International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design: Wikis


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Logo of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design.

The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) was a non-profit professional society that promoted intelligent design.[1] and rejected evolution. It sought to alter the scientific method to eliminate what it saw as its materialistic, naturalistic, reductionistic and hence atheistic underpinnings. The goal of the intelligent design movement the Society supports is to "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions"[2] and to "affirm the reality of God."[3] The ISCID sought to undermine the teaching of evolution and replace it with intelligent design.

ISCID's views on evolution and the scientific method ran counter to the scientific consensus. Evolution is overwhelmingly endorsed within the scientific community[4] while intelligent design has been roundly rejected as valid science.[5]



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The Society was launched on 6 December 2001. It was co-founded by William A. Dembski, Micah Sparacio and John Bracht. Dembski is its Executive Director. It has about sixty fellows.[6] Among them are leaders of the intelligent design movement and fellows of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the hub of that movement, including Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, William Lane Craig, and Henry F. Schaefer.[7] Other notable ISCID fellows include philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga and physics professor and theologian Frank J. Tipler. By the end of 2006, ISCID had registered about 2000 members.

ISCID described itself as "a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism. The society provided a forum for formulating, testing, and disseminating research on complex systems through critique, peer review, and publication. Its aim is to pursue the theoretical development, empirical application, and philosophical implications of information- and design-theoretic concepts for complex systems." Its tagline was "retraining the scientific imagination to see purpose in nature".

ISCID maintained an online journal titled Progress in Complexity, Information and Design. Articles were submitted through its website and could appear in the journal if they had been approved by one of the fellows.[8] This they argued was a form of peer review, though not the form typically practiced by journals, which Dembski believes "too often degenerates into a vehicle for censoring novel ideas that break with existing frameworks."[9]

ISCID also hosted an online forum called Brainstorms and maintains a copyrighted online user-written Internet encyclopedia called the ISCID Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy. The society featured online chats with intelligent-design proponents and others sympathetic to the movement or interested in aspects of complex systems. Past chats included people such as Ray Kurzweil, David Chalmers, Stuart Kauffman, Christopher Michael Langan and Robert Wright.

As of September 2008 the society's website stated that "ISCID is no longer being managed as an organization".[10]. Its last "Society announcement" and last journal publication being in late 2005,[11] no updates on its essay contests and moderated chats since 2004,[12][13] and no conferences or workshops announced since 2003.[14][15]

PCID peer review controversy

One of the primary criticisms of the intelligent design movement and hindrances to intelligent-design claims being considered legitimate science is that intelligent-design proponents have failed to produce supporting research papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.[16][17][18]

Critics said that intelligent design proponents had set up their own journals with "peer review" which lacks impartiality and rigor, and pointed to ISCID's journal Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design as an example,[19][20][21][22] characterizing the ISCID fellows who comprise PCID's reviewers as "ardent supporters of intelligent design."[19]

ISCID's peer review policy for Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design was based on ISCID Fellow Frank Tipler's article covering what he saw as problems with traditional peer review processes.[23] Peer review at PCID consists of two steps, acceptance into the archive, then review prior to publishing. ISCID requires that for articles to be accepted into the archive, they "need to meet basic scholarly standards and be relevant to the study of complex systems." And once in the archive, articles then must be approved by a single ISCID Fellow in order to be published: "Once on the archive, articles passed on by at least one ISCID fellow will be accepted for publication."[24] ISCID says that this policy is designed to provide peer review for quality without squelching paradigm changing theories.[25]

PCID's peer review process where ISCID Fellows are reviewers is in contrast to the process described as proper peer review by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where "reviewers are experts in the relevant scientific fields who have no conflict of interest with or especially close personal relationships to the authors or requestors" and refers to ISCID specifically.[1] PCID appears to have ceased publication with its November 2005 issue.[24]


In addition to guiding the society's various programs, fellows served as the editorial advisory board that peer-reviewed the society's journal, PCID.

List of ISCID Fellows:[6]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Intelligent Design and Peer Review American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  2. ^ Wedge Strategy Discovery Institute, 1999.
  3. ^ Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 91-92,
  4. ^ "99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution" Finding the Evolution in Medicine National Institutes of Health
  5. ^ "for most members of the mainstream scientific community, ID is not a scientific theory, but a creationist pseudoscience." Trojan Horse or Legitimate Science: Deconstructing the Debate over Intelligent Design David Mu. Harvard Science Review, Volume 19, Issue 1, Fall 2005.
  6. ^ a b ISCID Fellows
  7. ^ Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture Fellows
  8. ^ "Articles accepted to the journal must first be submitted to the ISCID archive. To be accepted into the archive, articles need to meet basic scholarly standards and be relevant to the study of complex systems. Once on the archive, articles passed on by at least one ISCID fellow will be accepted for publication." . . . "The editorial advisory board peer-reviews articles submitted to the society's journal and comprises the society fellows." Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design
  9. ^ William Dembski. "Peer Review or Peer Censorship?" Dembski cites as justification for PCID's peer review policy ISCID fellow Frank Tipler's paper "Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?", which argues that journalistic peer review did not become a widespread requirement for scientific respectability until after World War II, that many great ideas did not appear first in peer-reviewed journals, that outstanding physicists have complained that their best ideas were rejected by such journals, and that the refereeing process now works primarily to enforce orthodoxy.
  10. ^ ISCID - Contact Information
  11. ^ ISCID website
  12. ^ ISCID Essay Contests
  13. ^ ISCID Chat Events
  14. ^ ISCID Conferences
  15. ^ ISCID Workshops
  16. ^ "...ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications..." Judge John E. Jones III, ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (EDPa, 2005) [1]
  17. ^ John E. Jones III. Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District 4: whether ID is science
  18. ^ "there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred". (Michael Behe, testifying in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District). [2]
  19. ^ a b "With some of the claims for peer review, notably Campbell and Meyer (2003) and the e-journal PCID, the reviewers are themselves ardent supporters of intelligent design. The purpose of peer review is to expose errors, weaknesses, and significant omissions in fact and argument. That purpose is not served if the reviewers are uncritical." Index to Creationist Claims Mark Isaak, TalkOrigins archive 2006
  20. ^ Bill Dembski and the case of the unsupported assertion Matt Inlay. Talk Reason.
  21. ^ "ID leaders know the benefits of submitting their work to independent review and have established at least two purportedly "peer-reviewed" journals for ID articles. However, one has languished for want of material and quietly ceased publication, while the other has a more overtly philosophical orientation. Both journals employ a weak standard of "peer review" that amounts to no more than vetting by the editorial board or society fellows. Is It Science Yet?: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Constitution Matthew J. Brauer, Barbara Forrest, and Steven G. Gey. Washington University School of Law, Washington University Law Quarterly, Volume 83, Number 1, 2005.
  22. ^ Intelligent Design: Creationism’s Trojan Horse, A Conversation With Barbara Forrest Americans United for Separation of Church and State, February, 2005.
  23. ^ Frank Tipler, Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?, ISCID Archive , June 30, 2003
  24. ^ a b PCID
  25. ^ Peer Review or Peer Censorship? William Dembski. ISCID.

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