Intelligent design meets evolution in court
Survival of the fittest?
A court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is set to hear a case that could have implications for the teaching of science across America.
A group of parents from the nearby town of Dover is taking legal action to overturn a decision by the local school board to allow the teaching of the Intelligent Design theory in science classes.
Intelligent design (ID) holds that life is too complex to be explained by the theory of evolution, and that some intelligent agent must have had a hand in it.
Critics of this approach describe the theory as creationism is all but name, and argue that none of its tenets withstand normal scientific criticism. A major objection to the ID theory is that it is not testable. This is the single most important criterion that a scientific theory must meet.
In October 2004, the Dover school board district ruled that ID is a valid alternative theory to evolution and should be taught along side it in school.
The parents filed suit almost immediately, against the district school board, arguing that the decision was motivated by a desire to get religion taught in science classes. The also argue that the theory is in fact a cover for creationism.
"We're fighting for the first amendment, the separation of church and state and the integrity of schools," Philadelphia lawyer Eric Rothschild told the Los Angeles Times. "This trial should decide whether a school board can impose its religious views on other students."
The judge's ruling will only affect schools in the district
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