Remember the ISCID? That’s the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. From their website:

he International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) 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.

Sure sounds impressive. Billing yourself as Joe Creationist, Fellow of the ISCID, sure sounds a lot better than Joe Creationist, crackpot.

Well, the most recent issue of their online, “peer-reviewed” journal (that would be Progress in Complexity, Information and Design) is dated November 2005. So it has now been over a year since they put out an issue. And it has been more than two years since their Society Events page has had anything to report.

Lately I haven’t been blogging much about ID. How can I? ID appears to be completely moribund. The apparent demise of ISCID is just the latest indication of that fact.

Anti-evolution challenges to science education are still alive, alas. They never die. But the idea that ID is some sort of movement poised to change the way science is done is now out the window.

The ID folks used to publish books like Darwin’s Black Box and No Free Lunch. The arguments made in these books were rubbish, but they were serious books nonetheless. A lay person could be forgiven for reading such books and thinking that the ID folks might have something to say. But those days are behind us. Now they brag about books by Ann Coulter, or books with “Politically Incorrect” in their titles. They shot their wad with irreducible complexity, and have had nothing to say since.


  1. #1 Evan
    December 6, 2006

    Hurray! Ding Dong the Witch is dead! Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out 🙂

  2. #2 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 6, 2006

    The arguments made in these books were rubbish, but they were serious books nonetheless.

    You mean with real paper and ink and bindings? That sounds serious indeed.

  3. #3 Jim
    December 6, 2006

    Are you really convinced that we’ve seen the last of a serious, organized ID push? Or, is this just wishful thinking? I’d hate to start celebrating only to open the paper tomorrow & see that The Discovery Institute has opened a branch office in my city.

  4. #4 pough
    December 6, 2006

    There may be a documentary coming out some time soon. I know a guy working sound on it. Bastard got to go to the Galapagos, all in the name of junk science. I was so surprised when he told me that I simply smiled and nodded when he trotted out the tornado in a junkyard thingy. I didn’t even ask my standard “were the 747s fucking?” question.

  5. #5 argystokes
    December 6, 2006

    Indeed, even Dembski seems to have quit playing scientist and taken up the extra stupid. If you haven’t seen it, the first chapter for his upcoming book with Jonathan Wells, The Design of Life, is here (PDF):

  6. #6 Tyler DiPietro
    December 6, 2006


    That appears to be little more than the typical creationist dreck. I especially love the blurb asking it’s readers to consider a cacophony of differences between Chimps and humans as supposed evidence against common ancestry, as well as implicating that gross anatomy was more important than the molecular make-up of those being compared. This from the people who assert that information theory renders evolution implausible and that biologists (and other scientists) just don’t understand it. I love it, these people will never cease in their quest to frustrate me to the point where I saw one of my arms off.

  7. #7 argystokes
    December 6, 2006

    Hey, now, I’m not angry. Creationists give me no end of amusement.

  8. #8 Grayman
    December 6, 2006

    Besides the Dembski/Wells tome soon to arrive via immaculate conception (no visible publisher so far!), Behe has apparently persuaded Free Press to publish his new book “Edge of Evolution” next June. Anyone know anything about it?

  9. #9 tomh
    December 7, 2006

    Behe has apparently persuaded Free Press to publish his new book “Edge of Evolution” next June.

    There’s a description of sorts here.

  10. #10 Blake Stacey
    December 7, 2006

    Ah, the ISCID — that late, unlamented paragon of scholarship. Hearing about their troubles reminds me of one of the siller abuses of mathematical jargon I’ve stumbled across in my Net voyages, the “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe” by Christopher Michael Langan, ISCID Fellow. (You might remember him: he’s that guy from TV. You know, the bar bouncer with the genius IQ, like the real-life version of Good Will Hunting? Yeah, that guy.) He contributed an essay on “causality and teleologic evolution” to Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing, and the “CTMU” was published in — wait for it — Progress in Complexity, Information and Design (September 2002), the world-renowned journal of ISCID itself.

    Insofar as mere mortals can comprehend, the CTMU resembles poorly digested Platonism; by beginning with “logical tautologies” — or what he calls tautologies — Langan proceeds to derive the whole structure of the Cosmos, subsuming Hubble and Goedel alike in a mishmash of pseudophysics and pseudophilosophy. It’s really a barrel of laughs, and a fine illustration of Mark Chu-Carroll’s maxim that the worst math is no math at all.

    The CTMU sank without a ripple, of course. What else would you expect from a “theory” even less scientific than specified complexity? (It got mentioned in a bit of the press coverage which Langan received when he was the real-world Will Hunting, but never in a more respectable journal than Popular Science — and never in detail.) Now, I’ve discovered that Langan has been reduced to writing articles about himself on the Wikipedia.

    ISCID: entropy in action.

  11. #11 slpage
    December 7, 2006

    And that is THEIR own peer-reviewed journal!

    They can’t even produce fluff to spew in their own journal and they have the nerve to make-up ‘discrimiation’ claims against real journals…

  12. #12 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 7, 2006

    Behe has apparently persuaded Free Press to publish his new book “Edge of Evolution” next June. Anyone know anything about it?

    I know that it will be a load of ****.

  13. #13 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 7, 2006

    Boy, are we all going to look silly when that Discovery Institute-funded secret research program finally starts to pan out.

  14. #14 Joe
    December 7, 2006

    A friend of mine went to grad school with Behe and says he seemed normal. So, when I contemplated his silly book (Darwin’s Black Box) I took his word that he wasn’t a creationist in the classic sense; I thought he was simply self-deluded. But it came out at the Dover Trial, last year, that he has been associated fundamentalist creationists for a long time.

    Of course, *that* doesn’t make him wrong; he is wrong for solid, scientific reasons. But he is also a … a … dare I say “fibber.” Everything he writes/says is suspect.

  15. #15 mark
    December 7, 2006

    The Disingenuous Institute had a bit of praise for Ouachita Parish, Lousiana, which recently granted its teachers the right to teach the range of scientific theories, blah, blah… And, of course, their view of science includes “poof.” So we’re now in the “Teach the controversy” phase; I thought the next phase was going to be the “Purposeful Optimization Of Parts.”

  16. #16 Arden Chatfield
    December 7, 2006

    From Paul Nelson’s column:

    Well, Josh, you’re wrong: you’ve got my angle just about right. Now, Discovery actually funds a great deal of primary research — go ahead, snicker —

    Thank you! I believe I shall!

  17. #17 2ndclass
    December 7, 2006

    The ID folks used to publish books like Darwin’s Black Box and No Free Lunch. The arguments made in these books were rubbish, but they were serious books nonetheless. A lay person could be forgiven for reading such books and thinking that the ID folks might have something to say. But those days are behind us.

    It’s sad in a way. I started reading Dembski’s stuff about a year ago. Since then, I’ve been waiting for him to say something new, but as far as I can tell, he hasn’t even so much as mentioned specified complexity or CSI in the past year (at least not anyplace that’s publicly accessible).

    Maybe it’s time for his adherents to follow his lead and put his “work” out to pasture.

  18. #18 tomh
    December 7, 2006

    A friend of mine went to grad school with Behe and says he seemed normal.

    They were all normal once. My brother worked at Boalt Law School with Phil Johnson who was a normal enough guy with a good sense of humor. Then one day he came back from some conference and had been born again. It was all downhill from there.

  19. #19 casey
    December 7, 2006

    Is there actual proof for evolution at any level? I may be in the minority, but im sorry- I find little if any evidences for an evolutionary period, let alone evolutionary world. I AM educated but cmon- open your eyes-Where are the FACTS?

  20. #20 MartinM
    December 8, 2006

    Casey, before you can recognize evidence for a theory, you need to know what that theory predicts. Do you?

  21. #21 AJS
    December 8, 2006


    Look up MRSA sometime.

    Everyone else, sorry if I’m feeding the trolls.

  22. #22 Timcol
    December 8, 2006

    It’s very noticeable that over at Uncommon Descent that the Great Dembski has given up all pretense of pretending that he is nothing but a dressed-up religious apologist. Firstly, the guy is just clueless about blogging — to him a blog entry is simply providing a link to another article and then writing a couple of sentences. Most of these blog entries are usually attacks on evolutionists or atheists. Rarely does he even write anything original (although given that he has published books you would think he might still have the occasional original thought in his head).

    Rarer still are entries actually about the supposed main topic of UD — Intelligent Design. Oh sure, there’s lots of stuff that talks about who’s talking about ID – but not a whiff of any original idea, or any current research, papers. Not a whiff. I’ve been following UD for over 6 months and I haven’t learned a single new thing about ID (surely Dembski can make stuff up like he used to or is his creative drive draining now that he’s approaching middle age?)

    In fact I’ve just about given up reading UD – it’s become boring predictable – what with Dembski’s anti-evolution ravings and O’Leary’s barely coherent ravings (is she really a professional journalist? you wouldn’t think it from the poor quality of her writing).

  23. #23 TheFallibleFiend
    December 11, 2006

    I think maybe we’ve shot ourselves in the feet. Evolutionists often speak of evolution as if it were a trivial matter to understand when there are a number of intellectual hurdles to overcome. It’s not an obvious thing at all without considerable research. I think there are many evolutionists who don’t understand it very well. And I know that my own understanding is undergoing a continual evolution, as it were.

    Over the decades, I’ve encountered dozens of creationists who always begin their discussions with how educated they are and how much research they have done on this area or that one. They then go on to make a series of assertions each of which is so utterly ridiculous that no one who has ever done an honest day’s homework on the subject would make. It’s not just one or two mistakes. They continually manifest systematic confusion by accepting certain things as facts which are not facts and by using arguments that are grossly misleading.

    I note that there are two general categories of creationist. The first is the type of person who passes for an intellectual in that community. The second is your average, garden variety creationist. The former category would include Dembski, Wells, Behe, et. al. The latter would be the average creationist posting to blogs or to various fora around the net. The Dembskis of the world understand that their degrees are going to wow the followers. “See! This guy has a PHD! You can’t tell ME he doesn’t know what’s he’s talking about!” They rely on the fact that most of the followers aren’t going to actually try to do any real research on the subject. Their “research” is just to memorize “The Condensed Wells” and promulgate its contents without any attempt to verify them.

    In fairness, I suspect there are a lot of evolutionists who do the same thing, but the crucial difference is that there are A LOT of evolutionists (scientists and others) who actually do look at all claims with a critical eye – and they have a pretty clear picture of what evolution is. While I’ve argued with many creationists over the years, I’ve yet to find one who actually understands what evolutionary theory actually says. They just jump right to the criticism – and then get offended when they’re told they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    “But I *HAVE* done my homework!”
    No you haven’t.

    “But I *AM* educated!”
    You probably ARE educated about many things, but you don’t know what evolutionary theory is.

    I’m referring of course to the garden variety creationist which constitutes the greatest number of them. As for their intelligentsia – I think some of them are just dishonest and others are incompetent. (With some very few exceptions.)

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