Michele Bachmann, "intelligent design," and the anti-science conservatism of the Republican Party
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann explained her skepticism of evolution on Friday and said students should be taught the theory of intelligent design.
"I support intelligent design," Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference. "What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don't think it's a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides."
First, "intelligent design" isn't science, it's creationism dressed up to look like something else. And what Bachmann is proposing is not an equal playing field -- because a silly notion like "intelligent design" would lose, as no serious, self-respecting scientist takes it seriously -- but the imposition of Christianist theocracy.
Second, how are students supposed to "decide"? Students need to be taught the truth, which is evolution. But it is not the sort of absolutist truth that a fundamentalist like Bachmann demands, but rather a scientific theory. Indeed, there is disagreement within the scientific community over the details of evolution -- healthy disagreement that furthers the quest for knowledge. But there is no disagreement over evolution vs. "intelligent design." If you want to teach creationism, fine, but it belongs in a religion class alongside other theological matters, taught comparatively, and not in public schools.
Third, this isn't the government taking sides on a "scentific issue," because, again, "intelligent design" is not science.
Fourth, there is no "reasonable doubt on both sides" There is disagreement within the scientific community over specifics, but "intelligent design" is just creationism. Students can be taught that evolution is not a settled matter, that it is not as simple as 2+2=4, but they certainly should not be taught that "intelligent design" is a legitimate alternative theory. Because it is not.