My own situation is that of an atheist who, in spite of being an avid consumer of popular science, has for a long time been skeptical of the claims of traditional evolutionary theory to be the whole story about the history of life. The theory does not claim to explain the origin of life, which remains a complete scientific mystery at this point. Opponents of ID, however, normally assume that that too must have a purely chemical explanation. The idea is that life arose and evolved to its present form solely because of the laws of chemistry, and ultimately of particle physics. In the prevailing naturalistic worldview, evolutionary theory plays the crucial role in showing how physics can be the theory of everything.
Sophisticated members of the contemporary culture have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that they easily lose sight of the fact that evolutionary reductionism defies common sense. A theory that defies common sense can be true, but doubts about its truth should be suppressed only in the face of exceptionally strong evidence.
I do not regard divine intervention as a possibility, even though I have no other candidates. Yet I recognize that this is because of an aspect of my overall worldview that does not rest on empirical grounds or any other kind of rational grounds. I do not think the existence of God can be disproved. So someone who can offer serious scientific reasons to doubt the adequacy of the theory of evolution, and who believes in God, in the same immediate way that I believe there is no god, can quite reasonably conclude that the hypothesis of design should be taken seriously. If reasons to doubt the adequacy of evolutionary theory can be legitimately admitted to the curriculum, it is hard to see why they cannot legitimately be described as reasons in support of design, for those who believe in God, and reasons to believe that some as yet undiscovered, purely naturalistic theory must account for the evidence, for those who do not. That, after all, is the real epistemological situation.
(Thomas Nagel, "Public Education and Intelligent Design," Philosophy & Public Affairs 36 [spring 2008]: 187-205, at 202-3 [footnote omitted])
Note from KBJ: Nagel has been attacked for writing this and other essays. His crime? Not toeing the progressive line on evolutionary theory. It is said that he gives aid and comfort to the enemy. What enemy? Nagel doesn't view this as a war. He's interested in truth. If you find his arguments defective, criticize them, but leave Nagel alone. No self-respecting philosopher puts political solidarity over truth-seeking. That many philosophers do so says everything you need to know about how politicized the discipline has become. I might add that Nagel is a reliable progressive on many political matters, such as tax policy. If he is attacked by the thugs of the discipline, imagine how conservatives are treated.