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Intelligent Design Group Accuses PBS of Promoting Unconstitutional Teaching

A leading intelligent design think tank says a teacher's guide issued by the Public Broadcasting System in conjunction with a program on the 2005 Dover intelligent design trial is "likely unconstitutional."

PBS had issued the "Briefing Packet for Educators" for the two-hour NOVA program, called "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial," scheduled to premiere Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Experts at the Discovery Institute say the guide promotes teaching practices that unconstitutionally injects religion into the classroom.

"They are encouraging teachers to do things like have discussion questions such as – 'Can you accept evolution and still believe in religion? Answer: Yes. The common view that evolution is inherently anti-religious is simply false,'" spokesman Rob Crowther said, according to OneNewsNow.

Critics of intelligent design have often criticized the teaching as a ploy to introduce religion into schools. They charge intelligent design with touting the same beliefs as Creationism – the biblically-based belief that God created the universe.

However, proponents of intelligent design contend that while evidence from nature and the natural world suggests an "intelligent designer" is behind the creation in the universe, there is not enough scientific evidence to identify the designer as God.

"Far be it from us to accuse PBS of kind of being agenda-driven, or having an anti-intelligent design bend, but it is interesting that this is the tact they've taken and now there they are injecting religion right into the classroom," Crowther added.

Furthermore, the guide does not provide an accurate portrayal of intelligent design, according to Dr. John West, vice president for public policy and legal affairs with Discovery Institute.

"The teaching guide is riddled with factual errors that misrepresent both the standard definition of intelligent design and the beliefs of those scientists and scholars who support the theory," said West in a report by the Republican Valley.

The Discovery Institute has sent copies of the teacher's guide to 15 attorneys and legal scholars, who specialize in constitutional law, for review, said Crowther.

Crowther wrote on his blog Friday that the group will also be watching the program and posting corrections to any pieces of information that they find misleading.

Tuesday's program will follow the federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District and feature trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, according to PBS.

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