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In a discussion with reporters on Monday, President George W. Bush supported local control on how evolution is taught but also expressed support for exposing students to different views about evolution.
“I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” Bush said. “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.”
“President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank supporting research on the theory of intelligent design. Intelligent design proposes that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
Discovery Institute opposes mandating the teaching of intelligent design, but it supports requiring students to know about scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory, which is the approach adopted by the science standards in Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico, and currently under discussion in Kansas. Discovery Institute also supports the right of teachers to voluntarily discuss the scientific debate over intelligent design free from persecution or intimidation.
President Bush’s most recent comments are consistent with what he told Science magazine in the fall of 2004. When asked whether “‘intelligent design’ or other scientific critiques of evolutionary theory [should] be taught in public schools?,” Bush responded that “it is not the federal government’s role to tell states and local boards of education what they should teach in the classroom” but “[o]f course, scientific critiques of any theory should be a normal part of the science curriculum.” (Science, October 1, 2004)