Science Federal File

Intelligent Design

By Sean Cavanagh — August 09, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Bush administration has demanded repeatedly that “scientifically based research” be the foundation for education programs and practices, a principle that is also spelled out in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Last week, though, President Bush told reporters that he supports allowing schools to teach the controversial concept of “intelligent design”—which has been flatly rejected by the nation’s top scientific organizations—alongside the theory of evolution.

Mr. Bush, in an Aug. 1 interview with Texas reporters, said that while such choices are local decisions, he favors that “both sides” be taught “so that people can understand what the debate is about.”

Critics in several states and districts have recently sought to cast doubt on the bedrock scientific theory advanced by Charles Darwin, which posits that species evolve through natural selection. Intelligent design holds that life’s origins and complexities may best be explained by the guidance of an unidentified, possibly divine, master architect.

“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.”

As a presidential candidate in 2000, Mr. Bush publicly backed allowing the teaching of biblically based creationism alongside evolution.

But the president’s recent statements contrast sharply with the opinion of the vast majority of scientists, including the congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences, which points to a mountain of evidence for evolution and describes intelligent design as a religious belief.

An individual with closer ties to the president also has rejected intelligent design as science: White House science adviser John H. Marburger III. In comments earlier this year in an online story in The American Prospect, Mr. Marburger said, “Intelligent design is not science,” and added, “I don’t regard intelligent design as a scientific topic.”

In an e-mail to Education Week after the president’s remarks, Mr. Marburger, who holds a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University, stood by his comments. But he also cautioned that the president’s remarks did not present a view on whether intelligent design is a scientific theory.

“There is danger of confusing the accounts of reporters,” he said, “with what the president actually said.”

A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Science The NAEP Science Exam Is Getting a Major Update. Here's What to Expect
For the first time in 20 years, "the nation's report card" is updating how it gauges students' understanding of science.
4 min read
Yuma Police Department forensic technician Heidi Heck shows students in Jonathan Bailey's fifth grade science class at Barbara Hall Elementary School how fingerprints show up under a special light during a presentation about forensic science on March 1, 2023.
Yuma Police Department forensic technician Heidi Heck shows students in Jonathan Bailey's fifth grade science class at Barbara Hall Elementary School how fingerprints show up under a special light during a presentation about forensic science on March 1, 2023.
Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP
Science Opinion STEM Is Failing People of Color. What Educators Can Do
Students, especially students of color, need fresh incentives to pursue the fields, explains a STEM professor.
Ebony O. McGee
5 min read
Illustration of a scientist holding a giant test tube.
iStock/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week
Science This District Hopes Seeing What AI Can Do Will Spur More Students to Take Computer Science
Districts including Florida's Broward County put an AI twist on coding activities during an annual computer science event.
2 min read
Students creating programs while using laptop
E+ / Getty
Science Aligned Science Curriculum, Better Scores? Research Finds a Connection
A WestEd evaluation of the Amplify Science curriculum found it raised student performance on NGSS-aligned assessment questions.
4 min read
Tele Phillips, left, and Saniyah Sims react as they cut into a bullfrog they are dissecting during a hands-on learning experience for students from the Malone Center on April 19, 2023, at the Lincoln Children's Zoo in Lincoln, Neb. The Science Focus Program Student Council arranged two days of a hands-on learning experience for elementary students from the Malone Center.
Tele Phillips, left, and Saniyah Sims react as they cut into a bullfrog they are dissecting during a hands-on learning experience for students on April 19, 2023, at the Lincoln Children's Zoo in Lincoln, Neb.
Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP