Discovery Calls Dover Evolution Policy Misguided, Calls For Its Withdrawal

SEATTLE, DEC. 14 – The policy on teaching evolution recently adopted by the Dover, PA School Board was called “misguided” today by Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, which advised that the policy should be withdrawn and rewritten.

“While the Dover board is to be commended for trying to teach Darwinian theory in a more open-minded manner, this is the wrong way to go about it,” said Dr. John G. West, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC). “Dover’s current policy has a number of problems, not the least of which is its lack of clarity. At one point, it appears to prohibit Dover schools from teaching anything about ‘the origins of life.’ At another point, it appears to both mandate as well as prohibit the teaching of the scientific theory of intelligent design. The policy’s incoherence raises serious problems from the standpoint of constitutional law. Thus, the policy should be withdrawn and rewritten.”

Apart from questions about its constitutionality, West expressed reservations about the Dover School Board’s directive on public policy grounds.

“When we first read about the Dover policy, we publicly criticized it because according to published reports the intent was to mandate the teaching of intelligent design,” explained West. “Although we think discussion of intelligent design should not be prohibited, we don’t think intelligent design should be required in public schools.

“What should be required is full disclosure of the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory,” added West, “which is the approach supported by the overwhelming majority of the public.”

Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture is the nation’s leading think-tank exploring the scientific theory of intelligent design, which proposes that some features of the natural world are best explained as the product of an intelligent cause rather than an undirected cause such as natural selection. In recent years a growing number of scientists have presented the case for intelligent design theory in academic journal articles and books published by major academic presses such as Cambridge University Press and Michigan State University Press. For more information visit the Institute’s website at