To pursue intellectualism is to employ ratiocination in one's discourse, and in extreme cases at the cost of effectual policy change. We can sit around all day pondering our navels but never get anything out of it except intellectual lint.
So rather than just try to build case after case, let's look at the "so what" of the examples already given. Of course it is ridiculous to spend equal time on the concept of cows licking frost because that is a paradoxical view of creation (since there is no credible evidence to suggest cows are transcendental, they are a part of "creation" thus cannot have participated in their own pre-existence). It would also be ridiculous to chase other equally untenable scenarios with the same fervor as one would chase an idea formed with constructive evidence.
The reason why we see a distinction between ID and Christian Creationism is that not all those who disbelieve spontaneous sentience are Christians for one, and for two, because the scope of the two points of view are different (although heavily complementary to one another). I agree that open-mindedness shouldn't be an invitation for Supernaturalism or any other 'ism when it comes to scientific thought. But the pursuit of science should not be an invitation for closed-mindedness in return. Scientists must follow the evidence and evidence worth following must stand up to pretty intense scrutiny.
But intense scrutiny should not be disproportionately applied when it comes to education since it can engender indoctrination almost as much as flat out disregard for contradictory evidence. Consider the following quote from the Princeton Review on the topic of the Socratic Method in education...
http://www.princetonreview.com/law/rese ... cratic.aspAt its best, this approach forces a reasonably well-prepared student to go beyond the immediately apparent issues in a given case to consider its broader implications. The dialogue between the effective Socratic instructor and his victim-of- the-moment will also force non-participating students to question their underlying assumptions of the case under discussion. It also hones the law student's critical reasoning skills and prepares her to litigate before tough judges.
At its worst, the Socratic Method subjects an unprepared student to ruthless scrutiny and fosters an unhealthy adversarial relationship between an instructor and his students.
This example is excerpted from a website devoted to legal education and this discussion was started with a legal question anyway. The overlap of law and science is difficult for the same reason that scientists hardly ever declare a phenomenon to constitute a "law" of physics for example. We have the "Law of Gravity" which has (black) holes you could drive a Planck through (ugh, terrible physics pun, I should be Shotz)
The truth is that since Einstien and friends came along, the normally ultra-precise field of Physics has raised more questions than answers, especially on topics thought for centuries to have already been nearly complete. It is perhaps the very stringent expectation of precision that makes physicists hesitant to use the word "law" to describe their most thoroughly developed theories but this doesn't mean their theories are guesses.
So the issue is what constitutes credible claims? If you use popular culture, there is something so abhorrent about Intelligent Design that a site such as www.howstuffworks.com will have articles about Evolution, Bigfoot, and even Crop Circles but will totally lack anything about Intelligent Design within their site. I would suggest that it is not becaue of a lack of credible evidence so much as the site administration's desire to avoid controversy. I support that with the fact that they don't have any articles devoted to the topic of abortion either, even though it happens a little bit more frequently than crop circles and bigfoot sightings combined. While that website may not constitute a perfect exemplar for the rule to be based upon, I am pretty sure that it is symptomatic.
I bring all this up to point out that there are ulterior motivations for including or avoiding topics beyond credibility. I personally feel like intellectual merit should overrule fear of uncomfortable topcis when it comes to determining the scope of science education. I'm not suggesting that ALL people opposed to the thesis of ID are uncomfortable with the topic. In fact, I'm quite sure that most would be perfectly happy watching a PBS special comparing the two "conflicting" ideologies so long as no hint of proselytizing is left in the content of the show. What I am suggesting is that we're so familiar with the lack of objective scrutiny methods imbued in students that we can say with relative assurance that any change in curriculum represents an alternate indoctrination. Whether it includes ID or not, we can agree that science is not taught properly.
The problem is that we deal with a system that overlooks fundamental contradictions and presents isolated facts in rapid succession, all neatly arranged to punish those students brave enough to question their order. No wonder students of biology are never taught to investigate the credibility of a belief system that supposes the remarkable order of life and all it contains spontaneously errupted from a cataclysm of chaos. Some imply that it was bound to happen eventually if we conceive of the infinity of time gone by with the inevitability of ever increasing probability. Infinite time plus chance. This conveniently says that no matter how long the odds are, if you give something long enough to happen, it must. But this is a false conclusion if it necessitates the exclusion of the existence of a diety because no matter how slim the odds of there existing a god, if you give it long enough, infinite time plus chance says it must happen. It is nonsense logic and a fallacy.
So the cascade of repeated questions of "where do we come from" are suddenly outside of the scope of rational science unless rational science adheres to its own principle and considers under scrutiny the claims of anyone who can show evidence. If there were reasonable evidence that a cosmic cow licked frost all up ons, then it must be considered. Lack of evidence is not enough to dismiss something if corroborating and interrelated data imply that the evidence will be there if you look hard enough. It is amazing to me that anyone who was patient enough with the search for dark matter, gravity waves, and black holes might not have patience enough to bear asking why everything fits so nicely together. Is there such a thing as "irreducible complexity?"
In the end, it also comes back to allowing teachers of science to say one of the hardest things for a well-educated person to say: "I don't know." The old addage holds that it's about the hardest thing for an engineer, physicist, or biologist to say. When you spend a lifetime and a career in generating the answers (as opposed to simply looking them up), saying "I don't know" is like admitting a dirty secret, a personal flaw, or a professional shortcoming. Science teachers don't like to say it just as much as researchers don't too. I once asked my astronomy professor about the timeline of the age of the universe as we currently understand it. You see, during a lesson about quasars and other super-distant objects, the fact that we can observe them 15 billion light-years away in a "direction" most nearly described as "out" (thank you parallax) implies that the universe is much older than 15 billion years. Yet the same textbook proclaims that it is only 20-25 billion years old (a number that probably changed in recent revisions). The reason why that number appears to be several times too small is that light years, as a measure of distance, sound awfully convenient but should not be taken for granted. If light from an extraordinarily large object is reaching us after 15 billion years, that object must have been moving unthinkably fast to reach that range within enough time to form and emit light. Let's say an object moves at half the speed of light (making about 350 million miles per hour), besides being many orders of magnitude over the Hubble constant (or the presumed constant rate of expansion of all things in the universe), it also means that these massive objects would be among the fastest moving in all of known existence. The next speed bump (okay, pun intended) in this scenario is that the theory of general relativity so eloquently described in the famous E=mc^2 equation means that the mass of an object actually increases as the object approaches the speed of light (photons do not fall into this category because they have no mass but still have momentum, if that makes any sense). This means that all we know about super-massive objects contradicts the possibility that a quasar would form and THEN move toward the outer-reaches of the observable universe and yet that's how the theory goes.
I asked my astronomy professor what that meant for the book's timeline and rather than simply say "I don't know," he said it was because the timeline was "mushy". I kid you not, that was the PhD's response. There are contradictions out there and they are accepted as part of scientific inquiry now (hence the hesitance to assign the lofty title of "law" to even the most established of modern theories). Why then does it make sense to say that evolution and creation are contradictory and so the best thing to do is throw one out? I don't think it makes much sense but then, I've spent enough time studying and fighting against contradiction that the only area in all of academia still perfectly black and white to me is that tuition prices are too damn high.
There is a major difference between scientifically acceptible contradictions and a paradoxical theory. Two individually sound theories that contradict one another but not themselves may be considered perfectly credible but any theory that contradicts itself is immediately discarded as being quackery at best and outright lies otherwise. Teach that difference and you've done more work for opening a creative mind than any of the teachers I had in high school.