HELEN Very often on the creation-evolution forums, evolutionists will challenge the creationists to produce evidence and references from peer reviewed material. What 'peer reviewed' means is that an article submitted to a journal or other publication is then sent by the editor to two or more people who are considered reliable experts in the particular field the article is dealing with. These reviewers then check the article for accuracy, consistency, and such and return the article with their review to the editor. The article may be considered ready for publishing immediately, in need of some minor 'repairs', in need of some major adjustments and a rewrite, or simply unsuitable altogether for that journal for any one of a number of reasons. The editor then decides what he wants to do based on the opinions of the reviewers. Although authors are sometimes asked to suggest reviewers for their articles, the editors of the major journals already have a list of reviewers they use for the different areas of research their particular journals cover. At its best, this system weeds out junk material and makes sure that the material published is of the best possible quality and workmanship. At its worst, however, the peer review system only perpetuates the ideas of the editors and their chosen peer reviewers regardless of conflicting data or the sloppiness of accepted articles. Typical of all of us, the peer review system includes both the best and the worst. An article recently dealing with this subject quotes a critic as saying, 'Not only did peer review pander to egos and give researchers licence to knife each other in the back with impunity, he said, but it was also "completely useless at detecting research fraud" and let editors off the hook for publishing poor quality studies.' ( http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7383/241/a ) In my own personal experience as both a peer reviewer and a pre-editor who helps prepare articles (at the request of the authors) for submission to a journal, I have seen some horrid abuses of the system. 1. I have seen a peer reviewer refuse to submit his critique for an extended period of time, effectively blocking publishing of an article he didn't agree with but couldn't really find fault with. 2. I have seen peer reviewers refuse to review the work of an author they didn't like personally. (Although the articles generally go to the reviewers with the author's name 'unknown', the work of a number of well-published individuals is well-known enough for the reviewer to have a pretty good idea whose work he is reviewing.) 3. I have seen peer reviewers pass articles that were later proved to be incorrect, being too lazy or rushed or both to check the references in the article to make sure they were being used correctly. Because the editors themselves can pick the peer reviewers they want, the views of the editors are those promoted by the journal. This happens both on the evolution and creation sides of the fence. Thus, when an evolutionist challenges a creationist in a forum to please produce evidence from a 'mainstream' (meaning evolutionary) peer reviewed journal, what he is really asking for is some kind of evidence against evolution being published by a journal which is promoting evolution. It is only by accident and a great deal of in depth research on the part of the creationist that this can be done. There are snippets, which are often not peer-reviewed, in news items and such in these journals which can be gathered indicating that an iceberg of information lies behind what is not being said. But it can be hard. Creation journals are, of course, considered nonsensical by evolutionists. The fact is that both sides are guilty of the same thing: not maintaining quality but favoring only those articles promoting their world-view. So, for creationists who receive this challenge, I would offer the following: don't worry about it. Look for the truth. God's creation does not contradict His Word. Don't be content with the commonly publicized material from either side. Be willing to dig a little. For instance, one thing I am very curious about now is the report of a 'four-winged dinosaur' series of fossils coming out of China. Same place which forged another fossil of a dino/bird transitional a couple of years ago. I'm half expecting a 'made in China' sticker to be attached one of these days. Yet, despite the bizarre claims being attached to this fossil, the prestigious journal Nature published a full article proclaiming the importance of this find. I question just how accurate a lot of things are now when they proclaim something astounding having been discovered. Peer review means almost nothing in terms of accuracy anymore. No matter where you read something, I would urge those interested to dig for the truth of the matter anyway.