Messiah College and Calvin CollegePosted: August 28, 2012
email to Ted Davis on 8/27/2012
Dear Dr. Ted Davis,
I think you should know that if you don’t take any action at all, I’ll be bringing the matter to the attention of Dr. Phipps.
Dear Dr Roemer,
This is simply a threat. Shame on you—is this how you respond to people who don’t do your bidding? You dragged me into this entirely on your own, Dr Roemer. I don’t encourage you to contact President Phipps, not because I fear any action she might take—she fully supports my involvement with BioLogos, and she understands that you are simply on a crusade to cause trouble for me (and others), because we won’t help you fight your own battles—but because it will simple waste some of her very valuable time. I needn’t add, that you are doing that already with my time. If you raise this issue with me again, I will have no choice but to block your messages. I have classes to teach, and students to meet with, and your concerns are not high on the agenda.
Since you did not send me information about any articles you’ve written for “First Things,” I gather that you actually are not a writer for that magazine, as you claimed. At least, I can find no evidence of such activity.
Edward B. Davis
Professor of the History of Science
One College Avenue Suite 3030
Mechanicsburg PA 17055
Voice: 717-766-2511, ext 6840
Dear Dr. Phipps,
I think you should be aware of the conflict I’m having with a number of physicists and scientists about an absurd article published by the American Journal of Physics (Entropy and evolution, Nov. 2008). One of them is Ted Davis, who you are trusting to teach Christian students. His behavior is no worse or better than the behavior of a number of other scientists that I have confronted about this article.
- The theory of natural selection only explains the adaptation of animals to the environment, not common descent. Not enough is known about the innovations natural selection acts upon to understand how bacteria evolved into mammals in only 3.5 billion years.
- The only theory that explains common descent is intelligent design, but there is no evidence for ID. Many scholars think that what is wrong with ID is that it is “not science.”
- The second law of thermodynamics (entropy or disorder increases in an open system of non-interacting particles) does not apply to evolution. Some scholars think evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics and others think it does not. The second law also does not apply to the evolution of stars from hydrogen gas.
- The sun increases disorder in the biosphere because it heats things up. Some scholars think that evolution does not violate the second law because the earth is exposed to energy from the sun.
- The entropy of the biosphere cannot be calculated using the Boltzmann constant and an estimate of the thermodynamic probability of living organisms. An article published by the American Journal of Physics (Vol. 76, No. 11, November 2008) performs such a calculation. You can download this article at https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bw0xQqr5YbtJQ09ybDR0ejd2TTA
Email to Clarence Menniga and Provost of Calvin College on 10/11/12. Subject: American Scientific Affiliation
Why haven’t you responded to my review of your book on Amazon.com and the Open Forum of the American Scientific Affiliation? It indicates that you know the attached American Journal of Physics article (“Entropy and evolution”) should be retracted. Your comments about entropy and evolution are just a mindless repetition of the errors in the AJP article.
Your silence raises questions about your integrity. Your book criticizes creationists for distorting science. You and the AJP are lying about science, as I explained to the AJP. The AJP should have given my critique to the author of the article. If the author said I was wrong, I would have written to his college and told them he wasn’t qualified to teach physics.
I posted my explanation of why the article should be retracted in the Open Forum of the ASA. Randy Isaac replied with nonsense and Robert Kaita is letting him get away with it. The ASA is effect is helping the AJP cover up its error.
If the AJP retracts the article it will be very embarrassing for atheists. Atheists promote the scam that natural selection explains the complexity of life and that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. The truth is that natural selection only explains the adaptation of species to the environment, though there is no way to draw a hard line between adaptation and common descent. The truth is that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to evolution, just as it does not apply to the evolution of stars.
My correspondence with physicists about this issue is at
A version of my attached article was published by the Catholic Truth of Scotland:
My YouTube video titled “The Truth About Evolution and Religion” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKaF8vX6HXQ) also sheds light on this issue.
What you and all the members of the ASA, especially those who profess to be Christians, is resign from the ASA.
Email sent on 10/18/12
2. Natural selection means natural selection acting upon innovations. According to James Shapiro (University of Chicago), the old paradigm for innovations was random mutations and the new paradigm is genetic engineering. Natural selection only explains the adaptation of species to the environment. It does not explain how bacteria evolved into mammals in only 3.5 billion years. The only theory that explains this is intelligent design, but there is no evidence for intelligent design.
3 and 4. All you need to know about the evolution of stars is that the hydrogen atoms in outer space go from a large volume to a small volume. This is the exact opposite of what happens in the free expansion of a gas. The second law is not universal. The second law is absolutely true because a system of non-interacting molecules will always fill up the entire container it is in. I understand that the second law can account for and include chemical reactions. The second law does not apply to the evolution of stars or the evolution of life.
5. A living organism is not a sum of chemical reactions. A chemical reaction can be described with a balanced equation. A living organism engages in genetic engineering. If you place a single bacterium in a solution of sucrose, a set of proteins will ingest the sucrose and another set will transform the sucrose into new cellular matter. The number of bacteria will increase until the sucrose runs out. If you place the bacterium in a solution of sucrose and fructose, the bacteria will ingest the sucrose, but not the fructose, until the sucrose is gone. The bacteria will stop reproducing for a time. During this time, the bacteria create a new set of proteins that enable it to ingest and synthesize the fructose. This is called genetic engineering.
6. All substances, like an object made from FeO, have a temperature because it can be measured with a thermometer. A Boeing 747 in flight does not have a temperature. Since the concept of entropy is derived from the concept of temperature and heat, a Boeing 747 does not have entropy. Likewise, a living organism does not have entropy. The science articles that discuss the entropy of an organism are breaking the organism down into the parts that can be described with chemical reactions.
7. I noticed with interest your insight that the term complexity is not easy to define. Nevertheless, biologists consider a mammal to be more complex than a bacterium. Since we agree that the second law does not apply to evolution, what is it that we disagree about? Why don’t you agree that the AJP article is absurd? The article calculates the entropy of a biological system using the Boltzmann constant and an estimate of the thermodynamic probability. The connection between evolution and the second law is this: Physicists calculate the probability that all the molecules in a gas will huddle into one corner of the container. Biologists calculate the probability of getting the primary structure of a protein with the random selection of amino acids. They do the same kind of probability calculations.
8. The growth of a tree is not the result of chemical reactions. The biological process involves cell differentiation. The tree starts as one cell and becomes two identical cells, and then four identical cells. Then the cells start to change. The next eight cells are not identical. A grown tree has a large number of different cells. Your statement that it is the result of “natural processes” is quite puzzling. Are there unnatural processes? As I understand developmental biology, there is very little known or understood about how a single cell develops into a multi-cellular organism. This is one of the complexities of life, in addition to molecular machinery, genetic engineering, and the primary structure of a protein.
9. Again we agree that evolution does not violate the second law. The second law does not apply to evolution. It applies only to non-interacting particles and chemical reactions. Evolution is not the result of chemical reactions. Why then don’t you agree that the AJP article should be retracted?
In conclusion, saying evolution violates the second law is an ignorant way of expressing the limited explanatory power of natural selection. It is just as ignorant to say evolution does not violate the second law. It is unintelligent to say evolution doesn’t violate the second law because the Earth is not a closed system. The Earth is not a closed system because it gets heat energy from the Sun. Heat tends to increase disorder and entropy. The AJP article exceeds in stupidity and ignorance these ideas because it includes an incorrect equation for entropy.
The motivation for this nonsense is clear to me. Atheists don’t like to admit that intelligent design is a better theory, in some sense, than natural selection. They don’t like to admit that the second law does not apply to evolution because that sounds like saying evolution violates the second law. Saying evolution violates the second law sounds like creationism and intelligent design. Atheists are more interested in marginalizing intelligent design and creationism than in understanding and teaching evolutionary biology.
Email received from Clarence Menninger on 28 Oct 2012
1. The meaning of “genetic engineering” as you use it to describe the growth process of an oak tree, and presumably the growth process of any other living organism, is very different from the usual meaning of that term. The usual meaning is a modification of the genetic makeup of a living cell by human intention and human intervention. In whatever sense the growth of an oak tree is genetic engineering, it is self-engineering. I prefer to think of it as the product of God’s design, taking place as He intended it to.
2. By “natural processes” I mean those events that take place without human intention or intervention. Well, I guess I intend to eat, and natural processes take over from there. Certainly the growth processes that you erroneously call “genetic engineering” are included in my “natural processes.”
3. Quite a few years ago, Michael Polanyi wrote a brief piece entitled “Life is more than physics and chemistry.” I subscribe to that perspective. Nevertheless, life involves chemical processes. I don’t understand your aversion to considering chemical processes; God used/uses a lot of them in his design for living organisms.
4. With this email, my participation in this conversation is concluded. I wish you God’s abundant blessings in your outreach ministry.