The NY Times has this follow up story on the controversy:
On Tuesday, the president’s conservative Christian supporters and the leading institute advancing intelligent design embraced Mr. Bush’s comments while scientists and advocates of the separation of church and state disparaged them. At the White House, where intelligent design has been discussed in a weekly Bible study group, Mr. Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger 3rd, sought to play down the president’s remarks as common sense and old news.
Mr. Marburger said in a telephone interview that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology” and “intelligent design is not a scientific concept.” Mr. Marburger also said that Mr. Bush’s remarks should be interpreted to mean that the president believes that intelligent design should be discussed as part of the “social context” in science classes.
Intelligent design, advanced by a group of academics and intellectuals and some biblical creationists, disputes the idea that natural selection – the force Charles Darwin suggested drove evolution – fully explains the complexity of life. Instead, intelligent design proponents say that life is so intricate that only a powerful guiding force, or intelligent designer, could have created it.
Intelligent design does not identify the designer, but critics say the theory is a thinly disguised argument for God and the divine creation of the universe. Invigorated by a recent push by conservatives, the theory has been gaining support in school districts in 20 states, with Kansas in the lead.
Mr. Marburger said it would be “over-interpreting” Mr. Bush’s remarks to say that the president believed that intelligent design and evolution should be given equal treatment in schools.
But Mr. Bush’s conservative supporters said the president had indicated exactly that in his remarks.
“It’s what I’ve been pushing, it’s what a lot of us have been pushing,” said Richard Land, the president of the ethics and religious liberties commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Land, who has close ties to the White House, said that evolution “is too often taught as fact,” and that “if you’re going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists.”
But critics saw Mr. Bush’s comment that “both sides” should be taught as the most troubling aspect of his remarks.
“It sounds like you’re being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint, and intelligent design is a sectarian religious viewpoint,” said Susan Spath, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Science Education, a group that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. “It’s not fair to privilege one religious viewpoint by calling it the other side of evolution.”
You know where I stand on this issue, so I don’t really need to add anything. Intelligent Design in a religion class- fine. Intelligent design in a philosophy clas- fine. Intelligent Design in science classes? Not fine.
*** Update ***
Patterico has a thoroughly decent piece on the issue here. An excerpt:
When I was in 8th grade, my science teacher taught our class evolution. She said: “I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes here, but creationism isn’t science. Evolution is, and that’s what I’ll be teaching. Your parents can teach you creationism at home if they want to.”
I thought she was just right, and that’s what I’d want a teacher telling my child in 8th grade science.
On the other hand, when I was in college, I had a teaching assistant in our evolution class who told us that, if we simply learned enough about science, we would understand that there is no God. A couple of us in the class challenged the guy. Couldn’t a philosophically sound argument be constructed for the existence of God that is consistent with one’s scientific observations of the world? His answer was that if we thought that, we just didn’t know enough science. Once we learned as much science as he knew, we would understand.
I thought that guy was full of crap.