Saturday, April 07, 2007

Publish or perish?

PZ Myers has just taken the time to reminisce over Paul Nelson's three year long silence on his curious concept of "ontogenetic depth". It so happens that I was first introduced to this IDea through the Pharyngula post about our 2005 paper (mentioned in my last post). Unlike Nelson, we have not been idle since we came up with our measure of lineage complexity. In fact our first follow up paper has just been accepted for publication at the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. I promise to write about the paper in more detail here before it comes out. Now I must finish going over it one more time, and prepare a talk on it for Monday (you can check out the summary).

This walk down memory lane brings to mind a challenge of my own to another intelligent design creationist. The last time I wrote about "ontogenetic depth" here, I warned Salvador Cordova not to be so sure that Andreas Wagner's results on the evolution of robustness of circadian oscillators (see here and here) would not generalize to other systems. Guess what? Andreas Wagner has just proved Salvador wrong for a completely different kind of gene network model (one pioneered by Wagner about a decade ago, and essentially the same model we used in our recent paper on the evolution of robustness).

So, on the one hand you have real scientists at work, publishing their results in peer-reviewed journals, moving their fields forward. On the other hand, you have the pseudoscientific creationists at the Discovery Institute, not doing any original scientific work of their own, not publishing in peer-reviewed journals, criticizing and misrepresenting the work of others, attacking great scientists ad hominem.

Update: For a vivid metaphor of the contrast I made in the last paragraph, check out PZ's brilliant exegesis of 300.