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5/6/2016 » 5/7/2016Atheism & the Christian Faith Conference, Edmonton, AB
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Evolution does not
violate the second law of thermodynamics because the second law is absolutely
true. It is like saying the odds of getting heads when you flip a coin is 50%.
that proteins or their DNA assemble by random chance when evolving. Biologists do probability calculations that show proteins or DNA could not have
evolved by random processes in 3 billion years. This is why natural selection
explains only adaptation, not the increase in the complexity of life.
It is perfectly
reasonable to say evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics because
they both use probability calculations. The supposedly peer-reviewed article I
am criticizing implies that natural selection explains the increase in the
complexity of life. This is pseudoscience.
My YouTube video at
the top of this post gives the references and quotes from peer-reviewed
articles and scholarly works that explains this in more detail.
David, I think a few clarifications are in order. You said "Entropy always decreases in nature, according to the second law." I think you mean "...always increases in a closed system..." Of course, in open systems with an energy flux, entropy can increase or decrease, according to the second law.
Also, you said "Entropy is another word for order." Yes, the two are related but it isn't always easy to quantify the two. Entropy is really defined by the number of possible states or configurations.
When you say "It is perfectly reasonable to say evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics because they both use probability calculations," I would caution that they use probability very differently and it does not follow that evolution violates the second law. As Chuck rightly points out, no biologist I know thinks that. Probability calculations are useful in assessing various paths for natural processes but none that I know of says that evolution couldn't have or didn't happen.
Your comment that "...natural selection explains the increase in the complexity of life" isn't quite complete. While the selection process is an important part, one must also include the source of variation, in which, usually through energy influx, there is replication with variation as the source of increased information and complexity, with selection as the vital feedback constraint. Rather than being pseudo-science, it's a very successful and thriving area of science, seems to me.
This is confusing to me. Are you sure the statistical approach is restricted to non-interacting particles? That doesn't sound very biological. If we combine helium and oxygen in a gas chamber experiment, similar to the one you described earlier, then try the same experiment with carbon and oxygen, won't we see a significant variance in the results due to variables not considered in a simple statistical gas analysis? As long as a given structure somehow benefits from any change, and the new structure can be replicated, why would statistics claim otherwise? I don't see evolution violating the 2nd law any more than a refrigerator might, though I am neither biologist nor physicist.
[I too think it will be 20 to the power of 600 in possible mathematical combinations.]
The tenet of natural selection is a general term, not a specific process. Indeed, it wasn't until genetics came along that Darwin's hypothesis of natural selection became respected.
A minor nit: Big Bang Theory was not discovered in the 1960s, though the cosmic background radiation was discovered in 1964, which gave huge credence to the original, but less structured, theory by Lemaitre from his 1927 paper. His "primeval atom" was introduced, I think, in 1931 while in England.
To be clear I take you to be saying that AJP, and the portion of the academy it represents, and not a particular author, are specifically targeting the Bible by publishing this article. Again, I am not an expert in the field but it seems to me that they are publishing the view of an author (or perhaps authors) who contends that evolution does not violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. It appears to me that there are folks that are part if ASA, who are Trinitarians, take the Bible to be God's word, are career biological scientists who tend to share the perspective presented in the AJP article.
I'm sorry but I have a hard time jumping to the conclusion that this biological position on the 2nd Law constitutes an attack on the Bible. Seems to me it is an attack on a particular interpretation of the biological implications of the 2nd Law and open for healthy debate regardless of a faith position. Perhaps the problem is that a scientific question like this doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of faith, a little like discussing marriage in heaven. The author obviously takes a position against creationist positions who claim that the 2nd Law is violated by evolution.
For me the Trinity boils down to the passage in 1 John 4 "God is Love." For God to be Love, there must be the authority and will to love, the power to love, and a physical presence express it to the beloved. Love is fundamentally relational and the Trinity flows from the relationship between the Father, Holy Spirit and the Son. That God would choose to invite us to be part of that family and make it possible through Jesus Christ is the Good News of the Bible. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what any of that has to do with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, except to say that the 2nd Law expresses God's amazing love for us because it makes life, consciousness and breath possible.