Friday, 8 April 2011

Entropy, entropy, they've all got it entropy

Fascinated by a posting on Steve's blog, Naws. Quite like Steve's blog when he's being amusing about science and IT, and tend to ignore it when he's being ranty and atheist. But on this occasion he managed to attract a commentator that made me wish for a mo that I was an atheist. Except I remembered they get into just as embarrassing company as religious people, so decided it's probably not worth all the trouble and expense. Also, I reckon God would get really angry if I went all atheist.

Anyway, the post.  And a commentor remarks that Evolution contradicts the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and that proves it didn't happen. The 2nd Law states that in a closed system Entropy (the measure of randomness or disorder in a system, and therefore in a weird kind of way a statistical measure) will increase. But Evolution means that disordered elements and chemicals and stuff become increasingly ordered - so Evolution defies 2nd Law. QED.


Any more than water running uphill disproves the existence of gravity. When the water is in a hosepipe attached to a tap on mains pressure.

In a closed system, entropy is always increasing. but that doesn't apply to organisms evolving. Firstly because it's not a closed system. The earth is bathed in sunlight, which gives you the energy equivalent of pushing water uphill in a hosepipe.

But secondly, because if that is true of Evolution, it's also true of organic growth of any kind. A tiny acorn, given simple and chaotic ingredients - i.e. water and CO2, will grow into a mighty oak. If Evolution doesn't exist because of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, neither can an oak tree grow from an acorn. Unless... um... it's a miracle? And if it is, then why can't Evolution also be a miracle?

Thinking about it, maybe that's a better answer. Evolution can't happen because of the 2nd Law. But it can - because it's a miracle! So everyone's a winner.

1 comment :

  1. Rant moi? ;)

    BTW like the hosepipe analogy; hope you don't mind if I nick that one!


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