Monday, October 18, 2010

Rational Response- Evolution and the 2nd Law

A very common argument against evolution is that the 2nd law of thermodynamics disproves evolution.  Now I don't want to conflate evolution with atheism, because atheism has nothing to do with evolution.  There are many theists who accept evolution just as it is possible to be an atheist and not accept it. Many creationists try to do equate one with the other though and argue against evolution and then cry to the stars that they have defeated the atheists and evolutionists.

So lets put this one to bed while trying not to overstep my laymans boundaries in the process.

I am going to start to respond to some of the false assertions that Creationists make about science and evolution in particular.

This one goes- "Since the 2nd law of thermodynamics states that everything goes from order to increased chaos or entropy, evolution must be false as it goes from chaos to a more ordered state.  This is impossible, and clearly goes against the 2nd law."

Let me just say first that I am incredulous that creationists would attempt to use solid science to disprove something when it is science that they have an issue with.  Science is OK when it seems to serves your agenda?  Hypocrisy.

In any case...

This argument fails from the beginning.  The 2nd law states that entropy which is not in equilibrium increases over time in an isolated system.    How does this differ from the creationist claim?

One phrase....

"Isolated system"

Evolution is not an isolated or closed system.  Energy is injected from outside systems in many ways.  Even sunlight adds energy to that system.  If there is even one source of energy that is not from that closed or cyclical system then their argument fails.

All of these are sources of energy that come from outside the human body, but yet there is more.

The next point is that it is a societal shift in the species and not an individual change per se.  Since evolution doesn't happen at an individual level, there are many individual systems to consider and therefor each single system wouldn't relate to another as far as the 2nd law is concerned.

Evolution is driven by the survival of individuals in a species that share an environment.  Eventually, if a random mutation happens (that assists in the passage of the allele by giving that individual a survival advantage) frequently enough, more and more of this mutation will appear in that society.  As that mutation helps each individual to survive, individuals with that mutation appear more and more frequently until it becomes the norm and the species no longer resembles what it once was.

This is speciation.

It is a process driven by a multitude of systems.  None of them closed.  So if no one single organisms "systems" can have an direct effect on the process, and the whole of the process encompasses not only open systems, but a multitude of open systems, then the 2nd law is left inviolate.

I hope that I have made it reasonably clear, from a layman's perspective, how the theory of evolution doesn't violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

I am not claiming to be an expert by any means, but it is pretty obvious that this argument is based on a fallacy, possibly even a lie since it is so clearly false.  

Please Creationists....I am not asking you to change your beliefs (because of this anyway) but I AM asking you to stop using false arguments against things that seem to contradict your dogma.

Science is how we progress and it is important to humanity at large.  I am not saying that you should accept it without thinking, but I AM saying that you should stop fighting it to the point of blinding yourselves to the consequences of confirmation bias.

You hurt yourselves
You hurt your children
You hurt our schools
and you hurt progress in our society.

Find a new battleground.  Preferably one that is supported by evidence.

When you find that battleground, then lets talk.


1 comment:

  1. I like this. My comic yesterday defined idiocy as choosing to remain ignorant in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence. It is one thing to believe the creationists argument on this one, but it is entirely different to still believe that argument after being presented with the actual science.

    Jason, can you send me an email at michael at godhatesbambi dot com? I'd like to chat about swapping some links and stuff.

    Michael Brinkley