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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peer review review, or, Creationists? Back of the bus!


The questions should be addressed to the Darwinist community. Why are you so afraid of even listening to the voices of dissent? How can you be so fearful of information? How can you call yourselves scientists?


Time to really address this subject. For the sake of brevity, I will use the terms Darwinist or naturalistic materialistic even though there are those who prefer different terminology or whose philosophy is somewhat different. I know there are NeoDarwinists and Theistic Darwinists and so on and so on so I will acknowledge that at the start and then move on.

First of all, from Answers Research Journal (ironically, a peer-reviewed publication).

"

Abstract

Despite the centrality of peer review to the development of a scholarly community, very little is known about the biblical basis and Christian conduct of peer review. We find that peer review is rooted in several Christian virtues, such as reflecting Christ, being honest, seeking wisdom, humbly submitting, showing Christian love, correcting error, and being accountable. Given these principles, we recommend that creationists use a double-blind peer review system, wherein the identities of the author and peer reviewers are confidential. Additionally, we recommend that creationist publishers develop a regular public audit of their peer-review process.


Critics of creationism and Intelligent Design (ID) often note that creationist or ID research does not appear in peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Crawford 1982; Scott and Branch 2003; Max 2004; Bottaro et al. 2006). Creationists complain that we are excluded from the peer-reviewed literature (Anderson 2002; Kulikovsky 2008; see also Tipler 2004) and are therefore required to publish in our own peer reviewed-literature (Morris 2003). Critics view creationist peer review as not “real” peer review. For example, recent attempts to launch new creationist peer-reviewed journals have been met with scorn or dismissal (Sparks et al. 2007; Brumfiel 2008).

The irony of this conflict over peer review is that peer review is poorly understood and criticized even in conventional journals. Over the past 25 years, the process of peer review has come under increasing scrutiny, especially in the biomedical community (e.g., Lock 1986; Godlee and Jefferson 2003; Rennie 2002). The efficacy of peer review to improve the quality of manuscripts and to minimize bias has been questioned. Some studies show benefits, while others show no benefits or negative influences from peer review (e.g., Armstrong 1997; Jefferson et al. 2002a; Jefferson et al. 2002b; Overbeke and Wager 2003). For every one of these studies, however, there are enthusiastic editorials defending the value of peer review (e.g., Gannon 2001; Tobin 2002). What seems certain at this stage is that peer review is no guarantor of the accuracy or scientific quality of a published paper (Callaham et al. 1998; Altman 2002; Horton 2002)."


The entire post - Toward a Practical Theology of Peer Review by Roger W. Sanders, Kurt P. Wise, Joseph W. Francis, and Todd Charles Wood April 9, 2008

While I may have posted the Thunderbolt point of view previously...

"

There once was a time when to have a scientific paper published, it had to be - well, - scientific. Not so any more it appears. Peer Review has become more like Snob Review or Mate Review, and the so-called "prestigious" journals are making a mockery of themselves and of science.

Whilst discussing Electric Universe concepts on public forums one often comes across self-appointed xspurts* in cosmology who dismiss EU for its lack of publication in Peer-Reviewed journals. When for example, items published in the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science are cited, then the IEEE is not considered "prestigious" enough or sufficiently qualified to comment on cosmological matters. Yet paradoxically cosmologists think themselves qualified to comment on plasma physics. They want to have their cake and eat it too. And they're not willing it seems to share the cake around.


[*x = an unknown quantity, spurt = a drip under pressure...]

Why does this matter to anyone? Because, Joe Average, not only is it your tax dollars which pay for this outrageous elitist regime, but your children are being slowly brainwashed into believing that some of the most inconceivable theories ever devised by man are now established fact. Take the so-called Big Bang for instance, which for all intents and purposes goes something like "Once upon a time, nothing went BANG!". Whilst that may seem a simplistic summary, it is none-the-less how the Fairy-Tale goes. But after years of intelligent people questioning the validity of such a concept, we now have the cosmologists answering "Oh no, it wasn't nothing which went bang, it was another universe which had contracted down to a singular point...". I kid you not. Take this recent release from that bastion of all things scientific and true, Physorg.com. Before the Big Bang: A Twin Universe?April 09, 2008 By Lisa Zyga"

You have the link. I will spare you the experience of reading the fairy tale of twin universes unless you choose to do so. But feel free...

The recent book by Dr. Jerry Bergman is found here - The Slaughter of The Dissidents.

Here are some review excerpts:

Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters
by Dr. Jerry Bergman
(Leafcutter Press, 2008, 477 pages)

"If Ben Stein's 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was the tip, then Dr. Jerry Bergman's Slaughter of the Dissidents is the rest of the iceberg. With clarity and thoroughness, Bergman provides detailed accounts of 17 of the over 300 scientists and educators he has interviewed, all of whom have advanced degrees. Though their views range from creation science to intelligent design to evolution, all of them expressed some doubt regarding neo-Darwinism, observing that selection of mutations is not creating life's diversity. And all of them have received some form of discrimination.

Dr. Bergman has observed that evolutionary elitists incorrectly lump all "Darwin Doubters" into one group, "creationists," who are then categorically ridiculed. Though highly qualified, these scientists and educators are verbally and physically threatened, lose privileges, lose opportunities for promotion, and lose jobs and whole careers, just for expressing some measure of doubt about the standard evolutionary story."

Uncommon Descent says, in part,

" The first chapter, “A Context for Discrimination Against Darwin Skeptics” deserves special recognition. Kevin Wirth, who authored it, did an excellent job providing a background and context for this book, especially for those not familiar with the debate or why it generates so much controversy. It almost deserved to be an entire book unto itself. It described why (a) Darwin skeptics are skeptical, (b) Darwinists are skeptical of the skeptics, (c) why ID’ers and Creationists are often lumped together in a single category, even when completely inappropriate to the context, (d) the relationship between the source, the justification, and the effects of ideas (and why it matters), and (e) the relationship that religion has with this whole debate.

Honestly, if someone who wasn’t familiar with the issues asked for a short introduction to the whole issue, I would recommend that they buy the book if only to read the first chapter. That would give a good background on what the disagreement is over and why it is so heated."

A free chapter is available for download for those who go to the booksite and register.


The GSR site Posted this:

"Is peer review broken?

1/2/06: Is peer review broken? Article by Alison McCook in The Scientist, (20)(2),26 says that submissions are up, reviewers are overtaxed, and authors are lodging complaint after complaint about the process at top-tier journals. Cites Peter Lawrence, who has been publishing papers in academic journals for 40 years. His first 70 or so papers were "never rejected," he says, but that's all changed. Now, he has significantly more trouble getting articles into the first journal he submits them to.

Lawrence, based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, UK, says his earlier papers were always published because he and his colleagues first submitted them to the journals they believed were most appropriate for the work. Now, because of the intense pressure to get into a handful of top journals, instead of sending less-than-ground-breaking work to second- or third-tier journals, more scientists are first sending their work to elite publications, where they often clearly don't belong. Lately, academia seems to place a higher value on the quality of the journals that accept researchers' data, rather than the quality of the data itself. In many countries, scientists are judged by how many papers they have published in top-tier journals; the more publications they rack up, the more funding they receive.

The recent discrediting of stem cell work by Woo-Suk Hwang at Seoul National University sparked media debates about the system's failure to detect fraud. Authors, meanwhile, are lodging a range of complaints: Reviewers sabotage papers that compete with their own, strong papers are sent to sister journals to boost their profiles, and editors at commercial journals are too young and invariably make mistakes about which papers to reject or accept.

The article says that, despite a lack of evidence that peer review works, most scientists appear to believe in peer review. Indeed, an abundance of data from a range of journals suggests peer review does little to improve papers. In one 1998 experiment designed to test what peer review uncovers, researchers intentionally introduced eight errors into a research paper. More than 200 reviewers identified an average of only two errors. That same year, a paper in the Annals of Emergency Medicine showed that reviewers couldn't spot two-thirds of the major errors in a fake manuscript. In July 2005, an article in JAMA showed that among recent clinical research articles published in major journals, 16% of the reports showing an intervention was effective were contradicted by later findings, suggesting reviewers may have missed major flaws.

Some critics argue that peer review is inherently biased, because reviewers favour studies with statistically significant results. Research also suggests that statistical results published in many top journals aren't even correct, again highlighting what reviewers often miss. Moreover, peer review can also err in the other direction, passing on promising work: Some of the most highly cited papers were rejected by the first journals to see them. There is also a suggestion that reviewers were less likely to reject a paper if it cited their work, although the trend was not statistically significant.

The article, with associated articles, can be viewed in full on The Scientist website."

Jonathan Safarti pointed out the following-

'Hmm, ‘peer review’ is merely an excuse to reject creationist arguments, as pointed out in a previous feedback, because some of them break the ‘rule’ that science must be materialistic. It really boils down to another stipulative definition with all that entails about circularity:

Creation isn’t real science because it isn’t peer-reviewed.
Creation isn’t peer-reviewed because it isn’t real science.

But peer review does have the merit of passing the Piltdown Man and Hwang Woo-suk’s embryonic stem cell claim. "


As I also pointed out earlier, Iowa State University astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez lost his tenure for daring to co-author The Privileged Planet after being a coming star in the field of Astronomy previously. Frankly, the aftermath reminds one of the days of the Inquisition. Gonzalez managed to avoid being burned at the stake and presumably escaped the rack, but not metaphorically.

Naturalistic Materialistic scientists mock or ignore or seek to stifle those who disagree but I do think the joke is on them.

From a post by Dr. Sean Pitman:

"Richard E Smalley, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry, as asked to present the keynote address at Tuskegee University's 79th Annual Scholarship Convocation/Parents' Recognition Program. In his address he discussed the increasing lifespan of humans as a result of cures and treatments for various infections and diseases. He urged his listeners to seriously consider their role as "higher species" on this planet. He also mentioned the ideas of evolution versus creation, Darwin versus the Biblical Genesis account, noting that the burden of proof is on those who do not believe that "Genesis was right, and there was a creation, and that the Creator is still involved". (1)

After reading the book "Origins of Life" by Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross (2), among other books by Rana, Richard Smalley make the following endorsement: " Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading Origins of Life, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred." (3)

Toward the last days of his life, in an interview with William Dembski, Smalley predicted that ID would be mainstreamed in five years and that evolution, in its conventional materialistic sense, would be dead within ten. Although I am personally just a bit skeptical as to the time frame, it will be interesting to see if his predictions are eventually borne out. (4)

  1. http://www.tuskegee.edu/Global/story.asp?S=2382961&nav=CcWvRbj5
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Life-Biblical-Evolutionary-Models/dp/1576833445/ref=pd_rhf_p_1/105-8093794-4249248
  3. http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/oct/05100605.html
  4. http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1737


Five years? Nah, Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation in 1861 and yet pure Darwinists must believe it in order for their beliefs to make any sense. Hey, if God was capable of starting life then wouldn't He be capable of giving us a Bible to tell us about it? He wouldn't need gagagazillions of mutations and years to bring the world to its present state. I am thinking maybe at least ten more years and more likely twenty. I mean, isn't continuing to re-try some form of Miller-Urey experiment over and over again something like the definition of insanity? Har.

Darwinism is an alibi that is being exposed as fraudulent. Before naturalistic materialistic scientists can give it up, they need to think up another one. Something other than God, because the anything-but-God motive has driven Darwinism for several decades now.

I am willing to give Darwinists the benefit of the doubt before the intricate nature of the cell became apparent and before we discovered the amazing wonder of DNA. But now that we understand the obvious design features of life they are now without excuse. I don't write this to convince those desperate to hang on to failed and laughable science, no matter how orthodox and widely taught. I say this to those who still have open minds. Look into this carefully for yourselves...don't take the pat answers at face value.

Peer review amongst the orthodox crowd is a failed and prejudicial system. Like the old Jim Crow laws, unbelievers are forced to use their own figurative fountains and motels and restaurants because the "No Creationists or ID'ers" have been hung up over the ones frequented
by the "superior" Darwinist crowd. Mockery. Derision. Segregation. A scientific apartheid exists in that good scientists who are of the wrong point of view are forced to seek to be "separate but equal." It is to the shame of the majority of the scientific community that dissension is stifled and careers ruined and it is also contrary to the advance of scientific knowledge.

~~~~~~~

Addendum in another key...

Acclaimed American writer John Updike died this morning at the age of 76.

I do not know his spiritual state (he was born Lutheran and later became Episcopalian), but I rejoice in the truth that he saw. For example, here is his “Seven Stanzas at Easter”:

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.