A California couple has sued the operators of a University of California, Berkeley Web site designed to help teachers teach evolution, claiming it improperly strays into religion.

Jeanne and Larry Caldwell of Granite Bay say portions of the Understanding Evolution Web site amount to a government endorsement of certain religious groups over others because the site is partly funded through a public money grant from the National Science Foundation.

In the lawsuit filed last month, the Caldwells contend the site is an effort "to modify the beliefs of public school science students so they will be more willing to accept evolutionary theory as true."

The plaintiffs are not proponents of "intelligent design" — a theory that living organisms are so complex they must have been created by a higher intelligence — but they object to the teaching of evolution as scientific fact, Jeanne Caldwell said.

The site is run by UC Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology and paid in part by a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Two university scientists and a foundation official were named as defendants.

An attorney representing the Berkeley scientists said the courts have repeatedly rejected the argument that teaching evolution in itself is teaching a religious idea.