The intelligent design movement has created quite a stir in the United States. ID proponents claim that their theory is scientifically sound and is not based on any religious beliefs, and it should be taught alongside evolution in public-school science classes. The scientific community claims that intelligent design is not scientific at all and is in fact a metaphysical theory that should be taught in philosophy class, not science class.
People who object to the inclusion of intelligent design in science instruction are concerned not only about what the scientific community considers to be bad science, but also about what the leaders of the ID movement have said to their followers. A mission statement of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (then the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture) states:
At the same time, statements from ID movement leaders call greatly on religion. Phillip E. Johnson of the Discovery Institute, speaking of the purpose of the ID movement, has said:
In the July/August, 1999, issue of Touchstone Magazine, William Dembski says, "... intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory." And later, in 2005, he makes the following remarks:
There are also widespread claims that the majority of the Discovery Institute's funding comes from Christian fundamentalist organizations and individuals, noting especially the millions of dollars donated by philanthropist Howard Ahmanson, an evangelical Christian, and hundreds of thousands of dollars provided by the Maclellan Foundation, which seeks to "serve strategic international and national organizations committed to furthering the Kingdom of Christ ... by providing financial and leadership resources to extend the Kingdom of God to every tribe, nation, people, and tongue" [ref]. The Discovery Institute responds by saying that the avenues of its research are determined by its board of directors, not its financial supporters.
All of this, along with questions as to the scientific validity of intelligent design arguments, has led many to believe that the intelligent design movement is a calculated approach to get a creationist view of the origins of life into public-school science classes -- that it is in fact religion disguised as science. Proponents of ID insist that this is not the case -- that intelligent design is separate from creationism and is based entirely on scientific evidence.