Because I am a biologist, evolution is at the core of virtually everything I think about. Like most of my colleagues, I’ve kept an eye on the emerging “intelligent design” movement. Unlike most of my colleagues, however, I don’t see ID as a threat to biology, public education or the ideals of the republic.
The Vatican has moved to clarify its position in the intelligent-design debate, publishing an article in its newspaper that dismisses ID on scientific grounds and embraces a recent court ruling in Pennsylvania keeping the theory out of classrooms.
Only days after the high-profile intelligent-design trial ended in the fall, Federal Judge John E. Jones III, relaxing in his chambers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, promised to weigh the evidence and “rule as I see fit.”
In the closely watched Dover, Pennsylvania, case over whether intelligent design theory may be taught in science classrooms, a federal judge has ruled that ID instruction, because of its creationist roots, would violate the First Amendment ban on promoting religious beliefs.
President Bush has endorsed the teaching of “intelligent design” along with natural selection in a roundtable interview with reporters from Texas newspapers. Bush said public school students should be exposed to the former theory, which posits that biological evidence suggests life is too complex to have evolved without an intelligent designer, presumably a divine Creator.
Two civil-liberties watchdog groups have filed the first known lawsuit to prevent public schools from teaching the theory of “intelligent design.” Critics of the theory, including supporters of evolution, call it “junk science” and say it is a back-door way to teach creationism.