Science and ID
The whole edifice of ID rests on the natural human tendency to give "Goddidit" an automatic mulligan from any further explanation, while demanding that any naturalistic explanation be fully validated at each step from beginning to end.
As humans, the pattern-detectors of our brains are wired to easily spot the human, even where it doesn't exist. Lightning? Obviously, the weapon of Zeus, who looks a lot like a Greek athlete throwing a javelin. OK, Zeus is out of fashion, so clearly Yahweh operates the Department of Lightning.
In order to convince people that lightning is not the weapon of some "person in the sky," scientists starting with Ben Franklin had to demonstrate experimentally that lightning is electricity in motion, provide complete theories of how clouds generate lightning, how "electricity" works, and so on. No one ever had to provide any description of how Zeus or Yahweh went about generating lightning, how they aimed it, etc.
Being human ourselves, we have a pretty good implicit understanding of how humans do things. Ask how the light bulb came to be, and it's easy to understand "ThomasEdisondidit" as an explanation, even if we have no idea how we'd go about constructing a light bulb from scratch ourselves. We've all made things ourselves, so we have what seems to be a pretty good understanding of how "ID" works.
So, ID'ers bring up a case like bacterial flagella or bombardier beetles. If the evolutionists can't explain in exhaustive detail every single step of the evolutionary process with complete fossil documatiation, then there's a "mystery." So, when they say "Evolution can't explain this! God must have did it!" it seems to make sense without further explanation.
"God" is basically a human with magic powers. We all know you don't have to explain how magic works, it just does. The wizard waves a wand, and *bling!* stuff happens. That's what makes it "magic" instead of physics or engineering. So, when the ID'er says "Goddidit," it's very easy for the human mind to imagine a Merlin in his lab drawing up plans for flagellum motors, stirring some bubbly potion with his wand, and *kazaam!* flagellum motors exist. As humans born with a tendency to assume humanness first ("What's that sound? A burglar! No...just the wind--whew!"), the "human explanation" seems almost self-evident. Flagellum motors were made by a super-human. End of story.
Evolution, being a non-human, naturalistic process, is not automatically, intuitively understood by humans as human action is. In order for a human to accept it, a whole lot of scientific explanation is necessary. This applies equally well to any other natural process. Explaining the movements of the planets of the solar system scientifically required the Principia Mathematica. The theory that the planets were carried around by angels or held aloft on the shoulders of Atlas needed no explanation at all to seem credible.
ID'ers and Creationists are able to take advantage of this limitation of human consciousness by adopting a one-sided uber-skepticism with regard to naturalistic theories. "OK, Mr. Evolutionist, explain the bacterial flagellum! Well...um...alright, but what about the metamorphosis of the Monarch butterfly? Betcha can't explain how that
'just evolved!'" And so on, until they find something evolutionists haven't explained yet. Barring the achievement of human omniscience, sooner or later they'll stumble upon an unanswered question.
Then, it's "Ha! Evolution can't explain that! Therefore, Goddidit!" Triumphant, their uber-skepticism immediately vanishes, replaced by unquestioning acceptance. However, if their own theory were held to the same standards as a naturalistic theory, its emptiness would be immediately evident.
Scientist: "You propose an 'Intelligent Designer' as the central explanatory mechanism of your theory. Is this a human being?"
ID: "No, of course not. We...ah...don't really like to talk about our Designer much. We just...you know...sorta hope you'll automatically assume it's the Christian God without really thinking about it."
Scientist: "So your Designer is not an entity that is a part of this universe, like an extraterrestrial being?"
ID: "Well, no, because the Designer created the Universe as well. Look at those finely-tuned cosmological constants! Don't know how those got to be that way, do you? A Designer must have done it!" >does victory dance<
Scientist: "So your Designer exists in some other dimension. Where is this other dimension? How does it interact with our universe? Can you provide any equations or physics experiments showing how the existence of this other dimension fits with quantum mechanics and relativity?"
Scientist: "If this other dimension is not a universe like this one with the same physical operating principles, what is
it like? How do things work there? What is your Intelligent Designer made of? How does it perceive events taking place in our universe? We know that when we observe quantum particles, the act of observation affects the particles. Can you provide a mathematically rigorous description of how your Designer can observe quantum particles in a way that does not affect them (since we cannot detect any effects of your Designer's observation of quantum events)?
ID: "Er...the Designer is outside of time...um...we just don't ask stuff like that. There's a real nice church a couple blocks down the street from here..."
Scientist: "How would such a being select and set cosmological constants for a universe it was going to create? Can you provide a rigorous mathematical description of how something like that would be done? Are there creatures with "motors" in the Designers dimension? Are there proteins and acids, or lipid-walls? If not, how did your Designer come up with things like that in the first place? I mean, could you design a device that would work in some other dimension where all the principles of physics work differently than they do here?"
ID: "What part of 'Goddidit' don't you understand?!"
Scientist: "All of it. You want me to specify exactly how every single protein of a bacterial flagellum could evolve in mathematically rigorous and evidentially validated scientific papers. That's fine, it's my job. But if you want to call yourself a scientist, then you need to do the same with your
theory. You haven't provided anything like a scientific model of what your 'Designer' is supposed to be, what his, her, or its native cosmos is supposed to be like, how that cosmos interacts with ours so that your 'Designer' can do anything here to begin with, where your 'Designer' or its cosmos came from, how your 'Designer' can design things like cosmological constants and flagellum motors for a cosmos entirely different from its own...or for that matter, why there's only one
Designer! How do you know there's not ten of them--or billions?"
Intelligent Design "theory" rests on two pillars, without which it would not exist at all:
1) "Designer" is used with a capital-D and in the singular, counting on you to automatically assume "the Christian God" without the ID'ers having to come out and say it.
2) Scientists must rigorously explain and validate their theories against a steep ramp of hyper-skepticism, but ID'ers get an auto-mulligan: their explanations are sufficient if they consist of only four words: "The Designer did it."