A helpful translation

I’m never sure whether I should be amused or horrified to see intelligent design’s PR firm, the Discovery Institute, trying to pose as a scientific organization. Right now I’m tending decidedly towards amusement, as their inept aping of the scientific process only serves to reveal how fundamentally they misunderstand it.

As always, I’m here to help.

Recent posts from members of the Discovery Institute show that their authors have learned to imitate the language of science without actually understanding it. I’m going to do my best to translate a few things. For example, when David Klinghoffer (who is, in a sense, a ghost) says,

I’m currently seeking to place an awesome manuscript by a scientist at an Ivy League university with the guts to give his reasons for rejecting Darwinism. The problem is that, as yet, nobody has the guts to publish it.

what I think he means is

our manuscript has so far failed to pass peer review.

Don’t take it hard. Rejection is part of science; it happens to us all. One chapter of my dissertation wasn’t published until five years after I graduated, following decisive rejections by EvolutionThe American Naturalist, and PLoS One. I never once thought that it was because their editors lacked the guts to publish it.

XKCD Physics Suppression

Physics Suppression, xkcd

As Richard Lenski recently reminded us, science is a tough old world, and you’ve got to have a thick skin. If I may be so presumptuous as to offer advice to Klinghoffer and his very impressive, Ivy League colleague, take the reviewers’ comments seriously but not personally, revise accordingly, and be persistent.

The Discovery Institute fancies itself a scientific organization (their main blog, for example, is misleadingly named Evolution News & Science Today), but they don’t really seem to understand how science works.

Leave a Reply