Tuesday 26 July 2016

A response to Tovrose regarding entropy

Tovrose feels that evolution and the second law of thermodynamics cannot both be true. Below is a comment I left at that blog post.

You are wrong and I will try to explain why that is. The second law of thermodynamics describes a tendency. A tendency is not an effect that occurs 100% of the time. Although men tend to be taller than women, this is not always the case. Let me attempt an example. When I was conceived I was much less than a gram in mass. That single cell had amazing potential. That single cell had potential but comparatively little complexity. When I was a university student, let's say 23 years old, my body was at its physical peak and probably my mind was too. My body and mind were both much more complex than that single cell. I massed around 65 kg or around 65,000 times more than when I was conceived. And yet the second law was not broken for this to occur. Although I personally became more complex, I was making the world around me more disordered. For those twenty-three years and nine months, I was radiating 37 degrees Celsius. although I massed 65 kg, I ate far more than that in my twenty-three plus years. Indeed, I ate more 65 kg in a single year for most of those years. I exhaled lots of CO2 and expelled other wastes. As this increase in complexity shows, the second law does not forbid such increases. Another example: A block of stone has potential: it can be sculpted into remarkable shapes or it can be melted down with the ores used to make interesting things. In both these cases, the potential is not the same thing as complexity. Yet the tools needed to work the stone release energy and dust in disordered forms so even as complexity increases locally, so does disorder universally. I have not proven that evolution occurs, only that the second law does not prove it cannot. You specifically mention mutations. Do note that duplication mutations have been observed, with changes to one of the copies adding new functions to the lifeform. As a practical matter, information and new functions are known to occur and the process is understood. Again, I have not proven that evolution occurs, only that the second law is not a deal breaker. Finally, you wrote ". You’ll be surprised, for example, how many people have accepted the myth that ‘science has shown there is no God. Of course, evolution is the kingpin of modern atheism and world communism." I have to add some sarcasm here: You’ll be surprised, for example, how many people have accepted the myth that acceptance of evolution = atheism. In the US and Canada -and probably other places - most evolution proponents are religious and most of those are Christian. The Catholic Church is entirely fine with evolution as is the Anglican Church. There is no THE Lutheran Church, but at least some sects of Lutherans accept evolution. The church I grew up in, The United Church of Canada, is fully accepting of evolution. Intelligent Design proponents claim (I feel dishonestly) that their position is secular and I suppose that means that atheists could accept ID rather than evolution. Yes, most atheists are evolution proponents but most evolution proponents are Christian.

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