"Intelligent design" bill in West Virginia

West Virginia State Capitol.

West Virginia State Capitol. Image by http://www.ForestWander.com CC BY-SA 3.0 us.

West Virginia's Senate Bill 619 would, if enacted, allow "[t]eachers in public schools, including public charter schools, that include any one or more of grades Kindergarten through 12, [to] teach intelligent design as a theory of how the universe and/or humanity came to exist."

Allowing the teaching of "intelligent design" in West Virginia's public schools would fly in the face of authoritative statements from such bodies as the National Academy of Sciences, which describes "intelligent design" as "not supported by scientific evidence," and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which opposes "policies that would permit the teaching of 'intelligent design theory'" as "a challenge to the quality of science education."

Authoritative statements from science education organizations concur. For example, the National Science Teaching Association includes "intelligent design" in a list of creationist perspectives that "cannot be considered science, and have no place in science classrooms." Similarly, the National Association of Biology Teachers includes "intelligent design" in a list of "notions" that "are outside the scope of science."

And when a Pennsylvania school district required the teaching of "intelligent design" in 2004, eleven local parents filed suit in federal court. In Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005), the judge found (PDF) that teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; "intelligent design" itself, he wrote, "is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory."

Sponsored by Amy Grady (R-District 4) and Jay Taylor (R-District 14), Senate Bill 619 was introduced on February 14, 2023, and referred to the Senate Education Committee, of which Grady is the chair.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.