In the debate between intelligent design (ID) and evolution there is often an important element that is left out: The scientific method. And while there can be an endless debate on definitions of the word "science," it's important to remember how science is used to arrive at certain conclusions before we use it to conclude that some vague concept of intelligence created the universe.
It's logical to conclude that for something to be "scientific," someone used the scientific method to come to that conclusion. And what is the scientific method? If we remember from elementary school, roughly it is observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, and conclusion. Now, when one says that ID is scientific, he or she is forgetting an important detail, and that's the experimental step of the scientific method. If someone observes that the physical world is extraordinarily complex, makes the hypothesis that there must have been an intelligence that designed everything, predicts that this is the case, and concludes that an intelligence or god or whatever designed it all, an important step was missed, experimentation! So far, there have been no experiments set up that give conclusive evidence that an intelligent being or force designed things.
Of course, no good scientist would ever say that an intelligent designer is impossible, because science is a skeptical endeavor. Science is not about believing something to be true, it's about coming to a temporary conclusion through the process of rigorous experimental evidence and peer review which points to that conclusion-until that conclusion or theory can be disproved. If an experiment could be conceived of (although I'm not sure how) that could test and prove the presence of a specific intelligence, then scientists would modify their body of knowledge and further assumptions to include that intelligence. But this hasn't happened, and until it does, ID should not be considered science and should not be taught in science classrooms.
ID is a philosophy. It is a thought experiment that exists in the mind while theories of evolution use empirical evidence, the stuff people can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell to construct a model that fits with the evidence. Any scientist worth his salt doesn't believe in evolution, but accepts it based on the empirical evidence that supports the model. It should be clear to anyone who studies the history of ethics that morals do not come from religion or a belief in God. And anyone (including atheists) can live a purposeful life without belief in ID.
It's ironic that the author of the letter "ID Theory is Science" would resort to insulting Mr. Bates even after 90% of his own letter was cut and pasted from the article "Intelligent Design: The Scientific Alternative to Evolution," an article published in The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly (Autumn 2003).
Luke W. Johnson