UK decides intelligent design is not science

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UK decides intelligent design is not science

Schoolchildren should not be taught neo-creationism, rules government.

The UK government has confirmed that 'intelligent design', sometimes called neo-creationism, will not be taught in schools as part of the National Curriculum.

The statement came in response to a petition calling for the doctrine not to form part of British education.

A similar case in the US occurred in 2005 when a Pennsylvania court found that intelligent design was not a scientific theory and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents".

"The UK government is aware that a number of concerns have been raised in the media and elsewhere as to whether creationism and intelligent design have a place in science lessons," said the government in its response to the petition.

"The government is clear that creationism and intelligent design are not part of the science National Curriculum programmes of study and should not be taught as science."

It continues that intelligent design can be referred to in classes, but that it must be made clear that it is not science and that pupils will not be tested on the subject.

The report will come as a relief to many who worry that Britain is increasingly being targeted by those who seek to introduce intelligent design into school science classes.

Despite the US court ruling, intelligent design is still taught in many American schools and President Bush has expressed his wish that this should continue.

"We are very pleased about the decision," said Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society.

"It is very important that the government has made such a plain statement of intent that intelligent design will not be taught in science classes. It is not science and has no business posing as such and creating confusion for children in schools."

The concept of intelligent design states that the variety and complexity of life on Earth could not be down to evolution, but must instead have been created by an intelligent entity.

The concept first surfaced in the mid-1980s as attempts were made to overturn the teaching of evolution in schools.

One of the main advocates for the theory is the Discovery Institute in the US, which receives some funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 1999 a memo from the organisation was leaked, the so-called 'Wedge document', which outlined the Institute's 20-year plan for attacking evolution.

Its stated objective was to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies and to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God".

The Discovery Institute has never denied creating the document, but claims that its importance has been overblown by conspiracy theorists.
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