This past semester, I joined, as part of the honors chemistry class I was taking, a research lab on campus. I became part of a group trying to understand the workings of a protein called Integration Host Factor, which is found in many bacteria.
The work in the lab was an ordeal. I had gotten the basics of lab work from the previous semester's chem class plus the first few weeks of that semester, but it was still a steep learning curve. I think I got 1/3 of my data in the last week. The main thing I did was run electrophoresis gels. What was the purpose of that, you ask? The gels would show how the protein existed in solution under various conditions: monomers (units of one), dimers (two), tetramers (four), or something else. With that data the lab would then use a machine called a CD to figure out how the protein gets from one state to another. That data could them be worked into the model for the IHF binding do DNA - a great, complex issue in and of itself. Suffice to say, I did a very small part in the overall project. Near the end I mentioned to one of the guys in the lab that I felt I should have done more, that after all that time I only had a little data, and his response was "That's the way it is."
Though this was a conclusion greatly reinforced by my time in the lab, just seeing the outlines of what was going on on the first day gave me a flash of insight into why scientists get angry about ID. Nature is a hideously complicated place, and figuring it out is hard work. Michael Behe's precious "molecular machines" are not something we discovered looking through a microscope. One might get the impression, looking at textbook pictures of cells, that their inards are there to be looked at. The reality is that understanding something like DNA or any other part of the cell's aparatus requires lots of slow, indirect tests. Obviously, it would be absurd to say that just because we don't understand it all means we should go back to the theory of vital forces. I suspect that the "molecular machine" crowd would be the first to complain if we did.
Yet that's exactly what ID does. If we don't understand something, they take it as proof that God did it. Need we repeat the Hippocratic observation "Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, there would be no end of divine things." It is worse than that, though. In Hippocrates' day, it was not as if epilepsy was basically understood, with scientists slowly figuring out more and more of the specifics. That is the situation with evolution today. The problem with Intelligent Design is it wants to flush good, quite difficult research down the toilet in favor of hand waving.