- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A rural school board showed a clear bias against teaching evolution before it pushed through a plan to introduce “intelligent design” to students, a former board member testified yesterday in a trial over whether the concept has a place in public schools.

Aralene “Barrie” Callahan, who was once on the Dover school board and is now among the challengers, said she thought the policy to teach intelligent design was religion-based.

Eight families are trying to remove the theory from Dover Area School District curriculum, arguing that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. They say it effectively promotes the Bible’s view of creation.

The school district argues it is letting students know there are differences of opinion about evolution, not endorsing any religious view.

Miss Callahan testified that board member Alan Bonsell — during a retreat in 2003 — “expressed he did not believe in evolution, and if evolution was part of the biology curriculum, creationism had to be shared 50-50.”

Board member Bill Buckingham complained in 2004 that a biology book recommended by the administration was “laced with Darwinism,” she said. “They were pretty much downplaying evolution as something that was credible.”

Proponents of intelligent design say life is the product of an unidentified intelligent force, and that Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.

The Dover school system is thought to be the nation’s first to mandate that students be exposed to the intelligent design concept.

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