Science on trial
A court case that begins Monday in Pennsylvania will be the first to determine whether it is legal to teach a controversial idea called intelligent design in public schools.
Intelligent design, often referred to as ID, has been touted in recent years by a small group of proponents as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. ID proponents say evolution is flawed. ID asserts that a supernatural being intervened at some point in the creation of life on Earth.
Scientists counter that evolution is a well-supported theory and that ID is not a verifiable theory at all and therefore has no place in a science curriculum.
The case is called Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
Prominent scientists Thursday called a teleconference with reporters to say that intelligent design distorts science and would bring religion into science classrooms.
"The reason this trial is so important is the Dover disclaimer brings religion straight into science classrooms," said Alan Leshner, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of the journal Science. "It distorts scientific standards and teaching objectives established by not only state of Pennsylvania but also leading scientific organizations of the United States."
Update: The Wall Street Journal ran a good article on the upcoming court battle as well.