Can intelligent design be taught as philosophy? California parents file suit over high school course


A group of parents in a small California school district, north of Los Angeles, are trying to squelch a local high school course which seeks to teach Intelligent Design alongside other origin of life theories, not as science--but as philosophy.

Although a Federal District Court in Pennsylvania ruled last month that while they thought it unconstitutional to teach intelligent design in a public high school science class, members of both sides said it may be appropriate to teach the theory in a philosophy or social studies class.

Intelligent design, the burgeoning theory which suggests that the universe is too complex to have been created at random, and that an active creator lies at its genesis, has garnered considerable attention--both supportive and critical--in recent months.

The group of parents--all residents of rural Lebec, California--who are being represented by the group, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, are suing the local school district and saying that the course is not objective, but advocates intelligent design as truth.

According to the New York Times, Superintendent John Wright wrote a letter responding to complaints of Americans United in which he said: "Our legal advisers have pointed out that they are unaware of any court or California statute which has forbidden public schools to explore cultural phenomena, including history, religion or creation myths."
The Frazier Mountain High School course, the name of which has been changed from ‘Philosophy of Intelligent Design’ to ‘Philosophy of Design’ because of parental complaints, was approved by the district’s board of trustees in a 3-2 vote earlier this month.

The course description distributed to parents and the class’s 13 students reads: "This class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid."

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