A British-based professor of sociology has testified in a US federal court that intelligent design (ID) is a scientific concept, not a religious one.
Professor Steve Fuller, from Warwick University, said that the intelligent design philosophy, which holds that life on Earth is just too complex to have arisen without the aid of some kind of designer, should be taught in American schools.
Professor Fuller was called as a witness by the Dover Area School Board in Pennsylvania to help defend its decision to allow intelligent design to be taught in science classes, The Guardian reports.
Subsequently, a group of parents began legal proceedings against the school board, demanding that ID be removed from the science curriculum. They argue that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state, and is merely creationism in disguise.
However, Professor Fuller holds that because scientists have inferred the existence of a designer from observations of biological phenomena, it should count as scientific.
"It seems to me in many respects the cards are stacked against radical, innovative views getting a fair hearing in science these days," he said.
But the idea that an intelligent designer might be responsible for complex forms of life is hardly new or even radical. It was first put forward in 1802 by William Paley in his book Natural Theology.
In the opening passage of his book, Paley suggests that just as we can observe a watch and make an inference that it is a made thing, we could look at natural objects like stones and draw the same conclusion.
Fuller, author of An Intelligent Person's Guide to Intelligent Design Theory went on to suggest that if the principles of ID were to be taught in schools, students might be inspired to develop the theory further. ®