Professors Say Intelligent Design Is Not Scientific Theory

By LAURA JOHNSTON, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - An Internet survey by Case Western Reserve University shows that many Ohio science professors say that public schools should not teach alternative concepts to evolution, the researchers said Thursday.

CWRU researchers announced that 90 percent of Ohio science professors that responded to the survey -- at both secular and religious schools -- think intelligent design is not supported by scientific evidence. About 92 percent said high school students should have to understand the Darwinian principles of evolution to graduate, and 90 percent said students should not be tested on their knowledge of intelligent design.

The researchers asked every natural science professor at a four-year college in Ohio to take the survey. About 460 of the 1,500 invited professors responded.

The Ohio Board of Education's academic standards committee will decide Monday whether to recommend that the full 19-member board adopt the standards. The latest draft of the standards emphasizes an evolution-only approach and do not include intelligent design.

The full board is to vote Tuesday on whether it intends to adopt the standards in December.

The concept of intelligent design states that life is too complex to have developed by chance and that a purposeful being is guiding the development of life.

"Intelligent design circumvents the whole process of hypothesis testing," said Christopher Mihos, CWRU associate professor of astronomy, who helped conduct the survey. "It will just confuse students to give them a controversy based on the idea that we don't understand it, so we give up."

But Mark Edwards, spokesman for the Discovery Institute -- a Seattle-based think tank supporting alternatives to evolution -- said students should be allowed to question the validity of Darwinian theory.

"The debate is over whether students can have access to criticism of Darwinian theory -- the weaknesses of the theory, as well as the strengths," he said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)