Tuesday, October 10, 2006

'Intelligent design' taught in Pennsylvania

'Intelligent design' taught in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 Posted: 11:35 AM EST (1635 GMT)

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) -- High school students heard about
"intelligent design" for the first time Tuesday in the Pennsylvania school
district that attracted national attention by requiring students to be made
aware of it as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

Administrators in the Dover Area School District read a statement to three
biology classes Tuesday and were expected to read it to other classes on
Wednesday, according to a statement from the Thomas More Law Center in Ann
Arbor, Michigan, which was speaking on the district's behalf.

The district is believed to be the only one in the nation to require
students to hear about intelligent design -- a concept that holds that the
universe is so complex, it had to be created by an unspecified guiding

"The revolution in evolution has begun," said Richard Thompson, the law
center's president and chief counsel. "This is the first step in which
students will be given an honest scientific evaluation of the theory of
evolution and its problems."

The case represents the newest chapter in a history of evolution lawsuits
dating back to the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee nearly 80 years ago. In
Georgia, a suburban Atlanta school district plans to challenge a federal
judge's order to remove stickers in science textbooks that call evolution "a
theory, not a fact."

The law center is defending the Dover district against a federal lawsuit
filed on behalf of eight families by two civil-liberties groups that alleged
intelligent design is merely a secular variation of creationism, the
biblical-based view that regards God as the creator of life. They maintain
that the Dover district's curriculum mandate may violate the constitutional
separation of church and state.

"Students who sat in the classroom were taught material which is religious
in content, not scientific, and I think it's unfortunate that has occurred,"
said Eric Rothschild, a Philadelphia attorney representing the plaintiffs in
the federal lawsuit.

Biology teacher Jennifer Miller said although she was able to make a smooth
transition to her evolution lesson after the statement was read, some
students were upset that administrators would not entertain any questions
about intelligent design.

"They were told that if you have any questions, to take it home," Miller

The district allowed students whose parents objected to the policy to be
excused from hearing the statement at the beginning of class and science
teachers who opposed the requirement to be exempted from reading the
statement. About 15 of 170 ninth-graders asked to be excused from class,
Thompson said.

A federal judge has scheduled a trial in the lawsuit for September 26.

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