The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has denied that it supported an effort that promotes the "intelligent design" theory, reports technology trade magazine Red Herring.
The uproar arose — particularly among bloggers — after a New York Times article noted the foundation's support of a project at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank whose Center for Science and Culture challenges the Darwinian theory of evolution. Intelligent design suggests the universe and living beings exhibit the characteristics of creation by an "intelligent agent" rather than through years of evolutionary advancements. Recently, the Kansas Board of Education decided to teach the theory alongside evolution, a choice President Bush reportedly supported. Critics argue that the theory is simply a new version of creationism and denies scientific evidence.
The foundation acknowledged that it had awarded the institute a ten-year grant in August 2003 to develop transportation systems among Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia in Canada. "We did not offer funding for any other purpose but the transportation system, called Cascadia, that the institute has been working on," said Greg Shaw, director of the foundation's Pacific Northwest program, adding that the foundation did not take a stand on the controversial theory.