Vatican City The Vatican newspaper has published an article saying intelligent design is not science and that teaching it alongside evolutionary theory in school classrooms only creates confusion.
The article in Tuesday's editions of L'Osservatore Romano was the latest in a series of interventions by Vatican officials - including the pope - on the issue that has dominated headlines in the United States.
The author, Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, laid out the scientific rationale for Darwin's theory of evolution, saying that in the scientific world, biological evolution "represents the interpretative key of the history of life on Earth."
He lamented that certain American "creationists" had brought the debate back to the "dogmatic" 1800s, and said their arguments weren't science.
"This isn't how science is done," he wrote. "If the model proposed by Darwin is deemed insufficient, one should look for another, but it's not correct from a methodological point of view to take oneself away from the scientific field."
Intelligent design "doesn't belong to science and the pretext that it be taught as a scientific theory alongside Darwin's explanation is unjustified," he wrote.
"It only creates confusion between the scientific and philosophical and religious planes."
Supporters of intelligent design hold that some features of the universe and living things are so complex they must have been designed by a higher intelligence.
The article echoed similar arguments by the Vatican's chief astronomer, the Rev. George Coyne, who said "intelligent design" wasn't science and had no place alongside evolution in school classrooms.