In the mean time, here's my two cents:
Let’s get something straight. There is no such thing as ‘Intelligent Design.’
So-called Intelligent Design is essentially Creationism – the belief that the planet Earth, and all life upon it, was created as described in the old testament of the Bible.
The only difference between the two is that teaching Creation Theory in school was made illegal in 1987 (in Edwards v. Aguillard and other court rulings) because it fundamentally violated the principle of Separation of Church and State.
Following that ruling, unscrupulous fundamentalists repackaged Creationism in a shiny new pseudo-scientific format and have, ever since, been trying to get it taught in schools.
Nevertheless, it remains every bit as unconstitutional as the curriculum that sparked Edwards v. Aguillard back in 1987.
But for the sake of argument, let’s dig a little bit deeper into why Intelligent Design/Creation Theory should be kept out of public schools:
- It’s unconstitutional: Intelligent Design/Creation Theory stem from a Judeo-Christian interpretation of creation. Therefore, teaching it in schools paid for by the taxpayer, and established by the government, is ‘establishment of religion.’ Namely, it’s establishment of Judeo-Christian monotheism that violates the 1st Amendment rights of anybody who is not Judeo-Christian. Buddhists, Hindis, Native Americans and atheists all believe that life came about differently; so if you force their kids to study one particular religious viewpoint (in accordance with the first chapter of the Old Testament) you’re “prohibiting the free exercise” of other religious or non-religious viewpoints.
- It’s unscientific: Intelligent Design/Creation Theory is not based on any form of evidence whatsoever. You can argue the ‘theory’ that life was created by a single ‘Intelligent Designer’ but that’s no more provable or unprovable than arguing it was created by many ‘Intelligent Designers’ – or just happened randomly, or was the work of hyperintelligent mice, or a Giant Spaghetti Monster. If your theory is founded on the understanding that you can never able to prove or disprove it, it ceases to become a theory and becomes theology instead. That’s absolutely fine with me - it’s all very well to believe in a higher power – but if theology gets taught in school, it should be confined to the Religious Studies classroom, not the Science Lab.
Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.Just because we teach that one species evolved over millennia into another, that doesn’t discount the belief that some mysterious ‘Intelligent Designer’ wrote the blueprint or lit the touch paper.—National Academy of Sciences
We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. Vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the 'project' of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary -- rather than mutually exclusive -- realities.
Pope Benedict XVI
Nor does it prove that they didn’t. Whether or not there is a God is unprovable, so that's why the question doesn't get asked when studying evolution - not because evolution and atheism somehow co-exist.
Finally, proponents of Intelligent Design/Creation Theory have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Theory of Evolution. They incorrectly believe that the concept of evolution – that one animal species evolves into another - hasn’t been proven, and is somehow up for debate. That simply isn’t true.
Evolution is a ‘theory’ only in the same way gravity remains a ‘theory.’ Or, to be more specific, we know THAT evolution happens, just as we know if you throw something in the air, gravity will bring it crashing back down to Earth. The ‘theoretical’ part is WHY that happens – ‘survival of the fittest’ being the current understanding.
To argue against the process of evolution – that protobionts evolved into bacteria and eukaryotes and eventually more complex life forms – is like arguing that the world is flat. It’s wrong, plain and simple – and if we teach our kids something so mind-numbingly, inconceivably false, even as a ‘theory’, we’re guilty of child abuse on a massive scale.