HARRISBURG, Pa. – A biology professor who supports classroom discussion of "intelligent design" testified Friday that major peer-reviewed scientific journals shun articles on the concept because it is a minority view.
"To endorse intelligent design comes with risk because it's a position against the consensus. Science is not a democratic process," University of Idaho microbiology professor Scott Minnich (search) said under cross-examination.
Minnich testified on behalf of the Dover Area School Board (search), which is defending an October 2004 decision to require students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. Teachers opposed the statement, which says Charles Darwin's (search) theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to the textbook "Of Pandas and People" for more information.
Eight families are suing to end the practice, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state because it essentially promotes the Bible's view of creation.
Intelligent design supporters argue that natural selection, an element of evolutionary theory, cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.
Minnich testified that intelligent design is based on science and doesn't require adherence to any religious belief. He also praised the prescribed statement to students.
Like some other advocates of intelligent design, Minnich acknowledged that he believes the designer is God, but he stressed that is a personal belief, not one based on science.
The trial, which began Sept. 26, is being heard without a jury and was expected to conclude with closing arguments Friday afternoon. The judge was not expected to rule immediately.
The plaintiffs are represented by a team put together by the American Civil Liberties Union (search) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (search). The school district is represented by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thomas More Law Center (search), which says its mission is to defend the religious freedom of Christians.