By Greg Moses
Actually that wasn’t the headline. According to Yahoo News, the
USA President thinks intelligent design should be taught in
schools. That was the headline. And I have no problem with that. In a perfect
world, it would be taught in schools. And for
just the reasons that Bush gives to the AP:
"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."
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But in which class should intelligent design be taught, and under which
subject? It might be mentioned in physics class, the way that
Stephen Hawking’s wonderful book History of Time mentions the
anthropic principle. But it’s
not really physics so much as one of those things that physics yields
to the delight of inquiring minds.
As I understand it, the anthropic principle states that chances
of us being here are narrow enough to indicate some bias
in the order of things. It’s like the universe played favorites
with our parameters of existence and served them up in a 9 billion year
But you don’t go around hiring physicists to give you definitive
answers on things like the anthropic principle, and you don’t
qualify as a physicist for developing an opinion on the question
either. Likewise with intelligent design. A physicist such as Hawking may
hold an opinion on the matter, but it wouldn’t be something proper to
the study of physics.
So if intelligent design doesn’t belong in physics class, how about
biology? Here again the case is quite the same. Oh, wow, we
were created as some intelligent design, or not. Either way, how
does the answer to that question help with any of the crucial questions
So if science class is not the place for intelligent design, what would
be the place to teach it? I think the obvious answer is philosophy. And
in a perfect world, philosophy would be universally taught for reasons that the President shared with the Texas press corps.
Also in a perfect world, George W. Bush will be spending decades in
prison for his part in launching at least one cold-blooded and illegal
war. So in the perfect world that Bush is helping to shape, why
couldn’t he teach intelligent design in prison, too? It will make
a fine seminar for war criminals.
If to you it sounds a little crude for me to wish life in prison for Bush, let me
explain that it has taken me months to calm down to this level of
compassion. Honestly, my first reaction upon viewing a video of
Fallujans filling body bags was to wish a Walls Unit future for our War
Criminal in Chief. That’s the name of the prison in Huntsville
where they strap killers down and inject them.
In a perfect world there won’t be a Walls Unit, of course, so in the
scenario of intelligent design that we’re pursuing here, there won’t be
a Walls Unit for Bush either.
But it is so humanly tempting to settle for something a little less
than perfect now and then, just to see the same man, who as Governor of
Texas authorized so many Walls Unit killings, be placed on trial under
Texas capital punishment statutes for conspiring to kill and
loot. Although as I say it is tempting to embrace the not quite perfect
impulse for capital punishment, I did manage to keep these thoughts
well-hidden on my hard
drive until Bush shared with Texas journalists his notion that teaching
intelligent design would be good for kids. That put me
in a more perfect mood.
So to complete our picture of the perfect world, if the infamous Downing Street memo
turns out to be connected to court-worthy evidence of a cooked-up
war. And if there is some human authority with enough
jurisdiction and guts to prosecute. And if intelligent design
includes a robust consciousness of justice. Then all the lines of
perfection for these past 9 billion years have been converging inescapably on Bush teaching intelligent design
from prison. Why not report that news in advance?