In which I am a prophet

Five days ago, I wrote about a creationist letter that was published in Nature. At that time, there was a discussion going on in email with the gang at the Panda’s Thumb, and someone said we ought to get a pool going on how long it would take before the Intelligent Design creationists would use this to argue that their case was being seriously discussed in the pages of a major scientific journal. Four months was suggested; I said one week.

I should have put some money down on that.

It turns out one of the PhD alumni in biology from Moran’s school (University of Toronto), a respected scientist and pro-ID creationist recently had his letter published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. This is news in itself that creationists and ID proponents are getting airtime now in scientific journals

That was the unctuous clown, Sal Cordova, of course. It was four days before they were trumpeting this crank letter as a triumph for Intelligent Design creationism.


  1. Caledonian says

    At this point, saying absurdly stupid things that rile the Evolution bloggers is the only way they can get attention.

  2. slpage says

    Hmmm… “… prestigious scientific journal Nature.”
    Seems I’ve seen drooling lackwit Cordobva use that exact same phrase before…

    Why, yes – it was when an interview with him was in the “prestigious scientific journal Nature.” The interview in which we may recall Cordova let it slip that his motivations were purely religious.

    What a true clown Cordova is. Dembski – ‘Sir William’ as Cordova creepily has referred to him as – deserves him.

  3. BlueIndependent says

    Rhetorical question time kids!:

    I’ve had my photography pubished in magazines before. Does that make me a pro photographer?

    Just like this guy, about a million or more people have had their “letters” published in random trade publications. The fact that they are making a big deal about this is so obviously sad, but it’s a lot like when Delay’s people were jumping for joy when fake conservative pundit Stephen Colbert really “nailed” some liberal guest on his show.

    Regardless, I’m sure this “win” for creationism is just as haughty as the one the random empty death-threaters earn on a daily basis across the nation, across the entire gamut of publication.

  4. MartinC says

    Lets just hope the microcephalin D allele does come from neanderthals. If not, the ID’ers will no doubt claim the Intelligent Designer’s been up to his tricks again.

  5. says

    Just like this guy, about a million or more people have had their “letters” published in random trade publications

    It’s true that a letter in _Nature_ is really no different from a “letter to the editor” found in mass-market magazines like _The Economist_, but unfortunately in many journals a “letter” means not that but a short (1 or 2 page) peer reviewed paper (a “brief communication” in Nature’s terminology).

    To many people not familiar with _Nature_’s terminology, saying that a creationist got a letter published in a journal would invoke visions of the latter.

  6. Andrea Bottaro says

    Never underestimate the ID advocates’ propensity for self-delusion, uh?

    I actually thought that given the man-lived-with-dinos, utterly crank tone of the letter, most ID advocates would have been a bit ashamed of openly associating themselves with it. Not our buddy Sal, alas.

  7. wildlifer says

    Old Sal used to irk me to no end with his braggadocio and false bravado over at ARN. You just can’t communicate with someone so disconnected from reality.
    For a while I wondered if he was medicated, then decided he was just on the Jesus high.
    One thread, shortly after he began posting at ARN, had ran for days and up to 7-8 pages, and Pixie and some others were trouncing him (over comets and cosmology), when he declared he had just been joking (tis but a scratch..).

  8. outeast says

    Hm. That’s assuming that there is anyone who knows what a letter in a peer-reviewed journal can be that simultaneously does not know Nature. Possible, I suppose, but I’d have thought most of the creationists’ targets won’t have read a science journal sort of, well, ever. And Nature’s about as mainstream as science journals get…

  9. MartinC says

    According to a recent Nature publication (Giertych, M. Nature. 2006, 444, 265), “No positive mutations have ever been demonstrated”.
    There you have it.
    Is it now time to teach the controversy ?

  10. Joshua says

    In that case, I guess they have to stop playing the oppression card now! The time is right for them to reveal the fruits of their secret ID research labours and truly give us Darwinists a run for our monkeys. Isn’t it? Any time now…

  11. Tukla in Iowa says

    Let me see if I understand this.

    Peer review is biased and useless. Therefore, peer-reviewed science journals say nothing about whether or not an idea is really scientific, and it is pointless for creationists to submit papers for review.

    Unless a creationist gets a letter published in one of those science journals. Then, journals become the final arbiter of science, and the fact that the letter was published at all (despite not being peer-reviewed) demonstrates that creationism is legitimate science.

    Have I missed anything?

  12. says

    It’s a common fringer attitude. For example conspiracy theorists rant and rave about how the mainstream media can’t be trusted, unless of course the mainstream media published something that is “evidence” of their theory. Suddenly that piece is completely trustworthy even though it’s produced by the same people who generate all the supposedly untrustworthy stuff.

  13. DragonScholar says

    I figured about a week to two myself, and I was not disappointed.

    I have come to the conclusion the ID movement is vaguely like a High School clique – utterly convinced of its own coolness, self-justifying, and highly insecure.

  14. Torbjörn Larsson says

    “Lets just hope the microcephalin D allele does come from neanderthals.”

    That would be cool, and double cool to try to get IDiots to explain it.

    Not only had Neanderthals the fastest brain growth and largest brain. In that case they transmitted a beneficial gene (though unknown in what way) and become part of our ancestry. And we seem to be neotenous compared to them – they were rough and tough hunters who jumped on their prey catfashion and often got banged up as cats or cowboys do.

    Along comes the ‘younger generation’ and takes over. As I understand it a not uncommon scene in the familytree of humans. So how come the creationist gods took a capable species and used a few parts of it in a less mature species which is the end all of creationists wet dreams? Riddle me that dear IDist.

  15. says

    So Sal trumpets Maciej Giertych’s letter. We’ve been talking about Sal but who is this Maciej Giertych?

    Doesn’t he support Poland having closer ties with Russia, and breaking off from the west?

    Isn’t this the guy who believes that Neanderthals are still running around? (Any Neanderthals out there, we’re conducting research chez moi, come on by.)

    Isn’t he an honorary member of the Daylight Origins Society, a British based creationist organisation?

    Didn’t he once calculate the capacity of Noah’s Ark? (I wonder how many teaspoons it holds.)

  16. Bryson Brown says

    I’d really like to hear from the editor(s) just why they selected that letter for publication–Cordova’s assumption seems to be that it had something to do with the scientific merits of Giertych’s comment (suppressed giggles). I wonder if it might have been the scary combination of Giertych’s political prominence and his wildly crazy views about biology, that they wanted to highlight…

  17. says

    I once had a letter published in the Austin American-Statesman.

    Yeah? Well, I once had a letter published in the Lutheran. I guess that mean I’m a member of the clery and I can marry you all off! *Rubs her hands*

  18. Tatarize says

    I ran into that guys argument once as part of some creationist ramblings. I pointed out that he had a degree in trees, not in biology. And the simple fact that he said that tetraploidy couldn’t be explained by mutation was enough to disregard anything else he had to say.

  19. MartinM says

    I’d really like to hear from the editor(s) just why they selected that letter for publication

    They recently had an article on that guy’s views, and felt that he had a right to reply, I believe.

  20. Piotr Gasiorowski says

    Kristine wrote: So Sal trumpets Maciej Giertych’s letter. We’ve been talking about Sal but who is this Maciej Giertych? Doesn’t he …. Isn’t he …. Didn’t he once …. ?

    Yes, he’s all these things and, for good measure, a member of the Advisory Council of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, an organisation which propagates all imaginable kinds of fundamentalist nonsense, including a geocentric model of the Universe.

    Cf. Kolbe Center