The Intersection

John Boehner on Intelligent Design

Everyone is buzzing with the news that John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, has been elected the new majority leader in the House. So far, though, I have not seen any journalist ferret out this 2002 letter to the Ohio Board of Education (reported on here in the Post), in which Boehner teamed up with another Ohio Republican (Steve Chabot) to push an attack on evolution.

The Boehner-Chabot letter interprets the controversial Santorum Amendment as indicating the following: “Public school students are entitled to learn that there are differing scientific views on issues such as biological evolution.” Whether the Santorum amendment actually means this is questionable, but Boehner certainly thinks it does. His letter therefore implies that “intelligent design” counts as as a scientific alternative to evolution, a position rejected firmly by Judge Jones in the Dover trial.

So now, some journalist really needs to ask Boehner what his stance is on ID. That should be very interesting. More generally, that Boehner was elected the new House Majority Leader for the GOP is stunning evidence, to me, that the Republican war on science is alive and well.

P.S.: Dear Opinator and Think Progress readers, thanks for coming, I hope you’ll take a moment to check out The Republican War on Science before you depart….


  1. #1 Dave S.
    February 3, 2006

    That was way back in 2002 Chris. How many times has Santorum himself changed his mind since then?

  2. #2 CanuckRob
    February 3, 2006

    What the heck does it take to convince people that ignorance of science is not a virtue? Now the House Leader can’t distinguish scientific controversy from idiotic claptrap from a bunch of bigotted funamentalists that have admitted there entire agenda is to misuse science in order to get their lunatic theocracy in plac.e Has he not read teh Wedge document? Why is the US media (excluiding the blogosphere and John Stewart) not showing the American people that horrible document?

  3. #3 Tara
    February 3, 2006

    Wait, has Santorum changed his mind? I know Frist has distanced himself, but I don’t recall Santorum doing the same (but maybe I’ve just forgotten…)

  4. #4 IndianCowboy
    February 3, 2006

    Boehner was elected cuz he has a completely pork-free record. Also, even while he was in the running for majority leader he actually said that the wiretap issue needs to be investigated, that he wasn’t sure Bush had the authority for it. Pretty stunning since he was voted for only by republican congressmen.

    I doubt his ID stance has much to do with anything.

  5. #5 Pharma Bawd
    February 3, 2006


    tough to say. It looks like Santorum’s current position is I am still in favor of teaching intelligent design as a n alternative to evolution, but, I don’t want anyone with a brain to hold that against me in the next election.

  6. #6 Gorbe
    February 3, 2006

    The Washington Post mentioned this morning that Boehner is more of a chamber-of-commerce Republican than a social-conservative Republican. Of course, it’s rarely this simple. If a large chunk of votes is to be had by appealing to the ignorant , I don’t know of a politician in DC who could resist the urge to pander. In that regard, most politicians are useful idiots if you can deliver enough votes.

  7. #7 Gerardo Camilo
    February 3, 2006

    Well, I was hoping for my gov’s dad to take the post (ie, Blunt), NOT! We have a bill, now in the state legislature, sponsored by one of Roy’s protege demanding the “critical review” of evolution. Needless to say, they couldn’t recongnize what is science even if it bit them in the anal sphincter.

  8. #8 Gerardo Camilo
    February 3, 2006

    What the heck does it take to convince people that ignorance of science is not a virtue?

    But is very cool in certain circles.

  9. #9 Chris Mooney
    February 3, 2006

    Santorum appears to have flip-flopped. The question is, will Boehner do the same? That’s why some journalist needs to ask it, ASAP.

    I wasn’t saying Boehner was elected because of his stance on ID. Rather, I was saying I find it revealing, in light of my Republican War on Science thesis, that someone in his position in the GOP appears to support ID.

  10. #10 hardindr
    February 3, 2006

    So now, some journalist really needs to ask Boehner what his stance is on ID. That should be very interesting.

    Could you be that journalist, Chris?

  11. #11 Jim Lippard
    February 3, 2006

    IndianCowboy: “Boehner was elected cuz he has a completely pork-free record.”

    Uh, Boehner distributed checks from lobbyists on the floor of the House, was a top-10 recipient of Abramoff funds which he’s refused to return, and has otherwise shown himself to be a politician for sale:

  12. #12 Aaron
    February 4, 2006

    Thanks for digging this up, Chris! Excellent work as usual.

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