Vander Plaats made the comments during a meeting with students on the Iowa State University campus Tuesday. He had not discussed the issue with his running mate, Jim Nussle, he told the students, but he believes the two ideas warrant equal time in the classroom.
"If we are going to teach evolution, there is another viewpoint and one that holds pretty good too (evolution) in regards to creation," Vander Plaats said. "I think that is something that I would want to visit further along with Jim Nussle in regards to 'Where are you at on that?' But my viewpoint is I would like to give both of these (time in the classroom)."
Evolution is the change in the heredity of a population over generations. Intelligent design holds the possibility that an intelligent cause or agent had a hand in the makings of the universe.
The question was raised by Rachel Smith, an ISU senior in agricultural biochemistry. Smith later spoke out against the candidate's response, arguing that intelligent design is not a scientific theory.
"It may be a theory in the way of being a concept, but it is definitely not a scientific theory," Smith told Vander Plaats. "Evolution is a scientific theory, and it is accepted very, very widely."
Vander Plaats responded that intelligent design is a "very real theory" that is widely accepted.
"I think from an educator point of view, I want to give the theories that have creditability weight in the classroom," he said. "There are some credible evidences on both sides, I think from an educator point of view as well as a full discourse to the students of 'Here's how people believe the world came to be.'
"I don't see where that can hurt."