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Tom Ames



Posts: 238
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 10 2003,00:03   

I'm trying to figure out PCID's (the premier peer-reviewed journal of intelligent design) editorial policy.

The claim is made that papers are first submitted to the archive. After the paper has been on the archive for three months or more, two ISCID fellows may forward it to the editorial board for publication in the journal. There does not appear to be any mechanism for independent review, revisions, etc.

Furthermore, the average waiting time on the archive for published papers has been less than three months for all of PCID's issues (and substantially less -- 51 days -- for the most recent issue). One manuscript (Langan's "CTMU") did not appear on the archive at all.

Permissible topics seem to be "anything that two fellows think might be interesting", e.g., Jackson's fairly mundane computer science paper in issue 1.4.

The question I have is this: is ISCID really claiming that PCID is a rigorous peer-reviewed journal, instead of a platform for the unedited opinions of the ISCID fellows? (Of the 28 papers published, 5 are by Dembski alone, and many of the other authors are also fellows.) Does anyone have a citation where this claim is made?

--------------
-Tom Ames

  
charlie d



Posts: 56
Joined: Oct. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 10 2003,08:40   

From the ISCID "about" page:
Quote
The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) is a 501©(3) non-profit organization which provides a forum for free and uncensored inquiry into complex systems. The day-to-day operation of the society centers on the Archive, to which members and nonmembers may submit articles. Once uploaded onto the archive, each article has a commenting facility to which members may append comments. At the author's request, after three months on the archive, articles passed on by the editorial board enter the quarterly online peer-reviewed journal of the society: Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID).
I guess the keyword here is "uncensored" (ie: anything goes ;) ).

Also, from the PCID page:
Quote
The editorial advisory board peer-reviews articles submitted to the society's journal and comprises the society fellows.

and the Fellows page:
Quote
Fellows of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) have distinguished themselves for their work in complex systems. In addition to fostering the society's intellectual life and guiding its various programs, fellows serve as the editorial advisory board that peer-reviews the society's journal, Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID).
 There is no doubt ISCID is trying to give the impression that PCID is a legitimte, peer-reviewed publication - which IMO makes the current dearth and low quality of contents even the more damning to ID.

It would be interesting to have a breakdown of articles submitted/accepted, and of the amounts of revisions required per article.  The few articles I paid any attention to seem to have undergone hardly any revision at all between appearance in the archive and actual publication, regardless of comments appearing on Brainstorms (and some were quite significant! ).

  
SLP



Posts: 136
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2003,14:26   

I must say that this does not surprise me in the least.

ARN regular "Mike Gene" once wrote that he felt that discussion boards like ARN were in fact better than normal peer review because, according to him anyway, more people would read it.

As is mentioned, one of the purposes of review is to weed out inconsistencies, errors, etc.  Yet each and every time "Mike Gene" posted one of his over-lengthy 'essays' on ARN and readers critiques it, he doggedly refused to accept any sort of criticism, as was recently the case with Langan.

Basically, it seems that these folks think they "know it all," and post their thoughts in the 'knowldge' that all will bow to their irreproachable logic and heap accolades upon them.  When this inevitably fails to happen, they, instead of recognizing the shortcomings of their essays/articles, launch into attacks upon their critics.

I've seen it happen so many times, it cannot be coincidence...

  
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2003,08:08   

I hope that you guys don't mind me participating on this board (unfortunately I'm not an anti-anti-evolutionist).

Anyway, I wanted to make a few comments about PCID.  First of all, if you notice, PCID has been out for about 10 months.  To expect that the journal would be operating like a well-oiled machine by this point is unreasonable.  

Second, the intention of PCID from the beginning was to be a speculative/exploratory journal.  There was no illusion in our minds that PCID would explode onto the scene as a top-notch science research journal.  So your remarks, Charlie, have little weight.  PCID is fashioned around the exploratory journals in physics which were popular in the late 1800's - early 1900's.  These journals encouraged imagination/innovation over experimental rigour.

When we say that our journal is peer-reviewed there is no intention of deception.   Each article that has thus far been  published has been reviewed as stated on the site.  Several papers have been returned for revision.

It is not accurate to say that PCID is an ID publication.  So claims that we are supposed to have the "premier ID publication" are false.  Anyone who tries to use our journal polemically as evidence of ID's success is off base.  We encourage a wide variety of articles on a wide variety of subjects.  Even anti-anti evolutionists are encouraged to submit papers.  In fact, we have two papers that are currently in the works that are being developed as critiques of ID theorists by ID critics.

Finally, regarding our three month on the Archive policy.  Surely you can forgive our desparation ;-) in the early months of our journals history.  In an attempt to fill out our issues, or to compliment articles that are already scheduled for publishing, we may, from time to time, solicit papers that did not appear in our Archive for the required three months.  Again, we apologize for this and sincerely hope that you will forgive us  ???

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http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
pzmyers



Posts: 35
Joined: Sep. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2003,11:15   

:08-->
Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 03 2003,08:08)
PCID is fashioned around the exploratory journals in physics which were popular in the late 1800's - early 1900's.  These journals encouraged imagination/innovation over experimental rigour.

Please be specific. What physics journals are these that were less rigorous?

I am not at all familiar with physics journals from that period, but I've read quite a few biology journals and monographs from 100 and more years ago. The Journal of Comparative Neurology and Roux's Archives of Developmental Biology, for example, were not established to cater to flights of fancy over solid science. I'd be very surprised to learn that any respectable physics journals had been founded to publish papers with as little substance as what's being put in PCID.

   
RBH



Posts: 49
Joined: Sep. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2003,12:50   

charlie d wrote
Quote
It would be interesting to have a breakdown of articles submitted/accepted, and of the amounts of revisions required per article.  The few articles I paid any attention to seem to have undergone hardly any revision at all between appearance in the archive and actual publication, regardless of comments appearing on Brainstorms (and some were quite significant! ).

I noticed that, too, and wondered about it.  I spent some non-trivial time and effort on one paper to no visible effect.  There was no response from the author on Brainstorms, and the paper appears to have been published essentially as submitted.  If part of the PCID "peer review" process is associated with the submissions being posted on Brainstorms for comment, it is having no visible effect on what ends up being published.  Hardly seems worth doing, in fact.

RBH

--------------
"There are only two ways we know of to make extremely complicated things, one is by engineering, and the other is evolution. And of the two, evolution will make the more complex." - Danny Hillis.

  
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2003,20:06   

Zeitschrift fur Physik is the most prominent example.

I should correct something I said before.  It is not so much that the journals I refer to encouraged one methodology over another, it is just that the peer-review process was negligible to non-existent and thus the journals (especially those in physics) were more welcoming to speculation/creative hypotheses making.  

The current role of peer-review in the sciences is a relatively recent phenomena  (post 1930s).  One could argue the current role of peer-review is an outgrowth of the "scientist myth" where even hypotheses making is a calm, collected, methodological process void of any creativity or speculation.

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http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2003,21:04   

Hey RBH,
Sorry that you feel your suggestions were ignored.  However, it should be noted that papers from the Archives were added to Brainstorms only in the hopes that they would be considered as brainstorms in the context of that forum.  The intention was not to create a forum for peer-review among the internet public.  It is completely up to the reviewers' and author's discretion as to what needs revision.  Some of the authors and reviewers do in fact visit Brainstorms.  However, most do not.

Once again, though, I hope you don't feel as if you've wasted your time or been ignored.  I'm sure there are many (such as me) who appreciate your thoughtfulness and learn a great deal from what you have to say.

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http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
ExYECer



Posts: 36
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 03 2003,23:11   

I applaud the attempt to provide for a forum in which researcher can explore the possibility of a scientific theory of intelligent design. On the other hand I also have to agree with some of the others who have pointed out that the submissions to the journal seem to be of a disappointing quality so far and little evidence of peer review is suggested when comparing the original submissions and their final versions.

In fact, I wonder if the approach of anything goes is helpful to the investigations of Intelligent Design.

  
theyeti



Posts: 97
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,00:30   

Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 03 2003,20:06)

Quote
The current role of peer-review in the sciences is a relatively recent phenomena  (post 1930s).


Yeah, and just look how non-productive post 1930's science has been.  ;)

Quote
One could argue the current role of peer-review is an outgrowth of the "scientist myth" where even hypotheses making is a calm, collected, methodological process void of any creativity or speculation.


One could make that claim, but it would fly in the face of the innumerable creative hypotheses (continental drift, transposable elements, and endosymbiosis, to name a few) that have been proposed and ultimately accepted via peer-reviewed literature.  

One could also ignore the bevy of pseudoscience that the 20th century's fascination with science fiction has engendered, and which the peer-review process, despite its imperfections, is particularly good at weeding out.  

I'm not saying that ID is necessarily pseudoscience (well to be honest, I think it is), but even stauch IDists will admit that for every good speculative hypothesis that should be looked at seriously, there are tons of bad ones that don't deserve the time of day.  That's the real point of peer-review, though you may disagree with how it's applied.  

theyeti

  
Bebbo



Posts: 161
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,05:50   

Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 03 2003,08:08)
[...]

It is not accurate to say that PCID is an ID publication.  So claims that we are supposed to have the "premier ID publication" are false.  Anyone who tries to use our journal polemically as evidence of ID's success is off base.  We encourage a wide variety of articles on a wide variety of subjects.  Even anti-anti evolutionists are encouraged to submit papers.  In fact, we have two papers that are currently in the works that are being developed as critiques of ID theorists by ID critics.

[...]

Oh come on, PCID is essentially an ID journal. A quick look at the latest issue (1.4) showed that 7 of the 9 featured papers were about ID or supposed problems with evolution and/or evolutionary theory. In other words, typical ID preoccupations.

I can't help but be reminded of the the Institute for Historical Review. They have a journal that is ostensibly upholding the tradition of genuine historical revisionism, but in reality most of its focus is on the Holocaust and issues about Jews.

--
Dene

  
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,07:07   

Dene,
The forthcoming issue of PCID will very likely see a dearth of publications on ID.  In fact it is shaping up to be an issue on the philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence from various non-materialist perspectives.

As for your claim about historical reconstruction, I can just as readily look at you and see wishful thinking or uncharitable discourse.  Indeed, being one of the primary organizers of PCID, and having an inside picture of how it is run, these things are clear to me.  PCID is developing itself as a journal that is broader than the ID issue.  We are soliciting papers from people who have NOTHING to do with ID.  While the society that houses PCID is crowded with IDists, both the society and PCID have always had a broader vision in mind.  The vision is to create an atmosphere for the Khunian Speculative Scientist to be as creative and hypotheses driven as is reasonable.  There are plenty of places where Normal Science takes place.  PCID is really not interested in duplicating the role of the immense number of normal science journals.  We want to attract the thinker who is willing to look at things from different angles, who is willing to take a risk, willing to make mistakes, and above all, willing to fail (how fuc*ed up, huh?).

So, in saying that the quality of PCID is low (at best), perhaps you are right (re: ExYECer, etc.).  In noting that many of the articles in our journal are ID related, you are certainly right.  When you assert that I'm falling in line with historical reconstructionists by insisting that PCID is not an ID journal, you are grossly mistaken.  I'm simply stating our policy.  The current dynamics of our organizations' place in the world are currently drawing many from the ID crowd.  However, our hope is to get to a point where our journal can serve as a creative scientific outlet - that's our vision and that is what we are working towards.   Regardless of your conspiracy theories, your assertions, your uncharitable cowardice we have no agenda, nothing to prove, no flag to wave. We are merely excited about the prospects of encouraging the scientific imagination to be creative and to explore new worlds.

--------------
http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
Bebbo



Posts: 161
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,07:43   

:07-->
Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 04 2003,07:07)
[...]

So, in saying that the quality of PCID is low (at best), perhaps you are right (re: ExYECer, etc.).  In noting that many of the articles in our journal are ID related, you are certainly right.  When you assert that I'm falling in line with historical reconstructionists by insisting that PCID is not an ID journal, you are grossly mistaken.  I'm simply stating our policy.  The current dynamics of our organizations' place in the world are currently drawing many from the ID crowd.  However, our hope is to get to a point where our journal can serve as a creative scientific outlet - that's our vision and that is what we are working towards.   Regardless of your conspiracy theories, your assertions, your uncharitable cowardice we have no agenda, nothing to prove, no flag to wave. We are merely excited about the prospects of encouraging the scientific imagination to be creative and to explore new worlds.

[...]

I hope PCID does develop as you plan and hope. However, I was commenting on PCID from the content it currently has, if that changes in future then my assessment may not be valid.

As for being uncharitable, yes I am, but that's based on what PCID contains at the moment - it's a bit difficult to judge it on something that has yet to possibly happen. Also, given that William Dembski is one of the founders of ISCID I'm less inclined to take things like PCID at face value.

--
Dene

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4511
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,07:57   

Micah, you complain of "uncharitable discourse" being directed against PCID.  Charity is a virtue, and according to the old adage it should begin at home.  Perhaps some re-examination of how "charitable" the discussion contained within PCID is in order.

I know that in my dealings with antievolutionists, I am more likely to keep a moderate tone with those who don't imply that I am stupid or dishonest for holding the views I have.  In general, I think ID advocates are sincere in their antievolutionism, but mistaken.

I'll concede that there is often a lack of charity in the writings of those who oppose antievolution.  I won't concede that this is done without reason in all cases.  I'll assert, though, that ID advocates and contributors to PCID do not set a charitable tone by example.  Here's a sample...

Quote
The more indirect the argument, the easier for Darwinists to overlook or conceal difficulties.

[...]

Professor Miller simply tries to use the term "gene duplication" as a magic wand to make the problem go away, but the problem does not go away.

(Source: Michael Behe in PCID 1.1)


What's this stuff about "conceal" or "magic wand"?  Is that "charitable"?  I don't think so.

I find it hypocritical of ID advocates to complain of a lack of charity or polemical writing in their correspondents's work when the ID literature (including that portion that is found within PCID) is replete with both.  If charity is something you value as an ISCID fellow and member of the editorial board of PCID, my advice is that you should lead by example.  If you fail to show charity and eschew polemics through the contents of PCID, don't get indignant when the responses get a bit testy.

Wesley

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Bebbo



Posts: 161
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,08:46   

:07-->
Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 04 2003,07:07)
[...]

Regardless of your conspiracy theories, your assertions, your uncharitable cowardice we have no agenda, nothing to prove, no flag to wave.

[...]

Interesting you should mention agendas because PCID is quite clearly part of an ID agenda, we have it from the horse's mouth:

"3. Network of Researchers and Resources (NRR)
Intelligent design as a scientific and intellectual project has many sympathizers but few
workers. The scholarly side of our movement at this time consists of a handful of
academics and independent researchers. These numbers need to swell, and we need to be properly networked. We need to know who's out there working on what. To this end the Internet will prove invaluable. Intelligent design is at this time still an academic pariah. Consequently, it is difficult to concentrate our forces in any one institution. And yet, when I speak about intelligent design on university campuses, I almost invariably
encounter at least one scientist on faculty eager to do research pertinent to intelligent
design. The Internet, particularly as live chats and videoconferences become more readily available, will bring together scholars who now work in isolation. This will help
overcome the institutional barriers they now face. Full and effective use of the Internet is
simply a must.

The natural place to house such a network is within a professional society. Fortunately,
such a society is now in place -- the International Society for Complexity, Information,
and Design (ISCID -- www.iscid.org). Housing the network there is an option, though
there are other options. The important thing for now is that we get networked, not who
does the networking. Associated with this network should be research coordinators expert in a given field of science to help researchers in that field coordinate their efforts. The network needs to be endowed with resources. The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design is currently working on an annotated bibliography of design-relevant literature. Access to various online subscription services (journals, specialized search engines, electronic books, etc.) should also be part of the resource package. This will cost money but be well worth the investment. Concentration of forces is a key principle of military tactics. Without it, troops, though willing and eager, wallow in indecision and cannot act effectively. The network of researchers and resources that I am recommending is the first step in concentrating our forces. The next step is setting the intellectual agenda for academic departments and even whole academic institutions. But that is still downstream and will depend on the next recommendation."

taken fom:

http://iscid.org/papers/Dembski_DisciplinedScience_102802.pdf

Yours in "uncharitable cowardice" (whatever that means),

Dene

  
Principia



Posts: 17
Joined: Jan. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,09:09   

Quote
The forthcoming issue of PCID will very likely see a dearth of publications on ID.  In fact it is shaping up to be an issue on the philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence from various non-materialist perspectives.
 Why are these topics not related to ID?  It seems to me that "non-materialist" perspectives are the very threads that bind all those under ID's big tent.  So to my mind, demonstrating that there is a mind-matter dualism seems entirely in line with ID theory.  Discussing why artificial intelligence is an improbable venture is entirely in line with ID theory.  In fact, let's take a look at ISCID's mantra on their webpage:
Quote
The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) is a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism. The society provides a forum for formulating, testing, and disseminating research on complex systems through critique, peer review, and publication. Its aim is to pursue the theoretical development, empirical application, and philosophical implications of information- and design-theoretic concepts for complex systems.
 If you want to disabuse people of conspiracy theory notions in your advertisements here, perhaps you can start by delineating clearly who and what does not constitute ID.  ;)

  
charlie d



Posts: 56
Joined: Oct. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,09:56   

Micah:
first of all, thanks for coming all the way into the "wolf's den".  We too strive to be a multidisciplinary and inclusive message board, outside the programmatic constraints that suffocate discussion on the "other boards" ... just joking.  ;)

Personally, my impression is that PCID and ISCID are actually hurting themselves, trying to strive for quantity rather than quality of papers and members.   With some  exceptions, most of the material published so far in PCID quite frankly ranges from the plain bad to the outright cranky, and what is acceptable in tone and content turns out to be essentially rehash of old arguments.  If a third of the papers were published every issue, none would be missed.  

If PCID and ISCID aim at attracting good level scientists, they have to weed out the cranks first. [This is also true of the ID movement in general, although I understand that the "big tent" approach has some political advantages.]   There is actually a whole underworld of characters out there at the fringes of science, and even well within academia, who are just looking for any public forum for their "underappreciated" ideas.  The internet is full of them.  If you have ever worked in close contact with some prominent (or even not-so-prominent) scientist, they all have great stories about the huge packages they get in the mail containing revolutionary papers and theories.  Alas, there is much more often than not a good reason for the underappreciation.  Furthermore, there are many self-proclaimed paradigm-busters who just tag along any new thing that comes on: HIV denial, water memory, distant healing, ID, it's all the same to them, as long as it makes them feel like they are riding the revolution wagon.   Basically, you'll have a hard time attracting serious scientists not already somehow committed to an ID perspective with a journal that publishes "theory of everything" stuff, back-of-the-envelope calculations of just how improbable cells are, and similar circus stuff.  To be seriously considered, you have to act seriously in the first place.

That said, I do feel like starting a diatribe about your claim that in modern science "hypotheses making is a ... process void of any creativity or speculation" (which is clearly belied by the record), and although I must say I don't see what's wrong with calm, collectedness (is that even a word?) and method, I can assure you that just as often good scientific hypotheses are the product of heated discussions, serendipity and severe inebriation (ask Kary Mullis).  However, I got work to do today, so that will have to wait...
Take care

  
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,10:06   

Hey guys,
I want to apologize for my bitter tone in the last post.  It really wasn't called for.

Some confessions:

I too often get frustrated with the ID community for a variety of reasons, many of which have been articulated here.   BTW, Wesley, you are very correct about the antievolutionists not being all that charitable in many cases (PS. I'm not a fellow of ISCID!!!  Just the lowly managing director who gets to do all the grunt work/organization/webdevelopment).  

Regarding Dembski's words about PCID. Dembski and I don't always see eye to eye when it comes to approaching intellectual life in general.  I think it is fair to say that he and many IDers are convinced that some sort of battle is going on, and perhaps they are right and I am just naive.  I like to see intellectual life as a collaborative effort where competing ideas serve to sharpen one another.  For that reason, I find no problem with calling myself an evolutionist, believing in common descent and the Darwinian mechanism , and thinking that most evolutionists are like me, in that they want to know how the world really is.  

At the same time, I am enthralled by the potential that I *personally* see within various alternative theories of evolution.  I am excited to live in a day and age when it seem ever more possible to discover the means by which life originated and subsequently developed, and though RM&NS has played a role (perhaps a major role), it simply doesn't satisfy my full intellectual curiosity.  That is why I've gravitated to ID and various other frameworks in which alternative explanations are being considered for the development of life on earth.  I take all of this with a provisional grain of salt though.  I don't close my beliefs on dogmatic "this is how it happened and this the only way it could have happened" theories.  I think that ID often falls into the trap of claiming more for itself than is warranted.  Anyway, Dembski's claim that PCID serves as the premier ID journal is off base.  Why?  Because it implies that PCID is exclusively an ID journal, which it is, in fact, not.  PCID is simply open to ID.  If the IDists fail to publish there, then I would say that they have missed a welcoming opportunity and that you all would be warranted to throw down the gauntlet say in five years or so (the first year is a little early wouldn't you say...especially since we've been struggling to get our (ISCID/PCID) existence publicized on a miniscule $4000/year operating budget).  PCID is a tool that IDists can use (one of the few, I assume)...I don't hesitate to say that.  It is not, however, an exclusively ID journal.  In fact, for example, if Wesley was to submit something, I'd push hard to get it included...I respect Wesley and think that he has great insights.  

One last note, the philosophy of mind issue that is coming up in PCID is only superficially related to ID.  Being a philosopher of mind,  I can tell you that the issues that are being discussed in several of the papers that will be published in the next issue of PCID are issues that are being discussed in mainstream philosophy of mind: particularly mental causation.  Both my paper and Rob Koons paper stem from the work of a non-ID philosopher, Jaegwon Kim and his work on non-reductive philosophy of mind.  Indeed, both Rob and I take physical/monist positions - neither of us argue for dualism.  We simply argue for an extension of physical ontology to include 2nd order physical properties as first class citizens in our ontology.  This is opposed to pure reduction to the 1st order physical properties.  So, in effect, though there may be implications for ID, they are minimal, at best, and the upcoming issue of PCID will highlight work in non-reductive philosophy of mind.  This coincides with our intention to develop thematic issues for PCID and to move away from a strict ID influence.

Best wishes.
Micah

PS. I appreciate the concerns you all raise and take them to heart as I try to find a way to escape the polemics that so often dominate discussions around biological development.

--------------
http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,10:16   

Hey Charlie,
Thanks for the message.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying...sorry bout that.  I wasn't saying that hypothesis making in modern science is void of creativity/speculation, I was just saying that this idea is a myth.  In the philosophy of science there is a concept referred to as the "scientist myth" in which the scientist is essentially a completely objective, unemotional, unpassionate, calm, collected person and all his science is done as such.  The point is that when considering the scientific method, ONE HALF of the method decisively refutes the "scientist myth" in that the scientist must at least use some creativity/speculation for developing her hypothesis.  That is all I was saying.  I totally respect the modern scientist, the passion with which she does her work; her committment to detail and precision. I think it would be tragic to flood out methodological science with wild speculation.  Normal science needs to be done, even more so than speculative science.  I even wrote a paper on this a while back defending the teaching of Darwinian evolution based on the Kuhnian principle of normal science.  The last thing we need is constant scientific revolutions.

Anyway, I am merely rejecting the myth, not the real scientists whom I admire and respect.

--------------
http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,11:06   

Quote
 With some  exceptions, most of the material published so far in PCID quite frankly ranges from the plain bad to the outright cranky, and what is acceptable in tone and content turns out to be essentially rehash of old arguments.  If a third of the papers were published every issue, none would be missed.  


Hey Charlie...I'd really appreciate it, and so would the other editors of PCID, if you'd be willing to point out some of the bad and cranky papers at PCID (perhaps all :D  ).  I think we will take your suggestions on quantity over quality and implement it immediately on upcoming issues.  Early on, we simply wanted to get the journal into a publishing routine so that people would be aware that it was a publishing option.  We are now getting enough submissions to be selective.  

I'd appreciate it if you could suggest any of the following:

1. How many articles should an issue have at minimum?

2. Which articles thus far do you see as being a disservice to the vision and credibility of PCID?

3. Is there any way that we could put the selection of worthy articles for PCID into the hands of the public and still retain credibility?  Of course the final judgement would sit with the ISCID fellows and PCID editors.  But would a system of voting work?  The ISCID discussion forums support Polls.  Would this just be a joke or would it serve a useful purpose?

4. What would be the most effective way to overcome the poor job we've done at establishing the journal as having a focus distinct from ID?  To be honest, 90% of our unsolicited submissions have been from ID people and, despite appearances, we have turned away several papers that we viewed as totally wacked out.  How do we buck the trend and the organizational dynamic and expand so that others see fit to send the occassional article our way?  Heck, I've tried for 8 months to solicit ID critical articles and only recently have I been successful.  What I'd really like to see is more stuff by people like James Barham who fall outside of the typical evolution/antievolution dichotomy.  

All the best and thanks for your help/criticism.
Micah    :0

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http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
JxD



Posts: 16
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,11:33   

Micah, welcome to AE.

You wrote:
Quote
I'm not a fellow of ISCID!!!  Just the lowly managing director who gets to do all the grunt work/organization/webdevelopment ... Regarding Dembski's words about PCID. Dembski and I don't always see eye to eye when it comes to approaching intellectual life in general.  I think it is fair to say that he and many IDers are convinced that some sort of battle is going on, and perhaps they are right and I am just naive.  I like to see intellectual life as a collaborative effort where competing ideas serve to sharpen one another.  For that reason, I find no problem with calling myself an evolutionist, believing in common descent and the Darwinian mechanism , and thinking that most evolutionists are like me, in that they want to know how the world really is.  
 Fair enough.  However, since you now come to us asking for advice on how to improve your journal, I would like to know why you think any of our suggestions would pass through Dembski's ID filter.  In particular, it looks like your voice is but a minority among your colleagues.  Anyways, you need to supply us with more information.  For instance:
Quote
1. How many articles should an issue have at minimum?
 How many submissions do you get?  What are your current criteria for judging the quality of the paper?
Quote
2. Which articles thus far do you see as being a disservice to the vision and credibility of PCID?
What exactly is the vision of PCID?  You and Dembski appear to disagree.  Whose vision is overridding?
Quote
3. Is there any way that we could put the selection of worthy articles for PCID into the hands of the public and still retain credibility?  
What I don't understand here is the difference between the role of your Archives and the PCID.  I don't honestly see why you expect different readership, considering that both collections are only a few links away.  Do you feel that the articles in your archives give you people credibility?
Quote
4. What would be the most effective way to overcome the poor job we've done at establishing the journal as having a focus distinct from ID?  
 Once again, is that truly the focus of PCID?  Of course, the natural question here imo is how you define a focus that welcomes criticisms of ID?

My 2 cents.

  
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,11:58   

Hola JxD,

1. How many submissions do you get?  What are your current criteria for judging the quality of the paper?

Good question.  We have been getting about 4 papers per quarter that do no make it into PCID.  Some of them make it onto our Archive which is less strict about content/quality then PCID.  That makes between 12 and 15 papers per quarter on average.  We end up outrightly rejecting about 2 or three papers per quarter because they end up being incomprehensible, in a foreign language, primarily theological, obvious bunk (I guess this is a relative notion, seeing that most of you think that most everything ID is bunk), etc.

As for criteria, each paper is considered as a whole: how tight are the arguments, how knowledgeable is the author of the current state of the discipline in which she writes, does the author merely assert or does she justify her arguments... those are preliminary considerations.  We also consider professional courtesy and other such factors.  It is noted that some of our papers may not fit these criteria perfectly.  Again, though, I will appeal to our current youthful situation -> we are trying to improve.

2. What exactly is the vision of PCID?  You and Dembski appear to disagree.  Whose vision is overridding?

Dembski has agreed to let my vision of ISCID trump .  Let us just say that ISCID/PCID would be a great deal different if it were the other way around.  Even Dembski would acknowledge this.  He can be very blunt and confrontational at times.  I am the primary director of policy at ISCID, though I spend a lot of time considering the opinions of Dembski, Bracht, Barham and others like you.  The vision I have for PCID is that it become a journal that doesn't seek to replicate the journals of normal science but which encourages people to take risks, to speculate, hypothesize, to explore new angles - regardless of the metaphysical framework one is working in.  So, related to ID, I see the function of PCID only as being a journal that welcomes ID angles but which is not dominated nor geared in that direction...I know, we have a long way to go.

3. What I don't understand here is the difference between the role of your Archives and the PCID.  I don't honestly see why you expect different readership, considering that both collections are only a few links away.  Do you feel that the articles in your archives give you people credibility?

No, the Archives are more open and receive little endorsement from ISCID.  We'd like for the Archives to serve several functions some of which include receiving pre-publishing feedback, testing out ideas for larger papers, being a place for people to publish/store papers on the net, even if they don't expect to get published in PCID.  

PCID, on the other hand, seeks to select out and group what we deem to be the more important articles, making them more salient to our readership.

4.  Once again, is that truly the focus of PCID?  Of course, the natural question here imo is how you define a focus that welcomes criticisms of ID?

I think the focus needs to be generic enough to welcome criticisms of ID without turning PCID into an ID focused journal.  We don't want the journal to be, issue after issue, a dialogue between IDists and ID critics. We do in fact welcome ID criticisms as well as ID theorists.  I think that the dearth of ID criticisms (we've only received a 1 paragraph blathering criticism thus far) may be due to several factors.  One of which is obviously the reluctance to lend credence to ID in general, which is a position that I understand and respect.  An idea that I've had is to ask a few people like Wesley and Nic to become guest editors and organize an entire issue of PCID dedicated to the thoughtful criticism of ID.  This is still an idea I'm fond of but think it would run into the same psychological concern as noted above.  In addition, it would only serve to reinforce the idea that this is an ID journal, which is something that I'm working hard to avoid.

I've written far too much, but I hope that helps.

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http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
Bebbo



Posts: 161
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,13:09   

Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 04 2003,11:06)
[...]
Hey Charlie...I'd really appreciate it, and so would the other editors of PCID, if you'd be willing to point out some of the bad and cranky papers at PCID (perhaps all :D  ).  

[...]

Well, Chris Langan's CTMU is now officially cranky - see crank.net  ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist!

--
Dene

  
pzmyers



Posts: 35
Joined: Sep. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,14:12   

Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 03 2003,20:06)
Zeitschrift fur Physik is the most prominent example.

I should correct something I said before.  It is not so much that the journals I refer to encouraged one methodology over another, it is just that the peer-review process was negligible to non-existent and thus the journals (especially those in physics) were more welcoming to speculation/creative hypotheses making.  

The current role of peer-review in the sciences is a relatively recent phenomena  (post 1930s).  One could argue the current role of peer-review is an outgrowth of the "scientist myth" where even hypotheses making is a calm, collected, methodological process void of any creativity or speculation.

I am completely unfamiliar with the history of Zeitschrift fur Physik so I can't really judge it, but the current incarnation of that journal certainly doesn't look as if it is lacking in rigor.

I completely disagree with your interpretation of post-1930s peer review. If anything, peer review before that time was more thorough and more restrictive; the community of science was smaller, everyone knew everyone else, and ideas were filtered much more heavily. Look at the history of Darwin's ideas, for instance -- they weren't deployed by surprise at a meeting and then published as a book, they were discussed and edited rather heavily by people who were at the forefront of the scientific establishment in the fields of botany and geology and comparative anatomy.

Your "scientist myth" is also precisely that, a myth. What possible defense is it to bring up a fictitious excuse?

   
pzmyers



Posts: 35
Joined: Sep. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,14:18   

Quote (Bebbo @ Feb. 04 2003,13:09)
:06-->
Quote (msparacio @ Feb. 04 2003,11:06)
[...]
Hey Charlie...I'd really appreciate it, and so would the other editors of PCID, if you'd be willing to point out some of the bad and cranky papers at PCID (perhaps all :D  ).  

[...]

Well, Chris Langan's CTMU is now officially cranky - see crank.net  ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist!

Yes -- doesn't the fact that that patently bogus piece of crap, the CTMU, got published in PCID sort of negate all the sincerity that Micah is trying to present here?

One thing I'd like to know, as long as we've got him here, is how the heck that hideous thing managed to make it through their version of peer review.

   
Bebbo



Posts: 161
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,14:49   

Quote (pzmyers @ Feb. 04 2003,14:18)
:09-->
Quote (Bebbo @ Feb. 04 2003,13:09)
[quote=msparacio,Feb. 04 2003,11:0][...]
Hey Charlie...I'd really appreciate it, and so would the other editors of PCID, if you'd be willing to point out some of the bad and cranky papers at PCID (perhaps all <!--emo&:D  ).  

[...]

Well, Chris Langan's CTMU is now officially cranky - see crank.net  ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist![/quote]
Yes -- doesn't the fact that that patently bogus piece of crap, the CTMU, got published in PCID sort of negate all the sincerity that Micah is trying to present here?

One thing I'd like to know, as long as we've got him here, is how the heck that hideous thing managed to make it through their version of peer review.

I don't have any reason to doubt Micah's sincerity. However, I have strong suspicions that ISCID is little more than another shill for the ID movement whose real interest is in the politico-religious arena rather than science.

--
Dene

  
charlie d



Posts: 56
Joined: Oct. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,16:14   

If I may interject briefly, before disappearing again amidst calcium fluxes going the wrong way, I would say first of all that any attempt of ISCID and PCID to raise their standards and expand their horizons should not be pooh-poohed, but rather warmly encouraged, as far as I am concerned.

My feeling, if Micah you are still reading this, is that you should try to recruit as many as possible good-willed, open-minded-enough reviewers outside the restricted ID circle.  People with recognized expertise in complexity/systems theory, mathematical biology, evolutionary biology, philosophy of science, whatever.  I don't know, send out a mass e-mail to the relevant institutions/departments and see who volunteers, or ask ID-friendly people to recommend colleagues that may fit the bill.  You can be very frank about the goals of the journal, how speculative it is supposed to be, and your outspoken interest in exploring teleology and design in biology.  I bet you'll find more openness than you'd expect.

Then, I would have a 2-tier publication system, at least at the beginning: at the bottom level, I would keep the current model, however making it significantly more stringent.  [Perhaps, soliciting open reviews on Brainstorms would be good, as long as people try to write complete, reasoned and self-standing critiques, applying real review standards, rather than just arguing about issues.  Of course, the editors would still have the last word about any needed revision and final decision.]

The top tier would be made up of papers that at a first screening the editorial committee considers outstanding enough to pass peer review from the external experts mentioned above.  Review of these manuscripts would be handled as in any "mainstream" journal.  When accepted, these high-profile papers, no matter how rare, should be highlighted in the journal in some way as "top-of-the-line" material.  At the end of the year (or more, if the papers are few), publish a list of the active reviewers.

Finally, and I am not sure this is already in place, you should have strict safeguards for both levels of submissions to ensure that all reviewers are anonymous to authors (since you people all know each other so well, it may be hard to be brutally honest about each other's work).  This may of course end up bruising some egos, but I bet it would definitely raise quality.

Oh, and try to apply a consistent editing and layout format: some of the papers are really painful to read, they almost look like high-school essays.

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4511
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,16:56   

If I recall correctly, there are no "brakes" in the review process for PCID.  Recommendation by two ISCID fellows assures publication, no matter how many might raise issues with a submission.

I'd recommend that the policy be amended to something more like the peer-review process for mainstream journals, at least to the extent that critical comments could give the editors discretion to withhold publication until the issues are substantively addressed.  I don't think that would unduly restrict the stated desire to permit more speculative papers from appearing, but it should help improve the quality.

Wesley

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
JxD



Posts: 16
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 04 2003,17:53   

Quote
I'd recommend that the policy be amended to something more like the peer-review process for mainstream journals, at least to the extent that critical comments could give the editors discretion to withhold publication until the issues are substantively addressed.  I don't think that would unduly restrict the stated desire to permit more speculative papers from appearing, but it should help improve the quality.
 In my opinion, Wesley, the implementation of some kind of editorial review seems contradictory to the goal of a journal that "encourages people to take risks, to speculate, hypothesize, to explore new angles."  Of course, it is only a matter of degree between the kind of speculative risk-taking articles that perhaps Micah is interested in and what is published in mainstream journals (after all, can Micah really tell us that no risky/speculative science is offered today?).  Nevertheless, to have an editorial review process that takes into account substantive matters such as "how tight are the arguments, how knowledgeable is the author of the current state of the discipline in which she writes, does the author merely assert or does she justify her arguments" seems to diminish the freedom of thought being advertised by the editors.  This perception is the reason I asked Micah what was the substantive difference between PCID and their Archive.  His response to me was: "PCID, on the other hand, seeks to select out and group what we deem to be the more important articles, making them more salient to our readership."  This, coupled with the requirement that PCID submissions be sent to the Archive first, suggests to me that the PCID merely functions to select a few articles, using some ad hoc filter that is tangential to what is "important" and "salient."  Really, does the manner in which the author argues a point affect whether I perceive the point as "important" when I am already forewarned that the article is "speculative and risky?"  Anyway, that this editorial process is done for the benefit of the readership seems to me to be condescending -- I for one rather think that I know what is or is not salient in the Archives.  Plus, the Archives are not presently overflowing with submissions to make me think that I can read for myself and make my own subjective evaluations.  So, I tend to think that the Archives is actually more in keeping with Micah has in mind, and that PCID is superfluous.  Is there a selection process to place an article in the Archives as well?

But, PCID is, to me, an interesting experiment in the evolution of critical journalism.  I wonder, if in the end, they will end up doing exactly the same things that IDists complain bitterly about with respect to mainstream journals.  Added in edit:  Regardless of whether or not one agrees with my assessment here, the point is that the reputation of a journal is only as strong as its contributors.  Given the alternatives, I don't see a particularly appealing reasons why established researchers would publish at PCID.  Nor do I believe that Intelligent Design (or teleology, or whatever the focus of PCID actually is) has nearly the critical mass, whether in researchers or in research, to feed a thriving journal.  PCID seems to "jump the gun."

  
msparacio



Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 05 2003,13:05   

Thanks to all for welcoming me to the board, by the way.   I really do appreciate the thoughtful suggestions/criticisms and will try to keep them in mind moving ahead.

BTW, I like the small crowd, thoughtful, civil, low-key atmosphere at this board.  I'll keep stopping by from time to time as graduate school permits (if you don't mind).

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http://www.iscid.org/....cid.org

   
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