Proponents of the theory are liars and bad scientists
The New York Times has some more coverage on the Dover Panda Trial, this time consisting of a profile of Judge John E. Jones III. The article contains a paragraph regarding the potential scope of Judge Jones's decision:
"Legal experts said the big question was whether Judge Jones would rule narrowly or more broadly on the merits of teaching intelligent design as science. Proponents of the theory argue that living organisms are so complex that the best explanation is that a higher intelligence designed them."
Other than that, the article does not deal with the issues of the trial, instead focusing on Jones's political background, the attention of the national media, and his sharp wit. The author, Laurie Goodstein, does not bother to explain that intelligent design has no scientific merit, and the arguments by its proponents have been thoroughly disproven. Instead, she uses a description of intelligent design that we have grown so accustomed to reading: “Proponents of the theory . . . so complex . . . intelligently designed.” A simple Google search reveals how common this type of phrase is:
- New York Times (18 Oct 2005): “Proponents of intelligent design, however, argue that living organisms are so complex that the best explanation is that a higher intelligence designed them.”
- New York Times (4 Nov 2005): “The More center's lawyers put scientists on the witness stand who argued that intelligent design - the idea that living organisms are so complex that the best explanation is that a higher intelligence designed them - is a credible scientific theory and not religion because it never identifies God as the designer.”
- New York Times (27 Sep 2005): “Intelligent design is the idea that living organisms are so complex that the best explanation is that some kind of higher intelligence designed them.”
- MSNBC (8 Nov 2005): “Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.”
Two of the New York Times articles were written by Goodstein (and the MSNBC article substitutes "universe" for "living organisms"), but it appears that this description has circulated throughout the journalistic circles. I don’t have much of a problem the phrasing (it’s intelligent design in a nutshell -- in fact, it’s all intelligent design has to offer), but it would be nice to see the following:
Proponents of intelligent design argue that living organisms are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. They have presented no evidence for their claims, have not experimentally tested their hypothesis, and their arguments are widely rejected amongst biologists.
I don’t even need to read a description of evolutionary theory (it’s so complex that it would take a few paragraphs to describe, and the crappy writers at the Times would probably screw it up), as long as the description of intelligent design is accompanied by the qualifier that it’s absolute bullshit.