Peer-Review, Intelligent Design, and John Derbyshire's New Bumper Sticker (Part I) - Evolution News & Views

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Peer-Review, Intelligent Design, and John Derbyshire's New Bumper Sticker (Part I)

The Talk Origins Bumper Sticker:
John Derbyshire gave a brief review of Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Decision at National Review Online. Unfortunately, Mr. Derbyshire misses our point about peer-review and ID, and repeats typical Darwinist goalpost-changing tactics on the issue of peer-review.

Regarding peer-review, Derbyshire claims that "Judge Jones has way the better of the argument." Let's see exactly what Judge Jones says regarding ID and peer-review:

"It has not generated peer-reviewed publications" (Kitzmiller v. Dover, 400 F.Supp. 707, 735 (M.D. Pa. 2005)

"A final indicator of how ID has failed to demonstrate scientific warrant is the complete absence of peer-reviewed publications supporting the theory." (Id. at 744)

"The evidence presented in this case demonstrates that ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data or publications." (Id. at 745)

"In addition to failing to produce papers in peer-reviewed journals..." (Id. at 745)

"It has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals" (Id. at 745)

Thus in no fewer than five locations, Judge Jones claims that ID has published zero peer-reviewed publications. That is an easy claim to verify. The question of "complete absence of peer-reviewed publications" is a simple black and white, binary question: either ID has published peer-reviewed publications, or it hasn't. This is a difficult question to miss, yet Judge Jones missed it. Any of the following publications (published before the release of the Kitzmiller ruling) refute Judge Jones's statements:

(1) W.A. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

(2) S.C. Meyer, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories," Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2) (2004): 213-239.

(3) M.J. Behe and D.W. Snoke, "Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues," Protein Science, 13 (2004): 2651-2664.

(4) W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, "Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements," Annual Review of Genetics, 36 (2002): 389-410.

(5) D.K.Y. Chiu & T.H. Lui, "Integrated Use of Multiple Interdependent Patterns for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis," International Journal of Fuzzy Systems, 4(3) (September 2002): 766-775.

(6) Lönnig, W.-E. Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and the origin of irreducible complexity, Dynamical Genetics, Pp. 101-119. In Dynamical Genetics by V. Parisi, V. de Fonzo & F. Aluffi-Pentini, eds.,(Research Signpost, 2004)

If Judge Jones can miss so simple a question as "have ID proponents published any papers," then how can we trust his findings on more complicated issues?

The TalkOrigins Page
(Note: I forgot to originally put in the link to the TalkOrigins page when I first posted this response. If readers are interested, the TalkOrigins page cited by Mr. Derbyshire is at http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001_4.html.)

John Derbyshire points to TalkOrigins as a refutation of all of these papers. He quotes the website saying, "[t]he point which discredits ID is not that it has few peer-reviewed papers, but why there are so few." Ignoring that the rest of the quote is false, TalkOrigins thus concedes that ID has a "few" peer-reviewed papers. "Few" is more than zero, which means that Derbyshire's TalkOrigins URL concedes that every single one of Judge Jones statements above is false.

That's our point: if Judge Jones can miss a simple question like "have ID proponents published any peer-reviewed papers?", then how can we trust his answers to questions which do not have "black-and-white" answers?

Derbyshire thus exhibits typical Darwinist-goalpost-moving over the issue of peer-review. Darwinists used to argue that ID-proponents have published no peer-reviewed papers. Then a bunch got published. Now they concede that some papers have been published, but argue that this fact doesn't matter because "there are so few." They're sliding down a slippery slope and will continue to slide down it as ID-proponents continue to publish more and more research.

The TalkOrigins webpage cited by Derbyshire concludes that "ID proponents appear to have no interest in conducting original research that would be appropriate for peer-reviewed journals." To see some examples refuting that accusation, leading pro-ID scientists such as Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, Scott Minnich, William Dembski, and many others have all done laboratory, computational, theoretical, and mathematical research as well as literature-reviews of current data, all relevant to the scientific evidence supporting ID. The reputation TalkOrigins recommends for ID is completely unwarranted. John Derbyshire should check his sources, and be more skeptical of the myths that TalkOrigins wants its believers to accept and promote.

(Note: I forgot to originally put in the link to the TalkOrigins page when I first posted this response. If readers are interested, the TalkOrigins page cited by Mr. Derbyshire is at http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001_4.html.)

More problems with the TalkOrigins page will be explained soon in Part II of this post.