September 21, 2006

DETROIT — As a longtime defender of freedom of religion, the ACLU of Michigan today noted with alarm the endorsement by gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos of the insertion of an intelligent design into the science curriculum at Michigan high schools.

DeVos said Wednesday that Michigan science classes should be allowed to present intelligent design as a possible explanation of diverse life on Earth. However, such presentations of “intelligent design” in public school violate students’ religious liberty by promoting particular religious beliefs under the guise of science education.

“Public schools are not Sunday schools,” said Kary L. Moss, Executive Director, ACLU of Michigan. “DeVos’ comments are part of a misguided campaign to force religious creationism back into the public schools.  It is unconstitutional and bad public policy.”

Intelligent design, which cannot be tested by any scientific method, is a belief that asserts that a supernatural entity designed some complex organisms. Experts have demonstrated that such an assertion is inherently a religious argument.

"Offering ID to our students as an alternative to evolutionary theory is inappropriate scientifically, pedagogically and logically as we would be offering false alternatives that do not meet the strict requirements of science,” stated, Dr. Gregory Forbes, the National Course Director for the National Science Foundation's course on Evolution Education, Director, Evolution Education Institute, and Founding Board Member of Michigan Citizens for Science.

In a seminal ACLU case decided last year, Kitzmiller v. Dover, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said that intelligent design is a religious view, not a scientific theory and the teaching of intelligent design in public classrooms violates the Constitution.

The Pennsylvania lawsuit was brought by concerned parents who objected to the decision by the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania to promote the teaching of intelligent design in their children's public school science classes. 

 For more information about how recent government policy has affected the scientific community, see Science Under Siege.