The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Reuters: Pennsylvania School District Retreats from Evolution

Our Conscience

Fri Nov 19, 2004 06:42 PM ET
By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania school district on Friday defended its decision to discount Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and take a lead in teaching what critics say is a version of creationism.

Dover Area School District in south-central Pennsylvania is believed to be the first in the country to approve the teaching of a new theory called "intelligent design," according to the National Center for Science Education.

Proponents of intelligent design argue that the complexity of nature is such that it could not have occurred by chance, as Darwinian theory holds, and so must have been created by some all-powerful force.

That being is not explicitly identified, but many of the theory's conservative religious supporters say it is God.

NCSE, an Oakland, California-based group that defends the teaching of evolution in schools, said the district's board approved the policy change last month after a debate that began more than a year ago when a board member objected to a biology textbook on the grounds it focused on Darwinism.

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