Thursday, June 29, 2006

Intelligent Design Marches On

The Center for Science & Culture

Following the evidence where it leads

Dissent From Darwin "Goes Global" as Over 600 Scientists From Around the World Express Their Doubts About Darwin’s Theory

Over 600 doctoral scientists from around the world have now signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The statement, located online at reads, "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

The fastest growing segment of the list is scientists from outside the United States. International scientists now represent just over 12% of all signers, and as a group has seen nearly 40% growth in the past four months.

"I signed the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement, because I am absolutely convinced of the lack of true scientific evidence in favour of Darwinian dogma," said Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico. "Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all," added Leguizamon. "Darwinism is certainly needed, however, in order to pose as a philosopher, since it is primarily a worldview. And an awful one, as George Bernard Shaw used to say."

Click here to read the rest.
Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design

You've probably heard critics of intelligent design claim that design advocates don’t publish their work in appropriate scientific literature. For example, Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, was quoted in USA Today (March 25, 2005) that design theorists "aren’t published because they don’t have scientific data." Of course that simply isn't true. Scientists who advocate the theory of intelligent design have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some in mainstream university presses), trade presses, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. The Discovery Institute website provides an annotated bibliography of technical publications of various kinds that support, develop or apply the theory of intelligent design.

Click here to see a list of peer-reviewed and peer-edited scientific publications supporting the theory of intelligent design.


Ed Darrell said...

600? Wow.

Meanwhile, the science societies from 68 nations signed a letter noting the value, durability and accuracy of evolution (Norway was inadvertantly left out of early reports).

Here's a story on it:,,1803142,00.html; and another here:

Here's the statement:

Yeah, it's only 68 against 600 scientists, but still, one must pay attention to those who gather internationally, across cultures, to make such a statement.

But of course, it's 68 nations against 600. Perhaps that carries more weight?

Ed Darrell said...

How does a publisher "peer-review" a book? I called and corresponded with the Oxford University Press, and they said they have no peer-review process in place.

The one article in that list which actually looks to be peer-reviewed was noted by the society that published the journal as not peer-reviewed and not within the guidelines of the society for publication.

I do not think a credible case can be made that this is a list of peer-review articles of intelligent design, since most are chapters in books, and chapters in books as diverse as mathematics, rhetoric and theology are not biology journals.

Someone is pulling your leg, Dr. Groothuis, and it's not the scientists who are doing it.

Tim said...


The typical procedure at Oxford is for the editor to send the manuscript out to two reviewers who are professionals in the field. These reviewers write up moderately detailed comments and indicate whether, in their opinion, the book should be published. The editor then decides whether to accept the book, to require revisions before reconsideration, or to reject it outright.

This procedure is common across scholarly presses, though the number of reviewers does vary. (Sometimes it is as many as four.)

Douglas Groothuis said...


I was just going to write something like this. Thanks. All my books (except the two for Harvest House) have gone through a similar process.

Ed Darrell said...

Right -- that's not peer review.

Peer review involves extensive review by no fewer than three experts in the field. If the paper crosses fields, more reviewers are required. The paper would be reviewed for accuracy in all details. For serious science publications, if there are competing views on the topic, at least one distinguished reviewer is recruited from each camp.

None of the papers or articles or books on the Discovery Institute list has undergone such peer review. Not one.

If we concede the two papers that have appeared in peer review journals after going around the peer review process, the list is still puffed up. It's inaccurate.

I expect more here. When you say "a list of peer-reviewed publications" that's what I expect to see. This list was presented to the court in the Dover case, by the way, and rejected. In an impartial tribunal, it can't qualify.

I know you think I'm picking nits. But I'd have to fail kids in my classes were they to pull a similar stunt. Discovery Institute commits serious academic fraud here. Surely we should not support them in that effort.

Tim said...


You write:

Peer review involves extensive review by no fewer than three experts in the field.

Hmm ...? Who suddenly decided that 3 is the magic number? Chapter and verse, please. Otherwise, this looks like an attempt on your part to redefine peer review after discovering that (gasp!) Oxford and Cambridge typically send out books to be reviewed by two professional specialists who are the author's peers.

Tim said...

In view of Doug's well-known animadversions against Wikipedia entries, I can't resist pointing out the irony that on this point Wikipedia actually substantiates what he and I are saying as over against Ed:

A publisher sends advance copies of an author's work or ideas to others who are experts in the field (who serve as the referees). Usually, there are two or three referees.

Ed also writes:

The paper would be reviewed for accuracy in all details.

This is of course untrue. The peer review process in scientific journals is not intended to catch fraudulent results, as the famous case of Jan Hendrik Schön (15 fraudulent papers in Nature and Science in 2002-03) makes plain.

Douglas Groothuis said...

Peer review means that an in-house editor sends the paper or book or chapter outside to one or more peer reviewers for evaluation. I have never seen three as the magic number either. The Discovery Institute list passes muster by this standard.

To say that Oxford University Press is not using peer review for its academic books is a reductio ad absurdum.

Ed Darrell said...

Not any logical trick, merely an observation that what Dembski claims as peer review the Oxford Press denies, nor would it qualify as peer review to get federal research money.

Dembski's using a post-modernist, Humpty-Dumpty definition. He may do that. We don't have to fall for it.

It is particularly absurd to claim that the Campbell book is peer reviewed science, when it's a book on rhetoric.

Such bait-and-switch would be dishonest (and illegal) if committed by any common retailer. It's perhaps not illegal, but still dishonest when done by the Discovery Institute, even wholesale. Especially wholesale.

When scientists talk about peer reviewed research, nothing on that list from the Discovery Institute qualifies.

Tim said...

Does anyone else have any idea how Ed's last post connects to his earlier one -- the claim about "no fewer than three experts" -- that Doug and I have just refuted? I'm not seeing it. It looks like, instead of retracting the claim, Ed's just abusing Bill Dembski.

Comparing federal grants and book manuscripts is comparing apples and aerobics; this isn't even the same topic.

Douglas Groothuis said...


You are right Ed's animus gets the better of him on this. ID does have peer reviewed articles to its credit, given the standards of the discipline.

Of course, when Steve Meyer gets a peer-reviewed article published, the Darwinists attack the editor, try to discredit him, and demand that the publicatin never publish ID again.

Gavin Polhemus said...

I once had a friend, John, who didn't brush his teeth. I mentioned this to another friend. Word got back to John, and he wasn't very happy with me for saying this.

He presented me with a 13 page document entitled "Tooth Brushing, Tooth Cleaning and Other Oral Hygiene Activities (Annotated)," which had forty three entries, dating back to 1985, organized into categories like "Brushing teeth," "Removing food from teeth," "Rinsing," "Dentist visits," "Chewing gum," "Lip balm," and "Featured activities." He then demanded that I take back what I said about him not brushing his teeth (his breath causing my eyes to water).

I could respond by pointing out that his featured activities appear elsewhere in the list, and are therefore redundant. I could note that he lists dentist visits then lists every activity performed performed during the visit as separate items. I could observe that chewing gum and lib balm aren't what most people consider oral hygiene.

However, the real point is that this 13 page document, no matter how you look at it, chronicles a very pathetic program of oral health. To say he doesn't brush his teeth doesn't mean he has never brushed his teeth, but that he doesn't do it regularly and reliably.

The Discovery Institute has produced a document very much like John's. The list could be condemned for being misleading, but the real condemnation is in its accuracy. This exhaustive list chronicles a very pathetic program of scientific investigation. A small lab in an average biology department with a couple professors and a hand full of graduate students could easy produce more science in twenty years, yet this list represents the entire output of an entire field whose advocates think it is on par with evolutionary biology. It is a disgrace.

To be fair, if the ID advocates were really focused on publishing science in peer-reviewed journals, and were merely having a difficult time, we should probably be patient and see what they come up with. However, these advocates are not focused on research. Spend all of their time publishing outside of scientific channels, giving promotional talks, and unleashing mountains of press releases.

In the time that ID has produced (arguably) a few dozen articles, the Discovery Institute has produced hundreds of press releases. They claim a scientific publication a few times a year, but the press releases come of about every second day. These people aren't focused on doing science, they're spending all of their time shouting, "we're doing science!"

As for the six hundred people signing the petition, I notice that only three are named "Steve."

John Stockwell said...

Padding the Resume of Intelligent Design

The list of "peer reviewed" publications that the Discovery Institute reads like the resume of a tenure track candidate who hasn't a prayer of getting tenure.

Non-Science publications

First of all, we can discount all of the philosophy and religion related articles, because none of these have anything whatsoever with science or scientific
results. From a scientific perspective,
these are content free.

Papers presented at Conferences:

Regarding Minnich and Meyer's paper,
and "conference peer review".

Having done "conference peer review" myself, I can tell you that this basically is a process of reading the title and an abstract of a talk, and deciding of the topic is "interesting". This is an extremely weak peer review process, because it is not a peer review of content. The reviewers never get to
see more than a smattering of content.

Scientifically relevant
conference presentations more often
than not become peer reviewed papers
as more work is done. Apparently,
Minnich and Meyer's paper did not.
So we can toss that one, too.

Debating Design.
We may also discard anything published in the anthology "debating design" as having been subject to scientific peer review. If the papers had been published in real scientific journals, and *then* collected in the anthology, then that would be impressive. Anybody can get a group of people together to write on a pet topic.

Mathematical Intelligencer.
The MI is a lovely and interesting publication to read because it is a popularized Mathematics magazine written for the mathematically knowledgeable. It also is not a peer reviewed scientific publication, and frequently will have off the wall topics, because it is entertainment oriented.

Darwinism, Design, and Public Education
An anthology with editorial review by editors who are pro ID and who are not scientists. It is a book that has not been peer reviewed through a bonafide scientific journal process.

The basic pattern of the ID movement is to write books, make a lot of noise, and then promise to publish real science "later". Well, it is *later* and ID has not delivered.

Not enough evidence of research. Not enough evidence of teaching. No service to the community. Tenure for ID is denied.

John Stockwell said...

Regarding Ed's 3 reviewers, I have to also have to agree that it is usually more than one, but not necessarily 3. Usually scientific journals have sections based on particular subareas of interest in the field. There will be an editor governing each of these. It is within the power of the editor to reject a paper. The editor will pass the paper on to usually one or more reviewers.

The more reviewers a paper has, the longer the time to publication, however. This is a tug-of-war between timely publication and the desire to produce quality papers. So, some journals may have less review.

The people who are called on to review papers are people who have recognized expertise that will allow them to comment intelligently on the paper. Often this will be the authors colleagues at other institutions. In part this communicates potential new results to other investigators quickly. In part, this is simply common sense as far as getting the best review.

The way it works in science typically, is that a person will publish a lot of papers on a topic, build up a view or school of thought, and then publish a book, cleaning up and streamlining those ideas.

The other type of book is an anthology of papers, such as that from a symposium. These papers may or may not be subject to the same level of peer review as would be seen in a journal. Such books may also be tutorial expositions of items that the authors have presented before, and which have withstood criticism.

Again, the so-called "peer reviewed" publications that the Discovery Institute proudly really fail to impress, except to confirm what critics of the ID movement have said all along. ID is weak.

Ed Darrell said...

Tim, I know of no science journal that uses fewer than three reviewers. The formal "peer review" requirements under federal law are much more rigorous -- peer review for a grant can require as many as 30 reviewers -- see here:

As I noted, I asked Oxford Press, and they do not describe their process as peer review. They are a publishing house, not a scientific peer review journal.

One of the issues here is that in the humanities, "peer review" means something much less rigorous that scientific peer review. Discovery Institute is trying to trade on the humanities version, dishonestly in my mind.

Now, I've dealt with the NIH procedures to which I refer above, and I think that 30 reviewers may be a lot, too many for some publications. I think that process is overly clunky.

But evolution papers go through that clunky process. It's dishonest of ID advocates to claim they are equal in having been vetted so thoroughly.

And I find it especially pernicious that DI claims a book on rhetoric is "peer review science." That's not just a little dishonest. It's a whole cloth lie.

Peer review is indeed intended to catch fraudulent results, and does. It is a federal crime to send fraudulent stuff for publication if the funding is from federal sources, and it is a federal crime to claim fraudulent stuff on one's vita when applying for federal money.

Which is, I suspect, one reason that ID advocates do not bother with the hurly-burly of real research and publications, and why they do not appear in applications for federal grants.

I think it's misleading at best for this blog to claim that DI offers a grand list of peer reviewed articles. By any scientific standard, that is incorrect. If philosophy has lower standards, well, shouldn't we as Christians draw a bright line, and stay on the good side of it?

Ed Darrell said...

Wikipedia does not substantiate Discovery Institute's view of peer review, Tim. And, if one reads the entire article, one finds that the FIRST reviews are done to weed out error (fraud); the Wikipedia article on peer review says:
Very general journals such as Science, Nature have extremely stringent standards for publication, and will reject papers which report good quality scientific work that they feel are not breakthroughs in the field. Such journals generally have a two-tier reviewing system. In the first stage, members of the editorial board verify that the paper's findings -- if correct -- would be ground-breaking enough to warrant publication in Science or Nature. Most papers are rejected at this stage. Papers that do pass this 'pre-reviewing' are sent out for in-depth review to outside referees. Even after all reviewers recommend publication and all reviewer criticisms/suggestions for changes have been met, papers may still be returned to the authors for shortening to meet the journal's length limits. With the advent of electronic journal editions, overflow material may be stored in the journals online Electronic Supporting Information archive.

A similar emphasis on novelty exists in general area journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). However, these journals generally send out all papers (except blatantly inappropriate ones) for peer reviewing to multiple reviewers. The reviewers are specifically queried not just on the scientific quality and correctness, but also on whether the findings are of interest to the general area readership (chemists of all disciplines, in the case of JACS) or only to a specialist subgroup. In the latter case, the recommendation is usually for publication in a more specialized journal. The editor may offer to authors the option of having the manuscript and reviews forwarded to such a journal with the same publishers (e.g., in the example given, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry,...). if the reviewer reports warrant such a decision (i.e., they boil down to "Great work, but too specialized for JACS: publish in ..."), the editor of such a journal may accept the forwarded manuscript without further reviewing.

Some general area journals, such as Physical Review Letters, have strict length limitations. Others, such as JACS, have Letters and Full Papers sections: the Letters sections have strict length limits (two journal pages in the case of JACS) and special novelty requirements.

Do you see any publications in either Nature or Science on the DI list? They are claiming huge breakthroughs -- why would the journals for breakthrough science not appear on the list?

Perhaps more damning, why are there no major biology or evolution journals on the list?

And the question for the prize: Why is there no federally-funded research, or research that adheres to similar strict guidelines against fraud, on the list?