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New England Journal of Medicine Rejects Pro-ID Letter About Kitzmiller Decision

On June 2, 2006, I submitted a short, 175-word letter to the editor of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), responding to the incomplete and one-sided discussion of the Kitzmiller ruling they published, "Intelligent Judging -- Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom," by George J. Annas (NEJM, Volume 354 [21]:2277-2281 [May 25, 2006]). Today I learned that they have rejected my letter.

I've had letters rejected or accepted in various venues before, so that's fine. The rejection notice stated that "[t]he space available for correspondence is very limited, and we must use our judgment to present a representative selection of the material received." NEJM devoted approximately 3,426 words to Mr. Annas's article, which was completely one-sided and simply regurgitated the Kitzmiller ruling without any sort of critical analysis. Let us now see if they can devote 175 words to a different viewpoint that is critical of the Kitzmiller ruling.

To my knowledge, NEJM has not yet published a single pro-ID letter in response to "Intelligent Judging -- Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom." If you subscribe to The New England Journal of Medicine, keep reading their upcoming issues (and review recent ones) to see if they are willing to publish any letters critical of the Kitzmiller ruling or to see if they do indeed engage in viewpoint censorship and only publish material which is anti-ID.

Here is my letter, which they rejected:

As an attorney and scientist who observed the Dover intelligent design (ID) trial, I can testify that George Annas's account is incomplete.

Judge John Jones ruled that ID "has not generated peer-reviewed publications." This is demonstrably false.(1) Moreover, the Judge ruled ID hasn't "been the subject of testing and research," ignoring microbiologist Scott Minnich's testimony about his mutagenesis experiments indicating the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex.

The Judge asserted, "ID requires supernatural creation," and therefore isn't science. This misconstrues ID, for the textbook used in Dover agreed that "intelligence ... can be recognized by uniform sensory experience," but "the supernatural ... cannot." Thus "All [ID] implies is that life had an intelligent source."(2)

Finally, the ruling lambasted ID for having "failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community," ignoring the historical fact that every hypothesis begins as a minority view. A recent poll found that between 34% and 60% of U.S. physicians think intelligence played a role in the origin of humans.(3) How do we settle this scientific controversy? Not by judicial fiat!

Casey Luskin

(1) For one example, see Stephen C. Meyer, "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2) (August, 2004):213-239.

(2) Dean Kenyon & Percival Davis, Of Pandas and People (2nd ed., 1993), pg. 127, 161.

(3) See HCD Research / Finklestein Research Institute Poll available at http://www.hcdi.net/polls/J5776/.

A complete response to Mr. Annas's article was published here on Evolution News and Views in three parts:

Part I: New England Journal of Medicine Traipses Into the Kitzmiller Decision (Part I)

Part II: New England Journal of Medicine Traipses Into the Kitzmiller Decision (Part II)

Part III: New England Journal of Medicine Traipses Into the Kitzmiller Decision (Part III)