Friday, February 04, 2005

Media Complaints Division's stellar performance.

The Media Complaints Division of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture reports on the Sternberg case. While they seem to be mostly interested in defending the Meyer paper, they do end up taking sides with Sternberg in a dispute where the data are scarce and the stories contradicting.

Witt, speaking about the infamous Meyer paper, states that:
When it appeared, major science journals and media outlets launched a smear campaing against Sternberg, questioning his motives and claiming he violated the journal's procedures.

Most media reports seem to mention the detailed critique on Panda's Thumb which shows the many problems with Meyer's article.

Examples include The Scientist, or Nature

The Biological Society of Washington issued a statement on September 7, 2004, reading, in its entirety:

The paper by Stephen C. Meyer in the Proceedings ("The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239) represents a significant departure from the nearly purely taxonomic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 124-year history. It was published without the prior knowledge of the Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, or the associate editors. We have met and determined that all of us would have deemed this paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings.


Remember also that contrary to the claim made by Witt

an essay by Stephen Meyer arguing that intelligent design was the best explanation for the Cambrian Explosion of animal forms.
, Stephen Meyer did little to show that intelligent design was the best explanation. Which is not surprising since there is no scientific hypothesis or theory of intelligent design. Intelligent design is based on the age-old "God of the Gaps" argument due to its eliminative nature.

While the Media Correction Division seems to be allergic to mentioning the Panda's Thum, let alone link to it or allow people to add comments, the Panda Thumb does not feel threatened by the existence of the Discovery Institute Website. A detailed list of links relevant to the Meyer episode can be found at The "Meyer 2004" Medley.

Follow the links and see for yourself if the claims by the Media Complaints Division are supported by fact. Remember what Panda's Thumb authors of the critique said:

The important issue is whether or not the paper makes any scientific contribution: does it propose a positive explanatory model? If the paper is primarily negative critique, does it accurately review the science it purports to criticize? The fact that a paper is shaky on these grounds is much more important than the personalities involved. Intemperate responses will only play into the hands of creationists, who might use these as an excuse to say that the “dogmatic Darwinian thought police” are unfairly giving Meyer and PBSW a hard time. Nor should Sternberg be given the chance to become a “martyr for the cause.” Any communication with PBSW should focus upon the features that make this paper a poor choice for publication: its many errors of fact, its glaring omissions of relevant material, and its misrepresentations of the views that it does consider.

DI Link: Evolution News & Views

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