Sunday, May 9, 2010

ID Science Journals

One of the arguments that Intelligent Design opponents make is that ID is not science. As evidence they point to the paucity of articles about ID that are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

To defend themselves against this attack ID advocates say that the editors of those journals don’t accept articles about ID because they have the preconception that ID isn’t science. They contend that even legitimate articles aren’t published because of that preconception.

As one piece of evidence to support their claims, they point to the example of Dr. Richard Sternberg. He was the editor of a scientific journal associated with the Smithsonian Institute titled Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. He handled the review and personally edited the only article published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal advocating intelligent design. The journal subsequently publicly declared that the paper "does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings" and would not have been published had usual editorial practices been followed”. As a result of the controversy Sternberg received widespread criticism. ID advocates point to that criticism and claim that it has had an intimidating effect on the willingness of other scientific journal editors to publish such articles.

To bypass that alleged bias by editors of mainstream scientific journals, the ID community has set up a few pro-ID journals with editors who are open to approving pro-ID articles. So IF the ID advocates are correct then we should see these journals thriving. We should expect to see more and more articles published each year as scientists recognize the scientific “benefits” of Intelligent Design and write articles about those benefits.

So let’s see if that is the case.

First, let’s consider PCID - "Progress in Complexity Information and Design". It is a peer-reviewed journal published by the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design
(ISCID). The goal of the society is "retraining the scientific imagination to see the purpose in nature".

The web site at lists past issues of the journal. It was first published in January-March 2002. It has become more and more sporadic over time. Three issues were published in 2002. Two issues were published in 2003. One issue was published in 2004 and one in 2005. There have been NO issues published since November 2005. That's nearly five years ago.

Very ironically, Dr. Richard Sternberg is a fellow at ISCID. It’s reasonable to expect that he might be one of the reviewers of articles submitted to the journal. If so, it’s rather funny to see that he has nothing to review because no one is submitting any articles to the journal.

Next we can look at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab which does “design- theoretic research”. Their journal is described at: . That web site lists a total of five articles. The most recent one was published in March, 2010. The other four were published in 2009.

If you examine the articles, you will see that every single one has its sole authors, or included as authors with a small number of others, "William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II". So what we have here is a private publishing group for Dembski and Marks with no articles published that doesn’t include those names as authors.

Yet again we see an irony. The web page listing those five articles also lists 11 articles supporting ID that were published in OTHER journals. The articles listed go back as far as 1993 and they are published in what are really computer and mathematical journals rather than science journals. Yet they are referenced on the same web page. Therefore, if anything, those articles show that it is possible to get pro-ID articles published without requiring a specifically pro-ID journal.

Not surprisingly, The Discovery Institute has a list of published "ID friendly" articles (and books) at: If we look at the articles listed we see that the total number of articles published since 2005 is…hold your breath…ONE! That single article is authored by our old friends, William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II. It is also mentioned in the previous resource – Evolutionary Informatics Lab. If we don’t count that article twice, then there are NO articles published since 2005.

A final list of published "ID friendly" articles can be found at

There are a total of 28 articles listed, going back to 1993. On average that’s less than two per year. ALL of the articles listed are from non-ID journals. They include the articles listed by the other ID references. At that site we see that the total articles published in either 2009 or 2010 is ZERO.

Moreover if you read the abstracts for the articles you see that any references to ID are nonexistent. The abstract for the oldest article – from 1993 – which is referenced from a number of these references, is shown below.

“Kinesin light chain (KLC) complexes with the kinesin heavy chain (KHC) to form native kinesin. Proposed functions of KLC include coupling of cargo to KHC or modulation of KHC ATPase activity. In this paper we use the KHC tail, which binds specifically to KLC in blot overlays, as a probe to clone a cDNA encoding KLC from a Drosophila expression library. The identified clone encodes a protein with 70% amino acid identity to rat KLC. Drosophila KLC is predicted to form an alpha-helical coiled-coil between residues 34 and 129, followed by five imperfect tandem repeats of unknown function and a sixth shorter motif. These repeats are highly conserved across species. The Drosophila KLC gene is located at 69D on the third chromosome and is widely expressed, with 1.8-kb transcripts in most tissues, and slightly smaller transcripts in gonads. Finally, we present evidence that the heptad repeats of KLC are required for interaction with the KHC tail. Since the KHC tail used in our assay includes about 20 heptad repeats, this result suggests that KHC and KLC interact via coiled-coils. Such an interaction could provide stability to the KHC-KLC complex in vivo.”

That’s obviously very technical, but any reference to ID is not obvious. Are DNA repeats that “are highly conserved across species” evidence for ID? If so, there is nothing in the abstract to make us come to that conclusion.

If, in fact, the articles are pro-ID, you wouldn’t know it from the abstracts.

It appears that the authors of the articles are pro-ID, even if the articles themselves are not. For example, six of the articles listed list Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez – an alleged victim of anti-ID bias – as the author. But the articles themselves apparently don’t discuss ID. That fact argues against the claims of the ID advocates. The article shouldn’t be listed as pro-ID because they don’t discuss ID. Moreover, anti-ID discrimination is not so significant if ID advocates can have articles printed in mainstream journals.

So we can safely conclude:

There are very, very few pro-ID articles printed even if you include ID-friendly journals.

It is clear that the argument that ID is not science because no one is publishing ID friendly articles is quite valid.

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