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. Buying running shoes? Here’s what to expect

      Whether you are thinking about signing up for your first 5K or are gearing up for a full marathon, the first two steps in ...

    2. 'Sex Box': Couples therapy or reality show trash?
    3. Food-themed hotels are popping up around the world
    4. Catch up on all the news of the week with ‘The Download’
    5. Missing Oscar dress worn by Lupita Nyong’o may be found

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

,

More on TODAY.com

  1. Shutterstock

    Buying running shoes? Here’s what to expect

    2/28/2015 12:52:17 PM +00:00 2015-02-28T12:52:17
  1. TODAY

    'Sex Box': Couples therapy or reality show trash?

    2/28/2015 2:57:40 PM +00:00 2015-02-28T14:57:40
  1. Unique Vision Photography

    Since groom's moving vows to stepdaughter, this blended family's grown

    2/27/2015 10:04:41 PM +00:00 2015-02-27T22:04:41
  1. TODAY

    video Catch up on all the news of the week with ‘The Download’

    2/28/2015 12:58:44 PM +00:00 2015-02-28T12:58:44
  1. TODAY

    video Jeb Bush tries to make the case for 2016 to conservatives at CPAC

    2/28/2015 12:30:14 PM +00:00 2015-02-28T12:30:14