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Re: 2nd law of thermodynamics



>   I got into a conversation with a creationist while hawking my wares
>tonight.  He stated that the 2nd law of thermodynamics (you can't convert
>100% of thermal energy to mechanical; also; that systems go from ordered to
>disordered, or remain the same) proves that evolution cannot happen without
>the hand of god.
>
>   I'd never heard this argument before, and my memory of physics fades as
>the years pass, so didn't know how to debate him.  I wasn't about to ask hi=
m
>for an explanation.  Does anybody know the tenents of this argument?

The premise is based on the concept of entropy, where any system will=
 ultimately go to it's lowest energy state (shown by most college students=
 at this time in the semester:-).  However, this theory doesn't really apply=
 to evolution, since the models physicists used are based on *closed* energy=
 systems.  All biological processes (ontogeny and evolution, for example)=
 are based on adding energy to the system, so the trend for entropy is overw=
helmed.

Also, for an organism doesn't neccesarilly have to convert all it's energy=
 to survive and reproduce.  In fact, most organisms don't convert all the=
 energy it gets; photosysthesis is only 1-2% efficent.  So this argument=
 also ceases to make sense.

That said, I suspect that we can't completely ignore the effects of entropy.=
  In a way, the process of aging may be caused by entropy.  At the risk of=
 sounding like Ian Malcolm, it could be that some forms of extinction is=
 caused by entropy; although how this would work, I haven't a clue.

Rob

***
Q. What echinoderm is very sad?

A. Crinoid.