American Association for the Advancement of SciencePosted: April 12, 2013
Email from 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.
Executive Publisher, Science
Dr. William H. Press
University of Texas at Austin
Department of Computer Science
Dear Dr. Press,
As a director 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.
Because of her leadership position in the AAPT, Jill Marshall (email@example.com) is supporting the AJP’s refusal to stop spreading misinformation about evolution. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
Very truly yours, David Roemer