HARRISBURG, Pa. – The concept of "intelligent design" (search) is a form of creationism and is not based on scientific method, a professor testified Wednesday in a trial over whether the idea should be taught in public schools.
Robert T. Pennock, a professor of science and philosophy at Michigan State University, testified on behalf of families who sued the Dover Area School District. He said supporters of intelligent design don't offer evidence to support their idea.
"As scientists go about their business, they follow a method," Pennock said. "Intelligent design wants to reject that and so it doesn't really fall within the purview of science."
Pennock said intelligent design does not belong in a science class, but added that it could possibly be addressed in other types of courses.
In October 2004, the Dover school board voted 6-3 to require teachers to read a brief statement about intelligent design to students before classes on evolution (search). The statement says Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to an intelligent-design textbook for more information.
Eight families are trying to have intelligent design removed from the curriculum, arguing that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. They say it promotes the Bible's view of creation.
Proponents of intelligent design argue that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force, and that Charles Darwin's (search) theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.