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Battle for Intelligent Design Begins in Pennsylvania

A federal court in Pennsylvania will begin to decide on Monday if intelligent design can be legally taught in science classes.
( [email protected] ) Sep 26, 2005 03:52 PM EDT

The debate over intelligent design began Monday, where a federal court in Pennsylvania will rule on whether the theory of an intelligent designer of life can be legally taught in public schools.

Eleven parents from Pennsylvania, supported by the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, took their local school board into court to argue that intelligent design is a violation of church and state separation.

Meanwhile, proponents of intelligent design argue that evolution cannot explain the complexities of a human being, such as cell structure, which some are saying can be best explained through intelligent design.

For the past 15 years, scholars have been advancing the theory of intelligent design, which holds that Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life, thus it implies that life on Earth was formed by an intelligent creator.

The trial that begins today is the first challenge to overturn the board's decision last year that allowed teachers to teach science students about intelligent design and the flaws in Charles Darwin's theories.

The Michigan-bases Thomas More Law Center that promotes and defends religious freedom for Christians is arguing the case, Richard Thompson told the Los Angeles Times, "This issue is bubbling under the surface all over the country, but the Dover board had the courage of their convictions."

The Dover school board approved a statement on intelligent design that was read to students in January and will be read again this year, it says:

"Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in theory exist for which there is no evidence…. Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin…. With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Some have raised the similarities between intelligent design and creationism, a literal interpretation of creation that was presented in the Bible, saying that the only difference is that intelligent design is covered with scientific language.

However, attorneys say that intelligent design is different because it does not mention religion.

Students are giving mixed responses on the debate of intelligent design, but some are more focused on the debate.

Giovanni Herman, a ninth grader told the Los Angeles Times, "I know there are a lot of people fighting over this, what we should be taught, but it's all OK with me. In the end, I think I’ll make up my own mind."