There’s a new campaign being conducted by 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).
What campaign? We’ve written about it before (see Discovery Institute’s Long March to Respectability). They’re desperately attempting to build a record of publishing intelligent design papers in what they consider peer reviewed journals, in an effort to overcome one of the most devastating criticisms their “science” received in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
And that brings us to Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, and the only one who isn’t a Discoveroid “fellow.” We know that Casey is a sensitive lad, so a while ago your Curmudgeon compassionately remedied the Discoveroids’ cruel insult (see: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow).
In recent weeks, Casey has been touting what he claims is a list of “some 50-plus peer-reviewed scientific papers that support intelligent design” (see As the Intelligent Design Movement Publishes Peer-Reviewed Literature, Critics Backpedal ). Yeah, we’re backpedaling. Publishing papers is one thing, and doing research that actually provides evidence to support the “theory” of intelligent design is quite another. If the former describes the latter, the Discoveroids will have something to brag about.
We’ve seen Casey’s list of “evidence” before, and it didn’t amount to anything (see Discovery Institute: Intelligent Designer or Zeus?), so we’ve been wondering about Casey’s list of peer-reviewed papers. We’re confident that the content of those papers is nothing of any consequence, but we didn’t want to spend time reviewing the list so we could discuss the professional status of the journals — whether they’re captives of creationist organizations, or maybe lower-tier industrial trade journals. Nor did we want to check out the quality of their reviewers — whether they’re professional biologists or merely creationist sympathizers.
Fortunately, Casey has just described his list for us, thus sparing us the agony of slogging through the publications. The Discoveroid blog post in which he does this is Answering Objections about Discovery Institute’s Peer-Review Page. It’s Casey’s defense of the Discoveroids’ list of publications. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and Casey’s links omitted:
Recently I got an e-mail from someone asking how we would respond to objections to our newly updated page listing ID-friendly peer-reviewed scientific papers. Apparently a critic had said that the papers don’t count because some don’t specifically use the term “intelligent design.” While some of the articles do use the term “intelligent design,” many of them do not.
That’s a trivial criticism, which is probably why Casey chose to discuss it. He continues:
Here’s why this objection fails: The short answer is that all of the articles endorse ID arguments, in one way or another, whether or not they use the term “intelligent design.” For example, there are papers by biochemist Michael Behe, who is clearly pro-ID, that don’t use the term ID. But those papers argue that the complexity of biological systems is too much for Darwinian mechanisms to produce. That’s an ID argument.
The articles “endorse ID arguments, in one way or another.” Whoopie! Uh, Casey … it’s not enough to “endorse” ID. You need to support it with evidence, and your claims need to be testable and falsifiable. What else does Casey say? Let’s read on:
ID proponents would add that intelligent design is necessary to produce that complexity — and some of the papers go that far. But all of the papers endorse basic ID arguments.
Same thing — the papers endorse ID, which means nothing. We can provide ten thousand recent sermons that “endorse” the Genesis account of creation, but that’s not scientific evidence. Does Casey have anything else? We continue:
For example, it’s true that the first article in the list doesn’t use the term “intelligent design,” but it does favorably cite the arguments of Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and others (specifically referencing their work), showing that their arguments have scientific legitimacy. The author closes by stating: “It is therefore time to sharpen the minds of students, biologists, and physicians for the possibility of a new paradigm.”
That’s pathetic. We didn’t want to do this, but we’re going to look at that first article. Here it is: Dissecting Darwinism, by Joseph A. Kuhn, published in the Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. At the threshold, we note that the article’s title uses the term “Darwinism.” That’s a dead giveaway. Secondly, we note that the author is a surgeon, not a biologist. Thirdly (after reading the article) we see that this is a survey article; it’s not about biological research done by the author.
Specifically, it’s a survey of the evolution-creationism controversy. Even more specifically, it’s a survey of the alleged “weaknesses” of the theory of evolution, such as the origin of life, the so-called irreducible complexity of some cellular features, the artificial distinction between micro- and macro-evolution, the scarcity of transitional fossils, etc. It cites the writings of various creationist authors, such as Behe, Dembski, Meyer, etc. — footnote 36 even cites Casey Luskin! In other words, this peer-reviewed article of which the Discoveroids boast is just like a Discoveroid blog article.
Now we’ll take a look at that journal’s editorial board. They’re listed here, and with one exception they’re all MDs — not a professional biologists among them. We’re confident that they’re all fine practitioners, and that there’s useful medical information to be found in their publication, but it’s is not a journal where path-breaking evolutionary research will be published.
Okay, what more does Casey say? He’s still talking about that article in the Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, which must be the pick of the litter:
Does the paper mention “intelligent design” by name? No. Does it support ID arguments? Yes. Is it fair to say this article isn’t ID-friendly? No, it’s not fair to say this isn’t an ID-friendly article. These articles are endorsing, whether explicitly or implicitly, the ID paradigm.
Here’s how Casey ends his defense of the Discoveroids’ list of peer-reviewed publications:
So if the only objection from critics is that some of the papers don’t explicitly use the term “intelligent design,” that’s a pretty weak response. These are peer-reviewed mainstream scientific papers endorsing ID-arguments, some mentioning “intelligent design” by name, some not. It’s the Darwin activist’s worst nightmare — which is why they are scrapping to find ways to respond.
That’s our worst nightmare? Hey Casey — if that’s all we “Darwinists” have to worry about, then we have no worries. The Discoveroids’ much-ballyhooed list of intelligent design papers is nothing. Nothing at all.
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