Prometheus has recently posted a hum-dinger of a fisking
of "intelligent design." Basically, he points out legal, ethical, and practical consequences that ID advocates may not have considered. It's an essay well worth reading. I do, however, have a relatively minor quibble.
At one point, Prometheus makes the Pandora's box argument:
Once the "Intelligent Design" promoters get their "camel's nose" into the tent of the public schools, they may find that they have opened a door that they would rather have kept shut. After all, if "ID" believers are allowed to preach their religious tenents in public schools, why not everybody else? Of course, the other religions would also have to "dress up" their beliefs as the "Intelligent Design" promoters have, but that shouldn't be too difficult, given the template that "ID" has provided.
Personally, I think that the obvious next candidate for inclusion would be the Atheists, who should be allowed to present their "theory" that there is no "Intelligent Designer". Their data is just as compelling as that of the "ID" people, so I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to have their day in school. Of course, the Atheists wouldn't say that there is no God, just that there is no "Intelligent Designer". That's different - isn't it?
Prometheus is correct that, if we allow one form of disguised religion into the science classroom, there would then be nothing (in principle, at least) to stop other forms of disguised religion. However his comment about atheists is somewhat off base. In actuality, ID proponents would say that atheism is
already being taught in the form of evolution, that atheists are already getting the opportunity to present their "theory" that there is no "intelligent designer." Even though there is no inherent conflict between belief in God and accepting the science of evolution, ID proponents still like to try to link evolution with atheism, and make the "argument" that ID is only countering the "inherent" atheism of evolutionary theory (while at the same time trying very hard not to admit that, by the "designer," they mean God). Far more effective is the second part of his argument, namely that, under the terms of ID, there is no reason that pantheists shouldn't be able to present a "theory" that there are many "intelligent designers."
Minor quibble aside, it's an excellent article, well worth reading.