So preoccupied are the critics of religious activism with the alleged threat posed by their enemies that they fail to notice that many Christian groups lack the courage of their convictions today, and seem to doubt the authority of their own faith. This is particularly striking in relation to the controversy surrounding Intelligent Design. This theory holds that certain features of the universe, and of animal and human life, are 'best explained' as having an 'intelligent cause' rather than being the product of natural selection. Many see only the danger of superstition in Intelligent Design, describing it as a new form of Creationism on the march. They overlook the remarkable concession that Intelligent Design makes to the authority of science.
Unable to justify creationism as a matter of faith based on divine revelation, advocates of Intelligent Design are forced to adopt the language of science to legitimate their arguments and the existence of some kind of God. This highlights their theological opportunism and inability to justify religion in its own terms. Of course Intelligent Design isn't science; but its appeal to faith in science exposes the limits of the authority of religious faith today.
A secular humanist can see what many ID supporters can't: it is a compromise and we all know it. Once you give science dominion over God, then one only argues degrees, not basic facts. I do believe in the basic tenant of Intellegent Design: there are immense numbers of biological systems that could not have been designed in a piecemeal fashion by rand om genetic mutation, since they could not work until complete.
However, I reject the main compromise of intellegent design: Current neo-Darwinian timelines concerning the evolution of animals are completely and irreconcilably inconsistent with Genesis. Even if you wish to say that the Hebrew word yom does not mean day, but instead age, Genesis documents that the Earth was created before the Sun. Plants were created before the Sun. Birds were created before the land animals. Not only is Genesis 1 not in agreement with current scientific thinking, there is no reason for it not to be if science is correct. The language of Genesis 1 would allow a story that is basically consistent with current scientific thinking with little change. Therefore, either Genesis 1 is correct, God chose to write a grossly incorrect story, or Genesis (and by extention, much of the rest of the Torah) is not inspired.
I refuse to believe that God told a deliberately incorrect story, since that doesn 't match His character elsewhere in the Bible. Even the parables, while possibly not factually true, told moral truths in a story that could be true. Genesis isn't presented in a parable. Instead, it is presented as history.
I also believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is factual when it wishes to be factual. Its visions are prophetically accurate. Its parables tell moral truths. It reveals enough information to us to know the nature of God as fully as we possibly can. There is no line in the book that says "Past this point, everything is accurate". I can't see how Genesis 1 is less accurate than Genesis 20, or Matthew 1 for that matter.