|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
Although peer review was a good thing for The Design Inference, I decided to forego peer review for its sequel, No Free Lunch. While I was still writing No Free Lunch, I contacted Cambridge University Press about publishing this book as a sequel to The Design Inference. Because The Design Inference had been Cambridge University Press's best selling philosophical monograph in several years, it seemed likely that they would be interested in a follow-up volume. I wanted a contract for this book on the basis of a prospectus and some sample chapters, not an uncommon request for a sequel to a highly successful monograph. I sought this so that I wouldn't have to wait almost two and a half years between the time I submitted the completed manuscript and its publication, as in the case of The Design Inference. My work was being widely discussed, and I wanted the sequel to appear without delay.
The New York editor at Cambridge (not Brian Skyrms) informed me that even though The Design Inference was one of their bestsellers, it was controversial, and even though the press didn't mind controversy as such, it had come to light that I was being labeled a "creationist." Thus, before Cambridge University Press could issue a contract, I would have to submit the most controversial chapters of the new book. Besides this, I had inside information that even if No Free Lunch was accepted this side of the Atlantic, it was unlikely to be accepted with the Cambridge Syndicate in England, whose biologists were now disposed against my work. This news was actually quite surprising because the Cambridge Syndicate typically rubber stamps any recommendations for publication from the United States. That an exception was to be made in my case indicated that the review process, instead of working dispassionately and fairly, would be rigged to work against me. I therefore took my business elsewhere and published the book with Rowman and Littlefield.
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker