Yesterday’s Ames Tribune, the paper that originally carried Republican lieutenant governor candidate Bob Vander Plaats’ comments supporting the teaching of intelligent design in schools contained an article noting Republican governor candidate Jim Nussle’s dismissal of Vander Plaats’ position:

Republican candidate for governor Jim Nussle and his running mate, Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats, disagree on whether intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in Iowa’s science classrooms.


On Wednesday Nussle broke with his running mate.

“While I believe and I have taught my children that we are all God’s creations, I do not believe intelligent design should be taught in our public schools,” Nussle said in a statement issued by his campaign.

Intelligent design advocates argue that an intelligent designer played a central role in the origin and development of life on earth. Its critics contend the theory is a thinly veiled effort to teach Christian creationism in the public schools.

Democratic candidate for governor Chet Culver also opposes teaching intelligent design.

“I think that we need to base what we teach kids in school on science,” said Culver, a former teacher. “I don’t think we need to be teaching intelligent design in the public schools. I think we have to have a separation between church and state.”

Interesting that it only took a few days for Nussle to come out against the teaching of Intelligent Design here in Iowa. Looks like his advisers are paying attention to the turning of the tide, even in conservative circles, against intelligent design. Kudos to them for giving credt to Iowa’s citizens–education is highly valued here, and just because we were a “red state” in the last presidential election doesn’t mean that the population swallows all the anti-science nonsense supported by Bush and others in the Republican party.


  1. #1 J-Dog
    October 27, 2006

    Thank you for the update, it is good to see that Nussle has the muscle to muzzle Van Plaat. Maybe you ARE in heaven…

  2. #2 jkc
    October 27, 2006

    Great example of having your cake and eating it too. He signals to one side that he is a creationist and to the other that he doesn’t think it should be taught in schools. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    Would that more creationists had the sense to realize that creationism/ID is not an appropriate topic for science class.

  3. #3 Dave S.
    October 27, 2006

    The latest setbacks, especially in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, should be enough to cool the ardour of any candidate who wants to flirt with trying to score a few cheap points by pandering to the conservative anti-evolution base. I’m not sure if it’s a real reflective opinion on Nussle’s part or if he simply doesn’t want to risk the potential lawsuits. Either way, the teaching of ID in public schools needs to be nipped in the bud.

  4. #4 Mike
    October 27, 2006

    Caution: The current creationist strategy for the wedge is to claim that they don’t want to teach ID creationism, but just introduce “critical analysis”, which actually involves teaching creationist arguments against evolution.

  5. #5 Dave S.
    October 28, 2006

    Yes Mike, this is simply a commitment on their part to change the letterhead. Whether ‘creationism’ or ‘ID’ or ‘critical analysis’, its all the same arguments. The same rancid wine in the same bottles…just with new labels pasted on.

  6. #6 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    October 28, 2006

    I think we have to have a separation between church and state.

    That’s a clear and refreshing repudiation of one point of the Iowa GOP platform:

    6.13 We assert that the phrase, “the separation of church and state” as is commonly used, contradicts the original intent and practice of the Framers of the Constitution.

  7. #7 Emmet Cooney
    October 28, 2006

    Posted by: Mike | October 27, 2006 06:06 PM

    “The current creationist strategy for the wedge is to claim that they don’t want to teach ID creationism, but just introduce “critical analysis”, which actually involves teaching creationist arguments against evolution.”

    If/When some group is successful in forcing a ‘serious’ discussion with regard to inserting ID into the curriculum under whatever name, I will demand that another alternate theory of creation be included as well, namely the theory proffered by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This theory provides many proofs in support of its conclusions and offers superior benefits to its adherents.

    The theory first came to prominence when the Kansas School Board considered the inclusion of ID into their state-wide curriculum. Get the whole story using the link below.

    Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

    I am a recent convert to Pastafarianism (as the sect is known) and I extend to all this blessing – “May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage.”


  8. #8 Tony Whitson
    October 29, 2006

    Way to Go!
    The letter by Iowans Citizens for Science (including Tara) is in today’s Iowa City Press-Citizen. see
    Now if you can get it reprinted in the Des Moines Register, the CR Gazette, etc. (Iowa City is the home of the University of Iowa, so readers of the IC paper are not the ones in need of enlightenment.)
    [I think the paper probably mis-printed the name of Tara’s group, which is just copied and pasted here from their web page.]

  9. #9 Tara C. Smith
    October 29, 2006

    Aargh, “Iowans Citizens for Science” ?

    I’ve not heard from the Register. They were interested but then they published the other editorial, so that might be the end of that. Haven’t heard from the Gazette yet; had another member of the organization submit it there so I’m not in direct contact.

  10. #10 Seldom
    October 30, 2006

    I guess “Iowans Citizens for Science” should have mixed in an English Ph.D;) I have been watching the Register daily and have yet to see anything else from them. I am afraid that jkc is right that Nussel gets to say he is a “good” creationist at home, but then say he’s a reasonable or practical creationist when it comes to schools. I think this is clear by watching Culver’s response. He of course is anti-ID but has to make sure to stress that he is a still a good Christian. To me that just shows how much further people need to be educated on the subject when being anti-ID requires you to reaffirm that you are actually religious. Good to see Iowa Citizens for Science taking steps along those lines.

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