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Discovery Institute Praises School District for Withdrawing Class Misrepresenting Intelligent Design

Seattle — A California high school has agreed to withdraw an elective philosophy class titled “Philosophy of Design,” which Discovery Institute said was misrepresenting the theory.

“We are pleased that the school district followed our recommendation to withdraw this class,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney with the Institute. “From the very beginning this course was not formulated properly and was confusing students by including discussion of intelligent design with material that promoted young earth creationism as fact.” Luskin sent a letter to the El Tejon Unified School District last week urging that the district drop or reformulate the class, and he testified to the school board in person on Jan. 13 that the class should be scrapped.

The out of court settlement orders the district to cancel the class by Friday next week and forbids them from ever teaching this class “or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design.”

“While we are pleased by the outcome in this case, we continue to believe that teaching objectively about intelligent design is permissible in public school science classes, and is certainly acceptable for philosophy or social studies courses,” said Luskin. “We offered to work with the district and with Americans United to create a philosophy course on origins which people on all sides agree would be acceptable and that they could re-teach next year.”

Luskin noted that Americans United and other Darwin-only lobbyists had previously expressed a willingness for intelligent design to be taught in social studies or philosophy courses rather than science classes.

Last year, for example, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was quoted by the New York Times claiming intelligent design is religion and that: “when it comes to matters of religion and philosophy, they can be discussed objectively in public schools, but not in biology class.”

“If Americans United really believes that it’s OK to teach about intelligent design in philosophy or social studies courses,” said Luskin, “we challenge them to join with us to come up with an objective course that can be taught in the El Tejon district. Otherwise, it will become clear that their real goal is the suppression of any discussion of intelligent design in any classroom anywhere in the country.”

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.