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Breaking the Peer-Review Barrier

Look at the following abstract of a paper posted today at astro-ph:

Message in the Sky
S. Hsu, A. Zee
To appear in Mod.Phys.Lett.A
http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/physics/0510102

ABSTRACT: We argue that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) provides a stupendous opportunity for the Creator of our universe (assuming one exists) to have sent a message to its occupants, using known physics. Our work does not support the Intelligent Design movement in any way whatsoever, but asks, and attempts to answer, the entirely scientific question of what the medium and message might be IF there was actually a message. The medium for the message is unique. We elaborate on this observation, noting that it requires only careful adjustment of the fundamental Lagrangian, but no direct intervention in the subsequent evolution of the universe.

There was a small flurry of interest when the first submitted version of the paper was posted some months ago. You can download the paper and previous versions at the link above. Note especially how the statement about ID was inserted in the latest version. The abstract to version 1 reads:

ABSTRACT: We argue that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) provides a stupendous opportunity for the Creator of our universe (assuming one exists) to have sent a message to its occupants, using known physics. The medium for the message is unique. We elaborate on this observation, noting that it requires only careful adjustment of the fundamental Lagrangian, but no direct intervention in the subsequent evolution of the universe.

No doubt, the referee and possibly journal editor required that that statement be inserted before the paper was accepted for publication in Modern Physics Letters A. Despite the denial (methinks they protest too much), this study is indeed a form of ID research and shows how ID questions can be asked in a way that leads to further research. Despite the authors’ denial (and even more so because of it), this IS a peer-reviewed pro-ID paper.

LESSON TO ALL ID RESEARCHERS: To get an ID paper published, explicitly deny that it is an ID paper. In fact, you might want to go one further and suggest that it actually disproves ID (the latter maneuver should hasten acceptance of the paper). Always keep in mind the example of Al Capone. Feds: “Are you the head of organized crime in Chicago?” Capone: “Who, me? All I’m trying to do is help people have a good time.” And don’t forget Bill and Monica — “There IS no relationship.” (Oh, how fraught with ambiguity is the verb to be.)

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16 Responses to Breaking the Peer-Review Barrier

  1. This is hilarious!!

  2. ABSTRACT

    In our paper we are attempting to show that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex, that our planet is in a privileged place in the universe, that the information in the DNA sequences present an instruction manual for life, and that and that the blood clotting cascade demonstrates an example that could not have occurred without the intervention of a higher intelligence. However, our work does not support the Intelligent Design movement in any way whatsoever but asks, and attempts to answer, the entirely scientific question of if their was a creator, how would it go about creating life in the universe.

    Now write the paper and submit it to PNAS. Good luck. –WmAD

  3. You see, they are not actually looking for a message. But once they have investigated their questions, having identified possible medium and messages, what then? Will they actually look for a message? Would that support ID? Maybe they’ll turn it over to SETI, lol, since we all know that SETI is not in the business of ID detection.

    Also, you see, this is real science. They actually identify the designer and examine the motives of the designer. Of course, that’s not really relevant, since their work does not support the Intelligent Design movement in any way whatsoever. I wonder if that is how they reason that their work does not support ID, since they actually identify the designer whereas ID does not.

  4. The paper begins like this…

    Let us pose the following question. Suppose some superior Being or Beings got the universe going.

    AHA! They capitalized the word ‘Being’ which obviously belies their subversive theological agenda to get schoolchildren everywhere listening for messages from God. What’s next, snakehandling?!?!?

  5. “Taunted by the Universe”:
    http://looneytunes.warnerbros......story.html

    ohhhhhhhhhh…. you waassscawwwwy wabbitt!

    No Elmer no! There’s an outbreak of Rabbititus!!! Don’t eat the Wabbit!

  6. That requisite line . . .

    …Question: Which sentence was introduced by the peer-reviewers?

  7. Conviction is a wonderful thing, depending on who is doing the convincing.

    “We have convinced ourselves that the medium for the
    message is unique: it could only be the cosmic microwave
    background.”

    By the same argument, the medium could also be introns. Any information in the CMB is subject to entropy and is fading.

    A probable message to look for might be:

    “My love for you will never die.”

  8. From the paper:
    “In the United States, people with cer-
    tain religious convictions have even imagined that the
    message might be encoded in the rock formation of the
    Grand Canyon, as another example. In our opinion, such
    suggestions are clearly not universal enough, and they
    seem to require direct intervention by the Creator during
    the evolution of the universe.”

    Gee, that sounds like the polar opposite of Intelligent Design, since irreducibly complex structures would *require* the intervention of the Creator during the evolution of the universe. And this was from the first draft of the paper, so I don’t think that the editors forced the authors to put it in there.

  9. I remember that clever fellow, Jules, over at ISCID, suggesting just such an idea a few years ago. I wonder if he could get any credit for this.

  10. I think if there is a message it would be:

    “Read the book idiots.”

  11. DK, “Read the book idiots”.

    That’d never work. The Christians, Jews and Muslims would go to war over which book to read. I think a few others would throw their hat into the brawl too.

  12. Quite interesting Bill; but now a million dollar question about a paradoxical situation:
    Are we allowed to cite this paper as ACTUAL EXAMPLE OF ID PEER-REVIEWED PAPER according to its content and in spite of A MERE STATEMENT?
    If the answer is Yes what do you thik will be the reaction of NDE supporters?

    In any case, this fact is good news.

    Kairos

  13. For those interested, the first and final versions and their pdf links are below.

    Version 1

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/physics/0510102v1

    We argue that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) provides a stupendous opportunity for the Creator of our universe (assuming one exists) to have sent a message to its occupants, using known physics. The medium for the message is unique. We elaborate on this observation, noting that it requires only careful adjustment of the fundamental Lagrangian, but no direct intervention in the subsequent evolution of the universe.

    full pdf version 1

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/p.....0102v1.pdf

    version 2

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/physics/0510102v2

    We argue that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) provides a stupendous opportunity for the Creator of universe our (assuming one exists) to have sent a message to its occupants, using known physics. Our work does not support the Intelligent Design movement in any way whatsoever, but asks, and attempts to answer, the entirely scientific question of what the medium and message might be IF there was actually a message. The medium for the message is unique. We elaborate on this observation, noting that it requires only careful adjustment of the fundamental Lagrangian, but no direct intervention in the subsequent evolution of the universe.

    full pdf version 2

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/p.....0102v2.pdf

    Final version pdf

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/p.....510102.pdf

    These are priceless. Will they leave them there where we can trace their evolution so easily?

  14. If you go here:

    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ub.....00622.html

    I think you’ll see that there is a chance the authors’ paper was inspired by an IDist.

  15. I think we could cite the paper if we can come up with a disclaimer. Anyone care to come up with some?

  16. “Grand Canyon, as another example. In our opinion, such
    suggestions are clearly not universal enough, and they
    seem to require direct intervention by the Creator during
    the evolution of the universe.”

    I drove through the south Utah desert last month, and the whole time I kept thinking how purposeful those mountain formations look. Like some kind of deliberate extraterrestrial artwork. Very enchanting.

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