Creationists are trying once again to shoe-horn religion into science classrooms.
This time, they call it "Intelligent Design", but its just another mask for the same kinds of attempts to discredit the Theory of Evolution that have been made ever since Darwin originally published his theories. Theists are trying to use the methods of science against science. By pointing out that it is the "Theory of" Evolution, they imply that theories are somehow wrong. But think of this - we still call our knowledge about gravity the "Theory of Gravity". Yet when I drop my pen, it falls to the floor despite it only being a theory. The theory of Evolution describes to the best of our scientific knowledge and ability, the facts of what we call Evolution just like the theory of Gravity describes how gravity behaves. We may not have the details perfectly exact, but the theory matches our observations and knowledge of how each field works. We see evolution in action today. To me, natural selection is such an obvious observation. Imagine seeing a row of 10 bicycles in a bike rack. 9 of them have locks and the 10th does not - which bike is the bike thief going to take - the unlocked one of course. The unlocked bikes are preferentially stolen. Now imagine a herd of zebra which is being stalked by a pride of lions. Which zebras are going to survive? The fastest and healthiest survive. The survivors go on to mate and produce new zebra which inherit the genetics of the survivors - the herd gets stronger over time because of that - evolution in action. It's so obvious that it's hard to see how the creationists/fundementalists/intelligent design advocates cannot see just how logical evolution is and how it also applies to our own species. Intelligent design is an attempt to spray religious graffiti all over science. If I were forced to teach "Intelligent Design" in the classroom, I would teach it for what it is and I would blow it out of the water by showing students how it is refuted by proper scence.
Wade Wurthen in an article in The State says:
There is no debate [about the fact of evolution] within the scientific community; that’s why intelligent design proponents seek to legislate their truth in the political arena.
They frame the issue as a choice between godless, “random” evolution and purposeful creation by God.
This misrepresents evolution and the relationship between science and religion. Evolution can occur randomly (genetic drift), but it can also proceed by the non-random process of natural selection. Also, like all scientific theories, evolution is not atheistic; it neither affirms nor denies the existence of God.
So, again, this argument is a false dichotomy. Couldn’t God make a new species through the natural process of evolution? (Well, of course She could.) In fact, many of the 500,000 scientists who accept evolution today are believers. Intelligent design proponents frame this false dichotomy so they can claim that science and evolution oppose religion.
They confuse evolutionary theory with origin-of-life hypotheses. They claim that “evolution can’t explain how life arose, so this theory is based on faith.”
Here are some websites relevant to this discussion:
http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/ - The Bad Astronomy Blog
The Onion's "Intelligent Falling" parody.
CNN's coverage of the Dover Area School District trial on Intelligent Design
The Panda's Thumb website
Note added later in the day:
This blog entry from the Evolutionblog hits the nail on the head. I couldn't say it any better myself: