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"Intelligent design" doctrine goes to US federal court
www.chinaview.cn 2005-09-27 13:06:53

    LOS ANGELES, Sept. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- A US federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, opened Monday to hear whether the so-called "intelligent design" doctrine should be taught in basic schools to challenge Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

    The landmark trial, which will continue for five weeks, is widely seen as the first court test for US anti-evolutionists, the CBS reported.

    Eight students' families in Dover challenged the decision of the school district for inserting "intelligent design" into ninth-grade biology curriculum. The "intelligent design" says that life is created by some God-like intelligence, but not the result of evolution and selection.

    The school district requires students to hear a brief statement about "intelligent design" before biology classes.

    The disclaimer says that "intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view." It also notes that a reference book on intelligent design is available to students.

    The parents and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)accused this policy of violating the constitutional separation ofchurch and state, which forbids teaching religion in public schools.They also argued that "intelligent design" is unscientific and has no place in a science curriculum.

    But the Thomas More Law Center, defending the school district, said Dover's curriculum change is "modest" and "embodies the essence of liberal education."

    This case "is about free inquiry in education, not about a religious agenda," argued the center, which lobbies for what it sees as the religious freedom of Christians.

    Kenneth Miller, a Brown University professor and the first witness called by the plaintiffs, said pieces of the theory of evolution are subject to debate, such as where gender comes from, but "there is no controversy within science over the core proposition of evolutionary theory."

    On the other hand, "intelligent design" is not a testable theory in any sense, nor is it accepted by the scientific community,Miller said. If nearly all original species are extinct, then the "intelligent design" creator was not very intelligent.

    To some observers, the anti-evolutionists are winning the public relations battle in recent years.

    Although the science community scorns "intelligent design"doctrine, US President Bush said " both sides (it and the theory of evolution) ought to be properly taught."

    Fourteen US states have introduced legislation in support of "intelligent design." Dover is believed to be the first school system in the US to require students be exposed to the "intelligent design" concept since October 2004.

    In this August, the Kansas Board of Education also gave preliminary approval to science standards that allow "intelligent design"-style alternatives to be discussed alongside evolution.   Enditem

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