Science & Faith
11/9/13 at 05:57 PM 12 Comments

Why Would the Journal Science Refuse to Publish Meyer's Letter about Marshall's Review?

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Below my last post Final Thoughts on Marshall's Failed Critique of Meyer's "Darwin's Doubt" SkepticNY made comments that include those indented below:

What specific, concrete explanation do YOU propose for the appearance of the fossils whenever they do appear?

Regarding the fossils of the major new animal body plans in the Cambrian explosion, all we know from scientific inquiry is that all of this radically new anatomy requires an adequate cause, and intelligent design is the only kind of cause that is adequate to get the job done. SkepticNY, I have never had the honor of meeting you in person, but I know that you are an intelligent agent who produces complex sequence specific code in the form of comments. The Cambrian explosion is similar. All we know is this event in earth history involved a huge influx of complex sequence specific code, but billions of times more than you have produced over the past year as a faithful comment author here at CP. Scientists need to limit their conclusions to the available evidence. That is what Meyer does in his book. I wish we knew more than this from scientific inquiry, but we need to be modest about what we know.

What peer reviewed main-stream scientific journals has Meyer's ideas been published in?

See this list of peer-reviewed pro-ID articles (Meyer is in this list, which includes over 50 published articles, and which is further explained here). This list would be many times longer if it were not for the discriminatory practice exemplified yet again by the editors of the journal Science. Let me explain what I mean by addressing this to my commenting friend who apparently lives in NY.

Dear SkepticNY, I encourage you to read the letter by Dr. Meyer that the peer reviewed journal Science would not publish. What exactly in this letter legitimately disqualifies it from publication in Science? Meyer's letter pinpoints the main scientific issues raised by the Cambrian explosion. Marshall is the one who is trying to avoid how the Cambrian explosion is a huge evidential challenge to Darwinism (he is being evasive). So, I encourage you to quote from this letter by Meyer and explain how it is undeserving of publication in the journal Science. Thanks SkepticNY.

Meyer's letter includes this:

Marshall speculates that developmental gene regulatory networks (dGRNs), essential for morphogenesis in metazoans, must have been more labile in the past.1 He affirms this to challenge my contention that the observed inflexibility of these regulatory networks represents a major impediment to the evolutionary transformation of one animal body plan into another. Yet evidence from numerous mutagenesis studies of different biological model systems establishes that dGRNs do not tolerate perturbations to their basic control logic as Marshall himself acknowledges.2 Instead, mutation-induced changes to genes present in dGRNs either produce no change in the developmental trajectory of animals (due to pre-programmed buffering or redundancy) or they produce catastrophic (usually, lethal) effects.3

By disregarding this evidence, Marshall reverses the epistemological priority of the uniformitarian method as pioneered by Lyell and Darwin.4 Rather than treating our present experimentally based knowledge as the key to evaluating the plausibility of theories about the past, Marshall uses an evolutionary assumption about what must have happened in the past (transmutation) to justify disregarding experimentally based knowledge of what does, and does not, occur in biological systems. The requirements of evolutionary doctrine trump observations about how organisms actually behave.

Marshall also disputes my claim that building Cambrian animals would require large amounts of new genetic information.5 Instead, he proposes that "rewiring" gene regulatory networks of "already existing genes" can account for the origin of Cambrian animals."6 This question-begging proposal does not solve the problem of the origin of the genetic information necessary to produce these animals. It merely pushes the problem back in time and overlooks the informational input required to "rewire" such a network.

Now let's return to SkepticNY, who wrote:

What peer reviewed main-stream scientific journals has Meyer's ideas been published in? None did you say? Why is that?

The best way to answer this is to tell you about a peer-reviewed essay by Meyer that is about the Cambrian explosion. On August 4th, 2004 an extensive review essay by Stephen Meyer appeared in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (volume 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239). The Proceedings is a peer-reviewed biology journal published at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

In the article, entitled “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Dr. Meyer argued that no current materialistic theory of evolution can account for the origin of the information necessary to build novel animal forms. He proposed intelligent design as an alternative explanation for the origin of biological information and the associated major new animal body plans that first appeared in the Cambrian explosion. In short, this peer reviewed essay was an early version of Meyer's best selling book Darwin's Doubt.

Due to an unusual number of inquiries about the article, Dr. Meyer, the copyright holder, made the article available here. If you want an expanded and updated version of this essay, then purchase Stephen Meyer's New York Times bestseller Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. Over 360 people have reviewed the book at Amazon and it currently has a 4-star rating. The book is very readable, even for the average person. Furthermore, the basic argument has already been published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. What more could you want?

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