The deceit of "Intelligent Design":

I think this quote (which I stole from this site) sums up my feelings nicely:
    To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain
    precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer.  You have to say something
    like 'God was always there', and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as
    well just say 'DNA was always there', or "Life was always there', and be done with it.  
      --Richard Dawkins,  
        The Blind Watchmaker : Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design p. 141
Those who would like to replace teaching the theory of Evolution with creationism are using the religious doctrine of "Intelligent Design" to try to sound scientific. Unfortunately, in many cases, this trickery is working.

ID followers claim that their doctrine is a scientific theory. It is not.

Science does not claim that Evolution is the origin of life. Science, in fact, claims nothing. Science is just a set of rules. A wonderfully simple and elegant set of rules which are, in essence, the following:

  • Observe the world around you, and ask questions.
  • Form a guess (a hypothesis) about why things work the way they do.
  • Design an experiment which tests your guess   (and which others can repeat).
  • Either keep testing until you're really sure you're right, or
  • If the evidence didn't confirm your guess come up with a new guess.

That's it. That's science. That's all of science.

The problem is that there are questions that are so far beyond our ability to guess the elements of that science doesn't really attempt to answer them. Big questions like, what was around before [Insert your origin of choice here: e.g. god, or The Big Bang, or whatever]. Most of us have thought about this question, but no one has answered it. That doesn't mean it's not a good question. It's just that until we can devise an experiment to test the possible answers the question belongs not in a science class, but in a philosophy class. This is important. Few evolutionary scientists would try to bar the ID doctrine from being discussed in a philosophy class*. It's just that until we can think of an experiment it's not science it's just speculation.

The real deceit of the ID proponents is that they use the debate about whether or not their doctrine is right as a ruse to disguise their real objective: to have ID discussed in science classes rather than philosophy classes. They want all the legitimacy of the scientific method with none of the rigor. I believe they could care less about whether you think they're right as long as the question is posed side be side with a real scientific theory.

*  Unfortunately there are some people who feel ID shouldn't even be taught in philosophy classes. While I do think it's only fair that an evolutionary scientist be given equal time in a philosophy class, I don't think it's a requirement, and I am strongly against the lawsuit mentioned in this article:

California school sued over intelligent design             [Archive]