Thu, Nov 10, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Intelligent designers ousted from board

AP , DOVER, PENNSYLVANIA

Voters came down hard on school board members who backed a statement on intelligent design being read in biology class, ousting eight Republicans and replacing them with Democrats who want the concept stripped from the science curriculum.

The election unfolded amid a landmark federal trial involving the Dover public schools and the question of whether intelligent design promotes the Bible's view of creation. Eight Dover families sued, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

Dover's school board adopted a policy in October last year that requires ninth-graders to hear a prepared statement about intelligent design before learning about evolution in biology class.

Eight of the nine school board members were up for election on Tuesday. They were challenged by a slate of Democrats who argued that science class was not the appropriate forum for teaching intelligent design.

"My kids believe in God. I believe in God. But I don't think it belongs in the science curriculum the way the school district is presenting it," said Jill Reiter, 41, a bank teller who joined a group of high school students waving signs supporting the challengers on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the winning slate of candidates has said they wouldn't act hastily and would consider the outcome of the court case. The judge expects to rule by January; the new school board members will be sworn in Dec. 5.

School board member David Napierskie, who lost on Tuesday, said the vote wasn't just about ideology.

"Some people felt intelligent design shouldn't be taught and others were concerned about having tax money spent on the lawsuit," he said.

Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by some kind of higher force. The statement read to students says Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps."

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