Author Topic: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked  (Read 1306 times)

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Offline skepticlogician

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Am I missing something? Doesn't Natural Selection absolutely destroy the "Evolution-violates-2nd-Law-Of-Thermodynamics" argument from creationists?

I mean, the usual explanation to counter this argument is "that life is not a closed system", which is all good and makes sense, but... is that answer even needed?

If I'm not mistaking, creationists' arguments goes something like this: "Things left alone without any kind of external intervention, tend to chaos, disorder and randomness"... and I suspect this is important due to the fact that mutations are random and chaotic?

So, what? Does Evolution depend solely on random mutation to create complexity? Aren't we forgetting that the main driver to evolution is Natural Selection? Chaos and randomness are dealt with by Natural Selection! ... and creationists, I hope you know how Natural Selection works?

Unless I'm absolutely forgetting something, there's absolutely no issue here, case dismissed!
I may be mistaking, please enlighten me! :)
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Offline Aspie

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 02:25:10 AM »
Well, that's the thing - creationists are typically unwilling to consider that evolution could work through anything but randomness and chaos. And since they know mutations are always deleterious evolution could not possibly be true.

The whole thrust of their argument is to dichotomize between order (intelligent design) and chaos (natural processes). They can't conceive of modification through anything but intervention from a sentient agent. Therefore they can only consider natural selection in terms of a conscious entity that decides what lives and what dies. To them evolution is entirely about random mutations, which they conflate with disorder, destruction, and deterioration because they have already decided that unguided processes can only take away, not modify.

It all stems from puddle thinking. When you begin from the assumption that everything that exists was created just for you it's impossible to conceive of anything coming about that's not in accordance with some grand design.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:33:24 AM by Aspie »

Offline screwtape

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 08:10:26 AM »
If I'm not mistaking, creationists' arguments goes something like this: "Things left alone without any kind of external intervention, tend to chaos, disorder and randomness"... and I suspect this is important due to the fact that mutations are random and chaotic?

As they so often do, they have not accurately described the Second Law.  The second law deals with energy, not organization.  They falsely define entropy as "chaos" - just like the define theory as "hypothesis" - which it is not.

This site does a good job: http://secondlaw.oxy.edu/
This site is related: http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu/
It deals with evolution in part 4: http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu/evolution.html


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Online jaimehlers

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 11:19:29 AM »
In fairness, it's easy to make that mistake regarding entropy, even for people who should know better.  Because entropy gets associated with heat a lot (even to the point of calling it the "heat death of the universe", never mind that it won't be hot at all), and something that's hot tends to act in chaotic ways, it's an understandable mistake.

Offline screwtape

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 02:19:18 PM »
... it's an understandable mistake.

I don't think it is and I do not think that is how people are misinterpreting it. 

Every time I have seen a fundie use the second law, it is always the definition of entropy they screw up.  They call entropy the measure of disorganization, or something like that.  I have never seen or heard them equate heat or energy with chaos.

What makes more sense is some fundie dumbass who doesn't know entropy from enthalpy, the Carnot cycle from the Diesel cycle, or energy from power, reads something the thinks he understands but doesn't.  But since in his tiny, little mind it appears to support his backward religious beliefs, he latches on to it.  "Hey, lookee there!  Entropy always increases!  That must mean disorder always increases, so Evilution must be impossible!  Science proves it!"

Or if someone who should know better - a Michael Behe sort - deliberately lies to the knuckledraggers or omits to completely explain it. 

Both of those make more sense to me.

examples of idiots or liars:
http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-thermodynamics.html
http://creation.com/the-second-law-of-thermodynamics-answers-to-critics

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 03:43:48 PM »
Well, there are people like that.  I meant that even people who understand it reasonably well make the mistakes I mentioned.

Offline screwtape

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 07:16:58 PM »
Ah.  I hadn't thought about them.  I suppose that is possible.
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Offline skepticlogician

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 11:12:07 PM »
Well, that's the thing - creationists are typically unwilling to consider that evolution could work through anything but randomness and chaos.

Yeah... it's simply pathetic how they will just close their ears when you try to inform them there's more to evolution than what their pastors have told them.

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They can't conceive of modification through anything but intervention from a sentient agent. Therefore they can only consider natural selection in terms of a conscious entity that decides what lives and what dies.

Many times I really believe they are just hypocrites who just play dumb. I mean how difficult can it be to understand Natural Selection? Haven't they heard of Artificial Selection? Or let's put it through a simpler analogy: Filters! ...coffee filters... any type of filter! They know what filters do and how they work, don't they? Do they think filters are sentient agents? ... it is really frustrating...  :(

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It all stems from puddle thinking. When you begin from the assumption that everything that exists was created just for you it's impossible to conceive of anything coming about that's not in accordance with some grand design.

And to think I was one of them...  :-[ a serious church goer, bible-memorizer, even music leader, the whole works! There was a moment I even had thoughts of becoming a serious apologist/preacher... which ironically led me to open my eyes the moment I started serious and honest research about the Bible, science, my denomination's history, etc.
"Evolutionists have proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof."

Offline skepticlogician

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 11:15:24 PM »
Screwtape, you make very interesting points...
Also, thanks for all the links! With those I will have a good amount of on-the-bus reading to do now.
Thanks!
"Evolutionists have proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof."

Offline Aspie

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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics vs Natural Selection - argument debunked
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 02:55:43 AM »
Creationists would gleefully point out that coffee filters had to be engineering by intelligent agents. For them it's designers all the way down - every process, every life, every thing had to have a designer behind it. These are people who believe that the only way to explain existence itself is to invoke a deus ex machina, a Supreme Designer. Because a thick line between order and chaos is at the core of their dogma they cannot fathom anything developing or working through natural processes alone; they honestly believe that creation is the only means towards any form of progress, that anything which isn't created can never be beautiful, useful, or even work in the first place because order can never come from disorder. This dogma is so essential to their faith that they consider even the notion of evolution to be insulting because it flies in the face of everything that they "know". Acceptance of evolution stands to shake the very foundation of their faith: the belief that God is absolutely necessary for anything to work.