Most people who come to this blog will probably already know that Richard Dawkins has an opinion piece in the Washington Post today.
The point of the article is that intelligence should be considered a qualification for being President, and knowledge of evolution is a good litmus test for intelligence.
On that test, certain candidates for office clearly come out as unqualified. They are the types of candidates for a position as important as President that should not even be on the list - let alone the short list - of possibilities.
The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.
I consider this to be an important point.
We need to make intelligence a qualification for President - or at least make stupidity a disqualifier. And it is true that a basic knowledge of reality is how you test for basic intelligence. People who do not know simple scientific facts - the earth is round, it orbits the sun, it is made up of atoms, it is 4.5 billion years old, life emerged through a gradual process of evolution - are just too stupid to be President.
Other tests of stupidity: Prayer in school is not a defense against terrorist attacks, gay marriage does not cause earthquakes or effect the course of hurricanes, and it is not the case that we need not fear the long-term consequences of our action because Jesus will be here any day now.
If we are not going to be concerned with the intellectual qualifications for president, why put an age limit on who can run for office? There are fifth graders that score higher on these qualifications than many of the people who have made it to the top of the Republican short list.