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Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos

Photo credit: Patrick Fore, via Unsplash.

BioLogos is a Christian organization with a unique mission to win Christians over to Darwinian theory, downplaying both scientific and theological reasons that a religious believer, or non-believer, might have for resisting. Not surprisingly, the staff at BioLogos has shown a consistent interest in books by Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer. They have wished to counter Dr. Meyer’s evidence-based arguments for intelligent design, most recently in Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe.

Why an avowedly Christian group would have its guns out for the God hypothesis is an interesting question from a psychological perspective. When Meyer’s latest appeared — hitting the USA Today and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists and winning praise from leading scientists including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Brian Josephson — I looked forward to hearing what BioLogos would have to say. They did not disappoint, promptly posting a review by biologist Darrel Falk. That was followed by more coverage, to which I’ll return on another occasion.

Miller Calls for a Retraction

In coming days, we will publish a number of responses to Dr. Falk by physicist Brian Miller and geologist Casey Luskin. Dr. Miller and Dr. Luskin have much to say of interest. Miller begins by addressing a failed “gotcha” by Falk, who faults Meyer for omitting reference to relevant research that would have harmed his case. In fact, as Brian Miller shows, it is Falk who appears to have overlooked Stephen Meyer’s analysis.

I want to highlight that Miller is calling for a partial retraction from Falk and BioLogos:

[T]here is something oddly tone-deaf about an attempt at engagement that critiques a book for its ignorance of a new scientific result when the book itself has already described and critiqued the result in question. I am quite willing to give Professor Falk the benefit of the doubt and to assume that he merely overlooked the passages in Meyer’s work where Meyer discussed and critiqued the very experiment (albeit in only a slightly different and earlier form) that Falk cites. But I would suggest that Falk now acknowledge, as a matter of scholarly integrity, that he mischaracterized Meyer’s argument. He should retract that portion of his review that left his own (Falk’s) readers with the misimpression that Meyer was ignorant of developments of great consequence in origin of life simulation experiments when instead, as I have shown, nothing could be further from the truth.

Darrel Falk’s gotcha, says Miller, is “oddly tone-deaf.” That’s one way of putting it. There are others. How will BioLogos respond, with a view to safeguarding “scholarly integrity”? We shall see. Brian Miller’s first article will be up and available to read this morning.