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Is this post following our guidelines?

By Dave Munger | February 4, 2008

Several different individuals have pointed me to this post as an example of blogging that doesn't follow our guidelines.

As a reminder, here our our guidelines:

  1. The "Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research" icons are to be used solely to denote individual blog posts about peer-reviewed research.
  2. While there is no hard-and-fast definition of "peer-review," peer reviewed research should meet the following guidelines:
    • Reviewed by experts in field
    • Edited
    • Archived
    • Published with clearly stated publication standards
    • Viewed as trustworthy by experts in field
  3. The post should offer a complete formal citation of the work(s) being discussed.
  4. The post author should have read and understood the entire work cited.
  5. The blog post should report accurately and thoughtfully on the research it presents.
  6. Where possible, the post should link to the original source and / or provide a DOI or other universal reference number.
  7. The post should contain original work by the post author -- while some quoting of others is acceptable, the majority of the post should be the author's own work.
  8. Users and readers may report potential abuse of the icons by emailing the site administrator, Dave Munger (remove dashes). Reported abuses may be brought to the attention of readers and discussed publicly online.
  9. Repeated abuse of the icons will result in removal from our aggregation system.

I have read the post and the article it cites, and to me what's at issue here is whether Guideline #5 is being followed. Does this post report accurately and thoughtfully on the research it cites?

In accordance with Guideline #8, consider this an opportunity to discuss this post and determine whether it constitutes an abuse of our guidelines.

I should point out that Evolution News & Views has not registered with ResearchBlogging.org and has made a copy of the icon and placed it on its own server. Since we own the copyright on the icon itself, in principle we have the authority to ask them to stop using the icon because we only give permission to use the icon to blogs following our guidelines.

Topics: Administration |

102 Responses to “Is this post following our guidelines?”

  1. Bob O'H Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Copyright? Luskin? Hmmm.

    OK, so not to the substance of your post, but someone’s going to point this out anyway. Now I’ve done that, you can get back to the serious business.

    Bob

  2. J-Dog Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Clearly,, this is just one more example of Casey Lying For Christ and the DI.

    The plan of course, is to give ID the veneer of respectability that they crave, especially in light of their track record of peer-reviewed papers. I can see them trying to make the argument in the future that “ID Is Too Science” because they publish peer-reviewed articles.

    Shady Casey strikes again. And like his more famous and honest name-sake, let us hope he strikes out as well.

  3. Dave Munger Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Clearly this blog doesn’t have a good reputation among pro-evolution bloggers, but let’s try to limit the discussion here to whether or not this specific post follows the ResearchBlogging.org/BPR3 guidelines. Specific quotes from the post and the research report it cites would be most appreciated.

  4. Mike O'Risal Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I could only make it part way through the “review” in question before arriving at a conclusion, which is that what’s been written definitely isn’t accurate or thoughtful. In fact, I would say that it misrepresents the article entirely. The review itself, in fact, is an egregious example of intentionally jumping to conclusions. The author of the review doesn’t simply review the article, but instead draws a conclusion that isn’t based upon evidence but his own injection of a belief into an area in which there isn’t any (AKA a “god of the gaps” assertion).

    All of which is beside the point, IMO. The “reviewer” in question didn’t follow the conditions incumbent upon him with use of the icon. Instead, he’s used the icon to dress up a bit of misrepresentational propaganda while avoiding the inevitable reaction that other users of ResearchBlogging.org would have had if his entry had actually shown up in aggregation. In fact, the blog in which the review appears doesn’t even allow for comments, so there’s no way to respond there. Clearly, the author isn’t interested in discussion which, to my understanding, is a major reason that RB/BPR exists - to facilitate discussion.

    So, yeah, I would say that the author has no right to use the icon and that his doing so points out his essential dishonesty. He ought to be barred from participation for this reason alone.

  5. Bob O'H Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Just to help Dave out, what about diverting all of the comments about how terrible Luskin is to the thread at AtBC?

    Bob
    (Dave - if you want to delete my previous comment to help this, go ahead)

  6. Quidam Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    1,2 & 3 Yes
    4. The post author should have read and understood the entire work cited. - No. Luskin displays a superficial cursory view of the original paper.
    5. The blog post should report accurately and thoughtfully on the research it presents. - No The ‘review’ is a superficial quote mine.
    6. Where possible, the post should link to the original source and / or provide a DOI or other universal reference number. - Yes
    7. The post should contain original work by the post author — while some quoting of others is acceptable, the majority of the post should be the author’s own work. - Yes

    The act of stealing the Icon and sidestepping the process subverts the process and undermines the value of the program. This is the most egregious fault and you shouldn’t wait for repeated abuse to occur.

    This is blatant abuse of the program to lend an air of credibility and should be stopped. The irony of Luskin deliberately abusing copyright is lost on no one.

  7. Oleg Tchernyshyov Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I think Luskin’s post also violates Guideline #2. Orgel’s article is not an original research paper, it is an essay.

  8. Leftfield Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    It’s impossible to write rules that will make everyone happy in every case. I’m not a scientist, but a lawyer, so while I can’t speak to the qualities (such as they may be) of the post at issue, I have some experience with attempts to write (and to avoid the scope of) specific rules.

    With regard to guideline 5, does “report[ing] accurately and thoughtfully” require reporting the full scope of the peer-reviewed research (PRR), or is the guideline satisfied by a blog post (BP) that focuses on one (small or large) aspect of the research?

    Another issue may be guideline 1: Is the BP under discussion a blog post “about peer-reviewed research”, or is it a flight of fancy taking off from one aspect of a piece of PRR? Mike’s comment calls the post at issue “a review”, and suggests that it is a bad one. Must a BP be a review of the PRR in order to get the icon, or is any BP that is a comment on or was inspired by a piece of PRR “about” the PRR?

    ResearchBlogging.org “strives to identify serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research”. If the post under discussion is not a serious academic blog post about peer-reviewed research, maybe the guidelines need to be tweaked. But for integrity’s sake they probably shouldn’t be tweaked to say that “nothing by those non-scientists at evolutionnews.org will qualify”, even if that probably would be a reliable rule.

  9. Doc Bill Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Luskin violates both 4 and 5.

    Clearly, Luskin doesn’t understand the purpose of Orgel’s essay, that is, to discuss the plausibility of hypothetical nonenzymatic cycles.

    Instead Luskin just makes stuff up, like this: “Again, Orgel essentially assumes that cyclic metabolic pathways are irreducibly complex systems that require a large number of parts in order to function”

    Once again, Casey “Don’t Use My Picture Because It’s Copyrighted” Luskin tries to relabel tripe as sirloin. It’s still tripe.

  10. RobertC Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    One standard not listed above might be that use of the icon should be limited to bloggers who allow commentary. If this experiment is meant to foster discussion about the literature, allowing one individual to present (in this case a willfully distorted version) the paper, and no one else to reply, comment, or make corrections seems contrary to those goals.

  11. DiGz Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Presuming you want competent reviews of scientific research, you should not allow this icon to be used by reviewers that can’t demonstrate a clear understanding of the scientific method and how it’s used to draw conclusions from evidence. The concluding line of the article shows that Casey is anything but scientific in his review: “Just like the case of the ribosome, the evidence shows that the complexity of life requires an intelligent cause.”
    That’s a conclusion based on his own pre-conceived notions and is not mentioned anywhere in the paper, nor could it be extrapolated scientifically from its contents. That’s simply Casey making something up and as such it misrepresents the content and conclusions of the paper.

  12. David vun Kannon Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I agree that the post violates 4 and 5.

    re 4 - Luskin writes
    Again, Orgel essentially assumes that cyclic metabolic pathways are irreducibly complex systems that require a large number of parts in order to function—including many side pathways that can remove products that will disrupt the cycle.
    Saying that cycles need side pathways is the exact opposite of what Orgel said in the original - cycles need to avoid side pathways to maintain themselves.

    re 5 - Luskin is not writing “about” the referenced article, he is using the article as a jumping off point to thump his own drum, “I told ya so!”

    I think you have to be prepared for some well behaved denialists (creationist, HIV, global warming, germ theory, flat earth) following all the rules for use of the icon, not that this applies to the present case at all. When that happens, you’ll have to rely on the consensus model to decide whether or not to keep the link.

    In this case however, I think you should write a polite note to Casey asking him to remove the icon, with a cc to Peter Irons. (Google “Irons Pivar” for why that is relevant.)

  13. barn owl Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I agree with #7 Oleg Tchemyshyov-the PloS article is an Essay, not a peer-reviewed manuscript representing original research. Below is the author information from PLoS Biology, for submissions that are not research manuscripts (including the specific description of an Essay):

    The front section of PLoS Biology is inclusive and accessible to a broad audience, while still scientifically rigorous. All articles submitted to the front section are directed at a readership that extends beyond the traditional research community and that includes scientific educators, students, physicians, patients, and the interested public. The front section provides opportunities for contributions not only from scientists, but also from authors who might not otherwise publish primary articles in PLoS Biology.

    Essays
    PLoS Biology publishes visionary and provocative essays that cover broad topics of general interest to life scientists.

    My first submission to this website was a blog post on a peer-reviewed original research article in PLoS Biology; I had assumed, perhaps because I am familiar with the peer-review process as both author and reviewer, that essays, perspectives, and review articles were not appropriate for the BPR icon. Here is the PLoS Biology author information for research manuscripts that will be subject to peer-review:

    Submitted manuscripts will be assigned to one of the PLoS Biology professional editors, who will promptly evaluate the paper and decide if it is likely to meet the requirement of providing a major advance in its relevant field and describing a sufficient body of work to support the main claims, and, if so, it will be sent out for peer review. An academic editor (often, but not always, selected from the editorial board) works with the professional editor throughout the review process. Academic editors are anonymous unless a paper is accepted for publication. The name of the academic editor is noted on the published paper.

    Perhaps even more relevant to the argument that Luskin’s post fails to meet criterion # 2 is this, from the Essay itself:

    This manuscript was completed by the author in September 2007. Gerald Joyce provided comments to the author on earlier versions of the manuscript and edited the final version, which was submitted posthumously. The author received longtime research support from the NASA Exobiology Program and benefited from many helpful discussions with Albert Eschenmoser.

    So Gerald Joyce is the peer-reviewer, then?

    I don’t remember enough organic chemistry to assess the validity of Orgel’s arguments in the essay, but then, judging from the quote strip-mining in the blog post, I suspect that Luskin doesn’t either.

  14. Kris Hirst Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Let’s think about what the ramifications of this are. Luskin uses your icon (sadly, without a direct link because [apparently] he’s a science bigot). People visiting his website say, gee, Luskin, what’s the icon about? And Luskin must point to BPR3 (or people search for BPR3), where real science actually does get discussed. Hmmm. Upshot: people get more exposure to real science, Luskin gives free advertising for BPR3. I like it.

  15. Doc Bill Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Luskin has violated both the letter and spirit for displaying the BPR3 icon.

    I think Luskin should be asked to remove the icon. As a lawyer (passed the California State bar) I’m sure he’ll understand and comply promptly and with no complaint.

    (holding breath…now!)

  16. Ben Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    For what it’s worth, I know some blogging platforms have difficulty with the supplied code (I know WordPress does from personal experience…not sure about Moveable Type, which is what Luskin is using); Dave would agree.

    When the icon was first introduced, since I was having trouble getting it to work on WordPress, I used the image directly and linked to the site manually (and I contacted Dave about it to boot), which is far more than Luskin seems to have done, but, for devil’s advocate’s sake, let’s not rule out the possibility that the code simply doesn’t work in Moveable Type either and that that was the next best option. (Registering, contacting Dave, and linking to the site would have been good too, of course, but we all know that. Luskin apparently doesn’t.)

  17. Albatrossity Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Luskin violates the standards listed above.

    As others have noted, this is an essay, and was not subject to the typical peer-review that would be needed for a research article. From the linked article - “Gerald Joyce provided comments to the author on earlier versions of the manuscript and edited the final version, which was submitted posthumously.”

    Secondly, he misrepresents the material in the article, per usual. In this case he has picked an article by a person who is deceased, and who cannot even read and respond.

    Thirdly, EN&V is not a blog. There is no opportunity to leave comments pointing out the errors in this news release. And as we all know, even if the DI allowed comments, they would be heavily moderated, deleted, and otherwise useless for civil discourse.

    It is possible that if he is asked to remove the icon and comply with the guidelines, Luskin will use this opportunity to cry persecution. In fact, that may have been his motivation all along…

  18. MachiavelliDiscourse Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I agree with most of the points that have been raised:

    1. The post is a superficial exercise in quote-mining to support a narrow ideology.
    2. By avoiding aggregation, the user has not entered into the spirit of the BPR3 project.
    3. The post does not encourage or even allow discussion.

    This final point disturbs me the most. Surely the whole concept of “blogging on peer-reviewed research” is to enable thoughtful discussion about interesting areas of scientific research, rather than simply lending apparent credibility to the blogger’s own viewpoint.

  19. TheBlackCat Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Although I definitely agree with people that this is a violaton of several rules and the spirit of the bpr3. However I think it also highlights deficiencies in the existing rules.

    As several people pointed out, this post does not allow comments. As others have also pointed, similar intelligent design blogs also heavily censor comments to weed out any uncomfortable comments. I think prohibitions against this belong in the rules.

    I also think a rule that not using the icon in the proscribed manner, that is not registering, not subscribing to the blog roll, and not having the image hyperlinked should be in the rules (although probably with a warning before punishment).

    It should also be clarified whether letters, proceedings, and review papers are acceptable since the current guidelines are not clear on that fact.

    Rules against misrepresenting the author’s work are a good idea in principle but I don’t see how to implement it in practice. Certain instances like this are particularly egregious, but where to draw the line is not clear to me.

    Rules regarding not quoting out of context, for instance not combining parts of sentences from different paragraphs and not quote a position the author opposes but mentions in the article as if it was the author’s own opinion are probably good rules. Although this strategy was pioneered by creationists it is by no means limited to them nowadays.

  20. Inoculated Mind Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I think bpr3 should continue to maintain the standards it has set forth, because when people see the “Blogging on peer-reviewed research” icon it should mean something. I recommend requiring Casey Luskin to remove the icon.

    This guy really doesn’t have enough to do during his day.

  21. ERV Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    While Im sure that open comments are a given to most of us, I agree that a new rule should be “comments need to be open and minimally moderated (of course spam, threats, etc should be removed)”.

    Its an easy fix– open comments will be enough to deter pseudo-scientists from abusing BPR3.

  22. simmi Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    A question: other than de-archiving the post, are there any other measures you can take against Luskin, if this use is deemed inappropriate? The reason I ask is that I think Luskin’s use of the logo is an example of poisoning the well; standards must be kept up, or the entire project is diluted.

  23. Olorin Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    “I’d give the devil the benefit of the law.” —Thomas More

    The existing rules explicitly require site registration and linking to the logo. For that reason alone, the Luskin review should be required to drop the logo, at least until those requirements are fulfilled.

    For the future, new rules would be required. The most important rule would be to require a provision for comments, uncensored except for abusive language, threats, and similar reasons. Comments should be easily accessible from the review, and given substantially the same prominence as the review. If all comments are deleted for any reason, including archiving or reposting, the entire review must also be deleted—not just the logo.

    I think requiring comments by itself would achieve most of the goal of eliminating distortion and propaganda. The Discovery Institute itself continually harps about free expression; how could they object to this rule?

    Another rule might be to prohibit the review from expressing any opinions or conclusions that are not at least inherently contained in the reviewed article itself, and that they be labeled as such.

  24. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I don’t mean to hijack for a bit, but:

    “Another rule might be to prohibit the review from expressing any opinions or conclusions that are not at least inherently contained in the reviewed article itself, and that they be labeled as such.”

    Then what’s the point really? If the author isn’t able to give their own opinion on the article and perhaps even bring up other research (perhaps not addressed by the original paper). Someone might summarise a paper that is in their field and perhaps want to point out shortcomings or criticisms. Such things are to be welcomed, not stymied, but they do need to have a basis in reality.

    As for the issue at hand, he should definitely be asked to remove it as the rules have clearly been broken and certainly not in good faith. I don’t think it is good for academic blogging to encourage echo-chambers that can’t even appropriately present the author of the original papers opinion correctly.

    But that’s just me.

  25. Olorin Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    J. O’Donnell, I’m inclined to retract a proposed rule against expressing outside opinions or editorials. But, would you agree that the main purpose of the program is to inform rather than to editorialize?

  26. Karen James Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Kevin Z at The Other 95% has posted a good analysis on whether Luskin’s post meets rule number 5:
    http://other95.blogspot.com/2008/02/oops-another-discovery-institute-abuse.html

  27. Allyson Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 7:43 am

    I agree with point 19, which is a good summary of the suggested changes to the guidelines. But, in any case, the post is violating those guidelines and politely asking them to remove the icon (together with letting them know the correct way to use the icon, in case the guidelines somehow slipped them by) should be taken immediately.

  28. IanR Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I’m not so sure about whether the review vs. research is a good place to draw the line - after all, most review papers are peer reviewed, and most research papers have at least a minimal review of the literature.

    At issue here is whether 4 and 5 were met. Did Luskin read and misunderstand the paper (violating 4), or did Luskin understand but misrepresent the paper (5)? Or both? Luskin’s post isn’t a fair representation of the Orgel paper. It isn’t the most egregious quote mine, but it’s a quote mine nonetheless.

    I agree that the rules for using the icon need to be tightened up a little - starting with an explicit statement that it can only be used by people who register with the site. Also that you shouldn’t host the icon on your own server without permission. Fairly obvious things, you’d think, but it’s always possible for Luskin to claim that he was that clueless.

    We also need a definition of blogs, including a commitment to let comments on posts bearing the icon to stand (within reason).

  29. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    You guys would do well to familiarize yourselves with the Discovery Institute and Casey Luskin. You can read volumes about both at the Pandas Thumb. The Wiki entry provides a quick study:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Institute

    Read up on them and come to your own conclusions.

  30. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Oops, I hit submit too quickly. I mean to also say pay if you look into this organization pay close attention to the Wedge Strategy.

    The two governing goals are:

    “To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies”

    “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God”

    In short I don’t think you’re dealing with someone who made an honest mistake (or an honest quote mine).

    More here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

  31. Bob O'H Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Watch this space - Luskin has put up the facts of the case, and will be replying here soon.

    John the Baptist

  32. waldteufel Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Please become aware that Discovery Institute is all about trying to destroy science education in this country. Read the Wedge Document.
    Read some of Casey’s “work”. Do You want to be associated with them?

    Allowing them you use your icon will cheapen it.

  33. Evolved Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Run away from those anti-science goons (Luskin et al.) as fast as you can!

  34. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    When/if Casey Luskin responds you might ask him to name 5 peer reviewed intelligent design articles, ones that have been peer reviewed in legit science journals.

    That will tell you all you want to know about Mr Lusksin’s understanding of what constitutes peer review.

    You might also ask him to define “quote mining”

    Simply google his name and you’ll learn volumes about the man and his anti-science, pro-creationism agenda.

    Miles

  35. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Who said Wedge Strategy? The compass for the intelligent design creationism movement. The two governing goals are:

    1) To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies

    2) To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God

    Read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

    Ask Mr Luskin to explain what “theistic understandings” have to do with science.

    If you don’t let Luskin use your icon he’ll be howling about how you’re biased against open scientific inquiry, and show that this is one more example of ID being persecuted.

    A sense of persecution by atheist science is the galvinizing force that drives the IDC movement.

    Miles

  36. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Greetings to all. First, let me say that this website–which I just discovered yesterday–is both fascinating and useful. A wide variety of scientific topics are apparently discussed, ranging from science of the mind to cancer and disease research, to geology to evolution. I will most certainly revisit this site in the future. I am going to post one, and only one comment here. First I will outline the facts of this situation, and then I will post my comment:

    (1) On Feb. 3, I posted this blog post. A co-worker had recommended that I include a graphic that said this was discussing peer-reviewed research. At the time, I had not seen ResearchBlogging.org and I was unaware of the fact that they requested registration in order to use their graphic. Important note: It should be clear that when I first posted my post, I had not yet seen ResearchBlogging.org and was unaware of how it worked.

    (2) On Feb. 4, I became aware of the fact that ResearchBlogging.org requested registration to use their graphic, and I immediately attempted to register with ResearchBlogging.org so that I would not be in violation of their rules. In fact, I tried to register twice because when I submitted the registration request, I was directed to a page that looked something like garbled code. I tried a second time, and the same thing happened. So it wasn’t clear to me if the registration process was working properly. I then submitted an inquiry to ResearchBlogging.org wondering if they could correct the problem. I asked them for guidance, requesting direction for how I should proceed in this situation.

    (3) On Feb. 5, I received a response from Dave Munger from ResearchBlogging.org, and his response, among other things, directed me to this discussion page which stated that the graphic I originally used was copyrighted by them. At the time that I posted my post, I was not aware that the graphic I had used was owned by ResearchBlogging.org. Mr. Munger in fact never requested that I remove their graphic, and in fact I believe the rules are ambiguous, making it seem that it is possible that the graphic I used may be used while one is seeking an application with Researchblogging.org. Nevertheless, I never had any intention of violating anyone’s copyright, and so I as soon as I saw this thread, I removed their graphic from this page and the EvolutionNews.org server at my own choice.

    (4) In the response from ResearchBlogging.org, Mr. Munger also told me that, (a) they did indeed receive my registration requests, (b) registration requests were granted at their discretion, and (c) a discussion thread was taking place about whether I should be granted registration. I was told that, “At present, after 26 comments, the consensus appears to be that your post is in violation of our guidelines. If you believe your post does meet our guidelines, I would encourage you to post your explanation in the discussion there.” The conclusion was therefore: “We can’t approve your registration at this time because your post does not appear to follow our guidelines, but if you can show us either that your post does now follow the guidelines, or if you can append the post itself so that it follows the guidelines, then we’ll proceed with approving your registration.”

    (5) I replied back to Mr. Munger cordially and told him that “I will post one comment at ResearchBlogging.org to clarify the facts of this situation, and state my position.” This is my comment to state my position on this matter to you all:

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Let me say that this website–which I just discovered yesterday–is both fascinating and useful. A wide variety of scientific topics are apparently discussed, ranging from science of the mind to cancer and disease research, to geology to evolution. I will most certainly revisit this site in the future, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s a great way to stay informed about new scientific developments.

    Second, I want to state upfront that I have no ill will towards anyone on this thread. But it saddens me that from the very first post on this thread and others, people were directing users to pages that made unjustified personal attacks against me (there are various examples on this thread, but here are two: “Casey Lying For Christ” and another user even linked a URL where people can talk about “about how terrible Luskin is”). People commonly make unjustified personal attacks against me, and my response is not to get mad or even get upset. Rather, my response is that it is to feel that this kind of behavior is saddening because it does damage to what might otherwise be a fruitful, friendly, and objective scientific debate. Regardless, I absolutely refuse to respond in kind as I do not make personal attacks against other people. That is my personal ethic, and though I am not perfect, I try to live up to it.

    I am thus faced with two conflicting desires here: I have no desire to involve myself in a discussion that allows personal attacks, even allowing further personal attacks after warnings from the moderator, who is apparently permitting such personal attacks to stand. Nonetheless, I do desire to honor Mr. Munger’s invitation to make a comment here and his attempt to keep the conversation focused away from personal attacks. My compromise is that I will make one, and only one comment. If people want to continue to make personal attacks, cite irrelevant issues like the Wedge Document, etc., so be it. I’m not here to engage in personal attacks.

    I frequently discuss peer-reviewed research related to evolution at www.evolutionnews.org. In fact, when I posted my post at EvolutionNews, that’s all I thought I was doing–I had no idea that rules, including copyright issues, existed for using the graphic nor did I have any idea that by using the graphic, I would be accused of breaking rules. Given my ignorance prior to using the graphic, I would not necessarily expect my post to conform to rules that I wasn’t even aware of when I posted my post. Nonetheless, I believe that my post does not break any of the 9 rules. Here’s why:

    It satisfies Rules #1 and #2: Dr. Orgel’s paper was clearly a respectable “armchair theorizing” paper by an eminent chemist in a mainstream biology journal that represented his views after a lifetime of prestigiously-funded research. It was reviewed and edited by another eminent chemist from the same field, Gerald Joyce. Thus, the paper states: “This manuscript was completed by the author in September 2007. Gerald Joyce provided comments to the author on earlier versions of the manuscript and edited the final version, which was submitted posthumously. The author received longtime research support from the NASA Exobiology Program and benefited from many helpful discussions with Albert Eschenmoser.

    It satisfies Rules #3, #6, and #7: My post provided the complete formal citation in my post, and I also linked back to the original source. The post also contained original material that I wrote. These are black-and-white questions. Some people concede that I satisfied these. But the fact that some people have claimed that I did not satisfy a single rule makes me wonder about the fairness of some of the analyses presented here.

    It does not break Rules #8 or #9: There is also the issue of my using the ResearchBlogging.org graphic. As I mentioned earlier, not having visited ResearchBlogging.org at the time I posted my post, at that time I was unaware that there was anything wrong with my using the graphic. However, I now have learned that ResearchBlogging.org has certain rules for using the graphic. Apart from using the graphic before registering (something I did not know I was supposed to do when I posted my post, but I tried to register as soon as I learned of the rules), I do not believe I have violated any of the rules: Even though Dave Munger never asked me to do so, I’ve removed the graphic from my post. Moreover, rule #9 indicates that a single instance of breaking a rule (in my case, unknowingly) does not warrant expulsion from ResearchBlogging.org. (Rule #8 is simply a rule stating that users may report abuses, and is not violable.)

    It satisfies Rules #4 and #5: Many people on this thread have said that these rules represent the key issues. One would expect that therefore this would be the focus of the discussion. But it wasn’t. Only 3 of the 30 posts here actually quoted my article, or discussed it in any meaningful way, to allege, using direct evidence, that I made any errors or misunderstood anything. Here are those posts with my response:

    Post # 9: Claims I was wrong to state, “Again, Orgel essentially assumes that cyclic metabolic pathways are irreducibly complex systems that require a large number of parts in order to function”

    My response: My comment is not mistaken. For example, Orgel states, “At the very least, six different catalytic activities would have been needed to complete the reverse citric acid cycle. It could be argued, but with questionable plausibility, that different sites on the primitive Earth offered an enormous combinatorial library of mineral assemblies, and that among them a collection of the six or more required catalysts could have coexisted.” That seems to meet the definition of irreducible complexity.

    Post # 11: “Just like the case of the ribosome, the evidence shows that the complexity of life requires an intelligent cause.”

    My response: This was my personal commentary on the data (which is permitted by the rules), and was not intended to represent Dr. Orgel’s viewpoint. In fact I never claimed Orgel supported ID. In fact, I explicitly stated precisely the opposite, stating that “Orgel is no proponent of intelligent design. In fact, the purpose of his paper is to offer sage advice to those seeking to explain the origin of life via evolving metabolic pathways.” In his e-mail back to me, Dave Munger stated, stated: “We welcome a variety of divergent opinions at ResearchBlogging.org, as long as posts follow our guidelines, designed to encourage reasoned and thoughtful discussion of peer-reviewed research.” So there is no violation here, unless the pro-ID opinion is fundamentally disbarred from participation. In fact some users may seem to desire censorship of the pro-ID viewpoint, as one person wrote, “This is blatant abuse of the program to lend an air of credibility and should be stopped.” In short, they just don’t want my application approved because it might “lend an air of credibility” to my views.

    Post # 12: “Again, Orgel essentially assumes that cyclic metabolic pathways are irreducibly complex systems that require a large number of parts in order to function—including many side pathways that can remove products that will disrupt the cycle. Saying that cycles need side pathways is the exact opposite of what Orgel said in the original - cycles need to avoid side pathways to maintain themselves.”

    My response: In fact I quoted Orgel accurately, including the portion where he explicitly said that side-pathways must be avoided or they will disrupt the cycle. My comment, “including many side pathways that can remove products that will disrupt the cycle,” was intended to show that there must be other parts present to avoid allow the cycle to avoid these side-reactions. But I can see how my statement is unclear and does not communicate that very well. In his e-mail back to me, Mr. Munger stated that I may amend my post if I feel it is necessary. In this regard, I’ve amended my post to fix this unintended unclear statement as follows: “Again, Orgel essentially assumes that cyclic metabolic pathways are irreducibly complex systems that require a large number of parts in order to function—including parts that allow them to avoid many side pathways that will disrupt the cycle.”

    I read and understood the article. I studied origin of life research in both my undergraduate and graduate studies at UC San Diego studying earth sciences, and taking courses and seminars learning from people like Jeffrey Bada, Stanley Miller, and others. I also conferred with a biochemist friend about the paper.

    I won’t enter a philosophical discussion about how “understanding” or “accuracy” might be a function of whether people agree with my commentary, which is obviously pro-ID. I’ll just say that I am not so presumptuous to assume that if someone comes to a different conclusion than I do, that they therefore do not understand the topic, or were therefore necessarily inaccurate.

    Regarding rules #4 and #5, I see no evidence that I have broken rules #4 or #5 here. Given that these were the only complaints, I can only conclude that in fact my discussion was actually quite accurate.

    My final conclusion:
    In conclusion, these are your rules. I didn’t know about them when I posted my post, but I think I nonetheless have not violated any of them. I’ll respect Mr. Munger’s decision, whatever it is, and whatever its stated or unstated justification is.

    If you decide to allow my registration–superb! I’m not doing this to get “credibility” but because like all of you, I too love science and I’d like to think that this is a website worth contributing to. If my registration is permitted, I’ll gladly contribute to what I hope this website is all about.

    But if you don’t want to follow your own rules, that is saddening, and it would not be the first time that a different set of rules has been applied to ID proponents vs. other scientists. Indeed, I find it most likely that one user admitted the most forceful reason why my registration would be denied: “This is blatant abuse of the program to lend an air of credibility and should be stopped.”

    But I’ll respect Mr. Munger’s decision, whatever it is, and the stated and unstated reasons are. I just hope that this does not become another example where, as in many corners of academia, “We welcome a variety of divergent opinions,” as long as those opinions do not support intelligent design.

    But I won’t presume that Mr. Munger will make such an inappropriate decision, and I’ll respect whatever he decides in the future. If anyone would like to contact me personally, please feel free to do so at cluskin@discovery.org.

    Sincerely in good will and friendship,

    Casey Luskin

  37. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I posted a comment explaining this situation, at Dave Munger’s request. Why was it removed?

    Sincerely,

    Casey

  38. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Now my comment #36 appears here. I’m not sure why it wasn’t here when I just revisited this page (yes, I refresheed the page).

  39. Dave Munger Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Casey,

    Your post has now been published. It entered moderation because of the number of links in the post. I was working offline for a while and so didn’t have the chance to moderate your post until now.

    Dave

  40. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Casey, you’re on record for attacking plenty of people, Barbara Forrest for one. It’s not like we don’t read what tyou write.

    Your public lies and distortions are well documented on various web sites, you lie through your teeth, sir. Please spare us the “personal ethic” lecture. History indicates your ethics are marginal at best.

    And your one set of rules for ID and another for science is laughable. Do you ever put your persecution complex to bed?

    Good grief.

  41. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Casey:

    “At the time that I posted my post, I was not aware that the graphic I had used was owned by ResearchBlogging.org”

    How is it that you can copy the icon of the post, which contains “Research blogging.org” quite clearly on it and not realise it is associated with another website? I find this incredibly hard to believe.

    “It satisfies Rules #4 and #5: Many people on this thread have said that these rules represent the key issues.”

    I disagree entirely you satisfied rule #5, but nobody can really say if you satisfied rule #4 except for you. In regards to rule #5, you made no attempt to reasonably and accurately present the evidence the paper bought up in support of the original authors opinion, instead choosing to hand pick two quotes out of the paper out of the overall context and insinuate in your post Orgel had an opinion he did not.

    Secondly, there is no real description of the overall original paper, it’s intention, the authors opinions of what should be done (which is the focus of the paper). Instead, you merely quote-mine a few sentences from the paper without addressing the authors argument and then claim it supports your position.

    Rule #5 is clearly broken. This doesn’t mean you could have presented an ID argument if you had liked, but that you didn’t even accurately present the original authors argument is clearly in defiance of the rules.

  42. Dave Munger Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Let’s try to keep this discussion civil and stick to the facts. I realize that many bloggers have long histories dealing with Casey Luskin, but since the whole point of our site is to separate out rants and uninformed comments from thoughtful analysis, I’d appreciate it if everyone modeled that here as well.

  43. ben b Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Luskin’s claim that he was not aware of the researchblog.org standards for posting the icon, when the icon itself contains the web address of the organization is laughable. Luskin is a serial liar and copyright violator of the first order and I don’t see why you would want to allow him to use your icon even if he were blogging about peer-reviewed research, which he’s not. And since Luskin doesn’t allow comments on his site, it’s not a blog anyway.

  44. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Olorin, I didn’t ignore your question, I’ve responded to you on my own blog so as to not hijack this current discussion:

    http://animacules.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/research-blogging-presenting-the-evidence-or-discussing-it/

  45. David vun Kannon Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Casey,

    I agree that 4 and 5 are the issues. Thank you for addressing how you would amend your original to try to fix problems vis-a-vis 4. However, your message does not discuss the problems with 5 at all.

    Pointing to an essay by an eminent (but dead) scientist as supporting your pre-existing position is not “about”, and a press release in a comment free zone is not blogging. You are trying to use his reputation as a soapbox and his tombstone as a pulpit.

  46. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    David is correct in that where Luskin writes is not a blog and instead simply a vehicle for unchallenged press releases. No one is allowed to comment or challenge what Luskin writes, at least not on his “blog”.

    Would you allow any other organization to use your icon to add to their press releases? Say the Raelians for instance. Could they use the icon on their intelligent design press releases?

  47. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Casey Lusking does not make personal attacks?

    “Scott definitely speaks “scientese”. She presents herself as a scientist, which she once was, who is trying to do the right thing for science. She is very charismatic, funny, and very good at getting people behind what she’s saying. It’s no wonder she’s the director of the NCSE. In the past I’ve compared Eugenie C. Scott to Darth Vader because she is full of internal contradictions, knows in her heart she’s lying, powerful, persuasive, and most importantly, she travels around representing the dominating power (the Empire) and fighting the good guys. All in the name of …well, I’m not exactly sure what her motivation is yet. It’s certainly not truth.

    (On the other hand, there is the rebellion against the Empire. Small, understaffed, often outgunned and outmanned, but not outsmarted. However, the rebellion has the people of the galaxy behind them, and most importantly, the Force. Of course not all of us in the rebellion believe in the “force” (the analogy is God), but what unites the rebellion is the common belief in the problems with the current establishment, and the desire to replace it with something better. When we introduced ourselves in the class, I should have said I was Luke Skywalker, but I suppose I was under the control of her powers at the time so I just said I was Casey, an earth sciences major.)”

  48. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks Dave for clarifying. My apologies for the confusion: I think that initially the post showed up because I was logged in. When I went to a different computer, my post disappeared. Now it’s back. Thanks for clarifying.

    In this regard, I want to reiterate: I try my best to never make personal attacks against people. A good example is my response to Barbara Forrest, which dealt with her substantive arguments and did not make personal attacks. Disagreeing with someone and critiquing their arguments and argumentation style does not amount to a personal attack.

    More importantly, I have no intention to make any such personal attacks here. It’s sad that my call to a higher ethic of debate here was met with the response: “Your public lies and distortions are well documented on various web sites, you lie through your teeth, sir.”

    I do not have the time or the interest in debating in forms that are going make such unjustified personal attacks. Thus, I make the following request of Dave Munger:

    I am willing to consider further participation in this thread, if Mr. Munger is willing to start enforcing a moderating principle that removes any personal attacks from both past and future posts on this thread.

    I’ll take Mr. Munger’s behavior as an indication of whether he has agreed to grant my request. If the personal attacks remain on this page, then I’m not interested in getting involved with this form of debate any further.

    Thank you again and best wishes to all.

    Sincerely,

    Casey Luskin

    p.s. I use the same set of rules for ID and other types of science: I believe that scientific theories must make their claims using the scientific method. In this regard, I believe that ID makes its claims using the scientific method. So I do not use different sets of rules. In fact, much of this is explained in my Response to Barbara Forrest, see Parts 2 and Part 7 of the response for details.

  49. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Mr Luskin, speaking of different rules…Do you see the irony in that every science blog allows comments except yours? YOU play by a different set of rules than everyone else.

    Does the irony escape you?

  50. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    The comment regarding Eugenie Scott was posted in a private forum a long time ago and was not intended to be part of a public debate or discussion. I regret making the comment and apologize for doing so.

    Also, I was not aware of the rules when I used the ResearchBlogging.org graphic. The simple truth is that my co-worker told me that this graphic is used by people who are blogging about peer-reviewed research. I thought it was just a graphic that was floating around the ‘net for anyone to use. I didn’t know there were rules attached to its use. If I was trying to be “dishonest,” then why did I remove the graphic from my blog post immediately after learning about the rules? If I made any mistake, it was that I failed to check out ResearchBlogging.org before using the graphic. But I didn’t, and thus I didn’t know that the graphic had rules attached to its use. But as soon as I learned about the rules, I removed the graphic.

    In any case, I’ll keep an eye on this thread and see if Dave Munger responds to my request. Thanks again.

  51. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    So you only make personal attacks where people can’t see them then Casey?

  52. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Mr Luskin, I’ll ask again. Do you see any irony in the fact you’re talking about a different set of rules for id proponents (”wouldn’t be the first time…”) when your “blog” does not allow comments yet every blog associated with BPR3 not only allows comments but encourages open discussion?

    Your “blog” is not even a blog.

  53. Lars Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    In the above comments, I see a lot of speculative and opinionated insults, a debatable red herring (whether eligible blogs must allow comments - do you require that of all posts that use your icon, or only those that support viewpoints you dislike?), and one good point: that the article discussed was not “original, peer-reviewed research” (comment #13).

    However the original guidelines did not say that the article blogged about had to original research; nor that it must be primary, rather than secondary, research. By the other main definition of “original”, Orgel’s essay is: it’s an original (work done by Orgel) critique of existing research on OOL studies.

    Barn owl and others allege that Luskin’s post fails to meet guideline #2, but do not say how. Barn owl suggests but is unable to state that Joyce did not peer-review the essay. Albatrossity stretches the original guidelines, saying the essay “was not subject to the typical peer-review that would be needed for a research article”. Yet the guidelines themselves say “While there is no hard-and-fast definition of ‘peer-review,’ peer reviewed research should meet the following guidelines:”, and Orgel’s article meets the five bullet-point criteria.

    It was “reviewed by an expert in the field”: Gerald Joyce is a recipient of the Urey Medal, a member of the NAS, and published in Nature. He’s dean of the faculty and professor of microbiology at Scripps Research Institute. See http://www.issol.org/Urey05.html for his Urey award ceremony and http://www.scripps.edu/research/faculty.php?rec_id=1160 for his other awards. Is the reviewer’s status as an expert in the field of OOL research in doubt?

    The one arguable point I can still see is that Orgel’s article did not go through a *formal* peer-review process, even though it was reviewed and edited by a respected expert and accepted by a respected journal. While the original guidelines do not specify a particular level of formality, maybe such a level was intended and implied. If so,

    (1) Luskin’s request for use of the icon can be declined without the rancorous insults that have been thrown his way. All you have to do is say, “Oops, we meant *formal* peer review, defined as follows…” Luskin has stated that he will abide by the decision of bpr3.

    (2) That standard must be applied to all blog posts fairly, regardless of whether one likes the conclusions drawn by the bloggers.

    (3) In the interests of objectivity, past blog posts that have been granted use of the icon should be reviewed to see whether they all concerned articles that were formally peer-reviewed. If objections to Luskin’s post really hinge on violation of guidelines, this scrutiny already has been done, and no similar informally-reviewed articles have been found. On the other hand if the commentors in this thread are just digging for reasons to censor a post whose implications obstruct their agendas, we should (given a large enough sample size) find that some previous posts about informally-reviewed essays have gone unchallenged, and that those posts did not cast doubt on Darwinism. We should also find that posts not casting doubt on Darwinism did not receive the same kind of scrutiny and discussion from bpr3.

    Similarly if bpr3 decides to give its imprimatur only to blog posts about primary research, or to blogs that allow comments, a review of approved blog posts should be conducted to see whether this change in guidelines is genuinely motivated by a desire to maintain high standards of quality, or is merely an excuse for promoting one philosophical agenda over another under the guise of science.

  54. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    To reply to Joseph, No, I don’t think people should make personal attacks, even privately. You are not taking account the fact that I did not try to justify my actions in that situation. Thus, I said “I regret making the comment and apologize for doing so.” In fact, the comment was later forwarded off a private list without my knowledge or permission. But I still should not have said it.

    Mr. Munger–Any response to my request?

  55. Dave Munger Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Casey, I’m not going to censor comments on this thread by any standard other than that which I use for all comments on this blog.

    I’ll try to rein in the comments, but assuming they offer something to the debate, I’m not going to delete them. While I think some of the posts in this thread are rather uncivil, they don’t cross the line where I would actually delete them (aka spam, libelous comments, vulgar, off-topic, etc.).

    Back to the discussion: I disagree with those who say disallowing comments means it’s not a blog. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes.

  56. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Well that sounds all reasonable but even aside from that you are not exactly ‘clean’ from personally attacking others in the past. You should bear this in mind when you want to make such protestations in future.

    But in any event, have you any relevant comments against previously raised points that have been made, from Miles (Posts 49 and 52), myself (post 41) and others? I still cannot see how your post meets requirement number 5, given you barely discuss the actual article except for quote mining it for two points that you don’t adequately address.

  57. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    “Back to the discussion: I disagree with those who say disallowing comments means it’s not a blog. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes.”

    The difference is when the author (may) misrepresent or fail to adequately address the arguments presented in the paper, without comments how is there supposed to be any discussion on the matter? Surely the point of academic blogging is not just to present papers but also to potentially encourage discussion or commentry on the papers. This is not something that is possible on a blog that does not permit commentary, especially when the original post does not permit the authors of the paper (potentially) or others to defend their own words.

  58. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    If comments are not allowed on a “blog” of this nature, what keeps someone from quote mining at will or twisting the authors words and meaning? Something that Mr Luskin has already been accused of doing in the article he used.

    I’m curious to know what safeguards are in place to avoid that sort of abuse. it would seem ripe for abuse without some sort of checks and balances.

    Just curious.

  59. Dave Munger Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    “If comments are not allowed on a “blog” of this nature, what keeps someone from quote mining at will or twisting the authors words and meaning? Something that Mr Luskin has already been accused of doing in the article he used.”

    We have a public forum that anyone can use to report abuses. If a blog doesn’t follow our guidelines based on a consensus of our users, it can be removed from the system and we can use legal pressure to ask the blogger to stop using our icons.

  60. Lou FCD Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    At the end of the day, the post does not conform to either the spirit or the letter of the guidelines.

    Besides the multiple content issues being raised here, including a lack of understanding of the paper, misrepresentation of the author, blatant quotemining, and sundry irrelevancies interjected to give the propaganda of some strange religious sect the air of scientific legitimacy, the site is a press release page, not a blog. Using blogging software does not a blog make, if the comments are turned off. The point of BPR seems to be to engender discussion of scientific papers and that’s not possible on the site in question.

    No, the post is not following the guidelines.

  61. waldteufel Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Allowing Discovery Institute to use your logo is tantamount to your endorsing pseudoscience. At that point, you own a meaningless logo that most scientists and interested laymen will either scoff at or ignore.

    Discovery Institute is not a think tank. It’s a well oiled political machine whose denizens think doing science and making press releases are equivalent enterprises.

  62. Miles Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks Dave. I think this is probably the biggest concern many people have about the Discovery Institute using your icon thereby granting themselves legitimacy by association.

    At the risk of sounding uncivil I want to make some very candid comments. Feel free to delete them if you feel I cross any lines of civility.

    As you may or may not know the intelligent design movement has no peer reviewed articles in any legit science journals (even though they claim otherwise). The term “peer review” is a hot subject for them. One of the reasons they cannot get published is they lack a testable theory and therefore can do no experiments or make no predictions.

    The Discovery Institute portrays the lack of peer-reviewed ID articles as evidence of a “darwinian” conspiracy to stifle ID. It’s not an accurate/honest portrayal.

    Intelligent design was found in a federal court of law to be nothing other than religion masquerading as science. Kitzmiller v Dover was a huge blow to their movement. One of the key pieces of evidence in that trial was a lack of peer-reviewed ID articles.

    The intelligent design proponents offered the court numerous examples of “peer-reviwed” ID articles when in fact some did not even mention the words “intelligent design”. The judge was not impressed.

    If there truly was a “Darwinian” conspiracy to silence them then they could publish their research online and prove to the world that ID is scientific, but as of yet they prefer to keep the scioentific aspects of ID a secret and continue to portray themselves as victims of “Darwinism”.

    So the “peer-review” subject is a sensitive one for the Discovery Institute. I suspect if your icon did not have the term “peer reviewed” in it they would have no interest in using it. No interest at all.

    So whatever you decide to do I’m glad you have a system in place for handling abuses of your icon and program. I’m not suggesting the Discovery Institute will abuse that right if granted to them, but I cannot stress enough how imporant some sort of check and balance is. Several others here have already suggested Mr Lusking quote mined and distorted the article in question. I’ll leave others more qualified than me to make that call.

    Thanks again and for what it’s worth I don’t envy the position you’ve been put in.

    Cheers!

    Miles

  63. DiGz Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Casey,

    re: your point to me in post 36.

    you concluded, “That the EVIDENCE shows that the complexity of life requires an intelligent cause.” If you can demonstrate the scientific evidence in the paper you were discussing that supports your conclusion “that the complexity of life requires an intelligent causation”, rather than raising questions to be answered through further scientific inquiry, then I’ll happily retract my comment. Until then, I’ll assume you came across the BPR3 icon, realised that it may lend more scientific credibility to your posts and used it (I like the “just so” story on how you came across it btw!). However, that doesn’t make your conclusion scientific… er… it just means you’re blatantly abusing the program to lend an air of scientific credibility to your creationist musings. As such, I believe you should be stopped from using the icon because it gives the impression that your viewpoint has some level of scientific validity, when it clearly doesn’t. It’s not a personal attack against you or an attempt to censor ID — your conclusions just aren’t scientific, likewise the conclusions of ID. I’d draw the same conclusion about an alchemist commenting on chemistry or an astrologer on astronomy.

  64. Mike Dunford Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I don’t think that there should be different standards for inclusion based on who is writing the post. I also think that it would be a better idea to err on the side of setting the bar low when it comes to deciding whether or not a post is “about” a peer-reviewed article.

    Although I find Casey’s behavior in this (and many other cases) to be reprehensible, I think that his registration should be approved, and that the use of the icon on this individual post should be allowed.

    However, I also agree with the people who are using comments as a marker for whether or not a particular website is a bona fide blog. I’d strongly suggest that something along those lines be added to the guidelines forthwith.

  65. MachiavelliDiscourse Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Much of the confusion surrounding Casey’s post appears to be the result of Casey’s attempt to apply a critique of Darwinian evolution (irreducible complexity) to an abiogenesis scenario (origin of life).

    Orgel is discussing metabolist theories for the origin of life - the appearance (by self-organisation, for example) of nonenzymatic metabolic cycles in the early, prebiotic chemistry of the Earth. Orgel makes it clear that there is scant empirical evidence that such cycles are stable, or that they would form in the early Earth’s chemistry.

    The problem is that since Darwinian evolution does not apply to this problem then we also cannot apply critiques of Darwinian evolution, such as irreducible complexity. Thus the central flaw of Casey’s post is that he is applying a critique where it does not belong. Having made the mistake, Casey compounds it by misrepresenting Orgel’s own position on the origin of life. Orgel most certainly did not have anything like irreducible complexity in mind, rather his analysis is based on the chemical properties of hypothetical nonenzymatic cycles, and whether they would be likely to form by self-organisation and whether such cycles would be stable and useful. Take the following paragraph, for example:

    “The main purpose of this Essay is to examine the plausibility of these and some related hypothetical nonenzymatic cycles. Could prebiotic
    molecules and catalysts plausibly have the attributes that must be assigned to them in order to make the self-organization of the cycles possible?”

  66. ERV Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    ‘Evolution News and Views’ is not a blog. It is indexed by Google News. Google News does not index ‘blogs’.

  67. The Doctor What Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    The problem with defining a “Blog” as a place with comments is that even if a blog has comments, it could be moderated to prevent a dissenting voice.

    Wouldn’t a better option would be someway to include discussion, even to pages that don’t want it? Such as the BPR logo going to a comment thread for that article?

    Or maybe a JavaScript icon that does the same thing, but also shows overall opinion of the piece?

    Ciao!

  68. Oleg Tchernyshyov Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I suppose we should look at Casey’s previous blogging efforts.

    On Tiktaalik roseae (emphasis in the original):

    In conclusion, this is a fascinating fossil which I’m sure will stir up much debate. But the next time we dig up some fossil of a fin-bound fish (possibly with a few tetrapod-ish characteristics), we’ll hear again all about the previously existing big gaps and how Tiktaalik didn’t really teach us much after all–but how the new fossil solves all the problems. That’s how it usually works, and that makes me wonder where we’re really left today. Anyone who thinks that we’ve found the “missing link” or clear evidence of an evolutionary transition has either forgotten history, or isn’t looking very carefully at the evidence.

    On junk DNA:

    It seems beyond dispute that the Neo-Darwinian paradigm led to a false presumption that non-coding DNA lacks function, and that this presumption has resulted in real-world negative consequences for molecular biology and even for medicine. Moreover, it can no longer seriously be maintained that intelligent design is a science stopper: under an intelligent design approach to investigating non-coding DNA, the false presumptions of Neo-Darwinism might have been avoided.

    Do you guys want to support this kind of creationist editorializing with your seal of approval?

  69. waldteufel Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    It’s surely not for us who are not part of your BPR3 effort to decide this issue.

    I would think that a very large part of it depends on how much you value your logo and what it stands for.

    I just know that as an individual, if and when I start seeing “ID” press releases and opinion pieces sporting your logo, I’ll just ignore it. When I then see real science writing sporting the logo, I’ll know that it really doesn’t mean anything.

  70. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Greetings again. I appreciate Mr. Munger’s calls for civility, but they clearly are not working. Since Mr. Munger is not willing to actually enforce his calls for civility by deleting the various commenters that make blatant personal attacks, I see no reason that this should not be my last comment, and I will no longer be watching this thread. Here are my final comments:

    Joseph O’Donnell wrote: “Well that sounds all reasonable but even aside from that you are not exactly ‘clean’ from personally attacking others in the past”

    I reply: I never claimed I was perfect, nor would I ever try to claim that. I’m not perfect and in my personal view, there is only one human being that ever lived that was perfect (and that person isn’t me). But I try to learn from my mistakes and that unfortunate incident in 2000 where I privately made those comments about Eugenie Scott taught me a lesson about the importance of not making personal attacks. Since I started blogging at EvolutionNews.org in the fall of 2005, I’ve experienced countless unjustified personal attacks on the internet, and I have always tried to respond without making personal attacks back.

    Also, irreducible complexity can be defined outside of Darwinian evolution: IC just means that a core number of parts are necessary for a system to function. If many parts are necessary for the first self-replicating precursor to modern life to exist, then that poses a serious challenge to chemical origin of life scenarios, many of which require that a simple self-replicating system can spontaneously form via blind chemical processes. In fact, because there is no replication, and thus no Darwinian process of evolution before the origin of life, irreducible complexity poses an even greater challenge to abiogenesis than it does to Darwinian evolution.

    In closing, I have learned 2 other things from these recent events:

    (1) A large number of the people on this thread continue to oppose approving my request for registration, explicitly admitting that they simply don’t want to allow ID proponents to be part of these discussions. If ID proponents aren’t even allowed to “officially” blog about peer-reviewed research on the internet, who can say that their research would get a fair hearing from the actual peer-reviewers in the real world of science?

    (2) It’s amazing to me how angry some Darwinists are eager to get over a 117 X 87 pixel graphic that was immediately removed after an ID-proponent learned that he had unknowingly used it — for only about 2 days — in an inappropriate fashion. Some might call this sort of thing “reprehensible,” but in my view, life’s too short–and far too sweet–to engage in personal attacks with other people (or post silly pictures of them) and get angry about such things.

    Lurkers are watching these events, and I’ve already had some sympathetic e-mails from people who find the Darwinist behavior far more “reprehensible” than my actions. After all, I removed the graphic as soon as I learned I used it inappropriately. Where was the crime?

    Note: Regarding the Les Lane incident, I was never angry with him, and I treated him with respect and courtesy at all times, and I consider his removal of the picture of my from his website an appropriate response, and I consider that matter closed. Would that the same courtesy could be extended to me…

    This thread has given another example of the intolerance that ID proponents face in the academy. Some might call this observation of a fact “howling,” but others are smart enough to know that intolerance towards ID poses a problem for the pro-Darwin side (even if they think my actions are “reprehensible”). So I reiterate my question to you all:

    If ID proponents aren’t even allowed to “officially” blog about peer-reviewed research on the internet, who can say that their research would get a fair hearing from the actual peer-reviewers in the real world of science?

    The intolerance expressed here comes as no surprise to any of us. But this incident has given me some valuable anecdotes that I can retell in the future. I wish I did not have these anecdotes and I wish that people acted differently, but it seems I now have these anecdotes nonetheless.

    Thanks all for the discussion. I look forward to any e-mails from Dave Munger if my request for registration is approved. And for those who get angry about such things, my sincerest apologies once again for (unknowingly) using the ResearchBlogging.org graphic inappropriately. I hope I have done what I can to make right.

    Please feel free to contact me at cluskin@discovery.org if you need to contact me personally.

    Sincerely,

    Casey Luskin

  71. ERV Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    ‘Evolution News & Views’ is not a blog.

  72. Doc Bill Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Dear Casey,

    Comments “against” you were not deleted because we scientists value Teaching the Controversy, unlike you creationists.

    Casey, if you ever decide to become honest you will be welcome amongst the scientists, technologists, academics and educated people who represent the real world.

    Until then, I wish you bon chance; you’ll need it.

  73. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    “It’s amazing to me how angry some Darwinists are eager to get over a 117 X 87 pixel graphic that was immediately removed after an ID-proponent learned that he had unknowingly used it — for only about 2 days — in an inappropriate fashion. ”

    To be honest. The “unknowingly” part is being disputed, given the obvious and large “Researchblogging.org” website label on it. I still find it incredibly hard to believe you failed to notice that or check it before using it, being as familiar with copyright law as you like to appear when you threaten others with it…

    “(1) A large number of the people on this thread continue to oppose approving my request for registration, explicitly admitting that they simply don’t want to allow ID proponents to be part of these discussion”

    In many cases from individuals in this thread, this is certainly not the opinion that was expressed and is a gross simplification (in fact strawman) of many of the arguments presented. The simple fact of the matter is that you did not appropriately represent the original paper or discuss the authors opinion in a fair context.

    Others expressed that they do not agree with allowing a news blog that does not permit comments or opposing views on it (despite complaining about such things itself) to use the logo. Again, another fair argument that you have not properly addressed.

    “This thread has given another example of the intolerance that ID proponents face in the academy. ”

    If we completely ignore that the primary arguments against your allowance of using the icon were not the inappropriate use of it originally, but that you do not permit comments on the blog in question and that you did not present the authors opinion fairly. At the moment, all you are doing is convincing us that you are not going to address the arguments presented and are merely taking the persecution angle.

    “If ID proponents aren’t even allowed to “officially” blog about peer-reviewed research on the internet, who can say that their research would get a fair hearing from the actual peer-reviewers in the real world of science?”

    If this had any relevance to the two primary arguments bought up by a large number of people in this thread, then it would be worth answering. Perhaps before asking us this you should first address the questions already posed to you.

    Again, you are showing a flagrant dishonesty if this is going to be how you discuss this in future, because you’ll be ignoring the substantial critiques of what you did do in favour of a fantasy ‘oppression’ scenario that never occurred as you will claim.

    For what it’s worth, your final post and refusal to acknowledge the points raised have convinced me you shouldn’t be allowed to be registered.

  74. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I would also point out Casey, you were allowed to defend yourself freely on this blog and present whatever evidence and arguments you wanted. Something that you deny to your opponents on your own blog.

    Perhaps you should consider mentioning that in your tales of “persecution” later.

  75. Chris Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    One thing that was not mentioned is the fact that Casey Luskin stalks scientific articles written by people who are now dead and cannot respond.

    When was the last time Casey Luskin used the published material from any living person? And he always concludes these articles support intelligent design creationism. In fact if we were to believe the Discovery Institute Stephen J Gould is not only anti-evolution but a young earth creationist as well!

    Good bye, Casey Luskin! I’m personally looking forward to seeing how you spin this into persecution against IDC.

    Your pal,

    Chris

  76. Doc Bill Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Hey, I just noticed that I was selected for special treatment by Luskin, Comment #9. I’m so honored!

    No, Luskin, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Orgel didn’t say anything about IR, YOU did. You should have written, “In my opinion Orgel describes a system that I would call blah, blah, blah,”

    But, you didn’t. You attribute the description of IR to Orgel. That’s wrong, Luskin?

    Furthermore, I believe you know it’s wrong and you do it on purpose which is why you’ll never be a scientist nor a real lawyer. Dishonesty, Luskin. Think about it. Ethics, morality you haz not gots.

  77. David vun Kannon Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Casey,

    I’m sorry you’ve decided to leave the discussion before answering the objections re point 5 in the guidelines. Your previous post claiming to address these issues did not in fact do so.

  78. Casey Luskin Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I feel I left one thing unclear and that Joseph O’Donnell deserves a response. He wrote:

    “To be honest. The ‘unknowingly’ part is being disputed, given the obvious and large ‘Researchblogging.org’ website label on it. I still find it incredibly hard to believe you failed to notice that or check it before using it, being as familiar with copyright law as you like to appear when you threaten others with it…”

    Joseph–you misunderstand what happened, but this clarification will help you understand what happened:

    The fact that a graphic has a website on it does not mean that it isn’t fair for the public to use it. In fact, in this instance, that is precisely what I was told was the case: I was told by my friend that the graphic was used on all kinds of blogs and websites by people who were blogging about peer-reviewed research. He told me I should use it. So I was led to believe it was like one of those “free license” graphics where no one cares if you use the graphic. After all, we all are aware that the graphic is used on blogs all over the place. So previously I thought the graphic was simply a “free license” graphic that people all over the place used, and

    So, based upon what I was told, I had no reason to presume there were “rules” behind using the 117 X 87 pixel graphic that would result in the eruption of much anger when they are violated.

    When various blogs erupted in a firestorm yesterday because I used the 117 X 87 pixel graphic for about 24 hours, I first learned that there were rules about using the 117 X 87 pixel graphic. It was then that I first visited ResearchBlogging.org, and it was at that time that I tried to register with ResearchBlogging.org so that I could legitimately use the 117 X 87 pixel graphic. This morning, when I learned that Mr. Munger felt I had used the 117 X 87 pixel graphic inappropriately, I immediately removed the 117 X 87 pixel graphic.

    This isn’t complicated: I never knowingly misused the 117 X 87 pixel graphic, and as soon as I learned I had misused it, I removed it. Thanks again.

    Sincerely,

    Casey

    p.s. I did address all of the point 5 issues I saw on the thread, but people are simply unwilling to accept my interpretation of Dr. Orgel’s research. It seems my prediction was fulfilled, as I said earlier, “I won’t enter a philosophical discussion about how ‘understanding’ or ‘accuracy’ might be a function of whether people agree with my commentary, which is obviously pro-ID. I’ll just say that I am not so presumptuous to assume that if someone comes to a different conclusion than I do, that they therefore do not understand the topic, or were therefore necessarily inaccurate.” Instead, the agenda of my rule-5 critics is apparently to make un-moderated and unchecked personal attacks that say things like: “I believe you know it’s wrong and you do it on purpose which is why you’ll never be a scientist nor a real lawyer. Dishonesty, Luskin. Think about it. Ethics, morality you haz not gots.” Why should I participate in a forum like this? Mr. Munger: can you give me any reasons why I should continue to participate?

  79. Chris Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Mr Luskin you seem to overlook the fact that you have a long, right history of being less than honest. It’s not like people are picking on you for being pro-ID. On the contrary it is the well documented history of dishonest and distorted claims made by you and the Discovery Institute. Dishonest and distorted claims neither you nor the Disco ever own up to.

    We know you, sir. We’ve seen you in action. We’ve been watching you for years now.

    So please knock of the “poor me” routine, seriously, it is unbecoming of a grown man.

    And speaking of personal attacks, I see your website is still mocking Barbara (”Barking”) Forrest. Interesting.

    Anyhow, most of the people in this thread are very familiar with you, Mr Luskin. So don’t seem surprised by your reception here.

    And if you’re so willing to engage in open debate why not open up your “blog” to comments?

    Cheers!

  80. Joseph O'Donnell Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    “The fact that a graphic has a website on it does not mean that it isn’t fair for the public to use it”

    But it should naturally encourage one to actually look to see what it is about. If you’re admitting to being incredibly short sighted that you would not actually look into or check something you used, that’s very clearly your problem.

    “In fact, in this instance, that is precisely what I was told was the case: I was told by my friend that the graphic was used on all kinds of blogs and websites by people who were blogging about peer-reviewed research.”

    Merely because someone else doesn’t realise they should look into what they use does not excuse your own lack of foresight and fact checking.

    “So I was led to believe it was like one of those “free license” graphics where no one cares if you use the graphic.”

    Once again, you should have checked first and done your own fact checking.

    “I did address all of the point 5 issues I saw on the thread, but people are simply unwilling to accept my interpretation of Dr. Orgel’s research.”

    Considering my issue at present is not with the interpretation (but I certainly find that suspect as well), but with the presentation, amount of discussion and quality of discussion, of which ripping two quotes out of context in a larger article does not qualify, this is not ‘answering’ anything.

    “I won’t enter a philosophical discussion about how ‘understanding’ or ‘accuracy’ might be a function of whether people agree with my commentary, which is obviously pro-ID.”

    That’s good, because we require no such discussion anyway, because from reading the article myself you have in no way satisfied rule number 5.

    Let me remind you:

    “The blog post should report accurately and thoughtfully on the research it presents.”

    You have neither reported what the original authors opinion was, that he proposes research into the areas of question, what his exact objections are and what his overall paper is about. Nowhere in your post is this information and you do insert (clear) words into the authors mouth that was never intended (from actually reading the article).

    For example, you imply through your post and quoting of Orgel that he thinks such things are impossible (due to irreducibility). In reality, through reading the paper and his conclusions in particular, you see the author criticises the lack of research showing plausible pathways (as compared to genetics): not that it is implausible.

    You give an entirely different impression of what the author actually thinks in your post, without actually fairly presenting the authors viewpoint BEFORE inserting yours. This is why you’ve clearly violated rule 5.

    “Why should I participate in a forum like this? Mr. Munger: can you give me any reasons why I should continue to participate?”

    You do not have to. That you can is something you should consider. I am certain when you write your posts later, you will not permit those you complain about to defend themselves.

    Therein is why you should not be permitted to use the icon or be registered. Right of response of authors whose research is blogged about in an opinionated manner (as your piece) should be mandatory for such a project, even if most authors of papers blogged about probably won’t actually ever respond in person.

  81. Oleg Tchernyshyov Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Casey, is there a good reason to mention the size of the icon seven times in one comment? Are you trying to make a point? Spit it out.

  82. Wesley R. Elsberry Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    ‘Evolution News and Views’ is not a blog. It is indexed by Google News. Google News does not index ‘blogs’.

    That’s not an accurate bright-line rule. Google News does index weblogs, including the Panda’s Thumb and my own personal weblog, Austringer.

    I think that the presence or absence of comments is orthogonal to whether something is a weblog. A webog, as I see it, simply means that someone is adding new content fairly regularly that is presented in a latest-item-first manner. Whether they offer anyone else the opportunity to put in a couple of cents doesn’t much matter, at least in my opinion. Now, allowing substantive commentary does demonstrate something positive about those running a weblog. There are degrees of openness there as well. No one here has advocated that anyone commit to completely open comments; an entirely too vocal segment of the Internet community likes to spam or troll any available feedback mechanism. I tolerate much more at the AtBC forum than I do on my personal weblog. As I explain at my personal site, I treat comments there like I would if they were uttered by someone in my living room, and acted upon accordingly. That is a substantially finer filter than the one for AtBC.

    The primary thing that a weblog needs to be judged upon is the quality of the content provided by the weblog owners or contributors. And that cannot be entirely made an objective evaluation. I agree with the comment that trying to restrict the BPR3 icon use to those instances where weblog authors agree with published work is a bad idea. The whole notion of the scientific process hinges upon intersubjective criticism, and I think BPR3 is aiming to incorporate informed commentary via weblogs into that process. Again, trying to pin down “informed commentary” is going to be hard work, and I see no simple rule that will shift that burden.

    The system that BPR3 is inaugurating here is essentially an extension of peer-review into the new medium of weblog commentary on scientific research. There will be false starts and revisions to the rules to find something that works well, and we should all be prepared for that, as in any non-trivial project worthy of attention and effort.

  83. Doc Bill Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    My final post on this subject.

    OK, Casey, come clean. Who was the “co-worker” who tweaked you on to this site? Was it West? Crother? Meyers?

    Who was it, Casey?

    Personally, I think it was Casey Luskin and that you’re covering up for your own foolishness.

    But, all that said, if you wanted to start anew with the scientific community, if you really wanted to have a dialogue and dare I say it supporters, you would fess up. Simple.

  84. ERV Says:
    February 5th, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Wes, this was big on ScienceBlogs about a year ago– Google-News deindexed all blogs and put them in Google-News-Blogs.
    http://www.blogherald.com/2007/04/23/is-google-droping-blogs-from-google-news/

    ‘EN&V’ is not a blog. ‘Uncommon Descent’ is a blog. Why dont you post over there, Casey? Then we can all discuss your BPR3 topics. Right? lol.

  85. Wesley R. Elsberry Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Hmmm, I missed the split on the Google News/News-Blogs indexing. Mea culpa.

    However, I don’t see Google as the ultimate arbiter of “blog-ness”, though certainly the lazy pragmatist could adopt “however Google does things” as his or her guide to anything and have done with an issue.

    I think that trying to find s simple rule that excludes EN&V as a weblog is likely to cause more trouble down the line than it is worth, much like paraphyly is a problem for systematics.

  86. Chris Noble Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 3:00 am

    I’ve witnessed quote mining and pubjacking by both IDers and HIV Denialists over the years.

    The litmus test that I recommend is asking yourself whether the author would agree with your interpretation of the paper.

    If the answer is no then you are obliged to make this absolutely clear and to justify why your interpretation differs from the that of the author.

    This of course assumes that you are not a) self deluded or b) dishonest

  87. Mike O'Risal Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Luskin says:

    “I was told by my friend that the graphic was used on all kinds of blogs and websites by people who were blogging about peer-reviewed research. He told me I should use it.”

    I note that both here and on EN&V we get this story which omits a detail: from where did you, Luskin, actually download the icon? You’re saying that someone told you to use it, not that they sent it to you. If you downloaded the icon from another blog that legitimately uses it, you must have noticed that it was a link, not just a graphic. If so, why didn’t you click on that link and see what it was about… particularly when the icon itself bears a URL?

    The excuse that someone told you that you should use it doesn’t seem particularly honest. It was still up to you to get that icon from somewhere and then to decide on HOW to use it.

    “My friend thought it would be a good idea to rob a liquor store” doesn’t exculpate a defendant these days, does it?

  88. barn owl Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Mr. Luskin-

    This BPR3 project represents, at least in part, an effort to increase serious blogging about scientific research in diverse areas, and as such, provides an alternative to posts about more political science issues (e.g. creationism, ID, education). I should think you’d be grateful that BPR3 collates and draws some attention to research-based scientific posts, even if peer-reviewed research contributions are almost never the “Most Active” posts at ScienceBlogs. BPR3 also provides those of us who aren’t included in ScienceBlogs an opportunity to blog about peer-reviewed research, and perhaps gain a reader or two.

    Also, I’d really appreciate some discussion of the organic chemistry and biochemistry in Orgel’s essay, and some ideas about the possible experiments alluded to in the essay-since, as I mentioned, I’ve forgotten much of my undergrad coursework in these areas.

  89. Miles Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Luskin’s part II is up today on his “blog”.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/02/leslie_orgel_metabolic_origin_1.html#more

  90. MachiavelliDiscourse Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Casey says: “Also, irreducible complexity can be defined outside of Darwinian evolution: IC just means that a core number of parts are necessary for a system to function.”

    You’re being woefully sloppy in your definition of IC. In science, terms have real meanings, they can’t simply be switched about between different things as you please. Orgel is talking about the chemical properties of hypothetical nonenzymatic metabolic cycles, and whether they could form spontaneously. IC, as defined by Behe, is a critique of a specific Darwinian pathway to a structure (a linear pathway that neglects evolutionary co-option).

    Self-organisation in chemistry is not analagous to evolution by natural selection. By using IC to critique (one particular subset of) origin of life theories you are further destroying any meaning that the term might have had. In this scenario IC is saying nothing more than “these metabolic cycles are awfully complex.” Orgel’s criticism of metabolist theories is based on careful consideration of the chemical properties of such systems and their component parts - he isn’t merely noting how complex they are.

    Casey says: “In fact, because there is no replication, and thus no Darwinian process of evolution before the origin of life, irreducible complexity poses an even greater challenge to abiogenesis than it does to Darwinian evolution.”

    IC has not even been defined with respect to abiogenesis and concepts such as self-organisation. Scientists cannot afford to be this sloppy with their definition of terms. Origin of life theories are complex problems in the field of chemistry. If you wish to critique them then you will need to address the chemical hypotheses themselves rather than borrowing existing terms that are defined with respect to different processes.

    In other words, you need to make some effort to address the chemistry of these systems. Simply pointing to how complex they are gets us nowhere.

  91. ERV Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Number of words in Caseys ‘responses’: 4,939

    Number of times he used the word ’sorry’: 0

    Number of times he used the word ‘apologize’: 2, In reference to his whining about comment moderation

    Number of times he said ‘my bad’: 0

    *rolleyes*

  92. Rrr Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Well, some of those numbers are very big. If I wasn’t so lazy I guess I could actually reference that assertion, but then I’d have to remove my socks. And they are soo faar awaay. So instead let me rely on my TIC: toe incredibly complex. (No, my toerapist hadn’t heard of it either. Goes toe show how low the conspiracy has sunk.)

    Anyway, Casey closet. Please accept my apologies. Please! Some you whine, some you luskindofis my fileosophistry.

  93. Alan Bird Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    There are many posts excoriating Mr Luskin, and one (from Lars) defending him. Is Lars a disinterested observer? I don’t know. But I do note he says this in his last paragraph:

    “On the other hand if the commentors in this thread are just digging for reasons to censor a post whose implications obstruct their agendas, we should (given a large enough sample size) find that some previous posts about informally-reviewed essays have gone unchallenged, and that those posts did not cast doubt on Darwinism. We should also find that posts not casting doubt on Darwinism did not receive the same kind of scrutiny and discussion from bpr3.”

    ID proponents (and nobody else these days) always, _always_, refer to biologists and workers in the field of Modern Evolutionary Theory, as Darwinists. It’s a shibboleth. Maybe Lars is the only biologist since Huxley so to label himself. what do I know? I’m not a biologist.

  94. Tom Ames Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    The Doctor What wrote:

    “Wouldn’t a better option would be someway to include discussion, even to pages that don’t want it? Such as the BPR logo going to a comment thread for that article?”

    I think this is a brilliant solution. If a blogger (or PR flack) wants to appropriate the credibility of bpr3, they have to tolerate a link to a comments thread (whether they allow comments or not).

  95. DiGz Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Alan Bird,

    good catch. Anybody that uses the term Darwinism, Darwinist or, my favourite, Darwinistas clearly knows nothing about modern evolutionary theory and is highly likely to be a creationist. Darwin certainly wouldn’t recognise evolutionary theory as it stands now or even the hypothesis the creationists claim he originally posited, so any talk of Darwinism is a clear sign of ignorance about evolutionary theory.

    I think this would be a good filter to use for anybody wanting to blog about Biology papers. If they use these terms, they clearly have no idea about evolutionary theory and shouldn’t be able to use the icon.

    Casey and your fellow ID martyrs,

    that is not the same as saying the mechanisms of evolutionary theory shouldn’t be critiqued and questioned. They always have been and always will be — that’s science in action! Sadly, you folks are so blinded by your political agenda that you can’t see it happening right under your own noses. I suspect that’s because you never bother to look… no need really since the answer is always “goddidit”, right? Just like the conclusion you drew on this paper.

  96. waldteufel Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I’ve found that not only those who use the word “Darwinists” or any of its cognates is not only ignorant of modern evolutionary biology, they are usually ignorant of much or all of modern science.

  97. waldteufel Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Man, that was worded dumbly . . . try this:

    I’ve found that those who use the word “Darwinists” or any of its cognates are not only ignorant of modern evolutionary biology, they are usually ignorant of much or all of modern science.

    Duh . . . .

  98. Dilettante Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Have you considered using trademark law? Register your icon as a trademark, and make the conditions part of the trademark license. That’s basically what trademarks are designed to do, so the law is very straightforward.

    The advantage is that, rather than limiting your recourse to removal from a feed and public shame, you can legally compel someone to cease using it.

  99. Dilettante Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 6:28 am

    Oh, evolution in a nutshell: Evolution is an observed fact. Linnaeus pointed out the family resemblances in 1735, and it was widely accepted that the resemblances were due to change over time (the original, non-biological, meaning of the word “evolution”).

    But how that evolution occurred was a mystery. Then Darwin published his “theory of evolution” which, like Newton’s “theory of gravity”, explained prior observations and predicted new ones.

    Because the theory is falsifiable, and has been tested innumerable times without being falsified, it is universally accepted among biologists.

    It is worth pointing out that the modern theory of evolution differs in many ways from Darwin’s. It’s still recognizably his, but an awful lot of details have been corrected.

    This is analagous to the way that Einstein’s theory of gravity has superseded Newton’s.

    The point to recognize is that even if the current theory of evolution is shown to be dead flat wrong, that doesn’t affect the fact of evolution; we would just need a better theory to explain it.

  100. Chuck C Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    good catch. Anybody that uses the term Darwinism, Darwinist or, my favourite, Darwinistas.

    Oh, don’t forget “Evolutionists”.

  101. Salim Fadhley Says:
    February 8th, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Calling a modern biologist a “darwinist” is a framing-device. It means you can spend your time criticizing Darwin’s 150 year old theories rather than engaging with the modern theory of evolution.

  102. douglas sherriff Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Ahhhh. These people are so Human whilst striving for objective sound judgement.

    Something that would be diversionary, with high humour potential, would be a peer reviewed Philosophical journal solely focused on intelligent design.

    I dearly hope Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting doesn’t end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. (in this case me) I must agree though with the sentiment about lawyer speak not being appropriate when discussing science.

    yours

    douglas

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