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.”
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 anthropomorphic 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 anthropomorphic 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 recipe.
But you don’t go around hiring physicists to give you definitive answers on things like the anthropomorphic 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 of biology?
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?
GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org