- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2005

Professor denies a religious link HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) — A Pennsylvania school board arguing its right to introduce the intelligent design theory into science classes began its defense yesterday with a college professor who testified the theory was based in science. Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, said intelligent design — which holds that nature is so complex it could not have been the result of random chance, as evolution postulates — is based on observable phenomenon and not religiously inspired. Eleven parents of students at a Pennsylvania high school are suing the Dover school board in federal court, claiming its new policy of introducing intelligent design in the classroom violates the First Amendment’s ban on establishment of religion. The case marks the first time teaching intelligent design has been challenged in court and is being closely watched in at least 30 states where similar initiatives are being considered. “Intelligent design relies completely on physical, observable, empirical facts about nature plus logical inference,” Mr. Behe said. Mr. Behe said it was not necessary to identify nature’s designer in order to perceive the design and denied that intelligent design was a form of creationism — the belief that God created the world. Opponents claim the theory is a thinly veiled version of creationism, which the U.S. Supreme Court has said cannot be taught in public schools. Mr. Behe said intelligent design is shown by the “purposeful arrangements of parts in biological organisms whose operation is not properly explained by Darwinism.” He cited an organism called bacterial flagellum as an example of intelligent design. The operation of flagellum, by which bacteria are distributed within the body, depends on an intricate combination of parts whose interaction can not be explained by evolution, he testified. Witnesses for the plaintiffs, including Brown University biology professor Kenneth Miller, testified earlier in the trial that intelligent design is not scientific and has no place in high school classes.

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