Expert Comment on President Bush's Remarks on the Teaching of "Intelligent Design"

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Media Contact:Greg Lester | glester@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-8573-6604August 15, 2005

Michael Weisberg, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Philosophy, is an expert on the history and philosophy of science.  

Earlier this year, Dr. Weisberg, along with Penn biologist Paul Sniegowski, submitted an open letter signed by many of their Penn colleagues asking the Dover, Pa., school board to reconsider its decision to allow "intelligent design theory" in local schools.  As the issue has grown nationally, President Bush has voiced support for teaching intelligent design in public schools.  

"Although exposing people to different schools of thought is an admirable educational goal, President Bush's statement about intelligent design is extremely misleading," Dr. Weisberg said.  "Intelligent design is not a scientific alternative to evolutionary theory, so telling students that it is a different 'school of thought' is completely inappropriate.

"We don't preface our discussions of biochemistry or cell biology by mentioning the 'alternative' theory of vital force.  Alternative theories should be taught when there is a real controversy among experts, such as in discussions about the cause of the Civil War or what killed the dinosaurs."