Draft articles for critical review

Draft articles for critical review

This page is reserved for draft articles and reports written by members but not yet ready for  publication. The authors seek ‘good-faith’ comments from both the general public and the scholarly community, with the intent of improving the paper before submitting to formal peer review.

Please note: These papers have not been endorsed by the Society. They have not been validated by peer review and should not be quoted or cited without permission of the author. All communications should be directed to the author.

The deadlines indicated are nominal ones. These drafts may remain online well after the deadline, to stimulate dialogue between interested parties.


“Australia has a long and inglorious record of establishment by governments of valuable, valued and successful science-based initiatives … that address issues of major continuing importance, only to later abolish them. The results are loss of focus, loss of group knowledge, loss of expertise, loss of analytical capability, wasted effort and resources, wasted expenditure and – most of all – wasted opportunity.”

So commences a draft paper by Society member David Marlow entitled Creating and then abolishing bodies of scientific knowledge, expertise and analytical capability: An Australian political malaise . Mr Marlow has made available Table 1  Gravestones from his manuscript and seeks critical comment from scientists, public servants and others who have personal knowledge of these organisations.He is seeking insights of the birth, achievements and political execution of any of the initiatives listed in ‘Gravestones’.

Mr Marlow has to date been unable to discover scholarly analyses of the life and death of these bodies except the Resource Assessment Commission. He encourages those with personal knowledge to publish similar peer-reviewed analyses of their initiatives along the lines of those published on the RAC*. Contact David Marlow <marlow46 AT SYMBOL gmail.com>.

* STEWART, D. & MCCOLL, G. 1994. The Resource Assessment Commission: An Inside Assessment. Australian Journal of Environmental Management Volume 1, 1994 – Issue 1. https://doi.org/10.1080/13221698.1994.11978477.

Origins science – Can science ever explain the origins of the universe?

Aerospace engineer and member Phil Andrews, in a new curiosity-led investigation, has questioned whether science has intellectual tools adequate to unearth the origin of the universe.

In a brief outline tabled and slideshow presented at the 2018 Annual General meeting, he explains: “Given that it is normal practice to apply ‘Methodological Naturalism’ to ‘Origins Science’, scientists must suppress any notion that what they are observing was supernaturally created, regardless of the evidence.  The concept of supernatural creation is not allowed and so scientists and science journals are not free to contemplate if something was supernaturally created, they must keep to natural explanations regardless of the evidence.  In so doing they become unscientific and break the tradition of independent inquiry”. This concept has been developed further in the attached brief. The brief was updated on 15 May 2019 – if you read an earlier version, check the revised version for some new insights.

Any person who would like to contribute to Phil Andrews’ exploration of this field is invited to contact him directly on <philandrews04 AT SYMBOL gmail.com>. Members and others with documentary materials (not otherwise copyrighted) that might shed light on this quest may supply them for posting here.

Essentialistic Pluralism in Species Conception: Stephen Maxwell

Essentialistic Pluralism in Species Conception

Keywords: Essentialism, evolution, taxonomy, species

Essentialistic pluralism allows the taxonomist the freedom to delineate species outside of any rigid conceptual framework. An overview of a select number of current species concepts is provided, offering these as potential choices to the pluralist. We argue for a refocusing of the species debate on criteria rather than concept, thereby highlighting the real with the context of the hypothetical nature of species. Finally, we will examine the complexity of species demarcation, noting the continuing failure for explicitness in conceptual application. Finally, we argue that essentialistic pluralism is a means of achieving the gold standard for universality through its refocus of the species debate on criteria rather than concept, and thereby highlighting the hypothetical nature of species.

The resurrection of essentialist arguments, in the context of the modern evolutionary synthesis, highlights the need for a break from historical definitions of kind and essence in order to bring a new paradigm in which these terms are used to conceptualise and understand evolutionary processes.