Nature Says ID Paper Scored a Publishing Success
A news story in the Sept. 9 issue of Nature1 says, “A new front has opened up in the battle between scientists and advocates of intelligent design, a theory that rejects evolution and is regarded by its critics as another term for creationism.” Reporter Jim Giles says the paper by Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute was published in a “low-impact” journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.2 “In the article, senior fellow Stephen Meyer uses information theory and other techniques to argue that the complexity of living organisms cannot be explained by darwinian evolution.” Giles says the arguments are nothing new, but portrays this publication as primarily an attempt by creationists to get their views published in scientific journals, “to back up claims that the theory is scientifically valid.” Ken Miller, who has debated Meyer, “says that, despite criticism of the journal, versions of the theory will find their way into the scientific literature at some point.”
The dispute deepened when the journal, bowing to pressure from Darwinists, declared it would no longer publish papers with an intelligent design perspective, reports Discovery Institute, even if an article passes peer review. The NCSE (National Center for Science Education, led by Eugenie Scott) has argued that Meyer’s paper should not have been printed. This led the Discovery Institute to accuse the NCSE of a flip-flop: they try to prevent intelligent design papers from getting published, then say that intelligent design isn’t scientific because its advocates never publish. John West of the Institute claims this proves the NCSE is not interested in peer review, but censorship.
Richard Sternberg, editor of the Proceedings, admitted in an interview with The Scientist that Meyer’s paper went through the standard peer review process for the journal. The three reviewers “all hold faculty positions in biological disciplines at prominent universities and research institutions, one at an Ivy League university, one at a major US public university, and another at a major overseas research institute,” he said.
1Jim Giles, “Peer-reviewed paper defends theory of intelligent design,” Nature 431, 114 (09 September 2004); doi:10.1038/431114a.
2S. C. Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117, 213�239; 2004. Reprint available online at Discovery Institute.
Giles uses several tricks to downplay the paper. (1) It was published in a “low-impact” journal [but it is published at the Smithsonian]. (2) The editor of the journal has ties to a creationist organization. (3) It has been thoroughly refuted already on an evolutionist website. (4) Peer review isn’t a guarantee of accuracy. Sounds like he doesn’t want you to read it. Then he uses the scare tactic to portray evil creationists plotting to use this success to push their views in US school curricula.
Giles sounds downright worried. No worries, mate. Design publishing has a long history, way back to the beginning of scientific observation (see online book).