Richard Sternberg Evolutionary Biologist
Smithsonian Controversy

Responses to Nature

Responses to questions from Nature

From: Richard Sternberg
To: Jim Giles
Date: Monday – September 6, 2004 3:59 PM
Subject: Re: Meyer paper

Dear Mr. Giles,

It may be too late for your deadline but I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

First: I was the managing editor of the Proceedings at the time the Meyer article was submitted, peer-reviewed, accepted for publication, and published. I was also the editor who handled the Meyer paper.

Second: I have no idea if this the first pro-ID paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. My impression is that there have been pro-ID articles published in the past, but I’m not an expert in that area. It has recently been brought to my attention that a paper supportive of Meyer’s argument has just appeared in Protein Science (, by none other than the controversial author Michael Behe.

Third: I have no idea. While we did not agree with all of its points and conclusions, the peer reviewers and I thought that the article raised important scientific questions and was worthy of publication.

In closing, I thought you might find useful the attached copy of an email that I sent to The Scientist in response to their questions regarding the Meyer paper.

Rick Sternberg

From: Richard Sternberg
To: Jim Giles
Date: Tuesday – September 7, 2004 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: Meyer paper

I have two Ph.D.s, one in biology (molecular evolutionary genetics) and another in theoretical biology, so I’m not a taxonomist as such. I am employed by the NIH at GenBank, where my work and research involves systematics and genome biology.


[This email was sent in response to the follow-up question of whether I was a taxonomist. The reporter did not respond to the email for more than a day, and when he responded it was to apologize and inform me that it was too late and that I had been incorrectly identified in the article.]