Culture Intelligent Design Peer review Science

Karsten Pultz comes to the defense of the Elsevier editors who say they did not know that the Hossjer–Thorvaldsen paper was ID-friendly

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Our Danish correspondent Karsten Pultz’s offers some more reflections on the uproar surrounding the paper by Ola Hössjer and Steiner Thorvaldsen on fine-tuning in biology in Journal of Theoretical Biology, “Using statistical methods to model the fine-tuning of molecular machines and systems.” Pultz had written about this earlier here.

Readers may recall that Cancel Culture let an ID-friendly paper slip through the cracks there, provoking howls from Twitter. A rebuttal letter appeared in due course, along with a disclaimer from the Journal.

Predictably, the Banned in Boston! effect made it the most downloaded paper at the time.

Pultz is responding below to the editors’ defense that they did not know that the paper was friendly to ID. It was good science, so there was apparently no way to tell 😉 :


At Evolution News and Science Today, editor David Klinghoffer offers his view on the Hössjer/Thorvaldsen paper debacle. Klinghoffer focuses on JTB’s ridiculous disclaimer which, and I agree, makes the editors look a bit silly.

My initial reaction when I first read the disclaimer was the same as Klinghoffer’s. I had to laugh.

After following the debate for a couple of weeks and pondering the editor’s action, I ended up changing my view.

Although the disclaimer is ridiculous, I’m now convinced it does not imply that the editors are morons who failed to see that this paper literally has ID written all over, nor do I think it is an action taken solely in order to comply in cowardly fashion with the neodarwinist’s bullying demands.

It is my firm belief that they exactly knew what they were doing. The editors must have expected the furious reaction from the ID opponents and might very well in advance have decided that a disclaimer of this sort would be their response.

For me it is too hard to believe that they weren’t fully aware of the difficult position they were placing themselves in. Everybody engaged with science knows about the controversial nature of any paper that speaks about ID in a favorable manner. I refuse to believe that the disclaimer is what we in Danish call an “oops-solution”, a really bad solution to a problem arising from lack of foresight or bad planning.

I think the editors at JTB knew exactly the consequences they would be facing, but still courageously chose to publish the Thorvaldsen/Hössjer paper, and for that they deserve our respect and kind thoughts. It could actually be that the editors’ action was well thought through, – a response that could satisfy the critics while, which is far more important, avoiding an outright retraction. I could be wrong, but it’s my honest opinion that in all its silliness it was a very wise move by the editors who do not, as circumstances indicate, consider it heresy if ID is being allowed to be discussed in a proper scientific forum.

If we in the ID community are thankful to prof. Hössjer and Prof. Thorvaldsen (as we of course are), we ought to be twice as thankful to the editors who allowed this paper to pass through to publication, – having added a silly disclaimer or not, they probably have done science a favor.

This could be a turning point for ID and I’m rather thrilled that it was a couple of fellow Scandinavians who succeeded in making such an impact.


The editors need not, of course, sympathize with the ID perspective to think that evidence for it should be permitted to be discussed. At one time, that was a conventional intellectual position.

But the Darwinians, as we’ve said here earlier, are an early flowering of Cancel Culture. No evidence may be discussed that may be thought to favor an Incorrect view.

2 Replies to “Karsten Pultz comes to the defense of the Elsevier editors who say they did not know that the Hossjer–Thorvaldsen paper was ID-friendly

  1. 1
    jawa says:

    I see Karsten Pultz‘s point. It makes sense.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    On Facebook this morning, I saw a PragerU video that is related to the larger issue that is behind this topic. In the video, Matthew McConaughey states that,

    “I have had moments where I was receiving awards in front of my peers in Hollywood and there were people in the crowd who I have prayed with before dinners. And when I thanked God I saw those people go to clap but then noticed that, ‘whoa, that would be a pretty bad thing on my resume’, and then sit back down on their hands. I’ve seen people read the room and then say, ‘that wouldn’t bode well for me in the future.”, if your getting a job or you or getting votes or what have you. I have seen that.”
    – Matthew McConaughey
    Matthew McConaughey calls out condescending far left – video
    https://www.facebook.com/prageru/posts/3710937178949111

    So, as with peer pressure being a large reason why people will suppress their public endorsement of ID, peer pressure also plays a large reason in society as a whole for why people will publicly suppress their belief in God.

    It is easy to say you believe in God in the comfort of one’s own home or in one’s own church. It is a far more difficult thing to go into ‘hostile territory’, look your peers in the face, and publicly say to them that you believe in God.

    It is also interesting to note that Christianity was built on publicly declaring belief in God while in ‘hostile territory’, in the face of tremendous peer pressure to the contrary, regardless of whatever negative consequences to one’s own life might come about.

    In Acts 4, Peter and John stated to the Sanhedrin, (i.e. to the religious leaders of Jerusalem), “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

    Acts 4
    18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

    And indeed all the apostles, including Paul, died a martyrs’ death for proclaiming the truth that God had raised Jesus Christ from the dead, (save, of course, for Judas who betrayed Jesus for money and then committed suicide once he fully realized what he had actually done, and also save for John who was exiled to the island of Patmos),

    The Fate of the Apostles – Sean McDowell
    Excerpt: In The Fate of the Apostles, Sean McDowell offers a comprehensive, reasoned, historical analysis of the fate of the twelve disciples of Jesus along with the apostles Paul, and James. McDowell assesses the evidence for each apostle’s martyrdom as well as determining its significance to the reliability of their testimony. The question of the fate of the apostles also gets to the heart of the reliability of the kerygma: did the apostles really believe Jesus appeared to them after his death, or did they fabricate the entire story? How reliable are the resurrection accounts? The willingness of the apostles to die for their faith is a popular argument in resurrection studies and McDowell offers insightful scholarly analysis of this argument to break new ground within the spheres of New Testament studies, Church History, and apologetics.
    https://seanmcdowell.org/item/the-fate-of-the-apostles

    Definition of kerygma
    : the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ

    The Fate of the Apostles – Sean McDowell – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NM3JUjv3FY

    I would also like to point out that the way in which the truthfulness of Christianity spreads, (i.e. by often putting one’s own life and/or livelihood, on the line), is vastly different from how Islam, (and how Darwinian evolution itself), are spread.

    In Islam, often times your very life is threatened if do not submit to Islam. I still vividly remember the grim reality of the those blindfolded Christians being beheaded on TV a few years ago by Islamic terrorists.

    Peer pressure to submit to Islam is literally woven throughout that religion. If you do not submit to Islam in a country that Islam has control of, and if you manage not to be killed for being a Christian, or even for being an atheist, you are literally treated as second class citizen who must pay a ‘jizya tax’,

    Dhimm , “the people of the dhimma”) is a historical[1] term for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state with legal protection.[1][2]:470 The word literally means “protected person”,[3] referring to the state’s obligation under sharia to protect the individual’s life, property, and freedom of religion, in exchange for loyalty to the state and payment of the jizya tax, which complemented the zakat, or obligatory alms, paid by the Muslim subjects.[4] Dhimmi were exempt from certain duties assigned specifically to Muslims, and did not enjoy certain privileges and freedoms reserved for Muslims, but were otherwise equal under the laws of property, contract, and obligation.[5][6][7]
    – per wikipedia

    Atheists should literally thank God that they do not live in a Islamic country but instead live in a country that is founded upon Judeo-Christian principles,

    Atheists in Islam,,,
    In recent times, capital punishment for atheism is almost never applied, and convicted atheists may be jailed with an opportunity to recant or be stripped of certain civil rights
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism_and_religion#Islam

    I would also like to point out to atheists that this Christian principle of telling the truth even when it is inconvenient for us personally, (i.e. the principle of resisting peer pressure to submit to the status quo), is a key principle that makes empirical science so powerful and is also what enables science to progress into new and uncharted territories.

    Contrary to the oft repeated appeal of Atheists to ‘consensus science’, (where peer pressure is obviously integral to maintaining the status quo of what is ‘accepted’ science), science progresses precisely because it throws off the shackles of the currently accepted ‘consensus science’ and blazes forward into fascinating new territories where scientists of more timid temperment, (and precisely because of peer pressure), are afraid to go.

    As Michael Crichton noted, “The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

    “I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
    Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”
    – Michael Crichton – 2003 lecture at the California Institute of Technology titled “Aliens Cause Global Warming”
    https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/michael-crichton-explains-why-there-is-no-such-thing-as-consensus-science/

    The overriding lesson in all this is, of course, that the Christian principle of stating the truth despite tremendous peer pressure to do otherwise, is what makes, and has made, modern science so successful.

    Atheists, by suppressing debate, via peer pressure, about Darwinism and Intelligent Design, (and also by suppressing debate on other issues such as global warming), and by atheists constantly appealing to ‘consensus science’ which is obviously maintained by peer pressure, atheists are, in reality, suppressing the progress of science itself instead of preserving the integrity of science as they, apparently, falsely imagine themselves to be doing.

    As Crichton noted, “Consensus is the business of politics” not science.

    In order to prevent the further and continued demise of science as a fruitful enterprise, might scientists once again regain their backbone to resist the temptation to ‘go along just to get along’ and to once again boldly follow the evidence wherever it may lead, even if that evidence leads to a position that atheistic peers may find unacceptable. Particularly to the ‘unpopular’ conclusion that the universe and life are, in fact, the product of Intelligent Design.

    As the following article pointed out, “It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview,,,, (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.”

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    Music and Verse:

    Leeland – Way Maker (Official Live Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJCV_2H9xD0

    Philippians 1
    12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
    15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

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