[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
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=
>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=
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.
Q. What echinoderm is very sad?