California school cancels ‘Intelligent Design’ course

School Scraps ‘Intelligent Design’

Under legal pressure, a rural school district Tuesday canceled an elective philosophy course on “intelligent design” and agreed never to promote the topic in class again.

A group of parents had sued the El Tejon school system last week, accusing it of violating the constitutional separation of church and state with “Philosophy of Design,” a high school course taught by a minister’s wife that advanced the notion that life is so complex it must have been created by some kind of higher intelligence.

El Tejon Superintendent John Wight said the subject was proper for a philosophy class. But Americans United argued the course relied almost exclusively on videos that presented religious theories as scientific ones.

The El Tejon class “was misconceived,” said John West, a senior fellow at the [Discovery Institute]. “It was almost all about Biblical creationism, not intelligent design.”

Sharon Lemburg, a social studies teacher and soccer coach who taught “Philosophy of Design,” defended the course in a letter to the weekly Mountain Enterprise. “I believe this is the class that the Lord wanted me to teach,” she wrote.