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Biochemist Testifies on 'Intelligent Design'

October 18, 2005|From Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A biochemistry professor who is a leading advocate of "intelligent design" testified Monday that evolution alone can't explain complex biological processes and he believes God is behind them.

Lehigh University professor Michael Behe was the first witness called by a school board that is requiring students to hear a statement about the intelligent design concept in biology class. Lawyers for the Dover Area School Board began presenting their case Monday in the federal trial, which could decide whether intelligent design can be mentioned in public school science classes as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

Behe, whose work includes a 1996 best-seller called "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," said students should be taught evolution because it's widely used in science and that "any well-educated student should understand it."

Behe, however, argues that evolution cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life, suggesting the work of an intelligent force. The intelligent design concept does not name the designer, although Behe, a Roman Catholic, testified he personally believed it to be God.

The school board is defending its decision a year ago to require students to hear a statement on intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement says Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact," has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to the textbook "Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins."

Behe wrote a section on blood clotting in "Of Pandas and People," and told a federal judge on Monday that he wrote that blood-clotting "is poorly explained by Darwinian processes but well explained by design."

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