Friday, January 11, 2008

Science? Really?

Ok, this just made me laugh, then sort of shake my head with bemused horror. AiG -- Answers in Genesis, a very populate creationist/ID website, has decided that it will host - -get this -- peer reviewed papers, so that it can be all scienc-y and stuff, ya know?
[...] Answers Research Journal will provide scientists and students the results of cutting-edge research that demonstrates the validity of the young-earth model, the global Flood, the non-evolutionary origin of “created kinds,” and other evidences that are consistent with the biblical account of origins.
I've posted a couple of comment earlier on the ridiculous claim that ID is "scientific", but I just had to post their guidelines for paper review as a concrete evidence that they really have no idea how science actually works. I'm not really aware of any other "scientific journal" that pre-defines the evidences that they are going to accept. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.
VIII. Paper Review Process
Upon the reception of a paper the editor-in-chief will follow the procedures below:
A. Receive and acknowledge to the author the paper’s receipt.
B. Review the paper for possible inclusion into the ARJ review process.
The following criteria will be used in judging papers:
1. Is the paper’s topic important to the development of the Creation and Flood model?
2. Does the paper’s topic prvoide an original contribution to the Creation and Flood model?
3. Is this paper formulated within a young-earth, young-universe framework?
4. If the paper discusses claimed evidence for an old earth and/or universe, does this paper offer a very
constructively positive criticism and provide a possible young-earth, young-universe alternative?
5. If the paper is polemical in nature, does it deal with a topic rarely discussed within the origins
6. Does this paper provide evidence of faithfulness to the grammatical-historical/normative interpretation of Scripture? If necessary, refer to: R. E. Walsh, 1986. Biblical hermeneutics and creation. Proceedings First International Conference on Creationism, vol. 1, pp. 121–127. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Creation Science Fellowship.
What does this mean, exactly?

1. While this assumes that there is a valid creation and flood model, we might even grant this one as acceptable, since they are an ID-based organization. I don't expect a journal devoted to ornithology to entertain papers on the development of fish, for example.
2. see 1, and has this actually changed in the last 3000 years?
3. "does this paper already presuppose that we are right?"
4. "if the paper actually includes actual physical, observable evidence, does this paper dismiss/explain these facts if they do not support the creationism/ID model?
5. "does this paper assign special privilege to conformity to a doctrine over and above correlation to observational reality'

So, basically, "Make your papers conform to doctrine and we'll peer-review them. If they don't, well, tough noogies. We're only interested in apologetics." Great science, there. Basically, adherence to Scripture is of primary importance, not "science".

And then, the best of all: they won't even consider your paper if it CONFLICTS with doctrine.
The editor-in-chief will not be afraid to reject a paper if it does not properly satisfy the above criteria or it conflicts with the best interests of AiG as judged by its biblical stand and goals outlined in its statement of faith. [emphasis mine]
Just as a quick comparison, here are the author guidelines from Science/AAAS. No presupposition on topic, or dire warnings that they must conform to specific doctrine. Imagine that.

This quote, from a creationist/ID proponent online (not a scientist, as far as I can tell, just a staunch fundamentalist Christian who is a Biblical Literalist) seems to sum up why I have little tolerance for people who argue that ID is "science" and that what they are doing is "scientific":
"The proper approach to any truth search is to select the most plausible Fundamental Assumptions first. I call this a Worldview. The Theistic Worldview is far more consistent with the evidence ... I have presented much of this evidence previously. After the most plausible worldview is selected, then and only then can one set about evaluating data."
oooookay. No. This is not scientific investigation. This is (with the unfounded assertions and a priori arguments intact) almost the exact opposite. "I have the answer, let's find the evidence to support it" is not the way things work. It's supposed to be "ooh, that's weird. I wonder what that piece of data signifies".

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