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Intelligent Design Group Urges California High School to Change Course or Remove Intelligent Design

Seattle -- A leading intelligent design group today sent a letter to the El Tejon School District in California requesting that the district either change the course materials or change the name of the its "Philosophy of design" elective philosophy class.

Earlier this week the district's Frazier Mountain High School was sued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State for offering a philosophy course that purportedly teaches about the theory of intelligent design.

In the letter a Discovery Institute attorney writes: "The title and nature of this course are problematic and appear to misrepresent the content of the course and intelligent design." The letter later urges the district to: "either reformulate the course by removing the young earth creationist materials or retitle the course as a course not focused on intelligent design." The complete text is available for download here.

"In reviewing the course description and syllabus it's clear that the course wrongly mixes intelligent design with young earth creationism or Biblical creationism," said attorney Casey Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture and author of the letter. "As far as we can tell more than half of the course content deals with young earth creationist materials, so the title "Philosophy of design" is misleading."

In the letter Luskin explains why intelligent design is not the same as creationism: "Intelligent design is different from creationism because intelligent design is based upon empirical data, rather than religious scripture, and also because intelligent design is not a theory about the age of the earth. Moreover, unlike creationism, intelligent design does not try to inject itself into religious discussions about the identity of the intelligence responsible for life. Creationism, in contrast, always postulates a supernatural or divine creator."

Discovery Institute is the nation's leading think tank researching the scientific theory of intelligent design. In science education, it supports the "teach the controversy" approach to Darwinian evolution presenting both the strengths and weaknesses of the theory. Its Center for Science and Culture has over 40 biologists, biochemists, physicists, philosophers and historians of science, and public policy and legal experts, most of whom have positions with colleges and universities. For more information visit www.discovery.org/csc/.