Intelligent design (ID) as Batesian mimicry
Intelligent design* as Batesian mimicry
The relationship of the viceroy and the monarch (Batesian mimicry) is well known. The latter contains a toxin rendering it unpalatable to birds. By trial and error birds learn to avoid the monarch. The viceroy lacks these toxins, but avoids predation by resembling the monarch in size and color pattern. Humans can readily distinguish the two species. The viceroy needs to fool only less sophisticated, natural predators (birds). Intelligent design is a promotion of the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute
Intelligent design (ID) emulates the viceroy's strategy to seek the status of science in the U.S. Scientists can readily distinguish ID from science. Therefore ID bypasses the scientific community and seeks to establish itself in public education.
ID develops the resemblance by investing in publicity, by calling itself scientific, by using (dubious) mathematical formulas, by claiming that ID explains biology better than does evolution, by claiming that evolution is "on the way out", by claiming that ID is not creationism, by attracting a core of the politically powerful and academically credentialed, by recruiting followers (from fundamentalist religious groups) and by associating itself with academic institutions (funding conferences).
Biologists risk being "parasitized" by ID. As biologists know, small viceroy populations have little effect on monarchs, but when the proportion of the former gets too high, predators learn the wrong lesson (that viceroys are palatable) and monarch populations suffer. ID isn't yet powerful enough to influence science, but if ID gained control of education, it would misinform American students about the nature of science. If ID gained control of Federal funding, it would damage American science to the detriment of society.