I attended the November 24 event at the New York Academy of Sciences, which included a question and answer period that was broadcasted over the internet. 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. (The evolution of bacteria to mammals is called common descent).
The panel did not respond to the first point. I feel the panel’s response to the second point was a prevarication. My opinion that Darwinism explains only adaptation is based on my reading of The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma by Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart, The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism by Michael J. Behe, and Only a Theory: Saving the Soul of America by Kenneth Miller.
The following is a quote about the evolution of complexity from The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally:
They [Pinker and Bloom] particularly emphasized that language is incredibly complex, as Chomsky had been saying for decades. Indeed, it was the enormous complexity of language that made it hard to imagine not merely how it had evolved but that it had evolved at all.
But, continued Pinker and Bloom, complexity is not a problem for evolution. Consider the eye. The little organ is composed of many specialized parts, each delicately calibrated to perform its role in conjunction with the others. It includes the cornea,…Even Darwin said that it was hard to image how the eye could have evolved.
The panel said pretty much the same thing Dr. Kenneally said. The audience included many high school students, and the panel let it think that natural selection explains common descent. I think the panel and the NYAS should make amends. One way this can be done is by providing the attendees with the link to my YouTube video:
And yet, he explained, it did evolve, and the only possible way is through natural selection—the inestimable back-and-forth of random genetic mutation with small effects…Over the eons, those small changes accreted and eventually resulted in the eye as we know it. (pp. 59–60)
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Email from Alan Leshner, Executive Publisher of Science Magazine, on May 23, 2012
Thank you for your note. As you might imagine, we do not get involved in these kinds of activities of other publishers.
Letter to Philip Sharp and William Press on January 18, 2013, and Michael Nelson on January 20, 2013
Dear Dr. Nelson,
As a council member of the AAAS you should be committed to its second mission (“Promote and defend the integrity of science and its use”), and should want the American Journal of Physics (AJP) to retract an absurd article titled, “Entropy and evolution” (Am. J. Phys., Vol. 76, No. 11, November 2008). The article repeats the creationist error that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics, and the even more nonsensical idea that evolution does not because of the sun. Unfortunately, the article goes so far as to write down an incorrect equation in thermodynamics to prove this quantitatively in units of entropy.
The AJP, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) are resorting to trickery to avoid publishing a retraction. The following article explains why the AJP article is absurd: http://creationwiki.org/Pseudoscience_in_the_American_Journal_of_Physics.
There is a considerable amount of correspondence between me and the AJP/AAPT about this matter. I have given this information to Science, by email (email@example.com) and fax (202-289-7562).
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Open letter to Allen Goldman (American Association for the Advancement of Science, Physics Section) and Howard Wactlar (National Science Foundation, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems)
The American Journal of Physics published an article (“Entropy and evolution,” Am. J. Phys., Vol. 76, No. 11, November 2008) that begins with the statement: “The creationist argument is that advanced organisms are more orderly than primitive organisms, and hence as evolution proceeds living things become more ordered, that is less disordered, that is less entropic. Because the second law of thermodynamics prohibits a decrease in entropy, it therefore prohibits biological evolution.”
The author says, “Two anonymous referees made valuable suggestions that improved this article significantly.” This raises the possibility that the peer-reviewers were more interested in anti-creationist propaganda than in making sure the article is a contribution to scientific knowledge.
The article says evolution decreased the entropy of the biosphere and estimates the decrease in joule/degrees. The article’s statements about evolution and entropy are unintelligible.
I pointed out the errors and misinformation in the article to American Journal of Physics, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics in a number of communications. The AJP, the AAPT, and the AIP are refusing to retract the article, which I think is the only remedy for its nonsense. I refer you to the following sources of information about evolution and thermodynamics:
- McIntosh, A.C., "Information and entropy – top -down or bottom-up development in living systems?", Int. J. of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics. Vol. 4, No. 4 (2009), pp. 351 to 385.
- Fourth paragraph of Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and Agnes Babloyantz, “Thermodynamics of evolution”, Physics Today 25(11) (1972), pp. 23 to 28. View online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3071090.
- My article in http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/MAYnewsletter12.pdf
Letter to Ellis Rubinstein, President of the New York Academy of Sciences, February 26, 2013
Dear Mr. Rubinstein,
As a member of The American Association for the Advancement of Science, I think you have a special duty to respond to the open letter below. In addition, you can be of service to the physics departments of Columbia, Yeshiva, St. Johns, Fordham, CCNY, New York University, and Queens College. I’v mailed letters to the presidents of these organizations questioning the character of the department chairs for not responding to my invitation to a lecture explaining why the attached article (“Entropy and evolution”) should be retracted.
Dr. Fredy Zypman is not supporting my efforts to get the American Journal of Physics to retract an article published in November, 2008 (“Entropy and evolution,” Am. J. Phys., Vol. 76, No. 11). This article disseminates misinformation about evolutionary biology and has no scientific value. The AJP is not following accepted procedures for a peer-reviewed article when an error has been pointed out. By his silence and inaction, Zypman and Yeshiva U. are helping the AJP cover up its mistake. The Catholic Truth of Scotland published an essay I wrote in May, 2012, about this because of the connection between evolution and religious faith in the minds of many people. The following link makes it clear to anyone why the AJP article is absurd:
Dr. Stephen Barr and Dr. Randy Isaac are two prominent physicists who write about evolution and religion and who are Christians. They are also guilty of supporting the actions of the AJP and its publishers. Barr angrily wrote to me saying that I was wrong and was harming the Catholic Church. Isaac offered to “walk me through” the matter. Barr and Isaac were sincere at first, but their behavior changed for the worse when I replied to their condescending response to my allegations. This does not Zypman’s lack of interest, but rather shows how important it is for the AJP to retract the article.
The theory of evolution is that mammals evolved from bacteria over a period of 3.5 billion years. Many who call this theory a fact think the theory that free will is an illusion is also a fact. Both theories are related to religious faith. Religion causes conflict between people, and conflict causes anxiety. Inhibition is a defense mechanism against anxiety, and many scientists are inhibited from thinking intelligently and rationally and behaving honestly about evolution.
Fact or theory, evolution gives rise to the question of what caused it. The theory of natural selection only explains the adaptation of species to the environment. In other words, natural selection explains why giraffes have long necks, but not how giraffes evolved from bacteria in only 3.5 billion years. Evolutionary biologists always speak of “adaptive evolution.”
This limitation of the explanatory power of natural selection gives rise to the erroneous idea that evolution violates the laws of physics, specifically the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that nature tends to go from order to disorder and that entropy either increases or remains the same. Entropy is a thermodynamic variable related to heat and temperature. The truth is that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to the evolution of stars or biological evolution.
The AJP article says the second law is not violated because it only applies to isolated systems, not systems exposed to sunlight. This reasoning is unintelligible. The idea that evolution violates the second law is intelligible, but simply wrong. What makes the AJP article morally offensive is that it misapplies a standard thermodynamic equation to prove that the second law of thermodynamics is not violated. Anyone who can’t see that the calculation is nonsense should not be teaching thermodynamics. Anyone who remains silent about this outrageous article is a moral coward.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Mailed with certificate of mailing
Letter to Hon. Rush Holt (12th Congressional District, NJ), April 18, 2014
Dear Congressman Holt,
I graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1971 under Daniel Zwanziger and got an invitation to your talk on Thursday. Unfortunately, I’v had some very negative dealings with Robert Richardson, David Grier, and John Sexton in connection with my campaign to get the American Journal of Physics to retract an article titled “Entropy and Evolution.” The article undermines the integrity of science, exacerbates the cultural war about evolution, and gives terrorists sound reasons for thinking the United States is the “Great Satan.”
I am writing to ask for an appointment so I can explain why the AJP article should be retracted. I made a similar request to Senator Gillibrand and have added to this fax two faxes I sent to her office that attempt to explain the scandal, as well as the article in question.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Faxed to 609-750-0618
Email sent to Rush Holt, who is now the CED of the AAAS, Friday, April 24, 2015
On April 24, 2014, I buttonholed Dr. Holt at New York University where we both got PhDs in physics and told him about an absurd article on evolution and religion published by the American Journal of Physics. I followed up with faxes to his office with the hope of putting pressure on the AJP to retract the article. My letters to him and well as my correspondence with the AAAS is at http://www.pseudoscience123.com.
By a funny coincidence, I tried contacting Congressman Holt again in New Jersey and found out that he works for the AAAS. I'd like to meet with him and explain how the United States will benefit if the AJP retracts the malicious article.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Letter to Hon. Rush Holt,April 25, 2014
Dear Congressman Holt,
I hope you accept the challenge I explained to you at yesterday’s reception of getting the American Journal of Physics to retract the divisive article about evolution and thermodynamics. As you well know, thermodynamics is the study of solids, liquids, and gases, and has nothing to do with the evolution of stars or living organisms.
The culture war about evolution is currently raising its ugly head at Ball State University where a professor of science is advocating the theory of intelligent design. A previous occurrence was reported in a 29-page congressional document titled, “Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian: Smithsonian’s Top Officials Permit the Demotion and Harassment of Scientist Skeptical of Darwinian Evolution” (December 2006).
A retraction will constitute an admission that the scientific establishment in the United States is capable of being irrational about evolution. This might inspire advocates of intelligent design to stop promoting their irrational ideas about evolution.
We know that God exists because we are embodied spirits and because we are hoping or assuming the universe is intelligible. In my opinion, evolution is evidence that God does not exist because it is evidence that the universe is not intelligible. Evolution is, however, a reason to believe in the Bible because the Bible says God created the universe from nothing.
I recently sent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand a privacy release form in the expectation she will assign a caseworker for this scandal that involves the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Faxed to 609-750-0618
Faxed to 866-824-6340 (Sen. Gillibrand)
Open Letter to the CEO of American Association for the Advancement of Science
Dear Mr. Holt,
I just told every member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the United States House of Representatives about my request to explain to you in person why the American Journal of Physics should retract a malicious and absurd article titled, “Entropy and evolution.” I have been writing about entropy and evolution since May 1, 2010, when I reviewed a book by Richard Dawkins that criticizes certain Christians for saying evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. According to this law of nature, the entropy of an isolated liquid, solid, or gas always increases or remains constant. All of my correspondence with scientists, government officials, and private organizations is at http://www.pseudoscience123.com.
The mission statement of the AAAS promises to, “Promote and defend the integrity of science and its use.” On October 18, 2002, the AAAS stated, “The lack of scientific warrant for so-called ‘intelligent design theory’ makes it improper to include as a part of science education.” The AAAS should be against all pseudoscience, not just pseudoscience disseminated to promote religious faith.
On a personal level, we both have a Ph.D. in physics from New York University, and I buttonholed you about this matter on April 24, 2014. Also, I corresponded by email with Robert Richardson, who is a professor of physics at New York University. I wrote a letter to the President of New York University criticizing the behavior of Dr. Richardson and the character of the chair of the physics department. If you have the integrity or courage to meet with me, this is what I will explain to you:
Arguments for God's Existence
There are two logically sound arguments for God's existence. The first is called the cosmological argument and the second is based on the objectivity of moral laws. The cosmological argument has nothing to do with the Big Bang, fine-tuning of physical constants, or the complexity of a living organism. It is based, rather, on the observation that human beings have free will. This means humans are finite beings and finite beings need a cause. If all beings needed a cause, the universe would not be intelligible. Hence, there exists an infinite being. In Western religions, we call the infinite being God.
In one of the Eastern religions, God is called Dao, which means “the way.” This brings us to the second argument. If one person likes chocolate and another likes vanilla, you can't say one is right and the other is wrong. They simply have different values. Suppose one person likes to torture and kill people. If you say such a person is wrong, you are implying that there exists a transcendent reality that makes that person’s values wrong.
It is perfectly reasonable to say these arguments are not persuasive and that we don't know whether or not God exists. However, atheists and agnostics generally don’t say and think this. What they say and think is, "We don't know whether or not God exists." They leave out references to the arguments either consciously or unconsciously because thinking about God causes anxiety, and inhibition is a defense mechanism for anxiety. Atheists and agnostics, I am suggesting, are inhibited from behaving reasonably, intelligently, and honestly about anything related to God's existence.
The Theory of Evolution
The theory of evolution is that microscopic organisms evolved into whales over a period of about 100 million decades. I'm using decades as units instead of years or seconds because it takes 20 years for a single fertilized egg to produce all of the cells in a human body. You get a better insight into how rapidly evolution is supposed to have occurred by measuring the time in decades
I am also emphasizing that the theory of evolution is indeed a theory because many people feel very strongly that it is some kind of fact. The most ridiculous thing these people say is that the term theory has a different meaning in science than it has in day-to-day life.
We see the fossils of animals that don't exist and ask where they came from. The answer or theory is biological evolution. Another example of a question and answer is: What is free will? One theory, popular among atheists and agnostics, is that free will is an illusion. There is a lot of evidence for evolution, but there is very little evidence free will is an illusion.
The Theory of Intelligent Design
Fact or theory, evolution raises the question of what caused it. In the middle of the 18th century, Pierre Louis Maupertuis invented the theory of natural selection. Around 1800, Jean Baptiste Lamarck invented what is now called epigenetics. My understanding is that Charles Darwin contributed nothing to evolutionary biology. Other theories are natural genetic engineering and facilitated variation. These theories only explain the adaptation of species to the environment. They do not explain common descent. The only theory that even attempts to explain common descent is the theory of intelligent design (ID).
The trouble with ID is that there is no evidence for it. What advocates of ID consider to be evidence is really evidence that the universe is not intelligible. Advocates of ID generally believe in God. Just as atheists and agnostics are suffering from cognitive dissonance, advocates of ID are anxious about religion and inhibited from thinking rationally and intelligently.
An example of misconduct caused by the conflict over evolution and religion can be seen from the title alone of a 27-page report written by a subcommittee of the House of Representatives in 2006: “Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian: Smithsonian’s Top Officials Permit the Demotion and Harassment of Scientist Skeptical of Darwinian Evolution.” The scientist was Richard Sternberg who was an editor of the peer-reviewed journal of the Biological Society of Washington. He published an article promoting ID, and was publicly criticized by the Biological Society of Washington. He could not be penalized because his day job was at the Smithsonian. His colleagues there did the dirty work.
What Sternberg did was certainly wrong. The article was a review of the different theories about the Cambrian explosion 54 million decades ago. The reference to ID came at the end of the article, and the peer-reviewers thought it was a harmless philosophical addendum that did not detract from the scientific value of the paper. Sternberg should have deleted this reference, or at the very least, advised his fellow editors about the article. He published the article behind the backs of his colleagues.
I experienced the same kind of animus in my email exchanges with Professor Richardson. I think he found out I was a retired high school teacher, and saw fit to tell me that I could not afford to pay for his services.
Entropy and Evolution (Am. J. Phys., November 2008)
The introduction of this paper correctly refutes the pseudoscience that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics with the statement: “Disorder is a metaphor for entropy, not a definition.”
The author then makes the following statement, which I find unintelligible: “Although the entropy of the universe increases with time, the entropy of any part of the universe can decrease with time, so long as that decrease is compensated by an even larger increase in some other part of the universe.”
Consider what happens with energy and entropy when you place a hot block of metal in contact with a cold block of metal to create a bigger block of metal. Energy flows from the hot block to the cold block in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics. The amount of energy gained is equal to the amount of energy lost, just as when you buy a gallon of gas. The gas station is compensated for its loss of the gas with the dollars paid because there is a sense in which a gallon of gas is equal to $2.50, or whatever the price is. The bigger block is not robbed of any energy.
Considering entropy instead of energy, the entropy of the cold block increases, the entropy of the hot block decreases, and the entropy of the bigger block increases. I can’t understand why anyone would say the decrease in the entropy of the hot block is compensated for by the increase in the entropy of the cold block.
There is another way of proving that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics because there is an equation that describes this law. If evolution violated the second law, you could prove it by doing a calculation. The fact that no such calculation is possible proves the second law is not violated. This paper disgraces every physicist in the United States because it performs such a calculation to prove evolution does not violate the second law.
According to Thomas Aquinas, the primary principle of morality is that we are responsible for our actions. Moral laws are secondary principles. Our conscience tells us whether or not circumstances justify saying things that are untrue or ending someone’s life. In my opinion, there can never be a justification for pseudoscience. We don’t need to consult our consciences because we can always follow the moral law against lying.
Also, I don’t think there is such a thing as a small sin as opposed to a big sin because God is not injured when we do something wrong. This, I think, is the meaning of the exchange between Spencer Tracy, playing an American judge in the movie “Judgment at Nuremburg,” and Burt Lancaster, playing a Nazi judge:
Burt Lancaster: All those millions of people … I never thought it would come to that.
Spencer Tracy: It came to that when you sentenced an innocent man to death.
Very truly yours, David Roemer