Intelligent Design Book Meets Obstacle After Proponents of Evolution Complain

The publisher of an intelligent design book has decided to put publication plans for the book on hold after some scientists complained that such challenges to evolution theories should not be presented in an academic publication.

International science publisher Springer had set the publication date for Biological Information: New Perspectives for March 31. The publishing house apparently began hearing complaints, though, after Nick Matzke posted a Feb. 27 article titled, "Springer gets suckered by creationist pseudoscience" on Panda's Thumb, a blog "critical of the antievolution movement."

"It looks like some creationist engineers found a way to slither some ID/creationism into a major academic publisher, Springer," Matzke wrote.

"ID/creationism" is a reference to intelligent design theories. Proponents of intelligent design argue that some characteristics found in nature are better explained as the product of an intelligent cause rather than macroevolutionary change, or the belief that species can change, or evolve, into new species.

A representative from Springer told Kaustuv Basu, a reporter for Inside Higher Ed, that the company had decided to submit the manuscript for additional peer review.

None of the critics have read the book. Their criticism is based upon their knowledge of the authors and their ideas.

Douglas Theobald, assistant professor of biochemistry at Brandeis University, said he believed that "Springer has been duped and that the senior editors are unaware that this is a quack group of anti-evolution creationists."

Defenders of the book argue that the incident is just another example of some evolutionists trying to silence alternative viewpoints.

"Obviously we are only trying to exercise academic freedom and freedom of speech, and are challenging a sacred cow. Where are the academics who profess tolerance and open dialog? Where are the academics who would confront hate speech on their own campus?" said John Sanford, one of the books editors and a semi-retired professor at Cornell University's Department of Horticulture, to Basu.

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