So what IS "intelligent design"? What better place to find a definition than http://www.intelligentdesign.org ? It would seem a good place to look, and here is their definition:
Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system's components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research is conducted by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.OK - it's as clumsy a definition as you are ever likely to see. It's a "scientific research program"? And it's carried out by a bunch of johnnies who refer to themselves as "scientists, philosophers and engineers" and they seek evidence for design in nature. What kind of design? Oh - *intelligent* design of course. So it's an activity undertaken by some punters with a pre-defined search objective, i.e. to find design, rather than look at how things might have come about. If your critical thinking hackles are not starting to rise by now, they should.
But I get ahead of myself. What is the *definition* of ID? There it is up there - certain features of living organisms and the universe are "best explained" by an intelligent cause. So they're starting with their conclusion, and trying to make the data fit. Hey ho, that's fine. But there are some problems - not least of which is that there is no evidence for such an intelligent cause, and the history of explaining hard-to-explain phenomena by invoking an intelligent cause not otherwise in evidence has not been a happy one. Lightning, epilepsy, the apparent movements of celestial bodies etc. All perfectly natural, no pixies required.
So our doughty chaps have some examples, you might think? The Cambrian Radiation? No need to invoke intelligence there. Just biology. DNA? No evidence of intelligence - just evolution! The universe itself? Hardly. The invocation of the Fine Tuning argument as evidence for an intelligent cause is hardly convincing. So exactly what HAVE these people produced apart from comment pieces? Where is their research? Where are their papers published in the scientific literature? Where is the EVIDENCE for an intelligence having designed our universe and life within it?
It simply is not there. ID is a crock.
Of course the fact that ID is nonsense does not necessarily *disprove* the gods. But as a "research program" or "intellectual exercise" it is a dead duck, and has been comprehensively refuted by real scientists.