An Analogy Between Nazi Germany and the United States
According to Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II, by Michael Burleigh, no one was ever forced to kill anyone in Nazi Germany. The defense used by some German officials in the Nuremberg trials about “following orders” has no merit, as I understand it. However, there were severe penalties for telling about the killings.
In 2008, the American Journal of Physics published a self-refuting paper about evolution and thermodynamics (Styer, 2008). The article criticizes a Christian apologist, not a Christian physicist, for saying evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics but disseminates misinformation about thermodynamics. I think the fact that the scientific establishment in the United States is not making the AJP retract this article sheds light on the horrific events in Nazi Germany and vice versa. In my analogy, creationists and advocates of the theory of intelligent design are playing the role of Jewish people and the science establishment is playing the role of the Nazis.
The article is self-refuting because the beginning of the article, including the first bulleted item, explains why evolution has nothing to do with thermodynamics. The second bulleted item begins the slippery slope to absurdity because it mentions that the second law only applies to certain kinds of systems. The rest of the article is an absurd calculation using the equation that describes the second law of thermodynamics. I think the peer-reviewers approved the article because they helped write it. The evidence for this is at the end of the article, “Two anonymous referees made valuable suggestions that improved this article significantly.” (Styer, 2008)
I told the editor of the American Journal of Physics about the erroneous calculation, but no correction was made. I don’t doubt that the editor believed initially that the article was a contribution to science because it is wrong to think evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. One possibility is that the editor did not take corrective action because my information caused him so much anxiety that he was inhibited from thinking intelligently and rationally. Another possibility is that he understood my criticism but deliberately choose a dishonest path of action.
This explanation doesn’t hold up because I also told the editor’s boss and his boss’s boss about the article. The editor is a college physics teacher, and his bosses are the chair of the physics department and the president of the college. This is not a simple matter of someone with poor character covering up a mistake. I published a website titled “Pseudoscience in the American Journal of Physics,” which has all of my correspondence.
I sent faxes to 153 chairs of departments of physics in the United States telling about the AJP article. I mailed 23 letters with certificates of mailing to 23 presidents of colleges, secular and religious, criticizing the character of their physics chairs for helping the AJP to cover up its mistake. I sent faxes and mailed letters with certificates of mailing to 56 members of the American Institute of Physics, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AIP and the AAPT are involved in publishing of the AJP. The AAAS’s mission statement includes, “Promote and defend the integrity of science and its use…” I also have proof of delivery to 38 other individuals with an interest in the integrity of science, including the National Science Foundation. The NSF is a government agency with a budget of around 7 billion dollars.
United States House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is responsible for the NSF. My congressman is Yvette Clarke (D-NY, 9th district), and she has a constitutional duty to represent me in any conflict I have with the federal government. I asked to see her about my concerns, but her communications director, Scott, told me over the telephone that he could not support me to the extent of setting up an appointment. I then sent Scott documents and a more thorough explanation of why the AJP was perpetrating a fraud upon the citizens of the United States. Over the telephone, Scott told me the matter was being investigated. I have not been able to find out what happened to the documents I sent and if there was an investigation. This prompted me to file an ethical complaint against Congressman Clarke with 6 members of the United States Senate, giving the historical record 6 certificates of mailing. I contacted almost all the members of the House of Representatives with faxes and social media. I have proof of delivery to 373 congressmen.
There is a third analogy. In this analogy, Richard Sternberg plays the role of the Jewish people, and scientists at the Smithsonian Institute play the role of the Nazis. Wikipedia calls it the, “Sternberg peer review controversy.”
Dr. Sternberg was an editor at The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, and he published an article titled, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.” This article was a review of the existing attempts to understand the evolution of the organization of proteins into cells, cells into tissues, tissues into organs, and organs into organisms. At the end of the article, the author suggested that the theory of intelligent design (ID) was a better theory than Darwinism.
The three peer-reviewers thought the mention of ID was an unimportant philosophical addendum that did not adversely affect the scientific value of the paper. Sternberg should have deleted the reference to ID or at least advised his colleagues that he was going to publish what would be the first peer-reviewed article advocating ID. He published it behind their backs, and he was publicly and rightly criticized for his behavior. No other punishment was possible because Sternberg’s 9-to-5 job was at the Smithsonian Institution.
Sternberg’s colleagues where he worked were so angry they at him they behaved like a mob. Their behavior was so deplorable that on December 11, 2006, the Committee on Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives published a 29-page 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."
In the Sternberg scandal, both sides behaved badly and one might say equally badly. This is not the case with the American Journal of Physics scandal. While the Christian apologists are wrong about thermodynamics, it is an understandable mistake. It is understandable that someone who has not studied thermodynamics would think the second law of thermodynamics means nature prefers disorder to order. However, it is not possible to understand how a Ph.D. in physics could write such a paper.
In Germany, the source of the authority of the Nazis was their monopoly of the power to harm people physically. In the United States, the source of the authority of the science establishment is their reputation for intellectual integrity. If this article is retracted, it will become a news item. The public will then know how irrational the science establishment can be about on matters touching upon religion. If the AJP retracts the article it would be like a Jewish guy killing a Nazi and getting away with it.
Reference: Daniel F. Styer, “Entropy and evolution.” Am. J. Phys., Vol. 76, No. 11, November 2008.