Monday, November 14, 2005

Santorum Backs Away from ID?

From the Beaver County Times and Allegheny Times comes this interesting article about Senator Rick Santorum's apparent change of heart concerning the teaching of ID in science classrooms:


U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Saturday that he doesn't believe that intelligent design belongs in the science classroom.

Santorum's comments to The Times are a shift from his position of several years ago, when he wrote in a Washington Times editorial that intelligent design is a “legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in the classroom.”

But on Saturday, the Republican said that, “Science leads you where it leads you.”


And later:


Though Santorum said he believes that intelligent design is “a legitimate issue,” he doesn't believe it should be taught in the classroom, adding that he had concerns about some parts of the theory.


Santorum is one of the most conservative members of the Senate, and he is a darling of the religious right. So any wavering on this issue will not be taken lightly by his core supporters.

I suspect that this flip-flop represents a desire to move to the center in time for his difficult 2006 Senate campaign against conservative Democrat Bob Casey. With Bush's declining poll numbers, a lot of Republicans are trying to distance themselves from him (and recall that Bush supports teaching “both sides”). Meanwhile, Santorum recognizes that ID stands a very good chance of being defeated in the Dover trial, and he knows that the pro-ID school board there was swept out of office en masse. It will be interesting to see if Santorum flip-flops again in response to a favorable decision in the Dover trial.

This is hopeful news. Perhaps the Republican Party is coming around to the view that being relentlessly anti-science is not good either for them or for America. Somehow I doubt it though.

I should point out that, according to the article, Santorum denies that he is trying to distance himself from Bush:


With Santorum running for re-election next year, and with Bush and the Republican Party taking some significant hits in public confidence in recent months, Santorum insisted he is not trying to distance himself from Bush.

Santorum said he still supports President Bush, even though on Friday, he said in Philadelphia that mistakes had been made in the Iraq war, and that at least a portion of the blame lies with the White House.

Saturday, Santorum said of Bush, “I don't agree with everything he does,” but said that overall, he considers Bush a good president and that he has “done a lot” for the country and for Santorum himself.


Somehow this statement makes me more confident that my assessment is correct...

8 Comments:

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Ron said...

Santorum isn't backing away, he's just continuing to say what others (the Discovery Institute) tell him to say. It's great for Santorum's political image as well since it makes him look like he's taking a stand against the religious right when he is not.

 
At 1:37 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Right. The official ID position is not that ID should be taught in school, but that schools should "teach the controversy," i.e., they should teach people how many supposed problems there are in the theory of evolution. That's why they actually issued a statement opposing the Dover School Board policy of having teachers read a statement directing students to an ID text. The ID people figure that the best approach is to artificially generate a "controversy" over the scientific validity of evolution, and they can slip religion in on the side or introduce it more fully later. They worry that a call for the teaching of ID in the classrooms will quickly get shot down in the courts, given the precedents that exist. So Santorum is probably just playing along with this.

 
At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, in an Oqwellian move, the Discovery Institute (DI) recently began saying that they NEVER endorsed teaching ID. That ticked-off the lawyers from the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), who produced a DI-published booklet promoting teaching ID. The TMLC feels that DI left them in the lurch by withdrawing expert witlesses from the Dover trial after it was too late to introduce new witlesses.

It seems that, as the trial approached, someone at DI asked "What do we answer when the judge asks how a "designer" differs from a "Creator?"

Now, DI says the ID "theory" is not well-enough developed, and teachers are not trained, to properly introduce it in biology classes.

 
At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's "Orwellian," not "Oqwellian."

Dang

But I did mean "witlesses." See the transcripts.

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger eeen said...

if there wasn't an author called George Oqwell (or Oquell), there should have been

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I agree that Santorum is backing away from ID, but maybe not necessarily for political reasons. Maybe (and hopefully) he is choosing not to ignore science like so many other Republicans and considering the logic of evolution. I think it's fine if he believes in the legitimacy of ID, but at least he acknowledges it is a religious belief and not a scientific one.

rightagenda.blogspot.com

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

Michael, if you think that "Man on Dog" Santorum is embracing a position because it's reasonable and rational, well... you're very optimistic, and probably not from Pennsylvania.

 
At 3:34 AM, Blogger zhengbin said...

Kauf und Verkauf von Gold in den thomas sabo Goldmarkt hat viel an Popularit├Ąt gewonnen,

 

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