Intelligent design is the assertion that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, but one which avoids specifying the nature or identity of the designer. The idea was developed by a group of American creationists who reformulated their argument in the creation-evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings that prohibit the teaching of creationism as science. Intelligent design's leading proponents, all of whom are associated with the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank, believe the designer to be the God of Christianity.
Advocates of intelligent design argue that it is a scientific theory, and seek to fundamentally redefine science to accept supernatural explanations. The unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that "creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science." The U.S. National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have termed it pseudoscience. Others in the scientific community have concurred, and some have called it junk science.
The concept of intelligent design originated in response to the 1987 United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling involving separation of church and state. Its first significant published use was in Of Pandas and People, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes. Several additional books on the subject were published in the 1990s. By the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents had begun clustering around the Discovery Institute and more publicly advocating the inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula. With the Discovery Institute and its Center for Science and Culture serving a central role in planning and funding, the "intelligent design movement" grew increasingly visible in the late 1990s and early 2000s, culminating in the 2005 Dover trial which challenged the intended use of intelligent design in public school science classes.
In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, a group of parents of high-school students challenged a public school district requirement for teachers to present intelligent design in biology classes as an alternative "explanation of the origin of life". U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents", and that the school district's promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.