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5/22/2013Discussion group, Lexington, MA
5/25/2013“Jesus: Liar, Lunatic, Legend…or Lord?” London, England
5/28/2013 » 5/30/2013"What Does It Mean to Care? Religious Traditions & Health Professions Today,” Chicago, IL
6/1/2013“Origins Today: Genesis through Ancient Eyes,” Lexington, MA
6/6/2013 » 6/8/3013Crises in Psychology: When People Researching People Goes Wrong, Nashville, TN
They [Pinker and Bloom] particularly emphasized that language is incredibly complex, as Chomsky had been saying for decades. Indeed, it was the enormous complexity of language that made is hard to imagine not merely how it had evolved but that it had evolved at all.But, continued Pinker and Bloom, complexity is not a problem for evolution. Consider the eye. The little organ is composed of many specialized parts, each delicately calibrated to perform its role in conjunction with the others. It includes the cornea,…Even Darwin said that it was hard to image how the eye could have evolved.And yet, he explained, it did evolve, and the only possible way is through natural selection—the inestimable back-and-forth of random genetic mutation with small effects…Over the eons, those small changes accreted and eventually resulted in the eye as we know it. (Christine Kenneally, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, pp. 59–60)
Perhaps an analogy will help illustrate why your critique of Styer misses the mark. Suppose Alice and Bob are discussing an ice maker.
Bob: When ice freezes, the entropy decreases. Therefore it violates the second law of theromdynamics.
Alice: No, it doesn't! The ice maker works by plugging it into the electrical outlet and the power from the electric power source provides more entropy than the water/ice system loses, so the second law of thermodynamics is preserved.
Bob: FOUL! You just said that energy from the electric power source causes a decrease in entropy of the ice which is absurd.
Alice: Of course not! The electrical power runs the motor which runs the compressor which transfers the heat from the water to the environment.
In that analogy, Bob made exactly the same mistake you've made. Styer's argument is just like Alice's--looking at the thermodynamics of the entire system, not needing to comment on the kinetics of the compressor and pump that transfer the entropy from the water to the environment. Similarly, Styer didn't need to deal with the kinetics of how the entropy is transferred, only that the total entropy flow is consistent with the second law. Gladysheve rightly articulates the distinction between theromdynamics and kinetics.
The entropy of a star does increase. It heats up, doesn't it? The second law does state the entropy will increase in a closed system and indeed that has never been violated to our knowledge.
Your characterization of anyone (and it's not just atheists but also Christians who understand science) responding in panic is rather far off the mark. The response is usually one of exasperation towards people who ought to know better but keep insisting wrongly that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. It doesn't at any level of the hierarchy, as Gladyshev rightly points out. In every case, those who argue that evolution violates the second law have in some way misunderstood or misstated thermodynamic principles.
You in particular failed to see that the basic concepts of temperature and entropy apply to more than gases but also to solids and liquids and biological systems. And you wrongly accused Styer of claiming the sun's heat was a mechanistic cause of the reduction of entropy in evolution.
I just sent the following email to an ASA member asking me about my religion and views on evolution:
I am a Catholic and think that creationism and intelligent design are irrational. Darwinism, the idea that humans evolved from animals, is pseudoscience because only the bodies of humans evolved from animals, not their souls. Intelligent atheists think the human soul is just an idea, but rational people know that the human soul is spiritual. Less intelligent atheists think the human soul is spiritual by definition.
An example of pseudoscience promoted by atheists and Protestants is that natural selection explains common descent. Natural selection only explains how giraffes got long necks, not how giraffes evolved from bacteria in 3.5 billion years.
I'v been trying to explain this to Randy Isaac on the Open Forum by quoting from peer-reviewed articles and scholarly works. Randy's responses are very weak, to say the least. No member of the ASA is supporting me in my efforts to get the AJP to retract its absurd article titled "Entropy and evolution." You are the first ASA member that seems to be a real Christian, not a liberal Christian. Real Christians believe in Heaven and Hell.
I just started reading Biology's First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems whose co-author Daniel W. McShae is an associate professor of biology at Duke University. He is not an advocate of intelligent design. What follows is the opening paragraph of the book. I was happy to find it because it gives me another quote to throw into the face of people who believe in evolution instead of believing in the Bible.
The history of life presents three great sources of wonder. One is adapttion, the marvelous fit between organism and environment. The other two are diversity and complexity, the humge variety of living forms today and the enormous complexity oftheir internal structure. Natural selection explains adaptation. But what explains diversity and complexity?
My YouTube video titled, "The Truth About Evolution and Religion" contains a number of similar quotes.
Based on what we have said so far, some will be poised and ready to make a leap, from the notion of accumulation of accidents to the second law of thermodynamics…. We advise readers against this, for their own safety. We are concerned that on the other side of that leap there may be no firm footing. Indeed, there may be an abyss. First, we think the foundation of the ZFEL [zero-force evolutionary law] lies in probability theory, not in the second law or any other law of physics. And second, our notions of diversity and complexity differ fundamentally from entropy, in that entropy, unlike diversity and complexity is not a level-related concept. (location 220 on Kindle)