An article on Bill Frist's cynical support for the Intelligent Design "theory" makes an important point:
The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation. Nearly all scientists dismiss it as a scientific theory, and critics say it's nothing more than religion masquerading as science.It's always nice when such articles emphasize that scientists dismiss ID as science; too many articles imply that the opposition to ID is based primarily on an atheistic worldview, rather than on the fact that ID is essentially devoid of content. The main problem with ID is that if it were a demonstrable fact, it would affect neither the goals of science, nor its methodology.
Nor, I suspect, would it affect ethics. If all evidence for evolution can be ignored, based on emotional prejudice, so can all evidence for a creator. And even if people believe in a creator, they remain intellectually free not to worship that creator. And even if they do worship the creator, they remain intellectually free to choose their own form of worship, whether it be liberation theology, polygamy, or racial separatism.
The existence of deity has been accepted as a given for centuries by a majority of human beings; I have boundless admiration for certain acts and monuments of faith, but I see no reason to believe that religion's enormous capacity to inspire and justify evil actions would vanish, were ID accepted as fact. The basic argument behind ID was accepted during the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the conquest of the New World. By the scientific standards of those times, all nature revealed God's handiwork. Cotton Mather's The Christian Philosopher is a learned and beautifully written explication of intelligent design, the arguments of which were virtually unassailable in his day, but Mather nonetheless presided over the horrific injustice of the Salem Witch Trials.
ID can't answer the fundamental question, "How then shall we live?" It can't put an end to sectarian squabbling, douse the fires of fundamentalist extremism, or contradict religious and racial bigotry.
ID solves no scientific problems, and no moral problems. A world in which ID were "true" would be a world very much like our own.