Its a different thing to have a separate category of schools dedicated to religious teachings (such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasa|Madrasas]]). But teaching religious as part of a regular science curriculum? That, I find a little weird. NYTimes (among others) is carrying a [[http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/03/politics/03bush.html?hp&ex=1123041600&en=c1600f3f547f7dc7&ei=5094&partner=homepage|story on George Bush]] pushing for //alternative// theories of evolution to be taught in schools.
He says that teaching Darwinian evolution as a theory is fine. But then, one should also look at other theories of evolution as well (just like we study different theories of gravitation, for instance). The //other// theories, in this case, fall under the category of **intelligent design**.
I wasn’t too familiar with this term, so I did a little bit of research. It seems that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design|intelligent design]] is the “scientific” counterpart to the theory of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism|Creationism]]. It posits that the whole gamut of species that we see today could not have come about by mere natural selection and random mutation.
Now I’m not too knowledgable about these issues. But I still haven’t read anything truly “scientific” about intelligent design (by way of experiments or empirical evaluation). There is [[http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_idtheory.htm|this article]] that tries to discuss intelligent design using mathematical tools such as probability and information theory, but I still wasn’t convinced.
On the whole, I’m highly skeptical of this issue. It seems to me bordering on religion, and mixing religion with science is not a good idea IMHO.
For the interested, here are some more articles on intelligent design:
* [[http://speakout.com/activism/opinions/3116-1.html|Intelligent Design Theory: Why it matters?]]
* [[http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-09/design.html|Design Yes, Intelligent No]]