Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ASA annual mtg.)

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Apr 24 2008 - 09:32:08 EDT

Let's say this paper was properly peer reviewed. Who cares? One paper
doesn't establish a vast movement. Rather than the nitty-gritty of the Myer
paper review, I'd want to ask this: why haven't you established your own
peer reviewed journal? Answering my own question, they have:

So rather than smacking around these arguments about peer review in the
mainstream literature, what about a survey of the research program in
progress? (There seem to be some interesting philosophical / critique
articles, but they seem to be a few years behind in getting out

On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 8:52 AM, Rich Blinne <> wrote:

> *
> On Apr 23, 2008, at 4:02 PM, Donald F Calbreath wrote:
> As I recall, Meyer's paper underwent normal peer-review before appearing
> in print. Hardly smuggling, wouldn't you say?
> Don
> ________________________________________
> From: [] On Behalf Of
> George Murphy []
> Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 7:50 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID (ASA annual mtg.)
> There was a panel discussion on ID at the Messiah meeting in 2005. Two
> notable features of it were:
> 1) The organizer deliberately excluded ant specifically theological
> critiuque of ID.
> 2) Dembski said irenically in the course of the discussion that he didn't
> think that it was necessary to rule out theistic evolution. His
> performance
> since then gioves good reason to wonder how sincere he was about that.
> ID is a failed research program both scientifically and theologically. It
> has failed every attempt to make any positive contribution in either area
> &
> its attempt to give itself some credibility by such devices as smuggling
> Meyer's term paper into a peer-reviewed journal shows how pitiful it
> really
> is.
> Shalom
> George
> -
> 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.
> We have reviewed and revised editorial policies to ensure that the goals
> of the Society, as reflected in its journal, are clearly understood by all.
> Through a web presence ( and improvements in
> the journal, the Society hopes not only to continue but to increase its
> service to the world community of systematic biologists.
> * *
> * This above is the statement put out by the journal . The argument is in
> two parts. The first part is rock solid. The paper is *way* off topic for
> this journal. This is the basis for George's smuggling charge. Note what I
> emphasized, it did *not *go through normal peer review. It was this
> editorial misconduct that raised the ire of others. Others have noted that
> this wasn't *always* the case but it was typical. However, given something
> this controversial it really shouldn't have been given more sets of eyes and
> as Christians we should be "above reproach", avoiding even the appearance
> of impropriety. Furthermore, we still don't know who the peer reviewers are
> and thus cannot with any confidence know that it went through even "loose"
> review. Sternberg himself wasn't qualified to review this because his
> expertise was in very the systematics content of the journal itself. That's
> how editors are chosen, being experts in the field of the journal.
> The second part is circular and could take some revision because it sounds
> like they are giving no opportunity for a new testable hypothesis to be
> presented. If they took the time to note that the paper was not original
> research but a survey paper then the circularity could have be removed. My
> last sentence would have been:
> The Meyer paper because it is a survey paper and not original research
> continues in that tradition and adds no new testable hypothesis. As such,
> the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the *Proceedings
> *.
> Rich BlinneMember ASA

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Thu Apr 24 09:33:19 2008

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