Many of ID's cynical detractors patronizingly frame this entire debate in terms of a struggle between faith and science. Intelligent Design, they say, is but a thinly disguised argument for Biblical creationism and its proponents threaten to obliterate the "wall of separation" between church and state by cleverly sneaking creationism back into the schools inside the Trojan horse of ID.
But that is simply false. ID is fundamentally science-based. The fact that scientific inquiry leads certain scientists toward a conclusion compatible with the Judeo-Christian worldview -- that intelligent causes were behind the creation of the universe and life -- does not disqualify them as scientists any more than the militant secularism of many Darwinists disqualifies them.
Nor does ID's compatibility with the Judeo-Christian worldview require that it be classified as religious rather than scientific. If ID's theories were faith-based rather than science-based, the secular scientific community would have a stronger case in demanding they not be introduced into science classes.
But no amount of protest and name-calling from the scientific community will change the fact that ID proponents are not pseudo-scientists. You might be surprised to learn that over 400 scientists from all disciplines have signed onto a list of those expressing skepticism "of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life." And that list is growing, despite the persecution of some signers since they signed it.
This is most interesting, in light of statements made in PBS's "Evolution" series that no scientists disagreed with Darwinian evolution. I ask you: Which side is playing fast and loose with the facts?
As one recent signatory, the prestigious Russian biologist Vladimir L. Voeikov said, "The ideology and philosophy of neo-Darwinism, which is sold by its adepts as a scientific theoretical foundation of biology, seriously hampers the development of science and hides from students the field's real problems."
A short column is not the place to debate the merits of ID versus Darwinism, but it is an appropriate venue to offer the humble suggestion that the very essence of science -- the search for causes -- militates in favor of exposing students to modern criticisms of Darwinism. Introducing kids to scientific challenges to Darwinism and to the alternative ID theory would vindicate the scientific method and science itself. Opponents should lighten up, and the public should insist on a fair fight.