Saturday, January 29, 2005

Rusty Nails, 1/29/05...

A salute to the brave and courageous voters in Iraq, by DarkSyde, in To Those About to Vote: We Salute You. ########## Smart Christian is organizing a gathering of Christian bloggers at The Christian Blogosphere Convention (GodBlogCon). Tenative place and date: Mesa, Az., 10/2005, with Hugh Hewitt as keynote speaker. Stop by Smart Christian to express your interest and suggestions. ########## Inspired by the idea of a Christian blogger convention, Stacy Harp, at Media Soul, would like to organize a southern California blogger get-together. Check for contact info at So Cal Bloggers Meet Up. ########## In the category of: Be careful what you wish for... Critics of ID contend that the ranks of ID proponents are mostly filled with non-scientists or scientists with little to no academic stature in their respective fields. The perpetual cry from neo-Darwinists is that ID produces no testable theories, that there are no reputable scientists within its ranks, or that it produces no peer-reviewed studies. In The Branding of a Heretic, from the Wall Street Journal, we read of one Richard Sternberg, a "research associate at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington." Sternberg, who holds two Ph.D.s in biology, was also the managing editor of the scientific journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. Sternberg's future in research is in jeopardy though. The reason? He approved for publication an article by Stephen Meyer titled, The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories. Meyer posits ID. The backlash against Sternberg has been severe enough for him to state, "I'm spending my time trying to figure out how to salvage a scientific career." The neo-Darwinist's bluff has been called. They've asked for what they thought could not be produced. Now they're left with either admitting (supposedly asked for) peer-reviewed articles, or doing a "soft shoe" around the issues at hand. If their edifice is so strong and true, then why do they continually resort to strong-arm tactics to suppress critical inquiry? HT: Mere Comments Note: Joe Carter also reports on this incident.


Paul said...

I wonder how many more times this peer-review thing will appear. Peer-reviewed isn't a magic process, it's a way of applying standards to a work that is unsuited to having purely quantitative measures applied to it. For example, my tax return doesn't get peer reviewed, because it is either right or wrong. If I wrote a paper for Nature (ha!) it would have to be, because generally such journals are discussing issues where, even if there is a wrong and right, it's so complex that it can't be readily identified.

Just like any such system, peer-review can be gamed. Just one example; let's assume that the editor of a minor journal was sympathetic to a concept that wouldn't normally pass peer review, and coached it through the process by sending it to sympathetic peers, or to fewer reviewers than normal, or any of the other ways that the managere of a system would know. Coud the resulting paper be described as 'peerr reviewed'? Sure, in a technical sense. Was the objective of peer review met? Not so much.

So yes, the article you refer to was published in a peer reviewed paper. But that doesn't legitimize it any more than Jesus' causing a disturbance at the temple was the reason for his crucifixion (assuming for a moment that it happened).

DarkSyde said...

Rusty we've been asking for peer review so that we could critique the work, just like any other paper. That work has been critiqued, and critiqued is saying it nicely, by several biologists, both Christian and non-Christian. It was shredded. We welcome any new material Creationists would like to submit for peer review, and if it passes, then they'll certianly be able to claim they have a paper that has passed the peer review process.

Rusty said...

Paul & Dark,

You both seem to miss the point that the issue at stake isn't whether an article or study is worthy of peer review or whether it has been shredded (supposedly).

The message that has been so clearly sent is that deviation from neo-Darwinian dogmatism will not be tolerated and those who attempt to promote any type of critical inquiry will be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

As I said, the bluff has been called.

Paul said...

I'd qualify what you say, Rusty - deviation from scientific rigor will not be tolerated (or rather it will be tolerated, but not in this context), and those who substitute opinion-based argumentation for critical inquiry will be dealt with swiftly and harshly.