International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design

International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design

The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) is a non-profit professional society devoted to promoting intelligent design. [ Intelligent Design and Peer Review] American Association for the Advancement of Science.] The Society rejects evolution and seeks to undermine its teaching and alter the scientific method to eliminate what it sees as its materialistic, naturalistic, reductionistic and hence science's 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" [ [ Wedge Strategy] Discovery Institute, 1999.] and to "affirm the reality of God." [Phillip E. Johnson, "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds" (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 91-92,]

ISCID's views on evolution and the scientific method run counter to the scientific consensus. Evolution is overwhelmingly endorsed within the scientific community ["99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution" [ Finding the Evolution in Medicine] National Institutes of Health] while intelligent design has been roundly rejected as valid science. ["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.]


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. [ ISCID Fellows] ] 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. [ Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture Fellows] ] 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 says that it is "a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism. The society provides 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 is "retraining the scientific imagination to see purpose in nature".

ISCID maintains an online journal titled "Progress in Complexity, Information and Design". Articles are submitted through its website and may appear in the journal if they have been approved by one of the fellows. [" 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] ] This they argue is 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." [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.]

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

As of September 2008 and according to its website, the ISCID is no longer being managed as an organization [ [ ISCID website, contact page] ] . Its last "Society announcement" and last journal publication being in late 2005, [ [ ISCID website] ] no updates on its essay contests and moderated chats since 2004, [ [ ISCID Essay Contests] ] [ [ ISCID Chat Events] ] and no conferences or workshops announced since 2003. [ [ ISCID Conferences] ] [ [ ISCID Workshops] ]

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. ["...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) [] ] John E. Jones III. ] "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). [] ]

Critics say that intelligent design proponents have set up their own journals with "peer review" which lacks impartiality and rigor, and point to ISCID's journal "Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design" as an example,"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 ] [ Bill Dembski and the case of the unsupported assertion] Matt Inlay. Talk Reason.] ["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. ] [ [ Intelligent Design: Creationism’s Trojan Horse, A Conversation With Barbara Forrest] Americans United for Separation of Church and State, February, 2005.] characterizing the ISCID fellows who comprise "PCID"'s reviewers as "ardent supporters of intelligent design."

ISCID's peer review policy for Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design is based on ISCID Fellow Frank Tipler's article covering what he sees as problems with traditional peer review processes. [ [ Frank Tipler, Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?, ISCID Archive , June 30, 2003] ] 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." [ PCID] ] ISCID says that this policy is designed to provide peer review for quality without squelching paradigm changing theories. [ [ Peer Review or Peer Censorship?] William Dembski. ISCID.]

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. PCID appears to have ceased publication with its November 2005 issue.


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: [ [ ISCID Fellows] ]

* Michael Behe
* John Angus Campbell
* Robin Collins
* William Lane Craig
* William A. Dembski
* Guillermo Gonzalez
* Bruce L. Gordon
* Muzaffar Iqbal
* Christopher Michael Langan
* Forrest Mims
* Scott Minnich
* Paul Nelson
* Alvin Plantinga
* Henry F. Schaefer, III
* Jeffrey M. Schwartz
* Richard Sternberg
* Frank J. Tipler
* Jonathan Wells

Notes and references

External links

* [ ISCID]

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