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7.12 Peer Review

The failure to follow the procedures of scientific discourse and the failure to submit work to the scientific community that withstands scrutiny have weighed against Intelligent Design being considered as valid science. To date, the Intelligent Design movement has not published an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Intelligent design, by appealing to a supernatural agent, directly conflicts with the principles of science, which limit its inquiries to empirical, observable and ultimately testable data and which require explanations to be based on empirical evidence.

The debate over whether Intelligent Design produces new research, as any scientific field must, and has legitimately attempted to publish this research, is extremely heated. For instance, the Templeton Foundation, a former funder of the Discovery Institute and a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that it asked Intelligent Design proponents to submit proposals for actual research, but none were ever submitted.

The only article published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal that made a case for Intelligent Design was quickly withdrawn by the publisher for having circumvented the journal’s peer-review standards. Written by Stephen C. Meyer, it appeared in the peer-reviewed journal “Proceedings of the Biological Society” of Washington in August 2004. The article was a literature review that did not present any new research, but rather recorded quotations and claims from other papers to argue that the Cambrian explosion could not have happened by natural processes. The choice of venue for this article was also considered problematic, because it was so outside the normal subject matter.

The Discovery Institute insists that a number of Intelligent Design articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Critics, mainly members of the scientific community pointed out that no established scientific journal has yet published an Intelligent Design article. Instead, Intelligent Design proponents have set up their own journals with “peer review” which lack impartiality and rigor, consisting entirely of Intelligent Design supporters.