Thermodynamics and creationism

 One of the more scientific-sounding anti-evolution arguments is that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. (This tends to be reinforced by the false idea that a scientific “law” automatically ‘outranks’ a “theory”.) To understand this argument, the first thing we have to ask is, what is the Second Law?

A robot must obey orders given by a human being, except when it would conflict with the First Law.

Sorry, wrong Three Laws. The laws of thermodynamics are:

1. The energy of a closed system remains constant. (Energy cannot be created or destroyed.)

2. The entropy of a closed system will increase. (Energy tends to become unusable as things run down.)

3. The entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches zero. (Which implies the heat of an object cannot be reduced to absolute zero.)


1. You can’t win.

2. You can’t break even.

3. You can’t get out of the game.

So the whole idea that the second law is about how “complex order” can’t appear is a distortion anyway.

But note that phrase “closed system”. The only absolutely closed system is the entire universe (and depending on your definition of “universe”, possibly not even that), but some are close enough. So, this apparent conflict would disappear entirely if the Earth was not even close to a closed system; if it was constantly receiving huge amounts of energy from outside. Maybe if there was a natural nuclear fusion reactor bigger than Earth at a safe distance, that would make the laws of thermodynamics irrelevant to the discussion of things like evolution. But if something like that existed, it would be the brightest thing in the sky, and surely it would have been discovered by now.

What’s that? The sun? Well, I guess cdesign proponentists haven’t discovered it yet.


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