One of the themes of “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” was that there was a dogmatic rejection of Intelligent Design in academia. There is, in fact, no dogmatic rejection of Intelligent Design on the part of academia. An acceptance of Intelligent Design as an intelligible explanation for aspects of nature would signal that we had entered into a new dark age. The most succinct reason Intelligent Design isn’t a good scientific theory is because it doesn’t explain anything. It is consistent with any and all facts we could discover about the universe including incorrect ones. We find a natural explanation for the bacterial flagellum, the designer moves on to explain some new mystery. Intelligent Design is no more than dressed up ignorance and no better than saying “I don’t see how this could have come about naturally, so let’s say Fred did it.”
Sure, animals look like they have been designed, in the same way the Sun looks like it goes around the Earth. Darwin explained how we got it backwards. Animals adapt to their environment through a combination of mutation, inherited traits, differential survival and reproduction. Darwin presented a substantial amount of evidence to support this view. Since his time, every piece of credible evidence we have found has supported the general framework he proposed making it one of the best supported scientific theories in history.
When people say they don’t feel secure about questioning evolution in academia, I say good. It means reason is still prevailing. If you choose to question evolution, you better have something more than your ignorance, because if that is all you bring to the table, you have just proven, beyond any shadow of a doubt, your incompetence.
Just like we wouldn’t want a detective who would throw up his hands at every mystery and declare a ghost must have done it, we don’t want to institutionalize ignorance with Intelligent Design. Making the best decisions possible is contingent on having an accurate view of reality. Science has proven itself to be the unmatched leader in enhancing our understanding of nature. It is unfortunate consequence of our limited capacities that scientific knowledge has become so vast that it requires specialization to continue to make rapid progress. Still, it is criminal to deny children a broad, basic and accurate understanding of what scientists have discovered even if we can‘t present every last detail.
So, no, it isn’t dogmatic. It is having standards. Evolution meets a incredibly high standard for evidentiary support. The reason why Intelligent Design can’t compete with evolution isn’t because of bias or discrimination, it is because it is remarkably inferior and if you can’t understand that then you have no business in the education system.