Sunday, August 28, 2005


On the Troubling Case of Dr Richard Sternberg

NOTE: Over the past several months, I have been an active participant in the Evangelical Outpost Blog, in particular on themes relating to the origins of the cosmos and life in it. In the course of such, I have had several exchanges with other active commentators, including Dr Larry Lord, who has requested permission to cite my comments elsewhere. Unfortunately, on track record, I cannot trust that such citation and comments will be fair and representative of what I have had to say. I have therefore stipulated that he cite the below as a condition of any such citations. This post also appears in the web page:, and a recent media interview with Mr Bill O'Reilly may be found at,2933,166831,00.html, with a revealing column at . Over the next little while I will be returning to a more active profile onthis blog as well as my main site. GEM


Mr Richard M von Sternberg, a researcher in the Smithsonian who holds two PhDs in Biology and who advocates structuralism [cf: ], has, on the so far uncontested findings of an OSC investigation [cf.], edited and published a controversial journal article by Mr Meyer that passed peer review by "renowned scientists."

Because the article cuts across the dominant NDT, the publication of such scientific "heresy" appears, in light of the OSC's findings, to have led to sustained harassment and intimidation, compounded by slanders. Such a situation, sadly, does not reflect well on the ethics of leading scientists and institutions in the USA, as is documented by the OSC report, including telling email excerpts.

It is fair comment to observe that if the evident ethical lapses involved are not properly resolved, this will likely lead to a significant public backlash; as failure to police one's profession is a betrayal of public trust.

In the case of Dr Larry Lord, a prolific commentator in the Evangelical Outpost Blog, there has been a consistent and sometimes abusive dismissal of these findings, compounded by an equally persistent failure to provide evidence that warrants the inference that the findings of the OSC, are false or materially misleading.

Dr Lord, a molecular biologist, has also repeatedly failed to materially address the underlying scientific issues when repeatedly called upon to do so, as can be seen in relevant threads in the EO, such as .

The key such issue that has yet to be addressed is that the origin of life by spontaneous chemical processes, or the similar diversification observed in the Cambrian Explosion, are arguably implausible in light of the relevant statistical thermodynamics of spontaneous generation of the required information-rich, functionally specified, complex molecular systems. This case has been discussed by Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen since 1984 in their work, the Mystery of Life's Origins, which builds on earlier work by Yockey. [Cf. online chapters at ]. This line of work has been extended inter alia by the work of Mr Dembski, Mr Behe and Mr Meyer [Cf. popular summary: ], who are major advocates of a minority scientific paradigm, namely "Design Theory."

The 1984 work -- which is in the main based on plausibly applicable implications of the statistical thermodynamics summarised in Boltzmann's equation s = k ln w, was sufficiently impressive that Dr Dean Kenyon, eminent biologist and origin of life researcher, took occasion of writing the foreword to recant his earlier position as stated in his Biochemical Predestination, of which he was a co-author.

I invite dialogue on the above, on condition that the tone is civil and the focus is on the material issues as adverted to supra.

Grace be to you all [cf. Titus 2:11 - 14.]

[Name deleted; contact accessible through the Contact in RH column.]