A seriously cranky press release.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I often feel frustrated by press releases that are overhyped, misleading, and/or laden with buzzwords and cliches. Today I received by email the most over the top press release I have ever seen. It’s the sort of thing one might expect to see on a crank website, not in a press release from a major US university. Here it is, verbatim. Enjoy.

Radical Theory Explains the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life, Challenges Conventional Wisdom
Case Western Reserve Theorist Develops Incomparable Model that Unifies Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

CLEVELAND – Jan. 26, 2012 – The earth is alive, asserts a revolutionary scientific theory of life emerging from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The trans-disciplinary theory demonstrates that purportedly inanimate, non-living objects—for example, planets, water, proteins, and DNA—are animate, that is, alive. With its broad explanatory power, applicable to all areas of science and medicine, this novel paradigm aims to catalyze a veritable renaissance.

Erik Andrulis, PhD, assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology, advanced his controversial framework in his manuscript “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life,” published in the peer-reviewed journal, Life. His theory explains not only the evolutionary emergence of life on earth and in the universe but also the structure and function of existing cells and biospheres.

In addition to resolving long-standing paradoxes and puzzles in chemistry and biology, Dr. Andrulis’ theory unifies quantum and celestial mechanics. His unorthodox solution to this quintessential problem in physics differs from mainstream approaches, like string theory, as it is simple, non-mathematical, and experimentally and experientially verifiable. As such, the new portrait of quantum gravity is radical.

The basic idea of Dr. Andrulis’ framework is that all physical reality can be modeled by a single geometric entity with life-like characteristics: the gyre. The so-called “gyromodel” depicts objects—particles, atoms, chemicals, molecules, and cells—as quantized packets of energy and matter that cycle between excited and ground states around a singularity, the gyromodel’s center. A singularity is itself modeled as a gyre, wholly compatible with the thermodynamic and fractal nature of life. An example of this nested, self-similar organization is the Russian Matryoshka doll.

By fitting the gyromodel to facts accumulated over scientific history, Dr. Andrulis confirms the proposed existence of eight laws of nature. One of these, the natural law of unity, decrees that the living cell and any part of the visible universe are irreducible. This law formally establishes that there is one physical reality.

Another natural law dictates that the atomic and cosmic realms abide by identical organizational constraints. Simply put, atoms in the human body and solar systems in the universe move and behave in the exact same manner.

“Modern science lacks a unifying, interdisciplinary theory of life. In other words, current theories are unable to explain why life is the way it is and not any other way,” Dr. Andrulis says. “This general paradigm furnishes a fresh perspective on the character and meaning of life, offers solutions to protracted problems, and strives to end divisive debates.”

One debate swirls around the scientific merit of James Lovelock’s popular Gaia hypothesis. By showing that the earth is theoretically synonymous with life, Dr. Andrulis’ paradigm substantiates the Gaian premise that all organisms and their surroundings on earth are closely integrated to form a single self-regulating complex system.

Another legendary quarrel is that between biblical creationists and neo-Darwinian evolutionists. In demonstrating that the origin and evolution of life is a consequence of natural laws and physical forces, this theory synthesizes arguments and dispels assumptions from both sides of the creation-evolution debate.

To test his paradigm, Dr. Andrulis designed bidirectional flow diagrams that both depict and predict the dynamics of energy and matter. While such diagrams may be foreign to some scientists, they are standard reaction notation to chemists, biochemists, and biologists.

Dr. Andrulis has used his theory to successfully predict and identify a hidden signature of RNA biogenesis in his laboratory at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He is now applying the gyromodel to unify and explain the evolution and development of human beings.

For more information, see “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life,” Life, Vol. 2:1-105 (2012).


  • I have looked at the original paper, and it’s even crazier than the press release would indicate. So I can’t blame the author of the press release as much as the author of the actual paper — but why this was promoted by the institution is a mystery. Seriously, this paper feels like a Sokal hoax.
  • Jonathan Badger pointed out in the comments to my post that I am cited in the paper. Here’s what it says: “C-value enigma. The C-value enigma states that less evolutionary developed cell types have greater genome size than more complex cell systems [725].” Of course, the C-value enigma says no such thing, and I would never used a term like “less evolutionary developed”. *Facepalm*
  • John Timmer provides a nice summary of the issue at Ars Technica.


12 comments to A seriously cranky press release.

  • To be fair to the press release, they aren’t misrepresenting the paper as is typical in such affairs: the paper in question is exactly the type of bizarre megalomania described, covering non-Euclidean geometry, quantum physics, pseudo-math equations, and the like. For your amusement:


  • Also, you’ll be pleased(?) that he cites you at one point!


  • NickMatzke

    Yeah, the paper is worse than the press release, which is quite something. In defense of the PR office at Case, probably the guy mostly wrote the press release for them and the PR folks put it up without passing it by their science person.  It’s hard to imagine anyone with some science or science journalism background not catching this even in a PR office…
    I’m sure there is some fascinating backstory about where this guy came from and how he got on this topic.  Entertainingly, the Discovery Institute is bashing this paper as showing how Darwinist peer-review isn’t worth anything, while forgetting that just a few weeks back IDists were crowing over a “peer-reviewed” ID paper by that “Origin of Life Foundation” guy David Abel which was also just published in the “journal” Life (which looks to be <1 year old).


  • TheOtherJim

    Geez. Pot talk finally published in a journal…


  • Greg Goebel

    And this is why I stopped reading the science press releases on PHYSORG.COM.  I can get the science news in a much more digestible fashion from AAAS SCIENCE NOW.
    Relative to my days in the corporate world, it was once said of the difference between company marketing and company PR was, as was easily observed by PR releases, that marketing knows they are lying.


  • Greg Goebel

    PS:  I will admit that though the press releases passed on by PHYSORG.COM could be baffling marvels of opacity, Andrulis’s paper does look like it takes the cookie.


  • DK

    I couldn’t even finish reading the press release. But my curiosity piqued, I looked at the actual paper. Oh, boy! Turns out, it’s not really that groundbreaking. You see, the Universe is full of “stuff” and the “stuff” is all inter-related. That’s all.


  • Jordan

    Hail the all-explaining gyre!  I knew it was bohunkus as soon as I saw that it would dispel creationist assumptions – I haven’t yet been privy to any study or evidence that can sway those people.


  • Ron Alvarez

    • “Secret of mass” reveals the atom is the smallest life form.

    •Reveals all mass or matter is life form,
    •And reveals the universe a living organism.

    • Reveals the god particle is life.

    So what’s the secret of mass?
     I would like to introduce you to a driffent way to look at mass.
    Science has traditionally described mass as stuff all the things you can see and touch.
    Science has been satisfied calling it mass and stuff and they have gotten results with this method.
    They discovered the elements. They discovered molecules and they discovered the atom, and then science went quantum into the subatomic, the world of Lepton, Quarks and Bosons forces, what are they looking for you ask?
    They are looking for the elusive gravity particle. ” graviton ”
    I believe the reason they can’t find gravity is because of the way they look at mass.
    Science has tried to unite gravity with mysterious higgs field since the seventies.

    And T.O.E. The Theory Of Everything , The electromagnetic and the electronuclear strong and weak force.

    Their next hope is string theory and super string theory, which is untestable.
    Where did science go wrong?

    We are taught mass is everything we see, the stuff our world and universe is made of. 
    Scientists have said we are made of the same thing the universe is made of,  Stardust, I say atoms.

    Scientists treat mass as an inanimate object, a particle to be smashed at will.

    The problem is Rutherford, Newton or Einstein never answered the most important question regarding mass.
    What is mass? Is mass an inanimate object? Why does this matter?
    Q.  What is mass, well let’s look at the universe, stars, planets, earth, mountains, trees, man, dogs, cats, mice, ants and bacteria.
    Q.  What do they all have in common? Mass, Gravity and Atoms.
    So if the atoms and gravity are the common denominator then the question becomes what is the atom?, Is it an inanimate object, let’s see .

    Oxford dictionary defines , Atomic structure as : Structure of an atom being positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively “Orbiting” electrons.

    Oxford dictionary defines , Life as : Energy, Liveliness , Animation.

    As you can see for your self the atom fits the definition for life perfectly and is an animate object.
    So am I to conclude an atom is life? Yes to be exact an atom is the fundamental building block for all life in the universe and right here on earth.

    All Mass has a life cycle, a birth , a lifespan , and a decay or death.
     (Death defined)  Death is (Mass converting to energy)
    (Life defined) life is energy converting to mass (birth).

    There is “no such thing” as an inanimate object, all mass has life!

     Atoms make up molecules, molecules make up elements and elements make up everything else everywhere else.
    So if mass contains an atom it contains life.
    So if all mass contains life , and all mass contains gravity , Then the rational conclusion is all life contains gravity.
    So ( the source of gravity is life! )

    The gravity disappears at the subatomic level, so where does it go?
    It’s not hiding in the subatomic particles as the L.H.C. Large Hadron Collider has proven.
    So where did gravity go? 
    When you kill the atom ( stop it’s movement) gravity disappears.
    Gravity is a manifestation of life, 
    when “life”  goes so goes gravity.

    It’s similar to when a soul lifts from a body at the moment of death. Converting mass into energy! 
    So gravity is a manifestation of life. WOW!  
     So the god particle, is life!

    What this reveals is the universe was created from life form, energy in to atoms, It’s not the big bang theory It’s the rapid expansion of life in the universe via mass.
    The universe is a living organism  interconnected by entanglement.

    We think of life made from biological form.
    Life in the universe is made from electronuclear strong and weak forces, electromagnetic forces and gravity  uh wait a minute that’s what life on earth is made of !  That’s the components of the atom.

    An atom is life and endowed with gravity!
    Ronald Alvarez



  • David Billo

    Deepak Chopra is going to love this.


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