With the release of Expelled, it's worth talking about some of the philosophy underlying Intelligent Design and the academic scientific community's response.
By itself, "Intelligent Design" is just a label. It has certain connotations, but without an explicit definition, the connotations don't add up to an actual meaning, at least not a meaning that we can discuss in a sensible manner.
At its most vacuous, "Intelligent Design" is a synonym for "theistic evolution", which is the unfalsifiable religious belief that God employed evolution to create present-day terrestrial life, including human beings. Why an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent deity — or even a moderately powerful, knowledgeable, and good deity — would employ such a half-assed, wasteful "design" process is completely beyond me, but I'm not a theologian; God works in mysterious ways, don'tcha know.
The academic scientific community and the citizens (such as myself) who support them, don't really give that much of a shit about the details of any scientist's theology or religion. As long as they keep their religion out of the classroom and laboratory, our response will likewise stay outside the classroom and laboratory. Ken Miller for instance keeps his science and Christianity well-enough separated. His standing as a scientist in the scientific community is not threatened by anyone's views on his religious beliefs.
While I'm a passionate — perhaps even "militant" and "strident" — anti-religious atheist, I also passionately believe that the conflict between superstition and intelligence and common sense must be played out in the marketplace of ideas, not in the legislature, courts, or the workplace. No matter how stupid and ridiculous I think your ideas are, I believe that everyone must have the freedom to believe as they will and express those beliefs in ordinarily appropriate venues without fear of criminal penalty or civil discrimination. If anyone were to discriminate against anyone, scientist, journalist, teacher, computer programmer or janitor, just because of their religious beliefs, or just because they expressed their beliefs in an appropriate manner and venue, I would join the chorus of those crying, "Foul!"
But scientists, teachers etc. are not being systematically discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.
The qualifiers of "appropriate manner and venue" are important. Until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, or until we change the First Amendment to the Constitution, the government and its agents are forbidden by law from establishing religion. And teachers in publicly supported schools and universities are agents of the government. Forswear government funds, go to a truly private school, and you can say whatever you want. But if you accept taxpayer dollars, you have to leave your religion at the door. That's the law.
If you don't like it, there's are processes in place to petition the Supreme Court to change its mind, and to amend the Constitution. I advise against such an effort, and not just to protect atheists and scientists: the First Amendment was conceived in no small part to prevent sectarian conflict, conflicts between adherents of different religions. It your call, though; it's a free country.
And, of course, it's outright fraud to call "Intelligent Design" a scientific theory but define it as a religious belief.
There are any number of advocates, including Ben Stein and Mark Mathis (Expelled), the Dover, PA school board, and many others who unequivocally present Intelligent Design as a scientific theory.
If advocates call "Intelligent Design" a scientific theory and define it in a falsifiable manner, then its truth must be decided by appeal to experimental data... all the data. If the data were to uphold a falsifiable theory of Intelligent Design, then it would be very wrong — and rank hypocrisy — for scientists to reject it on political grounds. Science is about letting the data decide. Full stop.
No falsifiable form of Intelligent Design has stood up to the most cursory experimental data.
All falsifiable versions of Intelligent Design have been found to be actually false, with almost ridiculous ease.
If you construct "Intelligent Design" as a religious belief, and you teach it in a state-supported classroom, you're breaking the law, and you should be penalized. Not for your religious beliefs per se, but for expressing them in an inappropriate venue.
If you call "Intelligent Design" a scientific theory, but you formulate it in an unfalsifiable manner, then you're a fraud, and you should be penalized.
If you call "Intelligent Design" a scientific theory, and you formulate it in an falsifiable manner, but you distort, misrepresent or cherry-pick the data to support the theory, you're a fraud or an incompetent, and you should be penalized.
When and if someone constructs a theory of Intelligent Design that is falsifiable and not immediately proven false by the data — i.e. unlike every form of Intelligent Design that's yet been proffered by anyone — I'll reconsider my position. Until then, the concept has no place in the classroom and it has no place in the laboratory. Indeed it has no place outside the church, the venue we have agreed that people may legally set aside rational thought and common sense.