Intelligent Design on Trial
Alan Leshner, chief executive officer for AAAS, and Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, said it is important for a federal court in Pennsylvania to reject efforts by the Dover, Pa. school board to require teachers to mention an anti-evolution doctrine known as "intelligent design" in biology classrooms.
Leshner and Scott spoke in a Sept. 22 telephone conference call with reporters prior to the opening of a trial scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 26, in a federal court in Harrisburg, Pa.
A group of parents of Dover schoolchildren have brought suit to halt a school district policy requiring teachers to read a disclaimer prior to a unit on evolution. The disclaimer says, in part, that "intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view." It also notes that a reference book on intelligent design is available to students.
"The Dover disclaimer brings religion straight into the science classroom," Leshner said. It misrepresents the state of knowledge about evolution, he said, and implies that a religious belief has a science base. And by referring students to a non-science text, he said, the disclaimer "surely will confuse them about what is and is not science."
Scott said that if the parents win the upcoming case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, it "will definitely throw sand in the gears" of the intelligent design movement.
Listen to an audio recording of the teleconference here.
Find information on AAAS resources on evolution here.
Visit the website for the National Center for Science Education here.
22 September 2005