American Institute of PhysicsPosted: May 6, 2012
Email sent on May 4, 2012
Dear Dr. H. Frederick Dylla,
I’v been corresponding with the American Association of Physics Teachers with the hope of persuading that organization and the American Journal of Physics to retract the article attached to this email. The article presents an absurd thermodynamic equation for the biosphere using the Boltzmann constant to prove that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. The article may have been written in good faith, but since its publication two articles have been published explaining why the AJP article is nonsense. These are the links to the two articles:
The absurdity of the article means that everyone who defends the article by action or inaction is guilty of disseminating untruth.
Most of my correspondence with the AJP and AAPT is on my blog at
I’ll be very happy to meet with you in person to explain why a retraction should be published.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Email sent on May 9, 2012
Dear Dr. Dylla,
I’v attached two articles about evolution and the second law of thermodynamics. One is by a professor of mathematics the other is by a professor of thermodynamics. They both say more than about thermodynamics than you need to know in order to see how absurd the AJP article is.
On May 1, I sent an email to Beth Cunningham suggesting that she terminate David Jackson from his position as editor of the AJP. He should have forwarded my criticisms of the article to the author for rebuttal. The author has a reputation to protect and a conscience to follow. Instead, he told me to submit my own article. I did so, and an anonymous reviewer said that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Jackson then used this review to justify not publishing a retraction of the article. This strikes me as being shockingly dishonest.
Cunningham may be in on the hoax because she warned me in an email that I had no right to publish the review of the anonymous reviewer. Her worrying about the contract I signed with the American Journal of Physics indicates to me that the conflict is causing her stress.
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Dear Mr. Roemer:
As you probably know, I serve as the Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics (AIP). Our organization is responsible for publishing 15 of AIP’s titles and 8 titles from five of AIP’s Members Societies. This collection of journals produced over 20,000 articles last year. In all cases, the editorial management and acceptance policies are maintained by independent editors. Editorial decisions involving acceptances, rejections and disputes of submitted articles are necessarily fire-walled from the publishing operations and services provided by AIP. My oversight of the publishing operations is primarily concerned with providing financially sustainable services for the production, dissemination and archiving of these journals. I also oversee the periodic review of editorial policies that are maintained by each of the AIP journal’s editorial operations. Over the five years that I have had the honor as serving as AIP’s Executive Director, I have not had any reason to intervene in any editorial decisions. In your case, I would not have the legal right to intervene for a journal owned by the American Association of Physics Teachers. However, it has been my experience that AAPT operates and maintains the editorial operations of its journal, the American Journal of Physics, according to well established editorial policies for peer-reviewed scientific journals, and I have seen no evidence to the contrary.
H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director and CEO
Email sent on May 10, 2012
Dear Dr. Lanzerotti,
The attached article uses the equation connecting entropy with thermodynamic probability for the biosphere to prove that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics ( S = Boltzmann constant x log W). It is as absurd to calculate the entropy of a biological entity as it is to calculate the temperature of a Boeing 747.
The article may have been written and published in good faith, but I have since pointed out the errors in the article to the editor and publisher of the AJP and H. Frederick Dylla. I find the behavior of all concerned morally reprehensible.
I’ll be glad to meet with you to explain why the AJP should publish a retraction of this shocking article.
My correspondence with the AJP and the AIP is on my blog at
Very truly yours,
Dear Dr. Roemer:
Regarding your message of today, copied below, I serve as the Chair of the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics. As the Chair, I have no role in the editorial policies of the physical science societies for which the Institute serves as the publisher. It would be highly irregular, quite wrong, and indeed unethical for me as the Chair of the publishing organization to to be involved with, or interfere with, the editorial policies of these societies.
Louis J. Lanzerotti
Chair, AIP Governing Board
Email sent on May 16, 2012
Subject: Pseudoscience in the AJP
Dear Lisa Nocks,
As an historian, you should be more than superficially interested in the question of whether a PhD from NYU (1971) doesn’t understand the second law of thermodynamics or the American Journal of Physics is deliberately perpetrating misinformation about physics and evolution. I suggest you discuss the matter with the colleague of yours to whom I explained the absurdity of the article. This is the answer I got: (see above)
Very truly yours, David Roemer
Posted on Science Writers of New York LinkedIn Group on May 17, 2012
I’v contacted everyone on the Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) explaining why the article should be retracted. This makes each of them guilty of disseminating misinformation about evolution and the second law of thermodynamics. The AAPT justifies its misconduct with a scam that prevents anyone from taking responsibility for the absurd article.
On May 10, I sent an email to the chairman of the American Institute of Physic Governing Board and a physics professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Louis Lanzerotti. Professor Lanzerotti’s response to the email was disingenuous.
On May 10, Lisa Nocks, also a professor NJIT, said she “liked” a response made by Andrew Skolnick three months ago explaining why I didn’t understand the second law of thermodynamics.
I sent Lisa my correspondence with the American Institute of Physics, and suggested that she ask Lanzerotti about the AJP article. Lanzerotti is a physicist with a responsible position.
If her colleague says I am wrong about the article, Lisa can let her derogation of me stand with a clear conscience. But if Lanzerotti avoids the matter, as he did in his email to me, then I think Lisa owes me an apology.
I sent emails to John Haynes and Robert Byer of the American Institute of Physics on 5/17/21012
I sent emails to Alan Leshner and Adrian Cho of the AAAS on 5/21
Letter sent to CEO of AIP Publishing on April 5, 2013
Dear Mr. Haynes,
I am writing to ask for an appointment to discuss a conversation I had yesterday over the telephone with Lisa McLaughlin. I called to see if Ms. McLaughlin got the email I sent her arguing that the article “Entropy and evolution” (Am. J. Phys., Vol. 76, No. 11, November 2008) is a hoax analogous to the infamous Piltdown Man hoax. Ms. McLaughlin admitted getting the email, but said, “I cannot comment about this matter. Thank you.” I did not get the opportunity to ask why the AIP’s Director of Publication Operations and a member of the Committee of Publication Ethics LinkedIn group can’t comment on an accusation of fraud against a member organization.
At our meeting I’ll attempt to explain to you why the AJP article should be retracted. I made a similar request to Beth Cunningham of the American Association of Physics Teachers, but it was ignored.
Very truly yours,David Roemer
Faxed to 516-349-7669
Mailed with a certificate of mailing.