Sunday, July 22, 2007

A creationism vs. evolution discussion,. Part 2

Continuing the discussion from below:

My question:
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.

Marcsana's response:
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.

My response:
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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. And again, this argument has very little to do with the reality of evolution.

7 comments:

Marcsana said...

I did not sidestep the question at all. I show the problem with this common evolutionary argument. This will be developed more in this installment. But before I begin, I would like to start with this interesting quote from Dr. John Ross (Harvard Scientist & Evolutionist). It was in "Chemical & Engineering News" July 7th 1980 on p.40.
"There are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems."
For more detailed treatment of the second law and more quotes from "authorities" on the matter, please see the following link:

www.trueorigin.org/steiger.asp

So clearly the second law applies to open systems as well. I have heard many evolutionary arguments that attempt to counter this. The most common will be presented here since you brought them up. The first one is the fact that trees grow, embryos develop, etc. Evolutionists argue that less complex to more complex forms of life are perfectly "lawful" in an open system. Some then try and show the complexity in life forms of today as examples of how the second law doesn't apply to an open system. This is circular reasoning and presupposes evolution. The complexity of life today doesn't prove the exception to the second law. First of all, plants and animals alike grow and develop based on what is already coded in genetics. This isn't an example of less complex to more complex...it is an example of what is already coded in the blueprints of genetics. And, of course, all die.

The argument regarding snowflakes and crystals is not deeply flawed and it does not show local reversals in open systems. As you probably know, when water freezes it releases heat into the environment. There is more about this in the article below. In regards to crystals, I need to clear something up. When I use the term "information," I'm referring to these definitions, which can be found at Dictionary.com,
1. knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; news: information concerning a crime.

2.knowledge gained through study, communication, research, instruction, etc.; factual data: His wealth of general information is amazing.

3. the act or fact of informing.


The information in life is very complex and contains the ability to execute incredible design features like eyes and the digestive system, etc. The information in a crystal is ordered. It is a repeating sequence. For more information regarding this, please see this link:

www.answersingenesis.org/docs/370.asp#r1

You also brought up language.
Intelligence must give rise to language and the DNA code functions like a language. There is nothing simple about a language. You wrote that English words are "formed from 26 simple letters." There is nothing simple about this! You see, evolutionary theory hinges upon everything being simpler than we actually observe. The letters may be themselves easily written...but a book is vastly different! It's the difference between just smashing keys on a keyboard and writing Shakespeare. The above mentioned article touches on this topic. Language is certainly a strong case for creation. Consider these articles:

By the way, TJ is a peer-reviewed journal.

www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v10/i2/information.asp

Now I'm going to allow an impossible hypothetical situation for a moment. I say impossible because the 2nd law is clearly in effect for open systems. But, let's say that it is not. Let's say that the 2nd law can be locally reversed. Terrific. There are still insurmountable problems. In order for the 2nd law to be suspended, the following four requirements need to be established.
1. You need an open system (Earth)
2. You need an available source of energy (the sun)
Unfortunately, this is where evolutionists will say that the reversal of the 2nd law in an open system is possible. They know better:
3. A way to capture and store raw energy
4. An energy conversion mechanism
These four requirements were presented in a lecture by Mike Riddle. If you would like more information, let me know.

Now...let's return to the Boeing 747 example. I would like to point out that just because it has been used a lot doesn't mean the strength of the argument is removed. Since it was taken out of context, I'm going to place it in its correct context here. This means that if you have a pile of Boeing 747 parts lying on the ground, you will never get a Boeing 747 by the second law idea. You do have an open system, Earth. And you do have an available energy source, the sun. But do these parts have a mechanism that can capture and store raw energy? No. Is there an energy conversion mechanism? No. Our bodies convert food into energy, for example. So what will you get after millions of years of the Boeing parts lying on the ground? You will have all those parts lying on the ground because requirements 3 and 4 are missing. What I just wrote goes against what you wrote in Argument 4 of your case against the Boeing. Let's look a little more closely at 1-3.
1. Argument one ignores a concept set forward by Dr. Michael Behe known as irreducible complexity. He uses the mousetrap as an example. If you take away one part of the mousetrap, you don't catch half as many mice or a quarter as many. You catch zero mice. On a much larger scale, there are many parts working together in life. Even in the simplest life form, you must have an unimaginable amount of processes working together (each with their own complex constructions) in order to sustain life. Let's saying the ability to fly is what makes the Boeing 747 (otherwise, it would be "dead" since it didn't work) a Boeing 747. You have to have most of the parts working together or it doesn't fly. If just some of them were magnetized to fit together after a tornado, you still have "death" because the plane won't function.

2. Where did the first yeast cell come from? Where did the universe come from? At some point, the evolutionist must account for all the matter in the universe. I'm aware of the Big Bang theory...but where did that come from? Anything with an origin, like the universe, has a beginning. Regarding the yeast cell. Where are the intermediaries? Also, the point is this: Orville and Wright's plane is still a plane. Some cells are more complex than others, but they all share life. So Orville and Wright's plan would be more aptly symbolic of a less complex cell. Speaking of the planes, you would never find one buried and assume natural processes put it together. It had a designer. The simplest living cell is vastly more complex than any airplane.

3. This argument misses the point. Life is so complex, that it demands a designer. Chance, mutations, and time are not sufficient to explain all the complexity of life. When life was supposed to appear according to evolutionary timetables, the environment was hostile towards it. All parts that need to be in place in order to sustain life would have had to evolve and come together at exactly the same time under exactly the right circumstances. Further, there is no known mechanism that adds information to DNA (or RNA for that matter). So argument three makes the problem look too simplistic when in fact there are a myriad of factors that contribute to life.

www.answersingenesis.org/docs/196.asp

www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/re1/chapter9.asp

www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/cfol/ch1-origin.asp

I apologize for the length of articles 2 and 3 posted here. On the third one, I selected it because it deals with the Boeing example at one point. You can just go to the "Find in Page" feature and find it that way.

In conclusion, the 2nd law of thermodynamics applies also to open systems. But even if it did not, there would still be insurmountable problems with evolution because half of the requirements would be missing. Furthermore, life is too complex to have arisen without direction from an intelligent source.

Cris Waller said...

OK, let’s make this into two parts… I’ll deal with the Second Law in this part, and the tornado in the junkyard next time (probably a few days- I want to try and get through the original set of questions first).

Your argument, if I can extract it, seems to be this:
Dr. John Ross stated that there are no known violations of the Second Law and that it applies to open systems.
The Second Law of thermodynamics applies to open systems as well as to closed, thus it applies to Earth.
Evolutionists say that the complexity of life is proof that the Second Law doesn’t apply to open systems
Snowflakes and crystals are not examples of local reversals in entropy
Crystals do not contain information (I will deal with this argument separately in my installment on creationist language)
In order for the Second Law to be suspended, all of the following must happen- an open system, an energy source, a way to capture and store energy, and an energy conversion mechanism

OK, let’s look at each of these arguments in turn- but first, a brief definition of the Second Law of thermodynamics:
Energy tends to spontaneously diffuse rather than stay concentrated. In a closed system operating over time, you cannot wind up with more energy than you started with. This wasted or diffused energy that is unavailable to do work is referred to as “entropy.” In the most classic example, hot things get colder- their thermal energy diffuses. Cold things never transfer energy to hot ones- it’s a one-way system, and it’s headed downhill. Note firstly that we only say energy tends. to disperse- a coiled spring for example, will store energy as long as it stays coiled,. But, release our tension on the spring and it spontaneously uncoils and releases its energy Note that the classical definition of the Second Law does not refer to chaos or disorder- only transfer of thermal energy However, the common public idea of entropy refers to disorder. It’s important to realize that this is an incorrect definition in the scientific sense.

Dr. John Ross stated that there are no known violations of the Second Law and that it applies to open systems. .
Unfortunately, although you gave a source name and a date, you failed to give very important information like the name of the actual article, an abstract, or any information relevant to the content of this article. Searching for more information on the article only turned up dozens of repetitions of the exact same quote on dozens of creationist websites- none that offered this vital missing info. As it’s so easy to take quotes out of context, and as the Chemical and Engineering News archives go back to only 1998, the jury is out on whether this statement was made and what it means until the entire relevant article can be located. As you used this quote, perhaps you can supply a PDF of the original article, as you must have read it to determine if that is indeed what the author said and if the context is correct before you used the quote? For now, I’ve asked a couple of scientist friends of mine if they can supply a copy so I can address this more accurately.

Addendum: .Found the actual true quote here: http://www.digisys.net/users/hoppnrmt/miscthermo.htm
"SIR: I am referring to the article entitled 'Physical Chemistry,' C&EN, June 2, page 20. Toward the end of the article is stated: 'Another area where physical chemistry likely has important biological applications is the study of the properties of steady states far from equilibrium. These are stable systems that do not follow the Second Law of thermodynamics; instead they require a continual supply of energy from outside the system to maintain themselves.'
Please be advised that there are no known violations of the Second Law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the Second Law is stated for isolated systems, but the Second Law applies equally well to open systems.
I recognize that it is very difficult to write an article on as broad a subject as physical chemistry in two pages, and ordinarily I would not bother to point out minor errors. However, there is somehow associated with the field of far-from-equilibrium phenomena the notion that the Second Law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.
So yes—a tremendously out-of-context misquote, and not even from a journal article- it’s from a letter to the editor!
As this site goes on to state:
It is obvious this is a letter to the editor. The article Ross was writing about "Physical Chemistry" was sort of a news article about the latest in equipment and techniques used in the field of physical chemistry. It talked about the areas of Lasers, Theory and modeling, Surfaces, and Biological Applications. It was in biological applications that the author of that article made the statement that Ross was responding to. The error that Ross was correctly pointing out was that by requiring a continual supply of energy, the systems do follow the Second Law. The reason Ross responded is probably because he had written many papers about far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics and is an expert in that field. Ross agrees with Steiger who says that evolution does not violate the Second Law, because it receives a continuous input of energy by the sun. That is why there are no known violations.

The Second Law of thermodynamics applies to open systems as well as to closed, thus it applies to Earth. .
See my statement above. The mechanics of heat transfer apply equally well in either open or closed systems. The Earth itself is not a closed system, as it receives energy from the sun. Order in a system may increase, as long as enough energy continues coming into that system to offset the entropy that occurs. So. For example, I can use a freezer to make ice- as long as that freezer is plugged in!

Evolutionists say that the complexity of life is proof that the Second Law doesn’t apply to open systems.
Actually, I don’t think that this is a common argument at all; it’s far more common to see creationist arguments that misconstrue the Second Law as “proof” that evolution cannot occur. Evolutionists don’t state that the complexity of life is proof the Second Law does not apply, they state that it evolution is possible because the earth is an open system, with energy added continuously in the form of sunlight and geothermal energy. So living things create order, at the same time they increase the entropy in the world (primarily by giving off heat) and no violation of the Second Law occurs.

Snowflakes and crystals are not examples of local reversals in entropy.
Sure they are. As are many, many other states where matter becomes temporarily more ordered.

Crystals do not contain information.
(I will deal with this argument separately in my installment on creationist language)


In order for the Second Law to be suspended, all of the following must happen- an open system, an energy source, a way to capture and store energy, and an energy conversion mechanism.
It is my opinion that the creationists are trying to make the formation of organic molecules far more complex than it really is. Please note that this above list of “requirements will never be found in any thermodynamics or physics textbook; it was invented by creationists, who intend it to mean that because organic molecules are so complicated, the Second Law will not allow them to form. Please note also that the Second Law has nothing to do with creationist-invented vocabulary such as “specified complex information.” It’s about entropy. Nothing at all in the Second Law prohibits the formation of complex molecules in an open system.
The Second Law is never really “suspended.” It is always in effect. Energy will always tend to diffuse, and delaying that tendency isn’t suspending the Second Law- it’s part of it.
Take, for example, a rock balanced on a pinnacle. The potential energy of the rock is not being used. If the rock is pushed, the potential energy will turn to kinetic as the rock falls. But, as long as the rock remains where it is, its energy is not diffusing, and nothing except inertia is required for this state to continue.
And, to deal very briefly with all of these issues (as irrelevant as they are to the formation of molecules), let’s look at our iron-sulfur bubble discussed in my first post. Open system- check. Energy source- hot water- check. A way to capture and store energy- the iron-sulfur surface-check. Energy conversion mechanism- heat energy to chemical energy- check. So what’s the problem?

Marcsana said...

First, I'm working on the source of that quote I placed. Soon, hopefully, I'll have it physically in my hands. But in the meantime, there is plenty more stuff regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I hate to say this, but I do think you are misinformed about the scope of the Second Law. I appreciate how you explained the Second Law in your post, but there's more to this law. I will write about the implications of it and then I will place my references at the bottom.

As we know, the universe is a gigantic closed system. It is moving unswervingly toward entropy because in a closed system disorder must increase and this is what we observe. The author of what I read regarding this used the following analogy. Imagine a hot cup of coffee in an insulated room. As the coffee loses heat, there is less available energy; it isn't lost, but transferred in the form of heat. Finally, there is no difference in temperature between the coffee and the air. This system just experienced heat death and he 2nd Law says the reverse cannot happen. Now, we return to the universe where we have hot stars and countless cosmic bodies slowly giving in to the sting of entropy. We have a massive problem now (for evolutionists). The same author referenced a wind-up clock. He said the universe is winding down until entropy. But the clock needed to be "wound up." In other words, Someone needed to make the celestial bodies existing in a state of usable energy. To quote the author, "Since energy is continually changing from available to unavailable, someone had to give it available energy in the beginning!" Every star we see would have to have had violated the second law in order for cosmic evolution to take place. So would any source of energy in the universe. If there were no stars, there couldn't be an open system with Earth. If Earth was closed, then evolution didn't happen. But there's more. Let's return to Earth, even though it shouldn't be here according to what I just wrote. Before we do, I have a quote from another scientist.

"Another problem, as I see it, for the non-creationist is the first law of thermodynamics which affirms the natural process of energy conservation. Energy cannot be created or destroyed by natural processes, but can only be converted from one form to another. Since matter is a form of energy (E=mc squared as stated by Einstein), natural sciences cannot account for the total energy, including matter, in the universe. This law consequently implies a role for the supernatural in the origin of the total energy in the universe."
-Dr. E. Theo Agard

This clearly has strong implications for the evolution of life. But, let's return to the planet that shouldn't exist. Earth. Before I begin, it is important to note that the Second Law applies at the micro level as well and so evolution can't be conveniently tucked into the microscopic world. Let me go further. We see the Second Law in effect all around us all the time. To quote an author, "metals corrode, machines break down, our bodies deteriorate, and we die. Constant maintenance and planning against contingencies are required if life is to be sustained for even a transitory period, such as the lifetime of an individual. Ultimately, the second law takes over, and our bodies return to dust and our automobiles the junkyard." We can resist the Second Law for a while, but even in an open system it has the final say. Thusly, the Second Law dictates that life cannot start by the activities of matter and energy without outside help. The trend is toward disorder and a downward direction in regard to life.

There is something else to consider before I close. A scientist proposed the following idea. Let's say we wanted to test the Second Law to see if it is accurate. Out of necessity, we would have to make a closed system. When we do this, we see clearly that the trend is downward toward disorganization just as the Second Law demands. What happens in an open system is that at any point we see all the various downward trends acting there. The author concluded with these words, "To believe that the second law applies only in closed systems is to confuse the experimental necessity for a closed system to test for the existence of the second law, with the actual actions of the second law evident in the open systems in which we live."

In conclusion, I don't have much to say since what was written speaks for itself. As we see the Second Law in action, it is clear that stars and other sources of energy cannot have evolved as this would violate the law. Because of the First Law, natural sciences cannot for all the forms of energy in the universe. Even in open systems, we see the Second Law clearly acting against everything. I'm going to close with one more quote regarding the Second Law. I will then write in my references and finally place several quotes from evolutionists regarding the same things.

"The second basic law of nature also involves energy. It describes unavoidable losses in any process whatsoever which involves the transfer of energy. The energy does not disappear, but some always becomes unavailable, often as unusable heat. Stated in another way, everything deteriorates, breaks down, and becomes less ordered with time. Ultimately, death itself is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. This law is directly related to the Curse which was placed upon nature at the fall of mankind in Eden."
-Dr. Don B. DeYoung
(It should noted that this author doesn't say that ALL the implications of the Second Law are from the Curse. For example, digestion would be problematic without this Law)

Reference:
In Six Days
Why Fifty Scientists Choose To Believe In Creation
The following scientists who are written in the order in which I used them:
-Dr. John M. Cimbala; Mechanical Engineering. Chapter 20, pg. 200.
-Dr. E. Theo Agard; Medical Physics. Chapter 22, pg. 212.
-Dr. Ker C. Thomson; Geophysics. Chapter 23, pg. 215. (I started with pg. 218)
-Dr. Don B. DeYoung; Physics. Chapter 45, pg. 342.

Scientific Authorities speak on the 2nd Law:

“There is thus no justification for the view, often glibly repeated, that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is only statistically true, in the sense that microscopic violations repeatedly occur, but never violations of any serious magnitude. On the contrary, no evidence has ever been presented that the Second Law breaks down under any circumstances.”
[A.B. Pippard, Elements of Chemical Thermodynamics for Advanced Students of Physics (1966), p. 100.]

“No matter how carefully we examine the energetics of living systems we find no evidence of defeat of thermodynamic principles.”
[Harold Blum, Time’s Arrow and Evolution (1962), p. 119.]

“Another way of stating the second law then is: ‘The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!’ Viewed that way, we can see the second law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself -- and that is what the second law is all about.”
[Smithsonian Institute Journal, June 1970, p. 6]

“The point is that in a non-isolated [open] system there exists a possibility for formation of ordered, low-entropy structures at sufficiently low temperatures. This ordering principle is responsible for the appearance of ordered structures such as crystals as well as for the phenomena of phase transitions. Unfortunately this principle cannot explain the formation of biological structures.”
[I. Prigogine, G. Nicolis and A. Babloyants, Physics Today 25(11):23 (1972)]

“As ice forms, energy (80 calories/gm) is liberated to the surroundings... The entropy change is negative because the thermal configuration entropy (or disorder) of water is greater than that of ice, which is a highly ordered crystal... It has often been argued by analogy to water crystallizing to ice that simple monomers may polymerize into complex molecules such as protein and DNA. The analogy is clearly inappropriate, however... The atomic bonding forces draw water molecules into an orderly crystalline array when the thermal agitation (or entropy driving force) is made sufficiently small by lowering the temperature. Organic monomers such as amino acids resist combining at all at any temperature, however, much less in some orderly arrangement.”
[C.B. Thaxton, W.L. Bradley, and R.L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library, New York, 1984, pp. 119-120.]

Cris Waller said...

I will start with a quote myself-
---------------------------
Antievolutionists mistake, or pretend to mistake, these disagreements as indications of dubiousness of the entire doctrine of evolution. Their favorite sport is stringing together quotations, carefully and sometimes expertly taken out of context, to show that nothing is really established or agreed upon among evolutionists. Some of my colleagues and myself have been amused and amazed to read ourselves quoted in a way showing that we are really antievolutionists under the skin.
---------------------------
Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution-Theodosius Dobzhansky

Marcsana- You have just spent a lot of space to state absolutely nothing. Nowhere in your response do you make a specific clear point. Nowhere do you address any of the specific points I have already made. Instead, you indulge in the common creationist response of "quote mining." Rather than offer any logical response of your own, you throw out a disjointed series of quotes. That is not debate. I will go out on a limb here and state that I am certain you have not read any of the original sources that you quote from so blithely, instead, you have laboriously copied the quotes from some creationist tract- as all of them can be found there. If you actually read any of the works by Ilya Prigogine, for example, that you would find he was most well-known for researching how the formation of complex systems (including biological ones) was possible under the Second Law. He won the 1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.

---------------------------
Generally speaking, before Prigogine the important advances made as a result of the second law concerned reversible processes in enclosed systems, such as the steam engine. Classical scientific inquiry confined itself to reversible processes, leaving outside its purview the more disquieting open or "nonequilibrium" systems. But rather than viewing nonequilibrium as a negative factor, Prigogine believed that it was actually a source of organization and order. In effect, he turned the second law on its head and made it relevant to the natural world and its open, complex, nonequilibrium systems.
Interview with Ilya Prigogine- Robert B. Tucker
---------------------------

Your only point seems to be "Evolution is impossible because the second law won't allow it." I dealt with that argument already. Twice. You again failed to address any of the specific points that I mentioned.

Marcsana said...

Ignore the quotes at the end then if you want to. I responded to the Second Law in the first half of what I wrote.

Cris Waller said...

No, I don't think I will ignore the quotes. You used them; you had an obligation to use them responsibly. I think I will take the time to track down the originals and learn what they really said. It will probably be quite edifying- and I am quite certain that those quotes will prove to be examples of irresponsible creationist quote mining.

I explained in my previous posts why the Second Law does not preclude evolution- I gave a point-by-point refutation of your claims; you failed to address any of the specific points I made in those discussions but provided yet more rehashings of someone else's generalities.

If you really want to discuss this, how about going back to that point-by-point list and providing specific feedback on it?

Marcsana said...

Regarding the quote by Dr. John Ross. It isn’t just a letter to the editor. But this is irrelevant for the time begin although it may come back.

Here is what you had to say regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
“Energy tends to spontaneously diffuse rather than stay concentrated. In a closed system operating over time, you cannot wind up with more energy than you started with. This wasted or diffused energy that is unavailable to do work is referred to as “entropy.” In the most classic example, hot things get colder- their thermal energy diffuses. Cold things never transfer energy to hot ones- it’s a one-way system, and it’s headed downhill. Note firstly that we only say energy tends. to disperse- a coiled spring for example, will store energy as long as it stays coiled,. But, release our tension on the spring and it spontaneously uncoils and releases its energy Note that the classical definition of the Second Law does not refer to chaos or disorder- only transfer of thermal energy However, the common public idea of entropy refers to disorder. It’s important to realize that this is an incorrect definition in the scientific sense.”

First of all there are several ways to express the idea of the 2nd Law. Before I write anything more, I’m quoting from the following article:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/Docs/370.asp#r1
The 2nd Law can be stated many ways:

“that the entropy of the universe tends towards a maximum (in simple terms, entropy is a measure of disorder)

usable energy is running out

information tends to get scrambled

order tends towards disorder

a random jumble won’t organize itself”

It also depends on type of system. An open system exchanges matter and energy with its surroundings but it still has a tendency to disorder. There are certain circumstances in such systems where local order can increase, but this results in greater disorder elsewhere. Two examples are crystallization and programmed machinery. These machines direct energy into maintaining and increasing complexity, but the cost is greater disorder elsewhere. More on these in a bit.
Undirected energy speeds up destruction and raw energy can’t supply the specified complexity needed for life. Dr. Sarfati uses the following illustrations. If a person stands out in the sun too long, he or she won’t get more complex. He or she will get skin cancer. Why? Because we can’t harness raw solar power. Again, it’s like trying to run a car by dumping gas on it and lighting it on fire. And finally, “A bull in a china shop is also raw energy. But if the bull were harnessed to a generator, and the electricity directed a pottery-producing machine, then its energy could be used to make things.”
He goes on to say:
“To make proteins, a cell uses the information coded in the DNA and a very complex decoding machine. In the lab, chemists must use sophisticated machinery to make the building blocks combine in the right way. Raw energy would result in wrong combinations and even destruction of the building blocks.”
And finally, “The information in even the simplest organism would take about a thousand pages to write out. Human beings have 500 times as much information as this. It is a flight of fantasy to think that undirected processes could generate this huge amount of information, just as it would be to think that a cat walking on a keyboard could write a book.”
Now, it’s time for crystals. The following quote by an anti-creationist sums it up pretty well:
“If the Second Law truly prohibited local emergence of increased order, there would be no ice cubes. The greater orderliness of water molecules in ice crystals than in the liquid state is purchased with the expenditure of energy at the generator that made the electricity to run the freezer. And that makes it legal under the Second Law.”
-Boyce Rensberger, ‘How Science Responds When Creationists Criticize Evolution’, Washington Post, 8 Jan 1997. (AiG has a point-by-point critique of this work. There’s link in the footnote to it. This is found in the same AiG article I mentioned above.)

This statement completely misses the point of the creationist argument. An energy source can’t account for the specified complexity of life whether it’s the sun or the energy coming up in thermal vents. There must be a DIRECTION of energy. As Dr. Sarfati says, “The ice cubes of his example would not form if the electrical energy was just wired into liquid water! Instead, we would get lots of heat, and the water breaking up into simpler components, hydrogen and oxygen.”
He also says, “The ice example is thermodynamically irrelevant to the origin of life. When ice freezes, it releases heat energy into the environment. This causes an entropy increase in the surroundings. If the temperature is low enough, this entropy increase is greater than the loss of entropy in forming the crystal. But the formation of proteins and nucleic acids from amino acids and nucleotides not only lowers their entropy, but it removes heat energy (and entropy) from their surroundings. Thus ordinary amino acids and nucleotides will not spontaneously form proteins and nucleic acids at any temperature.” Lastly, I’m going to post a longer quote by Dr. Sarfati from the same article. I’m letting him word because it’s very important:
“Rensberger also fails to distinguish between order and complexity. Crystals are ordered; life is complex. To illustrate: a periodic (repeating) signal, e.g. ABABABABABAB, is an example of order. However, it carries little information: only ‘AB’, and ‘print 6 times’.

A crystal is analogous to that sequence; it is a regular, repeating network of atoms. Like that sequence, a crystal contains little information: the co-ordinates of a few atoms (i.e. those which make up the unit cell), and instructions ‘more of the same’ x times. If a crystal is broken, smaller but otherwise identical crystals result. Conversely, breaking proteins, DNA or living structures results in destruction, because the information in them is greater than in their parts.

A crystal forms because this regular arrangement, determined by directional forces in the atoms, has the lowest energy. Thus the maximum amount of heat is released into the surroundings, so the overall entropy is increased.

Random signals, e.g. WEKJHDF BK LKGJUES KIYFV NBUY, are not ordered, but complex. But a random signal contains no useful information. A non-random aperiodic (non-repeating) signal—specified complexity—e.g. ‘I love you’, may carry useful information. However, it would be useless unless the receiver of the information understood the English language convention. The amorous thoughts have no relationship to that letter sequence apart from the agreed language convention. The language convention is imposed onto the letter sequence.

Proteins and DNA are also non-random aperiodic sequences. The sequences are not caused by the properties of the constituent amino acids and nucleotides themselves. This is a huge contrast to crystal structures, which are caused by the properties of their constituents. The sequences of DNA and proteins must be imposed from outside by some intelligent process. Proteins are coded in DNA, and the DNA code comes from pre-existing codes, not by random processes.

Many scientific experiments show that when their building blocks are simply mixed and chemically combined, a random sequence results. To make a protein, scientists need to add one unit at a time, and each unit requires a number of chemical steps to ensure that the wrong type of reaction doesn’t occur. The same goes for preparing a DNA strand in a correct sequence.”

This more than adequately addresses what you wrote when you went over your definition. I also treated your definition in my previous entry on the 2nd Law. I have also addressed your plugged-in freezer example. What I posted also directly deals with snowflakes and crystals. It also touched on information theory which will be addressed in more detail when I discuss what you posted in the “Information, Please” series.

You also write, “It is my opinion that the creationists are trying to make the formation of organic molecules far more complex than it really is. Please note that this above list of “requirements will never be found in any thermodynamics or physics textbook; it was invented by creationists, who intend it to mean that because organic molecules are so complicated, the Second Law will not allow them to form. Please note also that the Second Law has nothing to do with creationist-invented vocabulary such as “specified complex information.” It’s about entropy. Nothing at all in the Second Law prohibits the formation of complex molecules in an open system.”

It is your opinion that creationists are overly complicating the formation of organic molecules? Well, it is my opinion that evolutionists must rely on over-simplifying life. If life is as complex as we observe (worded this way on purpose), then evolution has a lot more to explain. You say that none of these ideas are found in any thermodynamics or physics textbooks. Am I to believe you’ve read ever single textbook out there on these subjects? I don’t think you have. And furthermore, no EVOLUTIONARY friendly textbook will contain such information because it’s detrimental to their case. You have written about creation-invented vocabulary in other posts and you treat it with disgust. You seem to be of the mindset that anyone with a Ph.D. who believes in creationist theory can’t be a good scientist. This is ignorance of the highest order. Evolutionists have invented many terms themselves, like “prehistoric” and “primordial soup.” Science demands this as new things are discovered. You also try to call out creationists as frauds and I will treat this in a series coming up in which I will reveal many “dark secrets” of evolutionary history as well as defend the creationist side. If your textbook comment was a quote from someone, I would like a source please.

You also say, “And, to deal very briefly with all of these issues (as irrelevant as they are to the formation of molecules), let’s look at our iron-sulfur bubble discussed in my first post. Open system- check. Energy source- hot water- check. A way to capture and store energy- the iron-sulfur surface-check. Energy conversion mechanism- heat energy to chemical energy- check. So what’s the problem?”

Not so fast. Your iron-sulfur surface does not capture and store the energy. Nor can the conversion mechanism be so simply stated. First, look at my post on your thermal vents. Then remember BOTH posts on Thermodynamics. The iron-sulfur surface more or less deals with acetate. This is for all intents and purposes an adhesive. I’ve dealt with this issue in my posts. Furthermore, the half-lives of adenine, uracil, guanine or cytosine won’t allow for a simple capture. You haven’t provided anywhere near a sufficient enough response to satisfactorily explain requirements three and four. In short, you need a “machine” already in place that can convert geothermal energy. This, of course, would take time to evolve. But it can’t evolve if the raw geothermal energy is bombarding whatever is in those vents. Think of the skin cancer analogy. DNA and RNA are almost unimaginably complex and this proposed model can’t explain the rise of information. It is far too simplistic. More on this next week when I respond to information.