The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, "The origin of biological
information and the higher taxonomic categories," in vol.
117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological
Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of
the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial
practices, the paper was published without review by any associate
editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council,
which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents,
and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate
for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter
represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely
systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout
its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not
publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority
of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of
the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses
a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the
Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml),
which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting
ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity.
Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards
of the Proceedings.
We have reviewed and revised editorial policies to ensure that the goals of the Society, as reflected in its journal, are clearly understood by all. Through a web presence (http://www.biolsocwash.org) and improvements in the journal, the Society hopes not only to continue but to increase its service to the world community of systematic biologists.