Monday, September 24, 2012

#353: Granville Sewell

Edward Granville Sewell is a mathematician, intelligent design advocate, and currently a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas, El Paso. He does presumably know math. His understanding of science is, however, sorely deficient.

Sewell is signatory to the Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism petition and has had (in 2000) an anti-evolutionary article published in The Mathematical Intelligencer. This is cited by the Discovery Institute as one of the “Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design”, an assertion rejected by people who actually manage to distinguish science from delusional rants, including Judge Jones in the Dover trial.

In this and other articles the main claim reiterated ad nauseam is the claim that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics (more here). It isn’t better supported than it sounds, and even Sewell’s attempts to battle strawmen is somewhat quixotic. Jason Rosenhouse’s Intelligencer article “How Anti-evolutionists Abuse Mathematics” is directly targeted at Sewell, as is his “Does Evolution Have a Thermodynamics Problem?”. Mark Perakh called Sewell’s work “depressingly fallacious”. Sewell’s “experiments” are, well, not exactly what scientists would call experiments, and his proposed “laws” aren’t what scientists would count as scientific laws. And as most creationist Sewell doesn’t see that even if evolution were to fail, it wouldn’t mean that Intelligent Design creationism is correct unless someone had actually formulated a theory, some predictions, and garnered independent support through testing.

Sewell also writes for Dembski’s blog “Uncommon Descent” (no link to the actual blog provided).

Diagnosis: “Sewell is to thermodynamics as Sal Cordova is to a) biochemistry, b) information theory, c) classical mechanics, d) all of the above” (Blake Stacey). He is also a professional but not very successful bane of strawmen. A pawn in the denialist movement.

Since we’re covering the fallacious second law arguments against evolution, it might be timely to bring up the all time classic quote on the issue.


  1. “Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of MAGIC”

  2. Sewell presents his "Argument from Rushmore, another new creationist talking point of almost legendary levels of idiocy.

    HereSewell fails to understand basic concepts in the study of evolution and thereby miserably misunderstands a 34-year old article in the NY Times (more here).

    1. Maths. What is x/o. Or x÷o

    2. Your a maths man what is x/o. or x÷o. Thanks