Most mainstream religious groups have long since made their peace with evolutionary theory. As in, most Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church, Judaism in its Conservative, Reform, and most Orthodox groups. The stipulation, in most cases, is simply that evolution is part of God's plan for the creation of life.
Few have any real beef with that stipulation because it is one that is just not relevant to the sorts of question evolutionary biologists study. It allows religion and science to happily coexist.
I don't know why this point isn't made more often and louder. Not only is there not necessarily a conflict between evolutionary theory and religious creation stories -- many world religions have actually accepted evolutionary theory outright. In fact, there is no real grand debate of the SCIENCE VS RELIGION CAGE MATCH style that some media analysts might want there to be. So what's really going on? Marshall continues:
What you have here with the president and the intelligent design hucksters is an attempt to teach creationism as a rival theory to evolution in science classes. And more broadly, it is a brief for Biblical literalism being taught in the public schools, despite the fact that people as far back as Origen could figure out that at least certain parts of the Bible could not possibly be intended to be understood as literal truth.
I think the operative word here is "hucksters," because I increasingly have a hard time believing the public advocates of intelligent design (by which I mean your Kansas schoolboards, your Dobsons, your Bushs, not the rank and file) believe any of what they're saying. I don't know; maybe they think they do, or maybe they've made up some sort of rationization. But given that there doesn't have to be a conflict between evolutionary theory and religion, and that a cursory examination of the world's major religions would reveal this, I have a hard time believing that this fake debate is anything other than pure partisan politics -- a GOTV strategy for the republican party.
Well, maybe it's a little more than that. Maybe it's a shrewd way for the republicans to capitalize upon a culture of resentment among some communities. That those who advocate intelligent design don't really believe it necessarily, but are so resentful of the non-existent smug liberal elites that they want not to believe in evolution in order to antagonize the "evolutionists."
And for Bush, a supposedly educated man who claims to care about the education of children, to make a statement pretending that the two are on par ("different schools of thought") is truly shameful. But not surprising.