Evolution is impossible because it breaks the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the entropy (disorder) of a system increases over time.
Possible answers: True or false
Correct answer: False
This misinterpretation of the Second Law is common. This law applies only to a closed system, with nothing going in or out. Environments on Earth are not such systems. In addition, nothing in the Second Law contradicts local reverses in entropy. For example, snowflakes and mineral crystals are more orderly than their components. As one scientist said, 'Everything in this world that works, works by temporarily and locally reducing entropy. ' All the Second Law says is that, for the system as a whole, entropy will increase over time. Ilya Prigogine won the Nobel prize in 1977 for his work on the Second Law. His papers include one on how the Second Law does not contradict evolution. Arch-creationist Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research responded 'Prigogine's theoretical ideas are buttressed with a large amount of complicated mathematics which few biochemists and molecular biologists can understand, but it all does look deliciously scientific.' This is a classic example of poor logic.
6. The Second Law of Thermodynamics argument is a trick. The universe is a closed system. The Earth is not. What does this mean? Nothing. Evolution still can't happen. Why? Because two things are missing from this system. You need a mechanism to harness energy and you need something to convert it into a usable form. If you dump sunlight on scattered Boeing 747 parts for 2 million years, you will have wreckage. The parts can't harness or use harnessed energy. You can't take the parts of a cell and say they could use the sun's energy. You also posit a common mistake. You use snowflakes and mineral crystals as an example of something more orderly than its components. While they are complex structurally, they contain only tiny amounts of information. Therefore, this is called ordered complexity. Life is vastly different and falls under the category of specified complexity.
You can't use crystals and snowflakes as an example of how the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics doesn't violate evolution.
Note that Marcsana sidesteps the subject of this question- whether evolution contradicts the Second Law- and basically admits that it does not.
He switches the topic to a different one- very similar to the argument in Q. 5 discussed below. He seems to be stating that there are no natural systems to harness energy or to convert it into a “usable form” (whatever that means.) As discussed below, many such systems exist; the iron chloride world that allows acetates to form being just one of these.
Marcsana reiterates a rather tired creationist argument with slight rewording. They seem to be very fond of Boeing 747s, but the usual tirade is that a tornado in a junkyard (rather than sunlight) cannot produce a 747 from scattered parts. This story has been trotted out so often that there are innumerable websites devoted to it.
There are many problems with this story, as well as the sunlight variant. Here are just a few of them:
- The tornado argument operates under the same fallacy I discussed in my last post- no scientist thinks that molecules evolved through entirely random processes. The evolution of some steps facilitated others. Look at our 747 this way- what if I could magnetize some of the parts so that they would be attracted only to parts they should connect to? Then, the tornado, by mixing the parts, could bring together some of the parts that “should” be together. This is similar to the processes discussed below, where iron-sulfur compounds provided a perfect substrate for acetates to form.
- The originator of this argument, Fred Hoyle, claims that a yeast cell and a 747 have about the same level of complexity. Yet no scientist claims that a yeast cell arose from nothing- there were many intermediaries- just as Orville and Wright did not build a 747 in their garage!
- People who set out to build a 747 have a target in mind- a 747. Producing an award-winning sculpture or a motorcar will not satisfy them. Yet evolution has no such directed goals. Thus we cannot complain that the tornado doesn’t produce a 747 when we can’t expect to look for one in the first place.
- This argument also, of course, ignores any meaningful time scales.
The second argument- “crystals do not contain information, living systems do” is also deeply flawed.
- First of all, the crystal example is intended to show that local reverses in entropy occur. This has nothing do with information storage. There is no doubt that a snowflake is much more ordered than water vapor.
- Secondly- what is meant by “information”? After all, I am typing this on a computer, which most agree can store vast amounts of information- ultimately as ones and zeroes. DNA, our genetic blueprint, is constructed from just four bases. Every word in the English language is formed from 26 simple letters.
- And again, this argument has very little to do with the reality of evolution.