An excerpt from the JREF website:
WHERE RELIGION CAME FROM
Reader Jay B. Spry observes:
It occurred to me many years ago that religion begins just beyond the frontier of science – that any phenomenon adequately explained by the scientific method is thereby removed from the domain of faith. We don't believe in the solar system on faith; we know it as fact. Even priests – now – accept it as such. Religion therefore represents the sum total of our ignorance, and God is the personification of that ignorance.
Intelligent design is not an explanation. It is an attempt to capitalize on our lack of total knowledge regarding evolution. The basic thesis is this: "The complexity of the universe cannot be explained except in terms of an Intelligent Designer..." The truth is, it has not yet been explained by science. Once again, an appeal to ignorance is proof of a matter of faith.
James Randi: I agree, perhaps with slight differences. I’ve always thought that well before anything that could properly be called “science” existed, religion “evolved” – no pun intended! – as an effort to explain observed phenomena that lacked obvious causes. I suggest a few consolidating steps that might have taken place: First, a god responsible for thunder, another for rain, and yet another for lightning, could be logically melded into a single deity. Second, atmospheric, biological, celestial, and other large phenomenal categories could be corralled into the venue of a more-encompassing single deity. What followed was the further inclusion of creation, morality, and everything else into a single, all-powerful general-purpose entity. A useful corollary to this definition would be that this god is jealous, capricious, vengeful, fearsome, and generally grumpy and nasty, in order to explain everything from simple rashes to earthquakes and hurricanes.
Jay’s comment that now “even priests accept” certain facts, can be attributed to an official decree from The Head Office – not to any individual epiphanies. “Galileo was right,” and “Evolution does take place,” are examples of grudging admissions that have emerged as patches on the rapidly-deflating and sinking balloon of religion….
Perhaps we could start an "Ignorant Design" movement to explain the multitude of cosmic screw-ups we see, eh?
To which I say, be sure to include the vermiform appendix, variola major, tobacco, bad comedians, and cholesterol, on that list…
I would argue that while indeed there are "gaps" in evolutionary theory, they are not gaps in the sense of proving or disproving the theory itself. The "gaps" or "holes" as they called by creationist proponents are merely gaps in complete knowledge of the entire process, which is simply an issue related to minor studies in which science has yet to discover the solution. To put it another way, These are not gaps by which the theory is in question at all. Their logic is "If I can see my hand, know what it is, know what it does, know what I can do with it, but cannot explain the fingernail, then the whole theory must be wrong.
I am not saying that one should not question any theory.
That is the basis for discovery.
But there has to be a litmus test (Called Scientific method) which steers the ideas in question to the "possible" pile and "poppycock" file.
Intelligent Design, as far as science is concerned is in the latter. This is not to invalidate it, but to say it belongs in the "philosophy section" NOT science.
We know the Universe is present. We know there are certain fundamentals which govern the physical properties of the Universe. What we still do not know is, the totality of everything. This lack of knowledge should not be used as an excuse to "fill in the blanks" with religious views.
Is intelligent design a valid theory? In the context of the definition of "theory" yes, it is.
Is it scientific? No not by any stretch.
Should it be taught in public school as an alternative?
God Forbid (Pun intended)
Remember, our children will be competing in the Global Economy where other countries study harder, are more hungry for success, emphasize education more, and frankly, do not share our monotheistic views. (The exception would be perhaps Islam, in that there IS not much separation of non-secular beliefs, but I speak mainly of the major up an coming players at this time.) We can ill afford this potentially crippling mistake in an already scholastically behind and mentally duller growing youth, not to mention setting a bad president for merging of theology and empirical facts.
I should also note that some people have suggested it be taught as a "comparative religion" subject, but I maintain that this is a subject for college electives, not High School level courses.
Anything less is a gross disservice to our populace.
But I could be wrong....and I'm going to hell, and there's a nice fat flame-engulfed lazy-boy recliner with my name on it, with a snowy T.V., that has a broken remote that only gets UPN....
and it's in the middle of the D.M.V.