Intelligent Design Icon Intelligent Design

Answering Objections about Discovery Institute’s Peer-Review Page

Casey Luskin

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. 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. 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. The summaries of each paper explain how they do this. So the best way to know what’s ID-friendly in the paper is to read the list and the descriptions at

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.”

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.

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.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Daniel DennettDarwinintelligent designpeer-reviewPZ Myersscience