[JURIST] The landmark Pennsylvania federal trial [JURIST report] debating the legality of a school district's decision to teach ninth-grade biology students the theory of anti-evolutionary intelligent design [Natural History backgrounder] drew to a close Friday. The plaintiffs, eight families in the Dover Area School District [official website], filed the lawsuit in November 2004 [JURIST report], arguing that the school district's policy, the nation's first to require intelligent design instruction, violates the Constitutional separation of church and state. Attorneys for the school district contend that intelligent design is a valid scientific theory that simply offers an alternative to evolution under the theory that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power. Federal judge John E. Jones III [official profile] is expected to issue an opinion by January. AP has more.