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For years, we have been told that creationists don’t do science. The reason that they “don’t do” science is because they are not published in peer-reviewed journals. If they were, so the logic goes, the peer-review panel would be able to rip their research to shreds and expose for all to see that creationists don’t in fact understand science. So creationists don’t publish, or do they?

While it is true that creationists don’t generally attempt to publish scientific, peer-reviewed pieces about creation for academic journals, they do publish a whole host of articles within their scientific domains. The gatekeepers of the journals, the editors, would flatly reject an article that contradicts or doesn’t kowtow the prevailing naturalistic assumptions of the scientific world, peer-reviewed or not. And the whole peer-review process is beginning to come under fire. It is quickly becoming apparent that peer-review panels don’t have much say when it comes to publication. They are more like an “advisory board.” The editors of the journal have the final say, and will often override the recommendations of the peer-reviewer panel. What is commonly thought of as a check and balance system, is really nothing more than a formality.[1]

This shouldn’t be a big surprise though. Any area where professions and reputations are on the line is ripe for a little corruption. Scientists, professors and researchers are expected to publish as a job requirement. It should be expected that the community will become somewhat political after awhile, and it has. Games are played by authors and editors alike. The journal expects that it will be the first public unveiling of the author’s findings and conclusions, so the author is constrained from going outside of the journal for additional help or publicity. This ensures the journal exclusivity in running “the story,” but it cripples the entire community by allowing only a select few to see the findings before publication. This will also determine which journal will approach an author, or vice versa, because they both want the material published, but for different reasons.

All of this goes to show that publishing in the scientific journals is not as glamorous as once thought, even though it is still the “holy grail” of the academic, scientific world. The system may be broken, but what else is there? Vast amounts of money are being filtered through the journals, which only makes the system more corrupt. “A few journals that not long ago measured profits in the tens of thousands of dollars a year now make millions, according to at least three editors who agreed to discuss finances only if granted anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak about finances.”[2] Money has a way of changing things, not always for the better. Journal editors can be bought and sold, just like anything else. Scientific journal editors are as neutral as newspaper editors. Personal and corporate agendas, politics, and preconceived assumptions are all competing for space in the journals. It should come as no shock that creationists are barred from the entrance gate. Journals may claim to be all about the science, but in reality they are all about the worldview and the money. Philosophical naturalism and fat checks are the admission tickets to this ball. Creationists usually don’t have either one.

Endnotes:

[1] Lawrence K. Altman, “For Science Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap,” New York Times (May 2, 2006). Online here.
[2] Altman, “Gatekeepers.”

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