The folks at Uncommon Descent are accusing me of being a Nazi (“Nick Matzke - Book Burner?”, “Will Our Darwinist Friends Be Telling Us Next That ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’?”, It Gets Even Better) for using my free-speech rights to criticize the prestigious publisher Springer for publishing crypto-creationist/ID meeting held at Cornell (but not sponsored by Cornell) in 2011. They seem to think that I, single-handedly, with the mighty power of the Panda’s Thumb blog, crushed the otherwise inevitable publication by Springer.
The reality is: I initially assumed the publication was a done deal, so I was just criticizing, which except in fundamentalist la-la land, is an expression of free speech, not a repression of it. I laid out very clearly my sources of information, which were plenty strong indication that we just had the usual creationist/ID shenanigans going on, and the same old bogus arguments, and not a serious, rigorous scientific meeting. I furthermore laid out that this wasn’t primarily just an ID creationism meeting, but rather a Young-Earth Creationist meeting, with some ID particpation, and that John Sanford wasn’t just some serious scientist, but a total kook who thinks that plotting the ages of the generations in the Book of Genesis, and fitting a curve, is serious scientific analysis and evidence for his “genetic decay” idea.
Anyway, as it turns out, the publication must not have been a done deal, as the Springer announcement disappeared. The UD folks are convinced it was a done deal, but it’s not clear if they know any more than I did, which is very little, about what stage things were at. I imagine someone at Springer felt snookered once they realized what kinds of ridiculous creationist abuses of information theory, the second law of thermodynamics, and genetics were happening under the thin veneer of the meeting. Creationists who complain about Springer dropping the project should explain why creationist free-speech rights allow them to deny Springer’s free speech rights to publish what it wants.
Anyway, rather than any form of suppression taking place, the creationists succeeded in getting their volume published anyway with another publisher, World Scientific out of Singapore. This publisher is not as well-known as Springer, and it’s not clear if there was any serious peer-review – heck, it may have been a pay-to-publish arrangement, I don’t know – but in any case there is absolutely no censorship going on. You can read the papers right here if you like. From the ones I’ve looked at, all of my worst suspicions were confirmed. There are claims that require a young-earth view to be valid, Sewell’s epically bad Second Law of Thermodynamics stuff is in there, etc.
Here are my old posts on the topic from last year so that people can judge for themselves. Again, I’m busy and so won’t be able to pay super-close attention, but I’ll ban/close as necessary if things get impolite or off-topic.
Posts on Springer / “Cornell” YEC/ID meeting
Inside Higher Ed on creo/ID volume (includes the video / screenshot of Sanford’s “generations of Genesis up to Noah” plot)
While googling this, I came across a blog I hadn’t seen, “Letters to Creationists” which includes a detailed and, I think, well-researched evaluation of Sanford’s “genetic entropy” argument, which most of us haven’t bothered rebutting since it is so silly on its face. The blog is by a theistic evolutionist who is an enthusiastic proponent of miracles in traditional Christian settings (modern healings, Bible stories, etc.), but not in science, which is certainly an interesting combination. At the very least it means the author can’t be accused of bias against strong evangelical Christianity.