Friday, May 14, 2010

A Review of BIO-Complexity

Bounded Science reviews the new BIO-Complexity journal and its guidelines. He finds much wanting:
As long as scientists reject ID as supernaturalism, there will be none of the "scientific controversy over ID" referred to at BIO-Complexity. It seems that the forum is designed to get scientists, identified by their real names, to engage in highly restricted exchanges on ID that create the impression of genuine controversy. This could aid the Discovery Institute in its "teach the controversy" campaign, the objective of which is to get ID into the science curricula of public schools.
Barbara Forrest has identified four different tactics that are used by the intelligent design movement to further the goals of establishing the validity of intelligent design: 1. Teach the Controversy, in which it is asserted that there is disagreement within the scientific community about how effective evolutionary theory is at explaining past and present biodiversity, 2. Teach the full range of scientific views, in which it is asserted that both evolutionary theory and intelligent design are on equal footing and 3. critical analysis/thinking, in which teachers are encouraged to question the validity of evolution. As she correctly points out, we should always engage critical thinking in performing science. The goal here, though, is to poke holes in evolution while elevating ID, and 4. teach the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. This relies on usually specious arguments against evolution that have been rebutted time and again by the scientific community but which are continually promoted by ID supporters.

This new journal seeks to accomplish all of the goals at once. The ID community has long argued that since the scientific community is not willing to engage it in examining the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory or to deign to debate ID as if it were on an equal footing with evolutionary theory that they have taken the moral high ground. The problem with this stance is that it relies on some patently false positions such as the claim that there is disagreement within the biological community about evolution (the dissent from Darwin list), there are no transitional fossils, that the Cambrian explosion reflects creation by divine fiat and not evolution, and that evolution lacks explanatory power. None of these have been shown to have any scientific merit and yet they are continually promoted by design supporters. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are only two ways in which this would work and the Discovery Institute does not seem interested in pursuing either path.

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1 comment:

  1. The Bio-Complexity editorial team reads like a Who's Who of creationists and YECs. Why don't they just call it the 'Journal of Intelligent Design'? That's what it's about. 'Biocomplexity' could mean anything.