Dispelling some misinformation about me and my work


Some fans of Richard Dawkins have been posting ridiculous false statements about me on the web. They are doing this because they are not happy with my critique of Dawkins' atheistic book The God Delusion. In my critique, I did not even argue for the existence of a supernatural God. I did argue that Dawkins' book does not succeed in settling the question of God's existence. Apparently that was more than some people could stand.

Because those false statements about me are out there, it's best to be skeptical of any negative statements about me that you find on the Internet, especially on web forums or in blog comments. Look up the facts and decide for yourself.

Here are a few facts to set the record straight.
  • I am a chemical physicist by training. I have a PhD in chemistry, specializing in chemical physics, from the University of California, Los Angeles. (Chemical physics is an interdisciplinary field belonging both to physics and to chemistry.) You can find my doctoral dissertation in the UCLA Library online catalog. My dissertation describes my research on the physics of liquid crystalline phases of matter.
     
  • Before my PhD, I earned a master's degree in biochemistry and a bachelors' degree with a double major in physics and philosophy, all from UCLA.
     
  • While doing research in chemical physics, I had the pleasant opportunity to work with some chemical physicists who were noted in their fields. Some of these scientists had their PhDs and academic appointments in physics; others had theirs in chemistry. Some of these physicists and chemists became coauthors of my papers on my research.
     
  • I performed research in philosophy both before and after I worked in chemical physics. I published papers in philosophical journals. Some of these journals were highly regarded in their disciplines, according to professional philosophers I knew at the time. Without slighting other journals, I'll mention the Journal of Symbolic Logic and Analysis.

  • My website contains some unpublished papers (preprints) on the philosophy of physics. In these I explored the implications of some ideas (old and new) in physics. Some of these preprints have been cited favorably in scholarly publications.
     
  • For most of my peer reviewed papers, I saw the referees' reports before publication. This shows that the papers got reviewed in the normal way.

This list is not meant to trumpet anything I have done.  I just want to counteract the misinformation that has appeared on the web.

Apart from their false statements about my background, certain followers of Dawkins have made some very ignorant comments about my ideas. One especially stupid criticism is the accusation that I believe in Intelligent Design Theory (ID). This accusation is complete nonsense. I have never believed in Intelligent Design Theory. I believe the standard scientific version of evolution. I believe in seeking natural explanations - not supernatural ones - for natural phenomena. I think Intelligent Design theory is false and utterly unscientific. Anyone who claims that I believe in ID is either making things up or failing to read my writings.

To read my critique of Dawkins, click here. To read my rebuttals to some objections to my critique, click here. To find out what I really believe and disbelieve, explore the rest of my website and especially my main blog.

- Mark F. Sharlow

Page last updated November 20, 2012.

Legal notices

One more legal notice: My mention of UCLA on this page is for information only. No endorsement of any of my opinions (or of this page or site) by that university is meant or should be inferred. Likewise, no endorsement of my philosophical or religious views, or of this page or site, by any of my scientific coauthors or collaborators should be inferred.