Phatch, I certainly didn't write that article, and I'm not going to defend it, in fact I didn't read it closely enough to identlfy any mistakes, it simply collaborated what I have read from other sources, if you've seen mistakes, then thats great, but please don't assume it as one of my sources.
Yes they are. Check the back of the book and you'll see a clearly labelled 'sources/references' section.
The fact is you're making claims, yet not providing any collaboration, just semantically attacking any hole you can identify in other people's work. Allow me the same priveledge:
Allow us to take at your original statements, and compare directly to what the professionals say:
Harold McGee:"A 3% salt solution dissolves part of the of the protein structure that suppports the contracting filaments, and a 5.5% solution partly dissolves the filaments themselves."
Heston Blumenthal (taken from his book 'The fat duck'.):"Moderate concentrations of salt (from around 3 per cent to about 12 per cent by weight) are good solvents of some of the proteins in meat, especially myosin...some of the myosin molecules actually dissolve in the brine..."
Are they wrong?
McGee:"the interaction of salt and proteins result in a greater water holding capacity in the muscle cells, which then absorb water from the brine."
Heston Blumenthal:"The myofibrils also swell making the meet juicier."
Wikipedia:"Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation."
McGee:"The meat's weight increases by 10% or more. When cooked, the meat still loses around 20% of its weight in moisture, but the loss in counter-balanced by the brine absorbed"
Is that an assumption, or have you weighed your piece of meat, after brining?
You seem to be focusing more on the physics of osmosis, yet its far from the most important process in brining. Allow me to take another quote from Blumenthal's book to explain it in the manner that I attempted to in my original post:"When meat is brined, salt solution flows into the myofibrils. As the salt concentration rises, links between myosin and actin filaments - the result of rigor mortis - break and the fibres seperate. Some of the myosin molecules actually dissolve in the brine. This is important for two reasons: first, as myosin dissolves into water the between the filaments, they are pushed apart. This makes the meat less dense and increasingly tender. The myofibrils also swell, making the meat juicier. Dissolved myosin does something else when meat is cooked because it forms a gel, just as the proteins in egg whites form a gell when cooked. Gelled myosin traps some of the water that has swollen in the myofibrils and so retains water even after cooking.Thus the better a brine is at dissolving myosin, the juicier and more tender it will be."
I'm sorry to use such aggressive tactics, but I feel pushed in a corner here. You're attacking extremely good sources with allogations that you provide no evidence or references for; you instead are focusing on the semantics of osmosis; which as we can see, isn't as important as it may appear.
So you may be right about the physics of osmosis; and if that means I shouldn't of made (a rather fleeting) allogation as "surface cells swell" then I apologise and, if you're right, I would happily retract that statement; we could instead say that surface protetins denature.
Its a very small point that holds little importance to the process of brining.