President Bush jumped feet-first into the current debate raging in many states over how evolution should be taught in the nation’s schools, when he said both the evolution and intelligent design theories should be presented to students.

Speaking with reporters Monday, Bush backed local control of how the origin of life is taught, but parted with the scientific establishment on its evolution monopoly.

“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.”

The president declined to give his personal views on intelligent design, which proposes that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

The current edition of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine is dedicated entirely to the debate between evolution and intelligent design. It’s titled, “CENSORING GOD: Why is the science establishment so threatened by the intelligent design movement?”

In response to the president’s expression of support, a leading promoter of intelligent design, John West, commented: “President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution, and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution.” West is associate director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.

The Discovery Institute says it opposes mandating the teaching of intelligent design, but supports requiring students to know about scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory.

That approach has been adopted by the science standards in Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico and currently is under discussion in Kansas.

The think tank also backs the right of teachers to voluntarily discuss the scientific debate over intelligent design “free from persecution or intimidation.”

Bush expressed similar views in a fall 2004 interview with Science magazine.

Asked whether “‘intelligent design’ or other scientific critiques of evolutionary theory [should] be taught in public schools?,” Bush responded that “it is not the federal government’s role to tell states and local boards of education what they should teach in the classroom” but “[o]f course, scientific critiques of any theory should be a normal part of the science curriculum.”

The National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science insist intelligent design has no scientific basis and oppose its inclusion in school science classes. Many scientists dismiss is as an attempt to inject religion into science courses.

However, as WorldNetDaily reported, Discovery Institute has compiled a list of more than 400 scientists, including 70 biologists, who are skeptical about evolution.

“The fact is that a significant number of scientists are extremely skeptical that Darwinian evolution can explain the origins of life,” said West.

Editor’s note: Read more about the stunning August edition of Whistleblower magazine, titled, “CENSORING GOD: Why is the science establishment so threatened by the intelligent design movement?”

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