Conference on "intelligent design" meets with little interest among Czech scientists

Is life on Earth a product of "blind evolution" or is the world as we know it the work of an omnipotent creator? Hundreds of supporters of the theory of "intelligent design" gathered in Prague at the weekend to discuss, as they said "errors in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and alternatives to it".

Prominent Czech scientists refused to take part in the conference, including the president of the Czech Academy of Sciences Vaclav Paces. Radio Prague spoke to biologist Jaroslav Flegr from Prague's Charles University and author of the book "Evolutionary Biology", and asked him first whether in his opinion there were alternatives to Darwin's theory of evolution.

"Yes, there are a lot of different alternatives but not scientific ones. In fact, Darwin's theory is still the only possibility and very satisfactory possibility to explain the origin, the changes or evolution of life on our planet. I think intelligent design is just a new strategy of the opponents of scientific explanation of the origin of life, a new and quite successful strategy but not for scientists, just for the common public."

The opponents of the theory of evolution are meeting in Prague because they say they want to introduce intelligent design to Czechs. Do you think there is any support for intelligent design among the Czech scientific community?

"Among the scientific community, there is no support for this. As far as I know there is no real scientist who takes this approach seriously."

And why do you think it has so many supporters worldwide?

"Because the scientific explanation is maybe a little bit boring for somebody - not for me! For me it is the most fantastic explanation because it's a big challenge to try to use your brain and your knowledge about nature and try to explain the origin of these very sophisticated, complicated living systems just using this normal means and information.

"For me to explain the origin of life by some interference of some intelligent designer is really boring because it is not an explanation. You can explain everything by some intelligent and very powerful designer. But it is not science."