Last Friday, I was working on a comment for the "Right Reason" blog on the issue of Intelligent Design (see below) when Mark Pitsch of the Louisville Courier-Journal called to ask what I thought were the main issues involved in selecting a new state schools chief.
During the course of the conversation, he brought up the fact that outgoing Commissioner of Education Gene Wilhoit said that it would be a mistake to hire a comissioner who believes that Intelligent Design should be taught in public schools [and note here that he brought the issue up, not me]. I responded that I thought any candidate who said that, ipso facto, Intelligent Design should not be taught in schools should be automatically disqualified.
This is the comment that made its way into the story that ran in the C-J today. In fact, the story is largely about the Intelligent Design issue as it relates to schools.
My comment will obviously rankle the anti-ID crowd in the state, and will (here comes a prediction) be interpreted to mean that I believe that there should be some requirement that Intelligent Design should be taught in every science classroom in the state. But that is not what I said.
There are three possible positions you can have on the issue of teaching about Intelligent Design in schools. The first is that it should be taught; the second that teachers should be allowed to teach it or not teach it, as they see fit; and the third is that it should not be taught. My position is that it should be up to the teacher (the middle position). And my remark about candidates being automatically disqualified for taking the latter position (that it should not be taught) was based on my belief that such a position betrays an extreme secularist attitude about how schools should handle scientific and religious questions that we have had entirely too much of in our schools over the last 50 years or so.
I will have more to say on this issue in the future, but suffice it to say here that I predict this issue will become a hot one over the course of the next year. Why? Because it is already a big national issue. Add to that the fact that the state media is enthusiastic about covering it. The stars don't get any better aligned on a public issue than they are on this one.