Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: "I don't think it should, actually. No, no." He was reflecting on the education debate over religion and science that has divided the United States in particular.

Williams, head of a church that has no problem with Darwinian evolution, told the Guardian newspaper: "I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory, like other theories."

The archbishop's stance echoes that of the Roman Catholic church, the world's largest single Christian denomination, which has weighed into the debate by praising a court decision in America that rejected the so-called intelligent design theory as non-scientific.
   
Catholicism, which has never rejected evolution, teaches that God created the world and the natural laws by which life developed.

Asked whether he was comfortable with the teaching of creationism in schools, Williams said: "Not very."
   
In the battle to bring God into the classroom, Christian conservative supporters of creationism and its thinly disguised mutation, intelligent design, seek to deny or play down the importance of evolution.

Intelligent design proponents say nature is so complex that it must have been created as it is now by a higher force, rather than have changed over time as the result of natural selection, as outlined in Charles Darwin's work.

Flying Spaghetti Monster

A satirical take on creation theory, but reckoned by many scientists to hold more water than intelligent design, has been circulating online for months.

Apparently, the world may have been called into being by the Flying Spaghetti Monster - whose devotees would also like their beliefs taught as scientific theory in American schools.

The Creation of Adam, as seen
by Pastafarians

Bobby Henderson, a physics graduate and prophet of the Pastafarian cause, wrote to a US school board demanding equal treatment for his beliefs if intelligent design made it into science classes alongside evolution.

He put it like this: "I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world: one-third time for intelligent design, one-third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one-third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster