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Oldies but Goodies: Update of Peer-Reviewed Articles Page Turns Up Long Lost Pro-Intelligent Design Papers

When we began the process of revising and updating Discovery Institute’s page listing peer-reviewed pro-intelligent design scientific papers, we knew that there had been a couple dozen papers published in the last few years that needed to be added to the page. What we didn’t expect to find was that there were five or six papers published ten or more years ago that supported ID and were not listed on the page. In fact, two of the earliest papers listed on the page are new additions.

The first pro-ID paper in our listing was published in 1984 by nuclear physicist William G. Pollard in the American Journal of Physics under the title “Rumors of transcendence in physics.” Pollard notes that Big Bang cosmology requires some kind of transcendent reality to initiate the universe. He argues that the scientific justification for this transcendent domain can be found in quantum mechanics because universal laws and constants are finely tuned to permit the existence of advanced life. This points to an intelligent source, a mind, at work in having designed the universe.

Three years later a similar paper appeared in the same journal by another physicist, Stanley L. Jaki, titled “Teaching of Transcendence in Physics.” In the paper, Jaki sought to help educators understand how they can teach students about the evidence for transcendence in the universe. The article posits that a transcendent realm exists beyond the universe and that the universe can plausibly be said to reflect design.

Another early pro-ID paper was written by R. Kunze, H. Saedler, and W.-E. Lönnig and published in a peer-viewed Academic Press scientific anthology, Advances in Botanical Research, in 1997. After noting that “some major problems have to be solved for gene duplications to be of fundamental evolutionary significance,” their chapter favorably references Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box (which had been published the year before) to justify the following question: “What could be the selective advantage of the intermediate (‘still unfinished’) reaction chains?” The authors further state that “examples of ‘irreducibly complex systems'” are found in biology.

Two final older peer-reviewed scientific papers were co-published by Solomon Victor and Vijaya M. Nayak on the evident design reflected in the origin of the heart.

The first paper, “Evolution of the Ventricles,” was published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal in 1999 and concludes that “there is a design in the evolution of the venous connections of the heart, pectinate muscles, atrioventricular valves, left ventricular tendons, outflow tracts, and great arteries.” Their version of “evolution” is decidedly non-Darwinian, as it notes that evolution appears to be goal-directed by a designer:

One neglected aspect in the study of evolution is that of anticipation. Fish atria and ventricles appear to have a built-in provision for becoming updated to the human 4-chambered structure. This transformation is achieved in stages: the truncus yields the great arteries, appropriate shifting takes place in the great arteries, the left ventricle decreases in sponginess and increases in the size of its lumen, the chordopapillary apparatus becomes more sophisticated, the coronary circulation undergoes changes, and the ventricular septal defect closes.

The article closes by stating, “This evolutionary progression points to a master design and plan for countless millennia.”

The second paper appeared in Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2000, and was titled “Evolutionary anticipation of the human heart.” This article argues that intelligent design is recognizable in the human heart, stating: “Comparative anatomy points to a design and a Designer. Surgeons, anatomists and anyone studying the human form and function have an unsurpassed opportunity to ponder over the wonders of creation and contemplate the basic questions: where did we come from? why are we here? and where are we going?”

These articles anticipate the boom of peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers that appeared in the ensuing years.

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.