Academic publisher suckered by Intelligent Design creationists

I noticed this story at the Panda’s Thumb developing over the last few days: Springer gets suckered by creationist pseudoscience – The Panda’s Thumb

It looks like some creationist engineers found a way to slither some ID/creationism into a major academic publisher, Springer. The major publishers have enough problems at the moment (e.g. see the Elsevier boycott), it seems like the last thing they should be doing is frittering away their credibility even further by uncritically publishing creationist work and giving it a veneer of respectability. The mega-publishers are expensive, are making money off of largely government-funded work provided to them for free, and then the public doesn’t even have access to it. The only thing they have going for them is quality control and credibility – if they give that away to cranks, there is no reason at all to support them.

The comments at Panda’s Thumb are rather informative:

  • The book is a conference proceedings, but not in the biological sciences
  • The conference was held in rooms rented from Cornell, but not promoted by Cornell or its academic community
  • The participants’ names are secret
  • Attendance was invitation only
  • At least one of the volume editors appears to be a creationist of the young earth variety

It would seem that Springer may be having second thoughts: the notification of this volume has now disappeared from their website.

This all seems to be part of the Wedge Strategy to gain apparent endorsement by the academic world. Similar conferences have been documented in ‘Creationism’s Trojan Horse‘.  Indeed similar strategies appear to be endorsed by C4ID, who’s conferences may only be attended by those sympathetic to ID creationism, and who recently organised a lecture in London by Stephen Meyer at which the names of those attending have been kept confidential.

UPDATE: There’s an update to this story at Panda’s Thumb. The story is also covered at Inside Higher Ed.

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