The Importance of Peer Review

In a previous post, I mentioned one Dr Denis Alexander and his book Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? In his book, he talked about how the scientific community handles challenges to theories:

If people wish to challenge a theory, then that is an excellent and honourable path to follow in the best of scientific traditions.  But there are well-established ways of carrying out a scientific critique and these involve the tough course of becoming a member of the scientific research community, and then finding and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals that may challenge a particular theory.  That is how theory testing is done and it is the only way that will win the respect of the scientific community.  Public votes, popular articles, political pressures, campaigns or even sermons by famous preachers will have no effect on scientific opinion because that is not how science is done.  So really serious objections to evolution, if there are any, have to be presented the tough but proper way, by publication of solid results in reputable journals.

In summary:

Do you find problems with a scientific theory and wish to challenge it?  Good!  Excellent!

DO:

  • Become a member of the scientific research community.
  • Find and publish your findings/results in reputable peer-reviewed journals.

Anything else is a waste of time and will not gain any respect or make any strides in the scientific community because that is not how science is done.

Peer review is what keeps any field honest (among other things).

In my opinion, peer review is also important in the field of religion. Indeed, there is a word to describe someone who veers too far away and cuts himself off from mainstream beliefs/practices and there is a word to describe his group of followers.  Note, it is not the veering away that is the problem – it is the veering away AND cutting oneself off that is the problem.  It indicates an unwillingness to allow one’s ideas to be evaluated and corrected.

In the Creation/Evolution Controversy, some of the biggest young-Earth Creationist proponents are Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, and Institute for Creation Research.

A quick perusal of their websites will indicate that they are not at all interested in peer review by independent, objective, third-party  scientists and theologians.  Is the science sound? Is the theology sound?  We simply don’t know.

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About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011, in Creation Ministries International, Creation vs Evolution. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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