Darwin descendant covers intelligent design trial
Darwin descendant covers intelligent design trial
Associated Press - Wed, Oct. 26, 2005
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson has been a fixture at a landmark federal trial over whether "intelligent design" can be mentioned as an alternative to evolution in public school biology classes.

Freelance writer Matthew Chapman is one of 75 people from the United States and other countries covering the trial. He is writing about it for Harper's magazine and working on a documentary for the BBC.

The Dover Area School Board is defending its decision a year ago to require students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution, saying Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps."

"I'm appalled by the lack of respect for the evidence," Chapman said. "Darwin spent 23 years compiling evidence he gathered to present his theory."

Intelligent design supporters argue that natural selection cannot fully explain the origin or emergence of highly complex life forms and that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force.

Chapman, 55, previously traveled to Dayton, Tenn., the site of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, and he published The Trial of the Monkey: An Accidental Memoir, in 2001. He said he was stunned to find the debate continuing 80 years after the Scopes trial.

"Evolution is such a nonissue everywhere else in the world," he said.