helped species survive.
Scientists concede that evolution does not answer every question about the creation of life, but most consider intelligent design an attempt to inject religion into science courses.
Bush compared the current debate to earlier disputes over ”creationism,” a related view that adheres more closely to biblical explanations. As governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution.
The president said yesterday that he favors the same approach for intelligent design ”so people can understand what the debate is about.”
Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer takes a very different view in his column published in the current issue of TIME. In “Let’s Have No More Monkey Trials,” Krauthammer argues:
To teach faith as science is to undermine the very idea of science, which is the acquisition of new knowledge through hypothesis, experimentation and evidence. To teach it as science is to encourage the supercilious caricature of America as a nation in the thrall of religious authority. To teach it as science is to discredit the welcome recent advances in permitting the public expression of religion. Faith can and should be proclaimed from every mountaintop and city square. But it has no place in science class. To impose it on the teaching of evolution is not just to invite ridicule but to earn it.
Strangely, Krauthammer seems to believe that ‘science’ is independent of any prior worldview. This usually clear-headed columnist needs to think this issue through again. Every worldview includes a religious element — faith in some reality, idea, or deity. The naturalistic or materialistic worldview is just as religious as Christianity. There is no way to separate science from the larger worldview or from prior intellectual commitments.
UPDATE: Coverage from The Washington Post, August 3, 2005.