And what exactly do you do when the scientific inanity that is Intelligent Design comes to your town? When the local newspaper publishes an editorial suggesting that, hey, why not allow "balanced treatment" in high school science classes? When letter writers start clamoring for it? When local church groups begin advocating for it? When the school board actually puts it on the agenda for their next open forum? Well, even if you don't understand a whole lot about ID or biological evolution, there is one thing you definitely can do.
First, you have to get a copy of Michael Behe's recent NY Times opinion piece on ID. (If you can't get it there, you can find it at the Discovery Institute's site here.) Behe is the closest thing to a godfather for the entire ID movement there is, so there's no conceivable way ID proponents can give you a hard time for quoting anything he says. (In fact, Behe's work has been slammed pretty thoroughly by a number of people, and a summary of some of that criticism can be found here, if you're feeling ambitious. But (and this is important), for what follows, there is absolutely no need to criticize Behe's work itself. In fact, quite the opposite, as you'll see.)
And now, read Behe's paper, at least as far as the following passage:
Intelligent design proponents do question whether random mutation and natural selection completely explain the deep structure of life. But they do not doubt that evolution occurred.
And that's your money quote. Have it handy, and be prepared to use it as follows. Whenever the topic of ID comes up, it will be your job to say (ever so sweetly now):
"Well, yes, I've heard of this Intelligent Design stuff, and it sure sounds interesting but, as I understand it (pulling out copy of Behe's article here with an ever so subtle smirk), they don't doubt at all that evolution actually occurred."
Then watch the consternation on the faces of those who weren't aware of that little detail.
You see, the basic strategy of the pro-ID movement is to use ID as a wedge to start chipping away at evolution's credibility, and to eventually replace it in the school system with ID and, more generally, scientific creationism, and this is typically done at a local level, using letter writers, church congregations, bogus "concerned parents" coalitions and stealth, creationist school board members. However, the instant these people start getting revved up, all you need to do is produce Behe's quote and the whole conga line comes screeching to a halt, since that's not exactly what they wanted to hear.
You need to be prepared to produce Behe's quote in conversations, letters to the editor, school board meetings and any other open forums. And it doesn't even have to be in a confrontational way. As I've already mentioned, you can be the epitome of sweetness, saying something like, "Sure, I think it might be interesting to check into this ID thing, as long as everyone understands that, according to one of its own developers, there's no doubt that evolution occurred, right? So that's not part of the debate, right? Right?"
And how can they argue? You'll be amazed at just how quickly the air leaves the balloon.