The Theory of Evolution has flaws. It is not perfect and no real scientist will claim that it is. Despite this, it has been a very useful scientific tool for analyzing and observing what is going on in our world. Also, thousands of scientists all over the world are working feverishly to either find the missing links of evidence or to find new evidence that modifies the theory. It is a staple of the secular scientific world and, like all good science, is subject to change, updating and clarification.
Nonetheless, Intelligent Design (ID) supporters, many of them former creationists, want to make it clear that the Theory of Evolution isn't perfect and that there are alternatives to it. They want to force disclaimers in the classroom, place stickers on textbooks and make it clear to students that Darwin's theory is not beyond reproach.
While I have no problem with encouraging students to question scientific theories. I am disturbed that supporters of ID are only interested in questioning the Theory of Evolution. After all, quantum physics is a theory, relativity is a theory and most of what we now call modern science is theory.
But the reason we don't see communities rallying against the theory of relativity is that the conversion of energy into matter isn't mentioned anywhere in a religious text that I've read. No one's view of God or their faith in respect to the matter is affected by Albert Einstein's theory. So, despite the flaws and problems with that theory, science teachers can continue talking about it as if it were scientific fact, with no stickers or disclaimers required.
Clearly, this attack on the Theory of Evolution has less to do with good science and more to do with protecting God and putting him back, even if only in a small way, into our science classrooms. If ID supporters were interested in creating good scientists, they would attach their warnings and disclaimers to all theories, not just the one that they view as attacking their religious beliefs.
Thus, even if the ID theory has scientific merit, which is questionable considering the dubious scientific process most of their scientists have used, it is clearly being introduced for the wrong reasons. Furthermore, where the Theory of Evolution had to fight for decades to be accepted, with many good scientists collecting evidence to support it, ID wants to be accepted and integrated into the classroom today, with very little evidence to support it and few mainstream scientists putting stock in it.
Worse still, most of the evidence supporters of ID bring to the table is little more than holes in the existing theories. They offer no proof as to why these holes are explained by the existence of an outside intelligence and only say that they must be. But even as they assume that no other logical explanations are available, other scientists have been offering them while others have worked to test their theories.
This "no other explanation" theory seems to claim that Evolution is a done deal and that the theory is never going to be tweaked, improved or modified. However, all scientific theory is prone to that and nothing is set in stone to a true practitioner of science. After all, nearly every great scientific discovery has been either by accident or someone simply questioning the status quo and proving it wrong.
In the end, the Theory of Evolution is a testament to the very concept thereof. It is evolving rapidly and improving itself to defend against threats. It's an homage to how the scientific method is supposed to work and, though it is imperfect, so is all life and all ideas on the planet.
If supporters of ID want to help science, they should encourage questioning of all theories, not just the ones that fly against their personal and political agenda, and back up their theory with hard facts, not just conjecture and hole-punching.
Finally, they need to be aware that their theory, if it becomes accepted, will be tested and questioned much like how they have tested and questioned evolution. They need to be ready for that inevitability both personally and scientifically.
However, given the personal nature of this war to date, I doubt that they will be. After all, it's hard to be unbiased when you feel that your faith is being challenged. That rage is understandable, but it has no place in the scientific process or the science classroom.