Intelligent design is seen by many (including me) as a movement by religious groups to christianize the country by teaching anti-science in science classes at school. To define it generously and so incredibly kindly that I deserve the Nobel peace prize just for writing this, intelligent design is the idea that life is too complex and ordered to have come about through purely natural processes. It is to science what atheism is to theism (except that it isn’t a good thing).
We would have to go back in time (get on that, Ceej) to find out for sure how it REALLY happened, but if scientists successfully produce self-replicating life in laboratories, then it is strong evidence that it may have happened that way on Earth. Some people, however, can’t stand the idea that their god didn’t create the universe, and they have fought every scientific discovery that has proposed a naturalistic explanation for natural phemonema. I mean phenomena.
Wait… yeah, phenomena.
Given science’s track record, what are the odds that the religious “right” is right on this one? Furthermore, it is useless to teach about intelligent design in public schools because most people in the territory illegally claimed by the U.S. government were raised with religion or were made well aware of it at some point. We were all exposed to the idea that magic man done it long before we were even old enough to know what science was, and if we find scientific explanations persuasive, it must be because they actually are. It is not the goal of science to destroy religion. If what it reveals about the universe achieves that, it is religion’s fault for being wrong and stupid.
Intelligent design claims that life is too complex to have come about “by accident”. (As objectionable as the term may seem, it’s actually a good description of the event that sparked life on Earth. Accidents aren’t always bad, and who says life is so great? Living things, that’s who.) This is an argument from ignorance. “I don’t understand it, so it must have just happened by magic. Now let’s stop thinking and eat lead paint chips.” We cannot make sound assumptions based on a lack of information. Not knowing something isn’t knowing something. Also, lead is poisonous, and eating it can cause brain damage or death.
If life is too complex to have not been designed, then who or what designed life’s designer, whatever it may be? Surely that force must be at least as complex as life, and probably much more. If beings can be unbound by time, then why can’t the universe and the natural laws that made life possible also be unbound by time? If the goal of intelligent design is to prove that a being that exists beyond the physical and temporal realms, then it is clear that its goal is to spread religion and undermine science. You don’t keep your pet fox in the chicken coop, so you can’t allow science to be infiltrated by intelligent design.