Latest Physics Theories May Help Challenge Evolution

The latest theories on the nature and origin of gravity are generating lots of interest from those looking to unify the various systems (Einsteinian, Newtonian, Quantum, String Theory) of looking at our universe, and bringing to the forefront the importance of the second law of thermodynamics as an organizing principle in our universe. The problem is that the second law of thermodynamics and evolution are pretty much incompatible, as EC explains.

Second Law of Thermodaynamics: In any system, entropy (chaos) is always increasing, and any decrease of entropy (chaos) inside a system requires work (intelligence) to be added to the system.

Evolution: The universe, and every organism inside it, has self-ordered out of chaos, with no added energy or intelligence. It just happened.

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Ben P said...

Nonsense, ECR. There's no reason why evolution is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics. On the scale of complex life evolving from simple non-life on Earth: well, that obviously doesn't violate the 2nd law because Earth is not a closed system. There's loads of energy flowing in from the sun. Essentially, entropy was reversed on Earth at the expense of the Sun.

It's the same way on the cosmological scale: the Big Bang Theory (the best theory we have going for the origin of the universe, although it's still debatable) states that a tremendous amount of energy was present at the beginning of the universe. Some of that energy went into creating order in some parts of the universe, at the expense of creating more entropy in other parts. This is not hard to imagine--the vast majority of space, after all, is quite empty and devoid of order.

Dean said...

Ben P,

1. Yes, the Earth is not a closed system... but the Universe itself is.

2. You can throw a grenade into a junkyard, but it's never going to result in a Lamborghini. You'd still need a means to appropriately store that energy, and a mechanism to intelligently direct it.

Ben P said...

Hello Dean,

Re 1. Perhaps I could have been more clear. Of course the universe is a closed system (by definition), but it's no violation of the 2nd law if entropy decreases in any particular place in the universe so long as entropy correspondingly increases elsewhere.

Re 2. Now that we've established that decreasing entropy is no argument against evolution, this is actually an entirely different question: how did life evolve from non-life, how did complexity arise from simplicity? A very good question indeed, but beyond the scope of this forum. I'll just say this; you are correct with your Lamborghini statement, but the earth is no junkyard and the sun is no grenade. There are plenty of resources on the Internet that deal with this topic. One starting place is here: Try the "Evolution is just so unlikely" link. Or for more in-depth treatment, I suggest reading "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne. It will challenge you.

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