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Michele Bachmann, CNN photo

Michele Bachmann, science ignoramus (CNN photo)

JISHOU, HUNAN — CNN reports the not-very-surprising news that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) favors teaching Intelligent Design (religion made science-y) in schools, right alongside evolution (actual science).

It’s not surprising, because Bachmann (and most of the other candidates for the GOP presidential nomination), are stubbornly in the Science (and History) Ignoramus class. Global warming? Liberal nonsense! Evolution? Atheist nonsense! Separation of Church and State? It was never there!

Intelligent Design is religious belief, Creationism with a different label, and the federal courts — most recently in 2005 — have ruled it cannot be taught in public schools, especially in science class. Period.

Yet, Bachmann and others stubbornly insist ID must be taught in public schools. Don’t they read the newspapers?

Here’s what she told CNN.

“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.”

WRONG!!

There is no “reasonable doubt” about evolution, at least among sensible people and especially not among scientists. There are no two sides about evolution, any more than there are two sides about Einstein’s theory of gravity, or the atomic theory, or continental drift. They are all accepted scientific theories, supported by piles of evidence.

She’s repeating the worn-out “teach the controversy” ploy of the ID community. It goes like this:

  1. Assume that evolution is a belief system, not an empirical theory.
  2. Pretend that there is lack of consensus about this belief system.
  3. Couch objections to teaching evolution in school in “Big Brother” or “atheistic government” terms.
  4. Appeal to the reasonable concept that students should hear all sides of an issue.
  5. Insist that Intelligent Design is a suitable scientific explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.
  6. Propose that ID and evolution be taught as alternative theories, and let the students decide which is “better science.”

To the layman, this all seems perfectly reasonable. After all, we can discuss socialism and capitalism in history classes, why not creationism — sorry, Intelligent Design — and evolution in biology class?

But science is not the same as political theory. Science depends on observations, experiments, logical deduction and induction, self-consistency, explanatory power, predictability and (most importantly for this discussion) rejection of supernatural causes for natural events.

The underlying premise of ID is that some unseen being/force/architect/mechanic/God created life forms more or less as they appear now, perhaps as early as just a few thousand years ago. We cannot prove such a Designer exists, since he/she/it is undetectable by natural means, so this Designer is supernatural.

In addition, since ID assumes a Designer is looking down (or around, or up, or sideways) at Life on Earth, he/she/it might decide at any time to poof! create something new, or eliminate something altogether. Thus, there is no real predictability to this so-called theory, since we cannot anticipate God’s decisions. — Sorry, did I say God? I meant the Intelligent Designer.

You don’t need to my word for it. US District Judge John Jones, a Republican appointee, ruled in Kitzmiler v. Dover Board of Education (2005), after a lengthy court trial, that ID is nothing but Creationism — religious belief — dressed up as a “science,” and very poor science, at that.

The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (Source)

and

ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. (Source)

Bachmann, incidentally, implies that “government” should allow public schools to “teach the controversy,” which is a polite way of saying the government should require it. (Several states have legislation pending, or have already passed laws, requiring ID or creationism be taught in public schools. Louisiana, where she was speaking, is one of them that passed such a law.)

So, on the one hand, she says the government should stay out of education, while on the other hand, she says it should not. After all, the religious right, of which Bachmann is a member, really, really wants to put religion (their form of it) in the public schools, if they are not trying to eliminate public schooling altogether.

Pay close attention to what Bachmann, and the other GOP candidates, say about science and education. Then ask yourself if that is the kind of thinking that would enable the USA to continue being a leader in science and technology.

And then vote for someone else.

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