Sunday, May 07, 2006

An Answer for Dembski

In a comment on my latest post, no less a personality than William Dembski asked what it means by referring to "actual, bona-fide, peer-reviewed articles". I feel relatively convinced that he knows the technical definition of peer-review and was asking the question in a more rhetorical (perhaps pejorative?) manner. So I would like to oblige him with an answer:

It means having the guts to lay your methods and data out in front of the scientific community, those with a familiarity of standards and methods in science, so that others might replicate your work or use your data to further knowledge; or criticize you for trying play fast and loose with your work. It does not mean seeking scientific validity from a scientifically illiterate American public who are largely unable to make a distinction between intelligent design, astrology or alien abductions as scientific pursuits. (Of course, then again, neither can Michael Behe);

It means having the tenacity and talent to pursue supporting data for your hypotheses worthy of your colleagues' attention; it does not mean retreating behind the wall of public opinion when being rejected and complaining about "Darwinian Fundamentalism".

It means actually having data to present and testable hypotheses to explain what the data mean; it does not mean hiding the inadequacies of your hypothesis with the language of political and religious division;

It means letting the data you have stand on its own merits. It does not mean misrepresenting the evidence for competing theories in order to make yours more palatable;

It means have the intellectual and moral integrity to do the dirty work of science like those before you who were not initially believed, but worked hard to get more convincing data.

It means stepping up to the plate and learning to bat with the big boys...


Ron said...

Dembski is a mathematician, not a scientist, so there's no reason to believe he knows anything about peer-review of scientific papers (and his publications demonstrate this).

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