A paper by Stephen C. Meyer, Project Director of the Discovery Institute's Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, recently appeared in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (2004; 117 : 213-239). PBSW is a small legitimate scientific journal, specializing mainly in taxonomical articles. But Meyer's "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories" is a review article (as opposed to a research article) arguing, in usual "intelligent design" fashion, against the sufficiency of evolutionary processes to account for life's history and diversity. The article is available on the Discovery Institute's web site here.
The crew at the Panda's Thumb blog has already posted a preliminary critique of the paper, under the title "Meyer's Hopeless Monster". The critique identifies a large number of errors, confusions, and omissions in the paper, concluding: "There is nothing wrong with challenging conventional wisdom -- continuing challenge is a core feature of science. But challengers should at least be aware of, read, cite, and specifically rebut the actual data that supports conventional wisdom, not merely construct a rhetorical edifice out of omission of relevant facts, selective quoting, bad analogies, knocking down strawmen, and tendentious interpretations. Unless and until the 'intelligent design' movement does this, they are not seriously in the game. They're not even playing the same sport."
NCSE has already heard from a number of members of the Biological Society of Washington (which has about 250 members in all), who are concerned about the reputation of the society and its journal after the publication of such a piece of substandard work in the apparent service of a non-scientific ideology.
August 27, 2004