Re: [asa] taking a hiatus

From: Dennis Venema <>
Date: Mon Jan 05 2009 - 14:21:58 EST

Hi Mike,

The issue I have is that Groothius's main points are made by bare assertion, without any supporting documentation from the literature (even pro-ID literature). He carries on his discussion as if there were no wider discussion of his ideas, even though the points he asserts are highly contentious.

The assertion that ID "gives science another tool for empirical investigation" is flawed without supporting examples. The best that can be said is that ID might provide such means in the future, although then it would behoove Groothius to discuss why it has not to date, and rebut why critics say it never will. Bare assertion of a main point essential to the thesis of an article is sloppy scholarship and should not appear in a peer-reviewed journal.


On 05/01/09 11:14 AM, "Nucacids" <> wrote:

The whole problem here is that it is extremely common for people on both sides of this issue to treat Science as the Authority. Part of this is, of course, cultural. We have all been shaped by a culture that invests science with great authority. This becomes clear even in the realm of pop culture, where a late night TV ad for a new diet pill claims to have "scientific studies" showing it works. Thus, it is no surprise that the culture war aspect of ID is a play for science's authority. Everyone wants "science" to be on their side.

But we need to step back from our cultural conditioning and ponder this issue on a more basic level. Let's say the first life forms on this planet were designed. Why would anyone think that science could discover this? Can science really address this possibility and conclude it did happen or did not happen? My position is that science is incapable of resolving this issue. So why treat it as the authority here?

- Mike Gene

----- Original Message -----

From: Dennis Venema <>

To: Ted Davis <> ;

Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 1:25 PM

Subject: Re: [asa] taking a hiatus

Hi Ted (et. al)

Just a quick comment on this point here:

"Let me urge all ASA members to consider making a financial gift to the ASA
this winter. Let me also urge non-members on this list to become members."

When I first considered joining the ASA, I was hesitant because I did not want to join an anti-evolution organization. As I learned more about the ASA, I decided it was worth my dues, as it were.

Then, this month, I am treated to Groothuis' article, that, in the abstract, proclaims that "ID is a legitimate scientific research program" (!) that "should be taught as such at the state university." (!!) My first thought, before seeing the response article following it, was "how the heck did this make it through the peer review process??"

As a frequent reviewer (for a different journal) myself, I am very disappointed that this article appeared in PSCF. Articles with glaring errors of fact should not have rebuttal articles following them- they should be returned to the author for revision.

Some examples:

"If ID arguments are allowed to enter into academic debate at the university level, scientific categories will be rightly expanded..."

My review comment: In the abstract the author asserts that ID is science, yet in this sentence he suggests that ID requires "an expansion" of scientific categories. He needs to explain this discrepancy. If ID requires a change to the basic assumptions of science, the author should provide rationale and support from the scientific literature. This section also should include an interaction with other key discussions of the nature of ID and scientific categories, such as the testimony of Behe and Fuller in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, for example. This point should not be allowed to stand by bare assertion.

"ID... gives science another tool for empirical discovery"

My review comment: This point should be supported with examples from the scientific literature. If the author cannot support this position then the point should be withdrawn. Articles cited should have examples where ID has been used as a framework for empirical research (to make testable predictions, design and perform experiments, etc). Again, the author is making points on bare assertion alone (and the key points on which his thesis rests, at that).

In short, why should I continue to a be a member of the ASA if PSCF is going to publish unfounded articles like this? Why, as a young-ish scientist, should I recruit new members for the ASA if it is so spineless that it won't stand up and refuse to publish nonsense like this?

Don't get me wrong- if ID can come up with something valid I'd be the first to want it published. If it could stand up to the rigors of peer review, then fine, let's have it in PSCF. If not, then why publish it and tarnish our reputation? If we're going to allow baseless assertion for key points of an article, then why does AiG need a journal? We seem quite willing to provide this service.

I'm looking for an organization that supports solid science from within a Christian framework. If I want to read baseless pro-ID rhetoric I can find it elsewhere - the Discovery Institute puts it out almost daily.


On 05/01/09 7:23 AM, "Ted Davis" <> wrote:

I will be on the road a good bit in the next few months, so I will be
signing off the ASA list shortly, though only temporarily. If anyone posts
something that they really want me to see, please send it separately to me.

Let me urge all ASA members to consider making a financial gift to the ASA
this winter. Let me also urge non-members on this list to become members.
Our single greatest need at the moment is for a few hundred more permanent
members. Enlarging our membership to that extent would enable us to be much
more pro-active in helping our two primary target audiences (Christians and
professionals in scientific fields) develop better understandings of science
and faith. That's an important job, and I do hope that you will all help us
do it!

Ted (ASA Vice President)

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Received on Mon Jan 5 14:25:00 2009

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