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All the folks criticizing the fine article here have missed the point.
I note with some interest, and some surprise, Adam Becker’s rather pointed comments about me in his article Junk Science or the Real Thing? Inference Publishes Both (01.28.2019). I had always thought it standard journalism practice, as well as common courtesy, to contact persons named in an article for a response and perhaps a comment. Neither Undark nor Mr Becker saw fit to do so. If they had, perhaps his comments about me would have been a little more temperate.
For example, Mr Becker asserts that I am making “arguments against evolution.” To the contrary, I am an evolutionist, always have been, still am, in fact. What I am, rather, is a critic of modern Darwinism, which, despite the dishonest assertions of Darwinism’s more polemical defenders, is not criticism of evolution. If anything, I would describe myself more of a Lamarckian than a Darwinist, and while one could argue (albeit less convincingly every year) that this position sits outside of the current mainstream of evolutionary thought, it is hardly fringe science, nor am I alone out there. A conversation with me might have cleared that up for Mr Becker.
I was also a little disturbed that Mr Becker sought to smear my two valued colleagues who took the trouble to respond with thoughtful letters of their own to my Inference essay, Many Little Lives. Should not the targets of his innuendo also have been extended the courtesy to respond?
Of course, Mr Becker is welcome to his opinion, to choose whose opinions he seeks, and certainly to publish them. However, it seems to be a disservice to Undark readers for Mr Becker to seek only such biased and dogmatic opinion for his article. Unless, of course, bias and dogmatic opinion was Mr Becker’s (and the Undark editors’?) aim to begin with.
It’s good to see mention made of physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler in this present article by Adam Becker.
Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology, which is a proof of God’s existence, is a mathematical theorem within standard physics. Standard physics is the known laws of physics, viz., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics. These aforestated known physical laws have been confirmed by every experiment conducted to date. Hence, the only way to avoid Tipler’s Omega Point Theorem is to reject empirical science. As Prof. Stephen Hawking wrote, “one cannot really argue with a mathematical theorem.” (From p. 67 of Stephen Hawking, The Illustrated A Brief History of Time [New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1996; 1st ed., 1988].)
Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology has been extensively peer-reviewed and published in a number of the world’s leading physics and science journals, such as Reports on Progress in Physics (the leading journal of the Institute of Physics, Britain’s main professional organization for physicists), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (one of the world’s leading astrophysics journals), the International Journal of Theoretical Physics (a journal that Nobel Prize in Physics winner Richard Feynman also published in), and Physics Letters, among other journals.
Prof. Tipler’s Ph.D. is in the field of Global General Relativity, which is the field created by Profs. Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose during the formulation of their Singularity Theorems in the 1960s. Global General Relativity is General Relativity applied on the scale of the entire universe as a whole, and is the most elite and rarefied field of physics. Tipler is also an expert in quantum field theory (i.e., Quantum Mechanics combined with special-relativistic particle physics) and computer theory.
For much more on Prof. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology and the details on how it uniquely conforms to, and precisely matches, the cosmology described in the New Testament, see my following article, which also addresses the societal implications of the Omega Point cosmology:
* James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011 (since updated), doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708.
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Regarding Global Warming, I am very much in support of it. The Earth is colder than it should be to support maximal life. There are poles on the Earth where it is too cold for almost anything to grow, but there is no place that is too hot for massive amounts of plants and animals to thrive (due to mountain-ranges extracting moisture from the air, there are deserts where it is too dry for life to thrive, but that also applies to cold areas). Further, carbon dioxide is plant-food. Plants require it in order to live. And the higher the CO_2 concentration, the faster-growing, larger, more robust, and more disease-resistant plants are. Hence, for farming, the higher the yield per units of input there will be. The real horror and tragedy would be if another Ice Age came upon us, as there would be a massive portion of lifeforms killed-off thereby (humans, also). So too, it is already known from the prehistoric ice-core samples that CO_2 does not drive the Earth’s warming and cooling cycles, but rather CO_2 rises in response to the Earth warming, due to the oceans releasing dissolved CO_2 (as with gases, more gas is driven out of solution the higher a liquid’s temperature is). And hence also, there cannot be any runaway-heating effect due to increased levels of CO_2, or else it would have already occurred, i.e., there could never be the Ice Age cycles. Indeed, there were many times in the Earth’s past when CO_2 was much higher than at present. During those times one had megaflora (and also megafauna eating it) which the higher CO_2 levels allowed, but no runaway-heating.
May I ask what Adam Becker finds objectionable in my review of Dan Tawfik’s laboratory? He mentions no error of fact or content.
May I also ask if Adam will correct his article’s errors, and publicly apologize to Inference? In particular, the very piece he characterizes as attacking evolution and affirming creationism in fact explicitly affirms evolution and denies creationist supernatural intervention. Michael Denton’s “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis Revisited” is an essay criticizing a particular *mechanism* of evolutionary change, not the *fact* of evolutionary change. This is seen in part 3 (found here: https://inference-review.com/article/evolution-a-theory-in-crisis-revisited-part-three). In it, Denton asks: “If life is a natural phenomenon, how might its forms have been actualized? How can one type lead to another?…”
Denton’s answer is *not* “God did it miraculously”. (But reading Adam’s false and unfair characterization of Denton, that’s what you would be led to believe.)
Instead Denton appeals to ordinary mutational events (albeit in a well-organized biological possibility space established by natural law). Denton writes: “As the creation of atoms in the stars depended on a highly fortuitous nuclear energy pathway, so it is possible to imagine analogous minimum energy pathways at all levels of the organic hierarchy, arranged so that the distances between types are massively reduced in ontogenetic space. One might suppose that gene functions are clustered in the space of all possible genes, rather than scattered widely.”
Denton may be wrong about the exact clustering relationships of genotypes and phenotypes in biological possibility space. But this is *not* a belief in creationism, in a young earth, in divine intervention, in delegitimizing common ancestry of all organisms. Adam owes Denton an apology.
I could write more, but the point should be clear.
“At least some of these writers weren’t aware of Inference’s history of science denial.” Without conceding that the journal does engage in this, the way one discern’s a journal’s history is to READ it. So who’s fault is if a writer doesn’t? And what does it say that Mr. Becker seems to not realize this or thinks his readers won’t?
Meanwhile, if I only wrote for publications for which I agree with on all issues, I wouldn’t be writing for any. Writing for science and medical publications isn’t like writing for Sports Illustrated. You name any prestigious medical journal and I’ll quickly find major articles they published that were completely unsubstantiated and they knew or should have known it at the time. For that matter, I have published articles that I later regretted – albeit only on minor issues.
What counts is being true to yourself. I remember at least one occassion on which a journal with overall views clearly counter to mine asked me for a submission and I submitted. A chance to make some converts! Except they rejected the piece … because it ran against their views. So be it; I saw it coming!
what a shame, i rather liked the tennis instructor’s article. any association with thiel or DI does tend to destroy legitimacy, though- i’m glad to know not to pay attention to them again.
…and “Lindsay Waldrop, an assistant professor of biology at New Mexico Tech” is the best expert you could find to quote in your smear job of a story?
You assume other journal publishers and editors wield no political axes. Quite naive.
Thank you Dr. Adam Becker for exposing another media site that ostensibly presents serious science, but has an axe to grind and interjects pseudoscience from know-nothings such as Peter Thiel to legitimize their viewpoint within the greater framework of serious science. Thiel’s thought is so superficial that he has invested in Ambrosia Health. He’s so full of himself that he’s aligned with Trump.
Never underestimate the Discovery Institute.
Since c 70% of Americans are classified as scientifically illiterate, it’s easy to hoodwink laymen with the false equivalency of science & pseudoscience. We loves us our bunkum.
The “About” blurb alone has so many wrong notes: each one of its four very short paragraphs has something that begs an unflattering deconstruction or at least unintentionally invites you to wonder about something they almost certainly would rather you didn’t. You might say that people tell you a lot about themselves when they’re trying to tell you about themselves, and not in the way that they intend.
Peter Thiel is an awful, very harmful person. But as a matter of perspective, $1.7 million is a pittance for a person with a net worth of $2.5 billion – equivalent to $68 for someone with a net worth of $100 thousand. And as long as you’re dismissing the work of scientists for having said controversial (wrong) things on unrelated issues in the past, should we also dismiss the scientific work of, say, Richard Dawkins? The overall sentiment of this article may be correct but for one seeking to expose pseudoscience it employs a lot of pseudo argument.
I am thinking of the term ‘sinister’!
Adam do you have the same objections to drug and medical device companies that fund (with ads) publication and the groups that sponsoring the publications or solar/wind producers buying ads in environmental publications, the list could go on. Even government sponsors research into programs it wants to push.
Scott, I think you missed the point of the article, which was about the editorial direction of the journal, and the veracity of the science it publishes. You seem to be trying to start a different discussion about advertising as a source of funding?