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2nd Law of Thermodynamics



Jeff Poling writes;

>     Is it just me or does the physics community have
>more then its fair share of creationsists?  It has been my impression
>that a lot of creationist arguments have been proposed by physicists,
>and walking down the physics hall the other day I overheared two
>physicists avidly discussing how evolution violates the second law of
>thermodynamics (I guess the biospere isn't really powered by the Sun
>after all).  Was that Hoyle's motivation for proposing that the Berlin
>specimen feathers were a hoax?     

It has been my observation that creationists tend to be more common among both 
chemists and physicists, using the argument you site as a scientific objection 
to evolution (it's also the only objection I have ever heard that can truly be 
called "scientific").  Actually, the arguments are irrelevant.  The second law 
applies *only* to systems that have no energy input; the law states that in any 
ISOLATED SYSTEM (where there is no energy added or removed), that system will 
tend to go towards it's lowest energy state.

The truth is, no biological process follows this law.  Take the growth of a 
fertilized egg to an adult; that is a process that gets more complex over time. 
 How can an organism do this?  Because a living thing is not an isolated 
system; it is constantly taking in energy (all living things feed in some way). 
 This input of energy overwhelms the effect of entropy on a biological 
organism.  Further, since there is a input of energy, biological systems don't 
fit with the definition of the 2nd law, and one cannot assume that a biological 
system will follow the definition to the letter.

I find it amusing that there are still religious groups attempting to destroy 
evolution.  C'mon, if the Pope has no trouble accepting evolution as a fact, 
why should anyone else?


Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
"Keep your stick on the ice."
        -Red Green