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Did the American Journal of Physics err?
  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith March 2012
    Sometimes you must wonder whether you are the only intelligent person on the planet, David? ;)
  • exchemist March 2012
    Steady on, chaps! Simon, David finds it hard to argue without slipping into abuse, no doubt about that, and evidently you have been on the receiving end of so much that your fuse is now also getting short where he is concerned. But David and I are, amazingly, still on-topic, and I think he and I are getting along OK, though it may well be becoming terribly boring and inconsequential to other readers. If it's any consolation I think we've nearly exhausted this. But I remain interested, since I am quite sure that similar arguments will be advanced by people such as the C4ID crowd and I think it's good for me to get my own position into shape, in case I ever come into contact with such people.     

    David, I contend that if you try asking some biologists, you will quickly find several who will disagree with you (maybe Simon is one, I don't know: he certainly seemed pretty appalled). 

    And of course the increase in complexity of the biosphere, like almost all the other processes of life, is considered to be driven by energy input from the sun (I think I would say mainly light rather than heat, though maybe one can ascribe the light to black body radiation due to the sun's temperature, so light from heat). There is nothing inconsistent with thermodynamics about this, for the simple reason that such a statement is not, and does not purport to be, a complete statement  about the HEAT BALANCE in the system. Specifically, it says nothing about the amount of heat coming OUT of the system, at the same time as the energy inputs. There is plenty of this heat output, which joins the general radiation into space by the Earth, and it is emitted from organisms at a low temperature. That, for me, is the key to the whole thing.   


  • davidmihjn March 2012
    On November 24, 2009, I attended an event held at the New York Academy of Science honoring Charles Darwin. The program included a question and answer period with three prominent evolutionary biologists: Gerald M. Edelman (1972 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology), Paul Ekman (1971 Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health), and Terrence Deacon (Professor of Biological Anthropology and Linguistics at University of California-Berkeley). The program can be see at the website of the Public Broadcasting Service. My question is 2 hours, 21 minutes, and 43 seconds into the video.

    After telling the panel of experts I made a video on YouTube titled “The Truth About Evolution and Religion”, I said:

        1. Evolution applies only to the bodies of humans, not their souls.

        2. Natural selection only explains the adaptation of organisms to their environment, not the increase in the complexity of organisms as they evolved from bacteria to mammals (common descent).

    The panel did not respond to the first point. My theory is that they know it is true. They did not admit that it is true because they feel strongly that the soul is just an idea. Religious people think the soul is spiritual. They don't want to say anything that promotes religious faith.

    Terrance Deacon answered the second point and lied. He said natural selection does explain common descent. The question Simon and AnthonySmith should consider is not whether my language is extreme, but whether it is true.

    The American Journal of Physics articles says that adding heat to a system can decrease the system's entropy (increases the order). This is nonsense.

  • exchemist March 2012
    OK David, this will be my last on this subject. You put your question to 3 biologists, the one that replied disagreed with you...and your reaction is to say he lied! 

    Enough.  
  • davidmihjn March 2012
    I don’t consider it a “disagreement.” The behavior of the panel of experts showed a lack of integrity. I see the same lack of integrity here. You are more interested in maintaining your self-image as being enlightened and intellectually superior to advocates of intelligent design and creationism than in understanding evolutionary biology.

    I proved from my quotes and my YouTube video that natural selection only explains adaptation. The people you admire and trust have mislead you, but you can’t acknowledge this. Instead, you use a cheap trick to make it appear that I am the one who lacks integrity.

  • davidmihjn April 2012
    I’d like to try to explain why the American Journal of Physics is so reluctant to publish a retraction its shocking articles. Saying that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics is equivalent to saying that the theory of intelligent design is true. Intelligent design is the only theory that attempts to explain evolution, but there is no evidence supporting this theory. It is just a bright idea, like saying free will is an illusion.

    Natural selection only explains the adaptation of species to their environment. It does not explain the increase in the complexity of life as it evolved from bacteria to mammals over a period of 3 billion years. Biologists understand this, but many laymen do not. What follows is an excerpt from a book by Kenneth Miller (Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for the American Soul) rebutting intelligent design and Michael Behe (The Edge of Evolution:  The Search for the Limits of Darwinism).

    In my opinion, Miller is being disingenuous. He never admits that there is a limit to the explanatory power of natural selection. If he said this, the book would no sell. A laymen reading this book might think that Behe says, “Natural selection does not explain the complexity of life” and Miller says, “Natural selection explains the complexity of life.

    On page 67 Miller says: "A line in the sand is drawn, and on the other side of that line is intelligent design.” [Behe says that natural selection fails on the other side of the line. Whether or not intelligent design succeeds is a philosophical question, according to Behe.] The next paragraph says:

    “How does Behe know where to draw that line? He takes a rough estimate from a 2004 clinical paper as to how often resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine has arisen in natural populations. ….1 chance in 10(20th power)…In fact he even invents a term for it, calling it …CCC…..To convert this number into an argument against evolution, Behe engages in a sleight of hand reminiscent of his argument for irreducible complexity.

    “…….Given Behe’s estimate that fewer than 10 (40th power) cells have existed during the entire history of life on earth, that means that the evolution of even a moderately complex system of interacting proteins is far beyond the “edge” of what evolution can accomplish. He is so certain of this conclusion he calls it the two binding sites rule. Whenever we see two binding sites in a protein, he assures us, we see the hand of intelligent design. [Again, Miller attacks intelligent design instead of defending natural selection].

    “….. Behe’s math requires that all of the mutations that produce a CCC must occur together, and they can be favored by natural selection only when all of these highly improbable events take place. ….Molecular studies of drug resistance in the parasite show that it is not the all-or-nothing one-chance-in-10(20th power) event he claims. Rather, full-blown resistance is preceded by a number of mutations that confer partial resistance, enabling natural selection to work at every step of the process. This means, as Nicholas Matzke wrote in his review of [i]The Edge of Evolution[/i], that chlorozuine resistance “is both more complex and vastly more probable than Behe thinks.

    “….What he ignores, of course, is something that we already know to be true in the case of CCC, namely that natural selection can favor intermediate stages on the way to the evolution of the final, fully resistant organism."

    The biological disagreement between Behe, Miller, and Matze is over Behe’s mathematics. My interpretation is that Behe is saying there are two evolutionary steps from species A to species B. Miller is saying there are 10 partial steps from species A to species B. Hence, the probability of getting from A to B is much less than what Behe says. Miller and Matze are not saying that the partial steps are the result of natural selection. They are saying that when a partial step occurs, natural selection acts upon that partial step.

  • davidmihjn July 2012
    I just sent the following email to Denis Alexander, Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. The article I submitted for publication is at


    The AJP article is titled "Entropy and evolution" and was published in Nov. 2008. 

    Attached is a minor revision of the article I submitted to you on June 26, plus the American Journal of Physics article that should be retracted. The AJP article gives a fake equation to prove evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. 

    David Jackson, the editor of the AJP, is using tricks to avoid taking responsibility for the article. Instead of giving my critique to the author for rebuttal, he told me to submit an article for publication. An anonymous reviewer said I was wrong. Jackson is using this review to refuse to publish a retraction. If the author of the article tried to defend it, I would have gone to the university he teaches physics at and told them he was not qualified to teach physics. 

    This puts editors such as yourself in difficult moral position. If you don't publish my article, I can accuse you of promoting pseudoscience. If you do publish my article, your readers will wonder why the AJP didn't retract the absurd article.  

    In this case, the pseudoscience is designed to promote atheism. Since you are on the record as being against pseudoscience that promotes belief in the Bible, you should speak out against the AJP article.