President's backing ups intelligent design profile

WASHINGTON: Promoters of the "intelligent design" theory landed a huge endorsement when President Bush recently told reporters that he supports its teaching in public schools as a competing scientific theory to evolution.

WASHINGTON: Promoters of the "intelligent design" theory landed a huge endorsement when President Bush recently told reporters that he supports its teaching in public schools as a competing scientific theory to evolution.

The Discovery Institute, a research organization in Seattle and a leading proponent of intelligent design, has found itself at the center of the debate since Bush made his remarks on August 1. The President's comments resulted in an August 15 Time cover story titled "The Evolution Wars," which prominently featured the work of the Discovery Institute.

"President Bush is to be commended for defending free speech on evolution and supporting the right of students to hear about different scientific views about evolution," said John West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute.

Supporters argue that intelligent design, unlike creationism, is a science that can stand on its own merits. The theory maintains life is not the result of purely natural processes, but that it is in some way designed by a higher "intelligent" force.

Bush's comments are "a big plus for the Discovery Institute," said Jeremy Leaming, communications associate with Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In addition to battling in the courtroom, Leaming said his organization will continue to emphasize to reporters and elected officials its belief that intelligent design has no scientific grounding.

Leaming noted that the President's own science adviser, John Marburger, sought to play down Bush's remarks by stating "evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology" and "intelligent design is not a scientific concept."

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