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Learning English - Words in the News
27 November, 2006 - Published 16:12 GMT
Intelligent Design

Dozens of British schools are using creationist materials in science classes, a move that has been condemned by government ministers. Information packs supporting the teaching of Intelligent Design have been sent to every secondary school in the UK and 89 are believed to be using them. This report from Matt McGrath:

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People who believe in Intelligent Design or ID say that it is a scientific alternative to evolution - It explains the way that life has developed on Earth as being guided by an intelligence, a force that many would call God. Its supporters say it is a more sophisticated explanation than creationism - which views the development of the world solely in biblical terms. Intelligent Design accepts many of the scientific aspects of evolution, but sees the guiding hand of God behind them all.

In the United States it has widespread support among conservative christians and has been endorsed by President Bush. In Britain a group called Truth in Science who were responsible for sending ID information packs to secondary schools say that alternatives to Darwin's theory should also be taught.

But Intelligent Design's claims to be scientific have been challenged in the media and more importantly in the courts. In Pennsylvania in 2005, a judge ruled that it was unlawful for schools to teach ID as it was an essentially religious belief. While these arguments about evolution are in their infancy in the UK, a Government minister has said that says that Intelligent Design is not included in the national curriculum and should not be taught in schools. The majority of scientists in Britain also support this view.

Matt McGrath, BBC

Listen to the words

one of two or more things, ideas or courses of action, etc. that may be used; different from traditional

complex and based on a wide experience


the guiding hand of God
the leading role of a supreme intelligence who is the creator and ruler of the universe

widespread support
approval from many people

approved and supported



in their infancy
quite new, not widely established yet

included in the national curriculum
part of what is being taught in all schools in the UK

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