Q I wanted to ask you about the -- what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus intelligent design. What are your personal views on that, and do you think both should be taught in public schools?
THE PRESIDENT: I think -- as I said, harking back to my days as my governor -- both you and Herman are doing a fine job of dragging me back to the past. (Laughter.) Then, I said that, first of all, that decision should be made to local school districts, but I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.
Q Both sides should be properly taught?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, people -- so people can understand what the debate is about.
Q So the answer accepts the validity of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought, and I'm not suggesting -- you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.
Sigh. The President clearly doesn't understand that "Intelligent Design" is not science. It is unfalsefiable. It makes no predictions - it makes assertions. Saying that it deserves something like equal time with evolution in school science classes is absurd.
It's tempting to make an inflammatory statement that this demonstrates the anti-intellectual, anti-science attitude of the current administration (i.e. the "faith-based" community vs. the "reality-based" community). However, I'd be shocked if the President actually gave this that much thought; I suspect science funding and science policy (apart from firebrand issues with his base like stem cells and missle defense) rarely, if ever, cross his mind. In some ways, that's even more sad than a deliberate anti-science attitude: if it doesn't serve political ends, he just doesn't care.