Thursday, June 18, 2015

Is Bio-Complexity Dead?

Is the Intelligent Design journal Bio-Complexity dead?  A visit to the web site indicates that no new articles have been published in 2015, after only four in 2014.  Panda's Thumb had a review of the 2014 “issue” last December.  They were not kind.  Jeffrey Shallit wrote:
How many papers did Bio-Complexity manage to publish this year? A grand total of four! Why, that's 1/8th of a paper per member of the editorial team. By any measure, this is simply astounding productivity. They can be proud of how much they have added to the world's knowledge!
Looking a little deeper, we see that of these four, only one is labeled as a "research article". Two are "critical reviews" and one is a "critical focus". And of these four stellar contributions, one has 2 out of the 3 authors on the editorial team, two are written by members of the editorial team, leaving only one contribution having no one on the editorial team. And that one is written by Winston Ewert, who is a "senior researcher" at Robert J. Marks II's "evolutionary informatics lab". In other words, with all the ideas that ID supporters are brimming with, they couldn't manage to publish a single article by anyone not on the editorial team or directly associated with the editors.
What happened to the claim that ID creationists stand for ideas? One research article a year is not that impressive. Where are all those ideas Klinghoffer was raving about? Why can't their own flagship journal manage to publish any of them?
As 2015 draws near, don't expect that we will get any answers to these questions. Heck, not even the illustrious Robert J. Marks II can manage to respond to a simple question about information theory. 
Ouch! As I noted to my wife last night, while it is a flawed approach, even young-earth creationism can generate hypotheses for testing (That none of them pan out is, somehow lost on the supporters of this view, however).  ID cannot even generate testable hypotheses.  Despite protests to the contrary, their methodological construct violates a basic principle of science:
“Even if I can show that your hypothesis to explain something cannot be supported, that does not automatically mean that mine can.  Mine has to be independently tested.”  
ID automatically assumes that if evolutionary theory cannot explain something then it can be explained miraculously.  Aside from Howard Van Till's observation—even if it was done miraculously, no explanation is provided for exactly how it was done—as we have seen from the work of Stephen Meyer (here and here) and Michael Behe, even the science behind this work is questionable.

Other problems abound, from Douglas Axe's fundamentally mistaken idea that if you can't evolve a modern protein into another modern protein, then evolution doesn't work, despite the fact that the two proteins represent the end points of long evolutionary sequences (a somewhat more sophisticated version of Kirk Cameron's “Crocoduck” argument) to William Dembski's mathematical assumptions that incorrectly model evolutionary behavior.

Unless I miss my guess, this is the last we will see of Bio-Complexity, as it disappears into the mists of time along with Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design which ceased publication in 2005, after a short run of four years. 

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