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International Society for Complexity, Information and Design

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Title: International Society for Complexity, Information and Design  
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Language: English
Subject: William A. Dembski, William Lane Craig, Jonathan Wells (intelligent design advocate), History of creationism, Stephen C. Meyer, Lee Strobel, Forrest Mims, Bruce L. Gordon, Sternberg peer review controversy, Paul Nelson (creationist)
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International Society for Complexity, Information and Design

The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) was a non-profit professional society that promoted intelligent design and rejected evolution.[1] It sought to alter the scientific method to eliminate what it saw as its materialistic, naturalistic, reductionistic and atheistic underpinnings. The goal of the intelligent design movement the Society supports is to "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions"[2] and to "affirm the reality of God."[3]

ISCID's views on evolution and the scientific method ran counter to the scientific consensus. Evolution is overwhelmingly endorsed within the scientific community[4] while intelligent design has been rejected as unscientific.[5]


The Society was launched on 6 December 2001. It was co-founded by William A. Dembski, Micah Sparacio and John Bracht. Dembski is its Executive Director. It has about sixty fellows.[6] Among them are leaders of the intelligent design movement and fellows of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the hub of that movement, including Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, William Lane Craig, and Henry F. Schaefer.[7] Other notable ISCID fellows include philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga and physics professor and theologian Frank J. Tipler. By the end of 2006, ISCID had registered about 2000 members.

ISCID described itself as "a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism. The society provided 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." Its tagline was "retraining the scientific imagination to see purpose in nature".

ISCID maintained an online journal titled Progress in Complexity, Information and Design. Articles were submitted through its website and could appear in the journal if they had been approved by one of the fellows.[8] This they argued was a form of peer review, though not the form typically practiced by journals, which Dembski believes "too often degenerates into a vehicle for censoring novel ideas that break with existing frameworks."[9]

ISCID also hosted an online forum called Brainstorms and maintains a copyrighted online user-written Internet encyclopedia called the ISCID Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy. The society featured online chats with intelligent-design proponents and others sympathetic to the movement or interested in aspects of complex systems. Past chats included people such as Ray Kurzweil, David Chalmers, Stuart Kauffman, Christopher Michael Langan and Robert Wright.

As of September 2008 the society's website stated that "ISCID is no longer being managed as an organization".[10] Its last "Society announcement" and last journal publication being in late 2005,[11] no updates on its essay contests and moderated chats since 2004,[12][13] and no conferences or workshops announced since 2003.[14][15]

PCID peer review controversy

One of the primary criticisms of the intelligent design movement and hindrances to intelligent-design claims being considered legitimate science is that intelligent-design proponents have failed to produce supporting research papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.[16][17][18]

Critics said that intelligent design proponents had set up their own journals with "peer review" which lacks impartiality and rigor, and pointed to ISCID's journal Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design as an example,[19][20][21][22] characterizing the ISCID fellows who comprise PCID's reviewers as "ardent supporters of intelligent design."[19]

ISCID's peer review policy for Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design was based on ISCID Fellow Frank Tipler's article covering what he saw as problems with traditional peer review processes.[23] Peer review at PCID consists of two steps, acceptance into the archive, then review prior to publishing. ISCID requires that for articles to be accepted into the archive, they "need to meet basic scholarly standards and be relevant to the study of complex systems." And once in the archive, articles then must be approved by a single ISCID Fellow in order to be published: "Once on the archive, articles passed on by at least one ISCID fellow will be accepted for publication."[24] ISCID says that this policy is designed to provide peer review for quality without squelching paradigm changing theories.[25]

PCID's peer review process where ISCID Fellows are reviewers is in contrast to the process described as proper peer review by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where "reviewers are experts in the relevant scientific fields who have no conflict of interest with or especially close personal relationships to the authors or requestors" and refers to ISCID specifically.[1] PCID appears to have ceased publication with its November 2005 issue.[24]


In addition to guiding the society's various programs, fellows served as the editorial advisory board that peer-reviewed the society's journal, PCID.

Partial list of ISCID Fellows:[6]

Notes and references

External links

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