In the wake of President Bush’s outrageous remarks on the teaching of “intelligent design” on Monday (remarks which seem to contradict his own science advisor), it’s good to see science organizations publically speaking out on the issue.
“President Bush, in advocating that the concept of ‘intelligent design’ be taught alongside the theory of evolution, puts America’s schoolchildren at risk,” says Fred Spilhaus, Executive Director of the American Geophysical Union, which represents 43,000 Earth and space scientists. “Americans will need basic understanding of science in order to participate effectively in the 21st century world. It is essential that students on every level learn what science is and how scientific knowledge progresses….The President has unfortunately confused the difference between science and belief.”
And the American Physical Society, which also represents several tens of thousands of physicists, made their point via a sly backhanded comment: “We are happy that the President’s recent comments on the theory of intelligent design have been clarified,” says Marvin Cohen, president of the American Physical Society. “As Presidential Science Advisor John Marburger has explained, President Bush does not regard intelligent design as science. If such things are to be taught in the public schools, they belong in a course on comparative religion, which is a particularly appropriate subject for our children given the present state of the world.”
Unfortunately, I doubt Bush had Marburger’s nuance in mind when he made his comments.