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Measuring the Pervasiveness of the “Myth of No Peer-Reviewed Research”

David Klinghoffer

Casey wrote earlier today on the backpedalling that ID critics will have to do as the peer-reviewed scientific support for intelligent design — elaborated in our new updated listing — continues to mount. Or rather, they’ll have to backpedal if they want to be somewhat honest with themselves and other people. That’s a big if. I bet they’ll just stonewall.
Judgejohnjones.jpgFor years, Darwinists have been quoting Judge John E. Jones’s 2005 Kitzmiller decision as holy writ proving that ID “is not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data or publications,” a determination that Jones of course cribbed verbatim from the ACLU’s “Finding of Fact” document.
I thought it would be useful to give a sense of just how pervasive the Myth of No Peer-Reviewed Research has become since then.
Chris Mooney cites Jones in the The Republican War on Science, disqualifying ID as science “because its advocates do not (with rare exceptions) participate in the scientific process by publishing in peer-reviewed journals.” Ditto Kenneth Miller in Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul who writes, “In addition to failing to produce papers in peer-reviewed journals, ID also features no scientific research or testing.”
In a 2008 article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Science, evolution, and creationism,” Francisco Ayala opens in his very first paragraph with the by now standard credulous quote from Judge Jones, lifted from the ACLU: “ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data, or publications.”
In Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Daniel Dennett recounts how Discovery Institute “creationists” “don’t even bother” trying to get their research published in peer-reviewed journals because “They know better. They know that all they have going for them is propaganda.” In Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America, Columbia University’s Randall Balmer laments that “The advocates for intelligent design…refuse to be diverted by their failure to publish in scientific journals recognized by the profession.”
On its website under the heading “Science & Policy,” the American Association for the Advancement of Science gives it as a gospel fact that “One of the criticisms that the so-called ‘intelligent design movement’ (ID) has had to face is that papers supporting an ID position have not appeared in peer reviewed scientific journals.”
In a 2009 article marking Darwin’s 200th birthday, deputy director Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education helped readers of U.S. News understand that “Intelligent Design is Not Science, and Should Not Join Evolution in the Classroom.” With the usual sleazy conflation of ID with creationism, he issued the challenge: “Scan the scientific research literature: There are no signs that anyone is using creationism, whether as creation science or its newfangled form of intelligent design, to explain the natural world.”
The Darwinist blog Panda’s Thumb explained in 2007, “The Sad state of Intelligent Design: Or why it shuns ‘peer review.'” Huh! Who knew? ID actually shuns peer-review!
The high-toned Boston PBS station WGBH expounds in an article in the library section of its website, “Frequently Asked Questions About Evolution”: “No research supporting the claims of intelligent design has ever been published in any recognized, professional, peer-reviewed scientific journal,” a “fact” cited verbatim in turn — at least with credit this time to — by the Anti-Defamation League in its document under the Civil Rights heading, “Religion in the Science Class? Why Creationism and Intelligent Design Don’t Belong.”
And so on and on and on.
Over the weekend, I mentioned that a reader from South Africa had tried without success to amend Wikipedia’s own erroneous statement to this same effect: “The intelligent design movement has not published a properly peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal.” But the editors immediately erased his attempts and wrote over them with the same old falsehood.
Well, why should they do otherwise? After all, they’ve got the backing of everyone from Judge Jones and the ACLU to professional scholars and elite scientists, Darwin lobbyists, the Public Broadcasting Service, and the Anti-Defamation League saying the very same thing.
Why let a little thing like the truth get in the way of such a beguiling lie?

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



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