“A day may come when the promoters of intelligent design wish they had left well enough alone,” writes David Brin.

Intelligent design advocates make the case that their position should be taught in schools not because the Bible says so, but on grounds they share with scientists and most thinking people–fairness, completeness, and open-mindedness. They disregard the overwhelming weight of the evidence, of course, but most of us don’t understand the case for Darwinian evolution as well as we do bedrock principles.

The problem for ID advocates is that–leaving the evidence aside for the moment–Darwin’s theory and Christian fundamentalism are not the only two theoretically possible alternatives. Once you pretend to open the door to inquiry, some rough beasts really will slouch into your classroom. Brin summarizes:

“I doubt that the promoters of intelligent design really want to see a day come when every biology teacher says: ‘Okay, you’ve heard from Darwin. Now we’ll spend a week on each of the following: intelligent design, guided evolution [deism], intelligent design of intelligent designers [Mormonism], evolution of intelligent designers, the Hindu cycle of karma, the Mayan yuga cycle, panspermia, the Universe as a simulation…’ and so on. Each of these viewpoints can muster support from philosophers and even some modern physicists, and can gather as much supporting evidence as ID,” which is to say, not much. We’re still talking philosophy class, not biology class.

Bone up on all the alternatives here.