I saw a news article today that Dr. Andrew Snelling of AiG has dropped a lawsuit against the National Park Service after they agreed to allow him to collect rocks (should have included these are from the Grand Canyon) for his own analysis (read more here). When I first read about this lawsuit, I was a little concerned because even though I disagree considerably with their position, I think it is unfair to criticize them for lack of scientific rigor if they aren’t even allowed to conduct rigorous research.
In the broader scheme of things, Discovery Institute is routinely criticized (by me too, I should add) for their lack of “publishable” research. They refer to publications in Bio-Complexity as peer-reviewed research, and I guess by the strictest possible definition of the term, they are correct – “I went down to my peer’s office and he/she reviewed it, so it is peer-reviewed!” But this also reminded me of the incident in early 2016 of an article that passed peer review and was published in PLOS ONE that mentioned a “Creator” in the Abstract, Introduction, and Discussion sections of the paper (link here). This article sparked considerable outrage not because of the scientific content on the physics of the human hand, but that the word “Creator” was included. Editors threatened to leave their positions and numerous readers threatened boycott if a retraction was not made. As you could probably guess (if you were unfamiliar with the story), a retraction was made. I did not follow the story close enough to observe any further fallout.
My question is this: Do scientists working at Discovery Institute, AiG, etc. have a legitimate complaint that their research is unfairly discriminated against? My knee-jerk (and possibly derisive) reaction would be to say “No, your ‘research’ doesn’t really fit into the realm of mainstream science.” But how would they possibly publish in anything resembling a mainstream scientific journal if even the mention of a Creator causes such an irate response? I know DI tends to be very careful about terminology to avoid triggering a response, but are they at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to the possibility of legitimate publication? What are your thoughts?