'Intelligent design' trial in fourth week

October 18, 2005

An intelligent design activist has told a Harrisburg, Pa., federal court the concept is scientific and not a religious option for the theory of evolution.

Intelligent design theory says life is so complex it must have been devised by a supreme being. But Michael Behe, a biochemistry professor who champions intelligent design in his best-selling book "Darwin's Black Box," says the theory is not religious, since it can be explained by "physical, observable and empirical facts of nature."

Critics claim intelligent design is only Bible-based creationism under a different name.

Judge John Jones III is hearing evidence in the case that might determine for the first time whether intelligent design can be mentioned in a public school science class, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday.

The Dover, Pa., school board is being sued by parents of 11 students because it requires high school biology teachers to tell students Darwin's theory has unexplained "gaps" and they should consider the possibility of intelligent design.

Although denying intelligent design is a religious tenet, Behe testified he believes God is the "intelligent designer" who created life, the Inquirer reported.

Behe's views have been criticized by several mainstream scientific organizations.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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