Friday, May 20, 2005

The Panda's Thumb: Creationist Fears, Creationist Behaviors

The Panda's Thumb: Creationist Fears, Creationist Behaviors

Many authors have correctly explained that the testimony of ID proponents in Topeka only criticized evolution. Indeed, in an effort to allay concerns that the rejected proposals were written to mandate the teaching of creationism, John Calvert articulated this point numerous times directly. Until Gumbel’s article, though, media coverage has failed to identify the desire by ID creationists to confuse the public. In other words, Gumbel is one of the first journalists to point out that, to an intelligent design creationist, the whole point of criticizing evolutionary theory is to criticize evolutionary theory.

It is important for advocates of science to recognize this strategy because there is a clear link between the beliefs creationists hold, the threats to those beliefs that they perceive from verified science, the fear they have from those threats, and the reactions to those threats that they make. Several points and implications about this understanding of creationist strategy merit mention and they will be developed below the fold.

Great article
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Nature letters

Scientists respond
Jerry Coyne, When science meets religion in the classroom p275

Rather, advocates of ID pretend to use scientific methods to support their religious preconceptions. It has no more place in the biology classroom than geocentrism has in the astronomy curriculum.

David Leaf, Teaching about ID helps students see its flaws p275

Although it seems to have been resurrected for religious or cultural agendas, ID's proponents have made empirical claims that can be examined. Many college students are curious about ID but have little knowledge of the claims made for it. In my experience, upper-level biology students with the appropriate background in molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology and evolution are capable of distinguishing the scientific merits of evolutionist and ID claims — to the great disadvantage of ID.

Students who themselves determine that ID does not cut the scientific mustard will be more effective in their support of teaching mainstream science. Students who remain creationists or fence-sitters will at least have a better understanding of why ID has not been widely accepted in the scientific community.

It may seem contradictory to offer a course on ID and evolution in colleges and oppose teaching ID in high schools. But high-school students are just learning the basics of science. To expect them to make a well-reasoned judgement about the status of any scientific theory, including evolution, is unrealistic.

Chris Miller, Evolution is a short-order cook, not a watchmaker p275

A terrific argument against ID came to me recently after two consecutive talks, one on the Wnt signalling pathway, the next on G-protein crosstalk in control of cellular calcium. Just look at the details, and you'll immediately abandon all thoughts that biological systems were designed with any intelligence whatsoever.

Douglas W. Yu, Seeking evidence of God's work undermines faith p275

The Bible throughout teaches that faith is more valuable when expressed in the absence of evidence. For a Christian, when science is allowed to be neutral on the subject of God, science can only bolster faith. In contrast, and I imagine without realizing it, ID proponents have become professional Doubting Thomases, funded by Doubting Thomas Institutes. When advocates of ID use the vocabulary of science to argue for God's presence in cellular machinery or in the fossil record, they too poke their fingers through Jesus' hands. In so doing, ID vitiates faith.

Rustum Roy, Leave well alone and stick to teaching what you know p276

There are some very skilled experts on the topic of how to deal with different cultures or belief systems. Their advice, from experience, would be: leave well alone. Act like a scientist, confident in your own — always tentative, always open to change — axioms and laws. Read the literature, for God's (or Darwin's) sake. It will prove to you that even graduates of MIT and Harvard do not know simple scientific facts that are irrelevant to their work, such as why the Earth experiences winter and summer, despite having been explicitly taught such facts several times during their education. This amazing ignorance does not affect their performance as scientists. I do not know a single materials scientist or engineer whose technical work would be affected by their beliefs about evolution/ID. My advice: relax. It can do very little harm. Ham-fisted efforts will simply alienate much larger numbers of people from the rest of science

Michael Lynch, Intelligent design or intellectual laziness? p276

Less widely appreciated is that evolution has long been the most quantitative field of biology, well grounded in the general principles of transmission genetics. Yet few students at university, and almost none at high school, are exposed to the mathematical underpinnings of evolutionary theory. The teaching of evolution purely as history, with little consideration given to the underlying mechanisms, reinforces the false view that evolution is one of the softer areas of science.

Dan Graur, Solidarity with the oppressed flat-Earthers p276

was disturbed by your News Feature "Who has designs on your students' minds?" (Nature 434, 1062−1065; 2005), in which the proponents of ID are mostly portrayed as a persecuted minority. They are said to be afraid to reveal their identity and to be frequently censured into silence by anti-democratic scientists and administrators.

Your reporter clearly does not realize that 'intelligent designers' are not the only minority bullied into submission by the scientific establishment. The vast majority of flat-Earthers, tea-leaf readers, astrologers, geocentrists and phlogiston theorists cannot publish their studies in respectable journals. It is rumoured that Nature has rejected without review a study showing that storks bring babies into the world. I have even heard of a physician who was fired from a university hospital for trying to cure his patients by altering the ratio of blood to yellow bile and phlegm to black bile.

Thanks to your News Feature, I am now convinced that by replacing "small, medium and large" with "tall, grande and venti" — as in my local coffee-shop — the disreputable theory of biblical creationism can be turned into a respectable scientific discipline called 'intelligent design'.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005


And a followup where Myers points out some other problems with Berlinski’s arguments can be found

Glen Davidson at ARN ( makes a similar observation

Quoting Davisdson “The upshot is that the power of natural selection is not well known at present. Many studies have shown weak results, but then one should recognize that experimenting with “natural selection” is fraught with difficulty. That’s one reason why I just sort of went along with Berlinski’s comment previously, without really concerning myself too much with it. What I do think is interesting, though, is that the problem is not in simply differentiating between weak effects and strong effects, but also that the studies have generally lacked the resolution to detect “unrealistically strong” selection. Berlinski’s trying to make hay out of some rather difficult-to-resolve issues, and he really should treat the whole matter more appropriately.”

Comment by WedgieWorld — April 27, 2005 @ 8:46 pm

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Kingsolvers Diverge Over Natural Selection

Dembski comments on a paper by . G. Kingsolver et al. in a meta-analytic statistical study titled “The Strength of Phenotypic Selection in Natural Populations,” published in the March 2001 issue of The American Naturalist.

Dembski 'argues' that “important issues about selection remain unresolved,” which ends up being a euphemistic way of saying that natural selection was found to have virtually no statistically significant effect (see here for David Berlinski’s fuller commentary).

Let’s look at the abstract…

abstract: How strong is phenotypic selection on quantitative traits in the wild? We reviewed the literature from 1984 through 1997 for studies that estimated the strength of linear and quadratic selection in terms of standardized selection gradients or differentials on natural variation in quantitative traits for field populations. We tabulated 63 published studies of 62 species that reported over 2,500 estimates of linear or quadratic selection. More than 80% of the estimates were or morphological traits; there is very little data for behavioral or physiological traits. Most published selection studies were unreplicated and had sample sizes below 135 individuals, resulting in low statistical power to detect selection of the magnitude typically reported for natural populations. The absolute values of linear selection gradients FbF were exponentially distributed with an overall median
of 0.16, suggesting that strong directional selection was uncommon. The values of FbF for selection on morphological and on life-history/ phenological traits were significantly different: on average, selection on morphology was stronger than selection on phenology/life history.
Similarly, the values of FbF for selection via aspects of survival, fecundity, and mating success were significantly different: on average, selection on mating success was stronger than on survival. Comparisons of estimated linear selection gradients and differentials suggest that indirect components of phenotypic selection were usually modest relative to direct components. The absolute values of quadratic selection gradients FgF were exponentially distributed with an overall median of only 0.10, suggesting that quadratic selection is typically quite weak. The distribution of g values was symmetric about 0, providing no evidence that stabilizing selection is stronger or more common than disruptive selection in nature.

And PZ Myers rebuttal to Berlinski’s ‘arguments’ can be found here:

Has Dembski even read the paper in question I wonder? What about the quote from the paper? In context it says

“This review demonstrates that our information about the strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations has increased dramatically in the past 2 decades, but many important issues about selection remain unresolved. Our analyses suggest some specific directions for future study.
First, higher methodological standards are needed for future studies of selection (Gurevitch and Hedges 1999; Fairbairn and Reeve 2001). Most studies to date are unreplicated and have sample sizes too small to detect selection of typical magnitude. To reduce problems with Type I errors, significance testing of selection gradients and differentials should adjust for multiple tests within studies. Future studies should also report phenotypic variances and covariances among traits and standard errors on selection differentials so that appropriate meta-analyses can be conducted.
Second, we have abundant information about directional selection on morphological traits. By contrast, selection on quantitative behavioral and physiological traits remains largely unknown and should be the focus of future studies.

Comment by WedgieWorld — April 27, 2005 @ 8:30 pm

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Quoting, Misquoting, Quote-Mining

On his Blog Uncommon Descent, Dembski discusses quote mining. Here is my response in case it is removed.

The problem with ID and the Cambrian explosion is that ID relies, as usual, on gaps in our knowledge to infer ‘design’ and represents the phyla as all having arise simultaneously during the Cambrian Period. When making their ‘arguments’ research is often quoted incompletely or the research is out-dated by new findings. The worst example is the use of the work by Valentine by ID when in fact Valentine is on the record as

Valentine wrote:

The title of this book, modeled on that of the greatest biological work ever written, is in homage to the greatest biologist who has ever lived. Darwin himself puzzled over but could not cover the ground that is reviewed here, simply because the relevant fossils, genes, and their molecules, end even the body plans of many of the phyla, were quite unknown in his day. Nevertheless, the evidence from these many additional souces of data simply confirm that Darwin was correct in his conclusions that all living things have descended from a commmon anscestor and can be placed within a tree of life, and that the principle process guiding their descent has been natural selection.

(Valentine On the Origin of Phyla 2004: Preface)

See Meyer: Cambrian Explosion and CSI? and Icons of ID: And the Wedge continues at for a more detailed description.
While the Cambrian explosion may have appeared to support creationist scenarios, increased knowledge and understanding shows that regularity and chance cannot be excluded, blocking a design inference. Since ID fails to present any scientific hypothesis of design, its reliance on this eliminative approach dooms it to irrelevance under the category of “God of the gaps” arguments (or as Dembski himself stated that if the filter would admit false positives, it would render it utterly useless. Given that the filter cannot exclude false positives, the conclusion seems simple.

Comment by WedgieWorld — April 27, 2005 @ 8:15 pm

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > 'Intelligent Design'

The New York Times > Opinion > 'Intelligent Design': "To the Editor:

In 'Design for Living' (Op-Ed, Feb. 7), Michael J. Behe quoted me, recalling how I discovered that 'the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered' some 40 years ago. Dr. Behe then paraphrases my 1998 remarks that 'the entire cell can be viewed as a factory with an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.'

That I was unaware of the complexity of living things as a student should not be surprising. In fact, the majestic chemistry of life should be astounding to everyone. But these facts should not be misrepresented as support for the idea that life's molecular complexity is a result of 'intelligent design.' To the contrary, modern scientific views of the molecular organization of life are entirely consistent with spontaneous variation and natural selection driving a powerful evolutionary process.

In evolution, as in all areas of science, our knowledge is incomplete. But the entire success of the scientific enterprise has depended on an insistence that these gaps be filled by natural explanations, logically derived from confirmable evidence. Because 'intelligent design' theories are based on supernatural explanations, they can have nothing to do with science.

Bruce Alberts
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, Feb. 9, 2005"
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

ARN Board: What is the positive evidence for evolution #6?

Rafe Gutman posted the following on ARN Board: What is the positive evidence for evolution #6?

(Also 'enjoy' the response by ID's Bulldog (vacuity of ID at work))

o how do we apply this to biology? if you were to compare the DNA sequence of a human gene, and a homologous mouse gene, they would probably be different by several nucleotides. for now let's restrict our analysis to the differences that do not result in a different amino acid, in other words, silent mutations. now imagine if you were to compare every human gene to its mouse counterpart, and score the number of silent mutations for each pair. what would you expect to see if the mutations were random? you would expect to see a distribution very much like a bell curve, which is in fact what we do see.

(note: this graph wasn't generated exactly how i described above, it's just to give you an idea. see here for the actual article)
you can apply this to any two organisms and get a bell curve out of it, with the average difference (i.e. peak of the curve) changing depending on the relatedness of the two organisms.

it's the success of these predictions from randomness that provide evidence for evolution, common ancestry, and RM+NS as the mechanism.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

NPR : An Astronomer's View of Intelligent Design and the Heavens

NPR : An Astronomer's View of Intelligent Design and the Heavens: "Morning Edition, February 8, 2005
Owen Gingerich, a professor of astronomy at Harvard University and senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, discusses the role of evolution and the creationist movement called Intelligent Design. Gingerich says he has a problem with Intelligent Design taught as an alternative to evolution."
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Monday, February 07, 2005

Vacuity of ID: Accusations of censorship continue

Salvador has 'responded' on Gross and Forrest's propaganda piece in the York Daily Record

Wesley has challenged Salvador to support his claims.

I'm putting them on notice by posting here, that I won't tolerate PvM's antics or anyone at PandasThumb. If they pull junk like that they'll be called on it publicly. They can't be pretending their forum is open to other posters while deleting posts which give the most incriminating evidence.

Of course, if they have now removed the auto-censorship feature (which seemed in place on one of the treads), the IDists might feel free now to keep posting the Forbidden URL quite frequently whenever they visit PandasThumb as means of exposing how critics use illegitimate tactics against IDists. [Wink] (hint, hint, hint).

Since Salvador promised to abide by the rules of Panda's Thumb and take the discussion to where Wesley Elsberry has maintained the discussion in spite of Sal's accusations that his comments are somehow censored, it seems clear that Sal's objections are mostly sophomoric.
The 'auto censorship' function is an annoying by necessary feature called SPAM filtering which disallows links which have too many hyphens. This can be easily addressed by using to generate a short link. Of course, anyone who uses this to spam the boards with unrelated comments will likely end up on the Bathroom wall.

Speaking of 'illegitimate tactics', can Salvador explain why ARN has been censoring more and more ID critics? That's realy censorship going on here... While ID proponents seem to be able to mostly make any claim, ID critics end up being banned for simple jokes.

SO let's have a look at Sal's rebuttal

Now looking at
Elsberry and Shallit 2003

notice the following key phrases were missing:

1. "physical information"
2. "conceptual information"
3. "coincidence of"


The crucial phrase is: CSI is "coincidence of conceptual and physical information". To write a paper to refute CSI and not include the most central definition of CSI is inexecusable.

That's it? Elsberry and Shallit succesfully refute the claims based on CSI and all Sal can do is accuse them of not using the 'central definition' of CSI? In order for this to be a rebuttal, Sal has to show that such omission is central to the claim by Elsberry and Shallit.
Which it of course isn't. So all Sal has done is erect a 'strawman' argument to allow him to ignore the devastating criticisms raised by Elsberry and Shallit.

Which may help explain his sophomoric behavior.

If people can't see through the rather sophomoric posturing Salvador engages in ("To write a paper to refute CSI and not include the most central definition of CSI is inexecusable", when we extensively critiqued the mathematics that instantiate CSI according to Dembski, for instance), I don't know that further discussion on my part will do much to correct the situation.

Wesley has extended the following challenge to Salvador

I posted that on August 31st. As far as I can tell, neither Salvador nor any other ID advocate has made the slightest headway in showing that I was inaccurate in either claim made above. Salvador has taken up an aggressive grandstanding technique, though I think that it is obvious to all that there is little to no substance as yet to back it up. If I were wrong on the two points above, it seems to me that it would be simplicity itself for some ID advocate to show that I was wrong, and I would have expected that to happen already. I predict that what I've written here will again disappear into the ID memory hole of inconveniently true criticisms.

If I'm wrong here, though, I'm willing both to take my lumps and acknowledge whoever it is that shows me to be wrong. I'm still waiting for the documentation. I suspect I will wait a long, long time.

We may indeed have to wait a long long time...

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Vacuity of ID: Accusations of censorship

Accusations of censorship at Panda's Thumb

Sal occasionally makes to claims. The first one is that he has 'debunked' Shallit and Elsberry's paper and the second one is that Panda's Thumb censors the link. I will show that neither one seems to have much relevance in supporting facts.

I will show the following:

1. Salvador's 'forbidden' URL is hardly forbidden. There are at least threads in which the URL can be found.
2. Salvador's posting problems are likely due to a recent update to the SPAM filter which removes links with multiple 'hyphens'. I believe the rule is three or more.
3. Salvador himself promised to take the discussion to
4. A few off topic postings by Salvador, and many others were not censored but moved to the bathroom wall.
5. Since PT has an open submission policy, the failure on Salvador's part to submit his 'forbidden URL' 'arguments' for consideration, further undermine his claims.

And finally, while Sal may think that he has rebutted Elsberry and Shallit's paper, the forbidden URL nor any other arguments so far presented by him, seem to support such a conclusion.

For many more examples of the vacuity of intelligent design, I suggest the reader checks the The Vacuity of Intelligent Design blogsite.

Wesley Elsberry has updated the this thread with his comments and observations.

If people can't see through the rather sophomoric posturing Salvador engages in ("To write a paper to refute CSI and not include the most central definition of CSI is inexecusable", when we extensively critiqued the mathematics that instantiate CSI according to Dembski, for instance), I don't know that further discussion on my part will do much to correct the situation.

In This thread Salvador responds to "Elsberry took a break from shadowing Bill Dembski" by asserting that:

Well, he was getting conistently hammered with the truth. PandasThumb began occasionally censoring my posts which contained:

The Forbidden URL

The Forbidden URL exposed the misrepresentations and uncharitable readings of Dembski's work by Elsberry. It exposed their illegitimate methods of attacking Dembski's work.

I mean, there were times, I tried to post, and I got the message about "can't post because of objectionable content". I figured how to redirect the URL and it got through. A couple other times Elsberry and PvM especially deleted my posts with a link to Elsberry's work to the bathroom wall.

I guess Elbserry got tired of getting called on his gaffes in the paper he wrote with Shallit (Dembski's former teacher) against Dembski.

I encourage all IDist anytime Elsberry gets on a public bulletin board, hammer him with the contents of The Forbidden URL. Make sure he's called into account for his misrepresentations and uncharitable readings of Demski's work.


This thread at ISCID: Response to Elsberry and Shallit 2003 has been apparently systematically monitored at PandasThumb.

When I tried to post a link to it at PandasThumb, it got blocked, I had to supply another URL to sneak it through. That is, they had a block on that specific thread and not the rest of the ISCID site. LOL! So I found an alternate URL to slip it through. Same with my website. Sometime I get through sometimes I don't.

What does that tell you? They don't like it when I call them on their misrepresentations. I can't post too much at PandasThumb because PvM and Elsberry delete my posts to the bathroom wall. I can't start a thread there like the critics can here. They don't want us exposing their misrepresentations which they used to attack Dembski and Meyer's paper.

Now I ask, is that a fair and civil tactic? Do I get irked seeing misrepresentations hurled at me and Bill Dembski and other IDists day in and day out on this forum and others?

Salvador is wrong, the thread is not systematically monitored. However due to the spam at PT, links with excessive hyphens did end up being blocked as potential spam.

Sal's posts are only removed to the Bathroom wall when his comments, like those of others, do not have any relevance to the thread. Since the Panda's Thumb has an Open Submission policy, and since as far as I know Sal has not taken any steps to submit his criticisms to PT, his objections seem hollow.

We at the Panda’s Thumb would like to develop an open submission policy to encourage guest contributions to our blog. We are currently looking at a two stage process. First abstracts are submitted and if accepted a full length post will follow. We are also looking into having a way for readers to alert us to news stories that we may have missed.

Now, the purpose of this post is to get feedback on this idea from the community. If you have any suggestions on how to structure the open submission policy, we’d like to hear from you in the comments.

Sal complains about vague 'misrepresentations' being hurled at him. If he has some specific examples then let him present them. It's one thing to complain about misrepresentations, it's another supporting them. Too often, such accusations seem to be more a way to avoid dealing with the arguments than based in reality. If Salvador has any particular arguments in mind, then I encourage him to submit a proposal to PT. Unlike other websites, PT is not intent on silencing its critics. On the contrary, I am on the record myself stating that I believe Sal makes an excellent ally :-)

Wesley Elsberry has discussed Sal's comments at Antievolution.orgwebsite.

On the Meyer 2004 Medley thread, Wesley tried again

I’ve pointed out to Salvador exactly what he needs to do to show that his boasting about the Elsberry and Shallit 2003 paper being the wrong citation to critique Meyer 2004 by was on track. These items are things that if I were wrong about, Salvador should quickly be able to show that I was wrong on. This is the FOURTH TIME I’ve entered this in response to Salvador’s comments here since August 31st. I’ll email them to him, too, just to eliminate any weak apologetic that he had somehow overlooked the previous presentations.

Wes observes that

I posted that on August 31st. As far as I can tell, neither Salvador nor any other ID advocate has made the slightest headway in showing that I was inaccurate in either claim made above. Salvador has taken up an aggressive grandstanding technique, though I think that it is obvious to all that there is little to no substance as yet to back it up. If I were wrong on the two points above, it seems to me that it would be simplicity itself for some ID advocate to show that I was wrong, and I would have expected that to happen already. I predict that what I’ve written here will again disappear into the ID memory hole of inconveniently true criticisms.

If I’m wrong here, though, I’m willing both to take my lumps and acknowledge whoever it is that shows me to be wrong. I’m still waiting for the documentation. I suspect I will wait a long, long time.

Salvador even stated that he would 'respect the forum conventions' and take the dicussion to boards

Dayton (Jack Krebs) advised me of the conventions of PandasThumb over at ARN.

I will respect this forum coventions and take my discussion over to as Jack Krebs suggested. The thread in question about CSI is

The so called 'forbidden URL' can be found in this posting on PT as well as in this thread

Sal seem to be quite wrong about these issues,. Again...

Speaking of censorship, it seems to me that ARN has been silencing many a critic since the Sternberg 'affair'. Does that not sound a bit ironic? While ID proponents seem to be free to make any assertion, ID critics are quickly called to 'justice'..

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More vacuity of design

Michael Behe writes in a New York Times OpEd

"The strong appearance of design allows a disarmingly simple argument: if it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck then, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it's a duck. Design should not be overlooked simply because it's so obvious," Behe writes.

But that is not how design is inferred. Design is not based on 'it looks like a duck', it is based on an eliminative argument namely that evolution cannot explain X, thus it is designed. This is also known as an argument from ignorance or God of the Gaps.
ID proponents often try to argue that ID presents the best explanation or hypothesis but it is clear, by the absence of any such hypothesis beyond it looks like a duck, that ID is scientifically meaningless.

Michael Behe's concept of IC, which was once touted as evidence for ID, has not fared much better than other ID arguments.
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More on Sternberg: DI Heal thyself

The Island of Balta was quoted on the "Media Complaints Division" webpage of the Discovery Institutes Center for the renewal of Science and Culture:
In "Shooting the Messenger Indeed," and the resulting followup, Balta argues that the treatment of Rick Sternberg as described by David Klinghoffer in the WSJ article is much ado about nothing. If anything, Balta argues, it is Sternberg who violated the canons of science rather than those who attacked him.

The DI moves quickly to defend the Meyer paper. The first issue is quickly resolved "was the paper in line with the journal's guidelines"?

Balta quotes from the Journal's statement

The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," in vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (, which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings.

The DI strangely interprets this statement

Rather than identifying why the topic didn’t fit in the journal or wasn’t worthy on scientific grounds for publication, the Council simply asserted that there is no "credible scientific evidence" to support ID as an explanation for organic diversity, and then defers to an ex cathedra statement from the AAAS that ID is unscientific by definition. In Alice in Wonderland you have the verdict first and the trial later, but science deserves better.

First of all the Council was clear why the paper should have been rejected, irregardless of the issue whether or not the paper is of poor quality.

because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year histor

Indeed, poor quality is determined after the publication, too bad that the reviewers did not catch the many short comings before the paper revealed the scientific vacuity of ID. Namely by showing that ID is mostly based on incomplete review of literature, combined with a lack of any positive hypothesis how ID explains the data. In other words, the real scandal is not just the poor quality of the paper, but the fact that ID is unable to present any scientifically relevant hypothesis.

The second argument is a clear 'strawman'

Shouldn't we be skeptical of Sternberg's claims based upon his association with known creationists?


Then a real funny one

The Klinghoffer article marks a new stage in the debate over the respectability of ID. In the past the complaint was that ID hadn’t made it into peer-reviewed publications. While this criticism has problems of its own, there is no question that the publication of Meyer’s article was a bitter pill for ID critics to swallow. Instead of saying, “Okay, score one for ID. But it’s still 84,702 to 1,” the defenders of neo-Darwinian orthodoxy raised a series of bogus objections to avoid even the appearance of a debate.

What did PT say in their introduction to their critique of the paper?

We congratulate ID on finally getting an article in a peer-reviewed biology journal, a mere fifteen years after the publication of the 1989 ID textbook Of Pandas and People, a textbook aimed at inserting ID into public schools. It is gratifying to see the ID movement finally attempt to make their case to the only scientifically relevant group, professional biologists. This is therefore the beginning (not the end) of the review process for ID. Perhaps one day the scientific community will be convinced that ID is worthwhile. Only through this route — convincing the scientific community, a route already taken by plate tectonics, endosymbiosis, and other revolutionary scientific ideas — can ID earn a legitimate place in textbooks.

So who is raising bogus objections here I wonder?....

In his post, Balta relies upon the Panda’s Thumb blog for the conclusion that Meyer is mistaken in his analysis, and for that reason his work should not have been published. But perusing the followup comments on the Panda's Thumb website, it is obvious that this is not a case of pathetically poor scholarship. It is a case of outrage that the dike separating good science from bad science has been breached. The principle that a scientist can disagree with the prevailing view without fear of reprisal apparently does not apply to neo-Darwinism.

Indeed, the contributors at PT have done an excellent job at exposing the many flaws and shortcomings in Meyer's paper. The DI may object to PT having an 'open comment policy', not found on the DI blogsite, where users can present their personal opinion. It's not that Meyer is not allowed to disagree with the prevailing view, it's the observation that he does such a poor job at it which is the focus of Panda's Thumb.

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