I’m a bad blogger — I’ve been too swamped collecting data and writing grants to post about the amazing science (microevolution vs. macroevolution) and books (Going After Cacciato, The Satanic Verses) I’ve been reading. What’s more, today I’m going to repost old stuff. I know, terrible. But at least there’s an interesting story behind this one:
WordPress provides all sorts of stats about darwinbookcats, including the most popular search terms that lead people to the site. By far, the most popular search term has been “michelle bachmann is an idiot”. That’s actually about 80% of my traffic. Bachmann’s support of intelligent-design-creationism (ID) certainly qualifies as idiocy (or, at the very least, IDiocy), so I hope all those googlers enjoy the site. Here’s the repost of my previous announcement Michelle Bachmann on Evolution: I’m an IDiot.
(By the way — the second most popular search term is “cat tree”. No lie.)
I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone, but Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced that she thinks Intelligent Design/Creationism should be taught in schools. According to 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.”
“I would prefer that students have the ability to learn all aspects of an issue,” Bachmann said. “And that’s why I believe the federal government should not be involved in local education to the most minimal possible process.”
There are several things wrong with Bachmann’s stance: here’s just three.
 For starters, it’s just wrong: there is no reasonable doubt as to the ability of evolution to explain the diversity of life on Earth. Quite the opposite, it is unreasonable, as unreasonable as believing that the earth is the center of our universe. Evolution is true. Evolution has happened and is happening — even to us. Bachmann’s doubt is not based on any scientific evidence but on religious dogma (and a very specific one at that: fundamentalist christianity). If you’re interested in learning more about why evolution is true (and why Intelligent Design/Creationism is not), read this blog or others by actual biologist (not politicians), and pick up a copy of Jerry Coyne’s terrific book Why Evolution is True. It’s an easy and entertaining read, with very helpful illustrations.
 Second, although we should promote critical thinking among our students, we should not teach them “all aspects of an issue” if one aspect is clearly wrong. We would never teach our children that 2 + 2 = 4, but also, by the way, some guy once said that 2 + 2 = 5, so, yeah remember that also, and good luck on the test. We encourage critical thinking by having students form hypotheses and then test them. Encouraging students to believe that an untestable and incorrect assertion like Intelligent Design/Creationism is a valid alternative to to evolution is not critical thinking, but lazy thinking. Besides, just remember all the reasons you should understand evolution.
 Finally, Bachmann’s desire to have Intelligent Design/Creationism taught in public schools is illegal, since it is clearly descended (evolved!) from biblical creationism and “creation science” (which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one). The courts have dealt with this issue repeatedly, and each time they have affirmed that teaching creationism in public schools — in any of is previous or present manifestations — is unconstitutional. It is ironic that Bachmann made her annoucement in Louisiana (my home state), which once had a law mandating equal time for evolution and creation science. The constitutionality of this law was challenged in 1987 in the US Supreme Court, and in Edwards v. Aguillard the court ruled that requiring public school teachers to teach creationism violated the separation of church and state.
So there you have it: incorrect, lazy, and illegal. Religion isn’t science and has no place in a science class room. Intelligent Design/Creationism advocates (IDiots) like Bachmann want to attack federal education standards that include evolution so that local school boards like those in Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and Kansas can push their religious dogma onto others. In case you were ever on the fence, you now know not to vote for her.