What did the President say? It's a fund-amental question.

So did President Bush really advocate teaching "intelligent design" in his interview with Texas reporters the other day? Or were his musings about exposing students to different ideas simply a better-than-average example of political weasel-speak? The fact is the remarks gave comfort to his religious political base while disclosing nothing of his actual beliefs about creationism. And they were mushy enough to permit a semi-benign gloss from Bush science adviser John Marburger, a professed

By | August 3, 2005

So did President Bush really advocate teaching "intelligent design" in his interview with Texas reporters the other day? Or were his musings about exposing students to different ideas simply a better-than-average example of political weasel-speak? The fact is the remarks gave comfort to his religious political base while disclosing nothing of his actual beliefs about creationism. And they were mushy enough to permit a semi-benign gloss from Bush science adviser John Marburger, a professed Darwinian. Marburger told The New York Times he was pretty sure what the President really meant to say was that discussions of intelligent design should be part of the social context of science instruction. Whatever that means. Yet science organizations feel they can't let this blather pass without denunciation, like this one from the American Geophysical Union, which has been staunchly out in front on matters evolutionary. Let us hope they are not preaching only to the converted. Carl Zimmer, an author, science reporter, and fine blogger on evolution, says he would have asked the President how he reconciles teaching intelligent design alongside evolution with the fact that no administration, his own included, has ever funded studies based on ID. I read that and cringed. Can't you hear Bush replying, "Really? How 'bout that? Dang, they should be getting tax money too!" You can bet creationists are thinking up ways to make that happen even as we speak. Just what the funding agencies need: more White House and Congressional pressure to underwrite their pet projects and (literally) sacred cows. As if the federal grant-making process isn't politicized enough.

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