Enter Matt Ridley. Matt characterizes intelligent design by humans as a form of creationism, and recently wrote a whole book, The Evolution of Everything, documenting its failures. Economies, religions, politics, companies and governments are all places where Matt sees this "creationism" - and its poor performance. I don't remember a single positive comment about intelligent design in the whole book.
As an antidote, I feel inclined to offer a brief summary of why intelligent design by humans is a useful tool. This didn't make it into my review - but I'm putting it here instead.
One of the tools of intelligent design is virtual prototyping. This involves constructing models in a virtual world and evaluating them there. This results in a rapid build-test cycle, low construction costs, and failures which are inexpensive.
A common construction technique among engineers is known as "rapid prototyping". This typically involves building and testing small models before constructing the final object. The virtual prototyping that takes place in the minds of intelligent agents is very similar to this "rapid prototyping" - and it has many of the same benefits associated with it.
Intelligent design is a form of evolution in which mutation and merging operations take place within a single mind. This rich environment permits a wider range of mutation and merging operations. The recombination operations include interpolation and extrapolation. This, ultimately, results in enhanced evolutionary dynamics: faster evolution and better ability to avoid getting stuck on local optima.
Intelligent design by humans does have some problems and limitations. In particular, human minds are small, have little storage. They are irrational and difficult to program. The virtual worlds they simulate are sometimes unrealistic and sometimes delusional.
However, rather than lamenting these problems, we can work on them. We can work on building bigger, better, faster minds, with access to more memory, and greater skills at performing inductive inference. Rather than relinquishing intelligent design as Ridley recommends we can improve it - using machine intelligence.