Re: [asa] Sternberg quote

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Mon Mar 26 2007 - 22:40:21 EDT

At 05:35 PM 3/26/2007, David Campbell wrote:
>Creationist is a term that ought to be defined. I don't know what
>Sternberg's views are, but they don't seem to quite match with
>standard structuralist approaches.

@ From the horse's mouth: "Although it is irritating to have to
respond to ad hominem arguments rather than arguments on the issues,
I will state for the record that I do not accept the claims of
young-earth creationism. Rather, I am a process structuralist. " ~ Janice

Excerpted from Welcome to the home page of Dr. Richard
Dear Visitor,
The controversy surrounding the publication of the paper "The Origin
of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories" by Dr.
Stephen C. Meyer in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of
Washington continues. I was the managing editor of the Proceedings at
the time of publication of the paper and I handled the review and
editing process. The material on this website will clarify and
resolve many of the disputes about the paper and ensuing controversy,
including my post-publication treatment at the Smithsonian
Institution's National Museum of Natural History.
The most important new information on the site is a copy of the
<>Office of Special Counsel's
<>recent findings in my case.

<>Rick Sternberg
August 19th, 2005

Post-publication retaliation and discrimination at the Smithsonian
and elsewhere

To summarize what occurred after the Meyer paper was published:

Efforts to remove me from the Museum. After Smithsonian officials
determined that there was no wrong-doing in the publication process
for the Meyer paper and that they therefore had no grounds to remove
me from my position directly, they tried to create an intolerable
working environment so that I would be forced to resign. As the OSC
investigation concluded, "[i]t is... clear that a hostile work
environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of
the SI." In addition, it was made clear to me that my current
position at the Smithsonian will not be renewed despite my excellent
record of research and publication.

Efforts to get NIH to fire me. Pressure was put on the NIH to fire me.

Perceived political and religous beliefs investigated. Smithsonian
officials attempted to investigate my personal religious and
political beliefs in gross violation of my privacy and my First
Amendment rights.

Smeared with false allegations. My professional reputation, private
life, and ethics were repeatedly impugned and publicly smeared with
false allegations by government employees working in tandem with a
non-governmental political advocacy group, the National Center for
Science Education (NCSE).

Pressured to reveal peer reviewers and to engage in improper peer
review. I was repeatedly pressured to reveal the names of the
peer-reviewers of the Meyer article, contrary to professional ethics.
I was also told repeatedly that I should have found peer reviewers
who would reject the article out-of-hand, in direct violation of
professional ethics which require editors to find peer reviewers who
are not prejudiced or hostile to a particular author or his/her ideas.

Creation of hostile work environment.

Supervisor replaced. I was transferred from the supervision of a
friendly sponsor (supervisor) at the Museum to a hostile one.

Office space. I was twice forced to move specimens from my office
space on short notice for no good reason, my name plate was removed
from my office door, and eventually I was deprived of all official
office space and forced to use a shared work area as my work location
in the Museum.

Unprecedented work requirements. I was subjected to an array of new
reporting requirements not imposed on other Research Associates.

Access to specimens limited. My access to the specimens needed for my
research at the Museum was restricted. (My access to the Museum was
also restricted. I was forced to give up my master key.)
In sum, it is clear that I was targeted for retaliation and
harassment explicitly because I failed in an unstated requirement in
my role as editor of a scientific journal: I was supposed to be a
gatekeeper turning away unpopular, controversial, or conceptually
challenging explanations of puzzling natural phenomena. Instead, I
allowed a scientific article to be published critical of
neo-Darwinism, and that was considered an unpardonable heresy.

Summary of key points regarding publication of the Meyer paper

Returning to the original dispute (and the reason for which I first
created this web site): Many distortions and inaccuracies have
circulated in the press and on the web regarding the publication of
the Meyer paper. The key facts are:

I hold <>two PhDs in the
area of evolutionary biology, one in molecular (DNA) evolution and
the other in systems theory and theoretical biology. I have published
more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed scientific
<>books and
publications. My current areas of research and writing are primarily
in the areas of evolutionary theory and systematics.

In the case of the Meyer paper I followed all the
procedures for publication in the Proceedings. As managing editor it
was my prerogative to choose the editor who would work directly on
the paper, and as I was best qualified among the editors I chose
myself, something I had done before in other appropriate cases. In
order to avoid making a unilateral decision on a potentially
controversial paper, however, I discussed the paper on at least three
occasions with another member of the Council of the Biological
Society of Washington (BSW), a scientist at the National Museum of
Natural History. Each time, this colleague encouraged me to publish
the paper despite possible controversy.

The Meyer paper underwent a standard peer review process by three
qualified scientists, all of whom are evolutionary and molecular
biologists teaching at well-known institutions. The reviewers
provided substantial criticism and feedback to Dr. Meyer, who then
made significant changes to the paper in response. Subsequently,
after the controversy arose, Dr. Roy McDiarmid, President of the
Council of the BSW, reviewed the peer-review file and concluded that
all was in order. As Dr. McDiarmid informed me in an email message on
August 25th, 2004, "Finally, I got the [peer] reviews and agree that
they are in support of your decision [to publish the article]."

Following my resignation in October 2003, a new managing editor for
the Proceedings was selected in May of 2004, and the transition from
my editorship to the new editor has taken place over the past few
months. By the time that the controversy emerged I was finishing up
my last editorial responsibilities. Thus, my stepping down had
nothing to do with the publication of the Meyer paper.
A full discussion of the publication issues is available

Although it is irritating to have to respond to ad hominem arguments
rather than arguments on the issues, I will state for the record that
I do not accept the claims of young-earth creationism. Rather, I am a
process structuralist.
Other relevant documents

<>Curriculum vitae of Dr. Richard M.
v. Sternberg

<>Process structuralism

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Received on Mon Mar 26 22:41:08 2007

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