New York UniversityPosted: February 22, 2012
Email sent on Feb. 15, 2012
Dear Prof. Richardson,
Burton Budick thought you might be interested in the following issue I am involved in. I know Burton from playing squash at NYU, where I got a PhD under Dan Zwanziger in 1971.
The editor of the American Journal of Physics and the present and future presidents of the American Association of Physics Teachers invited me to write an article in rebuttal of “Evolution and the second law of thermodynamics,” (Am. J. Phys. 77, Vol. 10, October 2009, pp. 922-925). This article is actually a comment about “Entropy and evolution” (Am. J. Phys. 76, vol.11, November 2008, pp. 1031-1033). I consider the articles pseudoscience and explained why in emails to the author and editor.
There is a connection between evolution and the second law of thermodynamics which I analyze at
I am pretty sure that the entropy equations in the articles are nonsense, but I don’t know enough about statistical mechanics to explain why. They use the equation S = klogW, but there is no justification for the use of Boltzman’s constant for biological systems. Is there?
If you are interested, I can email you my correspondence with the editor and publisher of the articles, and the pdf files of the two articles.
Very truly yours,David Roemer
Nice to hear from you. The k in S = klogW is just a question of units and has no physical significance. logW is dimensionless and S has the dimensions of energy divided by temperature. k makes them match. In the “right” set of units k=1. Please send me your work as I am always interested.
I have spent some time with your work but am not able to make an informed comment. I do sometimes testify as an expert in court. But my rate is $400/hr portal to portal. I doubt that you can afford a day of my time.
Email sent to chair of physics department
Dear Dr. Grier,
I’m trying to get the American Journal of Physics to retract the attached article titled, “Entropy and evolution.” Equation 4b is an incorrect application of the Boltzmann equation for entropy. My correspondence about the issue is at
An article explaining why the AJP article is absurd is at
I’ll be giving a lecture in New York City about the matter on March 15, 2013. In addition to Equation 4b, I’ll be discussing the following:
- Darwinism only explains the adaptation of species to the environment, not common descent.
- Advocates of intelligent design and nonreligious dilettantes are inhibited from thinking intelligently and rationally about evolution because of anxiety about religion.
- It is an error to think evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics, but it is a more egregious error to think evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics because of the sun.
There is no cost for the lecture and no ticket, but to obtain a reservation and the exact location and time click on the following link:
<A HREF=”http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/316545“>Reservation for “Pseudoscience in the American Journal of Physics”</A>
I’v corresponded with Dr. Robert Richardson about this matter.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Letter sent to president on February 24, 2013
Dear Mr. Sexton,
Dr. David Grier 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, Grier is 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 justify Grier’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 literally 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
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