1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 9/30/2005 11:13:32 PM ET 2005-10-01T03:13:32

"Intelligent design" is vastly similar to creationism and should be taught as religion, not science, a Catholic theologian testified Friday, on the fifth day of a trial over whether the concept belongs in a public school science curriculum as an alternative to evolution.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Purple Heart sent to 'Slender Man' victim: When a gift needs no thanks

      After an anonymous military veteran sent his Purple Heart medal to the survivor of the Slender Man stabbing in Wisconsin, ...

    2. The 5 best exercises for tank top-worthy arms
    3. Michigan jail trades trendy 'Orange' inmate uniforms for timeless sailor stripes
    4. See for your selfie: 'The Rock' pumps up fans with hard work on Instagram
    5. Millionaires really are different; they don't want to retire!

Georgetown University theology professor John F. Haught said that while intelligent-design proponents do not explicitly identify God as the creator of life, the concept is "essentially a religious proposition."

"I understand it to be a reformulation of an old theological argument for the existence of God," he said.

Haught testified as an expert witness on behalf of eight families who are trying to have a reference to intelligent design removed from the Dover Area School District's biology curriculum. The families contend that it effectively promotes the Bible's view of creation, violating constitutional guarantees on freedom of religion.

Under the policy approved by Dover's school board in October 2004, students must hear a brief statement about intelligent design before classes on evolution. It says Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact," has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to an intelligent-design textbook for more information.

Intelligent-design supporters argue that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force, and that natural selection cannot fully explain the development of complex life from simpler forms.

No conflict between science and religion?
Haught said there is no conflict between science and religion because they represent different levels of explanation for phenomena.

"When we have a failure to distinguish science from religion, then confusion will follow," Haught said. "Science and religion cannot logically stand in a competitive relationship with each other."

During cross-examination, Richard Thompson, a lawyer representing the school district, asked Haught to draw distinctions between intelligent design and creationism.

Haught conceded that not all intelligent-design supporters literally interpret the Bible, but said the two concepts only differ "in the same sense that an orange is different than a navel orange."

The plaintiffs are represented by a team put together by the American Civil Liberties Union, and the school district by the Thomas More Law Center, a public-interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich., that says its mission is to defend the religious freedom of Christians.

The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday and is expected to last as long as five weeks.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Courtesy Aldrich Family

    ‘Extraordinary’ 8-year-old boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    7/22/2014 4:35:28 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T16:35:28
  1. Feds ban airlines from flying to Tel Aviv airport

    Federal aviation officials issued an order to airlines prohibiting them from flying to and from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport for 24 hours after a rocket struck near the airport earlier Tuesday.

    7/22/2014 5:43:01 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T17:43:01
  2. Dutch collect DNA to match with MH17 victims
  1. Pool / Reuters

    Prince George's birthday: The royal tot's 10 cutest moments

    7/22/2014 1:11:51 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T13:11:51
  1. Khakimullin Aleksandr / Shutterstock / Khakimullin Aleks

    The 5 best exercises for tank top-worthy arms

    7/22/2014 8:56:50 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T20:56:50
  1. Coke is a stain remover? 6 surprising cleaners in your home

    From those annoying white deodorant stains on your little black dress to rust stains in the commode, some stains just won't go away — until now. With help from some savvy experts, we put together surprising tips to banish these stains once and for all.

    7/22/2014 4:48:22 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T16:48:22
  1. Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images

    Chris Pratt wows us — and his wife — on 'Guardians' red carpet

    7/22/2014 7:16:22 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T19:16:22