We found something peculiar in the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
Their article has no individual’s byline, so it’s the official position of the whole Discoveroid organization. The title is The Digital Age Liberates Science. It “liberates” science? From what? We didn’t realize science was in need of liberation. Anyway, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Science has protected its public trust through peer review, publication, and replication.
“Public trust”? The procedures used by science are to assure the quality of the work. Public trust, whatever that may mean in this context, is due to demonstrable results. Well, let’s proceed with the rest of their lead paragraph.
The digital age is changing that. Science is reducing its dependence on journals, and inviting more collaboration, public scrutiny and lay involvement.
Science is inviting lay involvement? Perhaps so, but except for a few specialized programs like SETI at Home, it’s escaped our notice. Let’s read on:
A sociologist of science thinks this can be a good thing. Will it open doors for intelligent design?
We have never paid any attention to the output of sociologists, and we won’t change now. They’re talking about Jerome Ravetz, who has an article in Nature. Here’s a link: Sociology of science: Keep standards high. We continue with the Discoveroids’ article:
When it comes to maintaining quality control in science, there’s nothing sacred about peer review, publication or replication. In essence, those are mere human conventions that have seemed to work (more or less) to protect science from wild ideas during certain periods of civilization.
The Discoveroids understandably minimize the importance of peer reviewed publication, as they’ve never published anything in a recognized journal that supports their “theory” about a magic designer. Here’s more:
They do not preclude other methods of quality control when conditions change. And they are indeed changing: the digital age with the Internet, cloud computing and instant free online publication was not envisioned by the inventors of peer review.
The internet wasn’t envisioned when the procedures of science were developed? So what? Moving along:
It must be noted, too, that the old regime was less than ideal. Replication is not practicable for many types of scientific inquiry (e.g., for unique, one-of-a-kind observations, or for decades-long longitudinal studies).
The “old regime”? Is there a new one that provides better results? Here’s another excerpt:
Scientific institutions have been disturbingly prone to reign by consensus; they sometimes shut out mavericks who might have the best ideas, and quite often promote conformity rather than scrutiny. Intelligent-design scientists know this all too well.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! On with the article:
In addition, journal subscriptions are expensive, shutting out a large segment of the public from scrutinizing scientific claims, and forcing scientists to compete for print space in profit-driven publications.
Oh, those horrible journals! Where is Occupy Wall Street when we need them? The Discoveroid article then discusses what the sociologist wrote in Nature, after which they say:
These ideas from Ravetz are pregnant with possibilities for intelligent design. For too long, the scientific institutions have been like castles with high walls, pouring boiling oil on those deemed to be enemies by the self-appointed guardians of science (almost all pro-Darwin usurpers). Now, those walls are coming down. ID advocates can blog, publish downloadable e-books on the cheap, comment on papers, and collaborate across the world instantaneously.
The internet has possibilities for more than intelligent design. There’s also The Time Cube and the Flat Earth Society, and the Association for Biblical Astronomy. Here’s the Discoveroids’ last paragraph:
Every revolution offers challenges and opportunities. We are in the midst of a global tide of change brought on by the digital age. The anti-ID journal strongholds may not last much longer in a world of open access, open collaboration, and open science. If Ravetz sees more good than bad, then ID advocates should, too. Let those who have longed for scientific integrity master the digital age and take the initiative.
So there you are. The digital age has liberated the Discoveroids to bypass the old regime’s failed methods of quality control — like peer-reviewed professional journals. If the sociologist is correct, the “theory” of intelligent design can achieve success on the internet. Well, let them give it a try; they’re not getting anywhere otherwise.
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