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Institute: Both sides wrong

Original Article

Original Article

Two members of the Discovery Institute attended the trial but did not participate.

The Discovery Institute, the leading proponent of intelligent design, took aim at both sides in the Dover Area School District’s case that started Monday in U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg.
Representatives for the Seattle-based organization oppose the district mandating a policy that it says appears religiously based and shuts down discussions, but also took jabs on Monday at the plaintiff’s expert witness.

Casey Luskin, program officer at the Discovery Institute, and Robert Crowther II, communications director, spent the day listening to testimony, though they weren’t participants in the trial. They were there, they indicated, to set the record straight.

Luskin said witness Kenneth R. Miller, a Brown University biology professor, got several things wrong.

Luskin said Miller inaccurately characterized intelligent design as a concept that focuses on what evolution doesn’t explain. Luskin said intelligent design stands on its own as an explanation of life and the origins of species.

It is untrue that intelligent design requires a supernatural being. Intelligent design doesn’t suggest who a designer is, Luskin said.

Contrary to Miller’s comments, Luskin said, intelligent design is a testable theory.

Michael Behe, a professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University, has written about how protein and protein interactions could not evolve. His article was printed in 2004 in Protein Science, a publication of the Protein Society, Luskin said.

Luskin also maintained previous statements that the district was misguided in its use of intelligent design.

Richard Thompson, an attorney for Dover, said he was glad the Discovery Institute pulled its support of the Dover case because he said it has made a lot of comments that bring religion into the debate.

Reach Michelle Starr at 771-2045 or [email protected]

THE STATEMENT
Dover Area School District administrators read the following statement to ninth-grade students in January as part of the biology curriculum, and are scheduled to read it again next January:

“The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

“Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

“Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

“With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.”