Intelligent Design, Not so Intelligent Publishing Decision

Earlier this year Springer, a major publisher of textbooks and peer-reviewed journals in science, technical, and medical fields, indicated that it planned to publish a book about intelligent design, the pseudoscientific field associated with creationism. And then Springer decided maybe that wasn’t such a great idea.

Biological Information: New Perspectives was apparently going to be a collection of,

Fresh insights into the explanatory difficulties that biological information raises. Going beyond the conventional scientific wisdom, which attempts to explain biological information reductionistically via chemical, genetic, and natural selective determinants, the work represented here develops novel non-reductionist approaches to biological information, looking notably to telic and self-organizational processes.

Got that? Well basically, explained Nick Matzke, doctoral student in evolutionary biology at the University of California, Berkeley, the work would be a “compilation of articles by creationists and intelligent-design proponents.” Springer has apparently withdrawn the item from its website.

According to a piece by Kaustuv Basu at Inside Higher Ed:

Eric Merkel-Sobotta, executive vice president of corporate communications at Springer in Germany, said in an e-mail, that the initial proposal for the book was peer-reviewed by two independent reviewers. “However, once the complete manuscript had been submitted, the series editors became aware that additional peer review would be necessary,” Merkel-Sobotta said. “This is currently underway, and the automatically generated pre-announcement for the book on Springer has been removed until the peer-reviewers have made their final decision.”

Yes, because peer review will fix whatever problems this publication has. The material hasn’t been “property vetted.” Let’s have all of academia’s major experts on creationism weigh in to assess validity of the research procedures used to generate the articles in this work. Then we’ll know if it’s good enough for publication.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer