In the past months, the concept of "intelligent design" has seized the public opinions on whether the theory should be introduced into classrooms. President Bush's support for schools to be "exposed to different ideas" has been the element that stirred the chemistry of the debate.
"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought -- You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes." Said President Bush during an interview in Washington last week.
While he was the governor of Texas, President Bush has also supported the theory and said that the students should be exposed to both evolution and intelligent design.
The theory made claims that life is too complex to be explained by evolution. Yet in contrast to "creationism" which place God as the creator, intelligent design take a more general view stating that life did not come about by chance, rather a "designer" might have made it with many placing God in that position.
However, a number of scientist have spoken out against intelligent design, stressing that it is nothing more than a theory. Chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alan Leshner, says that the supporters of intelligent design are simply "trying to cloak a religious concept in the mantle of science."
"There is no science to intelligent design, it's not even a scientifically answerable question." Said Leshner.
Associate director of the Centre for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, John G. West, said, however, that intelligent design and its supporters were sorely misunderstood.
"The first misunderstanding is that intelligent design is based on religion rather than science. Design theory is a scientific inference based on empirical evidence, not religious, texts." Said West.
"The theory proposes that some features of the natural world are best explained as the product of an intelligent cause as opposed to an undirected process such as natural selection."
The recent debate has also fueled spurs of comments among the religious sector. In a recent issue of TIME magazine, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) President Albert Mohler Jr. raised the question whether God and evolution can co-exist. He said that believing in both Divine creation and evolution is "inconsistent."
"Given the human tendency toward inconsistency, there are people who will say they hold both positions," said Mohler, "but you cannot coherently affirm the Christian-truth claim and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time."
In the same article, Michael Behe, the Lehigh University biochemistry professor said he believes that the two theories are consistent with one another.
"Sure, it's possible to believe in both God and evolution," said Behe, "I'm a Roman Catholic, and Catholics have always understood that God could make life any way he wanted to."
"If he wanted to make it by the playing out of natural law, then who were we to object? We were taught in parochial school that Darwin's theory was the best guess at how God could have made life."