Organization:International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design

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Short description: Creationism advocacy organization
International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design
ISCID logo.jpg
Formation6 December 2001
Executive director
William A. Dembski

The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) was a creationism advocacy organization that described itself as "a cross-disciplinary professional society that investigates complex systems apart from external programmatic constraints like materialism, naturalism, or reductionism."[1][2] It was founded and led by figures associated with the intelligent design movement, such as William A. Dembski and Michael Behe.[3]


The society was launched on 6 December 2001. It was co-founded by William A. Dembski, Micah Sparacio and John Bracht. Dembski served as its executive director. It had about sixty fellows, many of them figures associated with the intelligent design movement and fellows of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, including Dembski, Behe, Jonathan Wells, William Lane Craig, and Henry F. Schaefer. Other notable ISCID fellows include philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga and physics professor and theologian Frank J. Tipler.[3]

ISCID hosted its first online symposium in October 2002, titled "The Teleological Origin of Biological Information."[4]

ISCID described itself as providing "a forum for formulating, testing, and disseminating research on complex systems through critique, peer review, and publication," with an aim "to pursue the theoretical development, empirical application, and philosophical implications of information- and design-theoretic concepts for complex systems."[1]

ISCID maintained an online journal titled Progress in Complexity, Information and Design (PCID). Articles were submitted through its website and could appear in the journal if they had been approved by one of the fellows.[5] Dembski and Tipler believed that this review process was preferable to the process of scholarly peer review commonly used in mainstream journals, citing that peer review "too often degenerates into a vehicle for censoring novel ideas that break with existing frameworks."[6][7]

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.[8] 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.

In May 2011 the society's website stated that "ISCID is no longer being managed as an organization".[9] The last issue of PCID was published in November 2005,[10] its essay contests had been discontinued,[11] and the last moderated chat was in 2004.[12] By 2014, its website was no longer online.

PCID peer review controversy

ISCID's journal, Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design has been cited as an example of a journal set up by intelligent design proponents to publish articles promoting intelligent design without a peer review process with sufficient impartiality and rigor.[13][14][2][15] ISCID fellows who comprised PCID's reviewers were characterized as "ardent supporters of intelligent design."[13]

ISCID's peer review policy for PCID was based on ISCID Fellow Frank Tipler's article covering what he saw as problems with traditional peer review processes.[16] ISCID required 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." Once in the archive, articles only needed to be approved by a single ISCID Fellow in order to be published.[17] ISCID says that this policy is designed to provide peer review for quality without squelching paradigm changing theories.[18] However, the American Association for the Advancement of Science contended that review processes such as PCID's were different from the accepted standard of peer review, 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."[19]


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:[20]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 "ISCID - International Society for Complexity Information and Design". 2012-11-01. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "ID leaders know the benefits of submitting their work to independent review and have established at least two purportedly "peer-reviewed" journals for ID articles. However, one has languished for want of material and quietly ceased publication, while the other has a more overtly philosophical orientation. Both journals employ a weak standard of "peer review" that amounts to no more than vetting by the editorial board or society fellows. Is It Science Yet?: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Constitution Matthew J. Brauer, Barbara Forrest, and Steven G. Gey. Washington University School of Law, Washington University Law Quarterly, Volume 83, Number 1, 2005.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "ISCID - About". 2013-01-23. 
  4. "ISCID - Conferences". 2013-04-05. 
  5. "PCID: Progress in Complexity, Information and Design". 2013-04-05. 
  6. "PCID - Peer Review or Peer Censorship". 2011-06-07. 
  7. Tipler, Frank (June 30, 2003). "Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?". ISCID Archive. 
  8. "ISCID - Brainstorms". 2013-04-05. 
  9. "ISCID - Contact Information". 2011-05-14. 
  10. "ISCID - International Society for Complexity Information and Design". 2013-01-23. 
  11. "ISCID - Essay Contests". 2013-01-23. 
  12. "ISCID - Live Chat with Carlos Puente". 2012-02-22. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Isaak, Mark. Index to Creationist Claims. TalkOrigins archive 2006
  14. Bill Dembski and the case of the unsupported assertion Matt Inlay. Talk Reason.
  15. Intelligent Design: Creationism’s Trojan Horse, A Conversation With Barbara Forrest Americans United for Separation of Church and State, February, 2005.
  16. Frank Tipler, Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?, ISCID Archive, June 30, 2003
  17. PCID
  18. Peer Review or Peer Censorship? William Dembski. ISCID.
  19. "AAAS - AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion - Evolution Resources". 2012-01-14. 
  20. "ISCID - Fellows". 2013-05-10. 

External links