Michael S. Michael J. The late Dr. His views of SLOT being problematic for evolution are in line with mine. Even if you believe evolution to be a working theory, this book addresses many fallacies put forth in modern day classrooms — fallacies that have been proven wrong, inaccurate, or simply inappropriate as proof.
He uses non-Christian, non-religious language, and supports himself with information gleaned from many sources many from evolutionists themselves refuting the erroneous examples. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this rebuttal are the opinion of this author alone and should not be taken to necessarily represent the views of any other person or organization.
Harvey aharvey boulder. I found myself writing the same things repeatedly to straighten out various misconceptions. So, I have written something between a personal essay and a FAQ on the topic. Since this is written from my personal viewpoint, I will start by stating my background and personal convictions which cannot help but influence what I write.
I have a Ph. I then did two years of postdoctoral work, more or less in Chemical Physics, followed by four years in private industry.
I will restate his original paragraph in red font below, then comment in general on both versions, carefully noting what he had said previously and what he says now. I believe the Bible to be entirely trustworthy in conveying the messages God wants it to. Where people get into trouble is when, for example, they take the message of Genesis 1 that God created everything, including us and try to read it as something it is not i.
And even more annoyed when non-Christians see those arguments and get the false impression that the age of the Earth rather than Christ is what Christianity is all about. However, lower textual criticism and careful scriptural exegesis can also provide persuasive arguments for a young Universe less than 10, years old. I have tremendous respect for much of the scholarship from both Camps. There can be honest disagreements between principled and godly people. In the latter part of his original paragraph, Dr.
He also exhibits theological confusion in reference to theistic evolution. The history of this view clearly shows attempts by certain Christians to compromise with science.
This means compromise with Secular Humanists who, by definition, leave God out of the picture. In view of the fact that Dr. Harvey infers throughout this document that Christianity and the Bible and science do not conflict, as is also my position, then his acceptance of theistic evolution as a possible explanation muddies the discussion in the attempt to placate the evolutionists.
I will be specifically clear on this point — Creationists and Evolutionists are on unalterably opposed sides of this discussion, because it centers on the existence of God. Now, addressing his September update, the reader should note that it is true the Bible alone is not to be used a science text. However, in those areas where the physical universe can be observed and data gathered, the Bible does not disagree.
For the record, in both versions, Dr. Thus, I am left with the impression that in order to not be evaluated as stupid by his secular peers and comrades perhaps to save his job?
The Common Descent as posed by Darwin and his followers is met quite well by the Uncommon Dissent of the Creationists side. First, we need a few definitions. In thermodynamics, we must refer to a clearly defined system. Textbooks commonly consider the system to be the contents of a box-like container. But we could also define it to be a specific cubic meter of the atmosphere above Phoenix, or the Earth provided we define the boundary precisely , or my left kidney.
Everything in the universe that is not a part of the system is the surroundings. Systems are divided into three categories: an isolated system can exchange neither matter nor energy with its surroundings, a closed system can exchange energy but not matter, and an open system can exchange both energy and matter.
The Earth, for example, is an open system, but might be considered closed if one neglected meteors, space probes, etc. It is not an isolated system because, among other things, it receives radiant energy from the Sun. For all practical purposes, here we should address only Open and Closed Systems, with the Closed System essentially Isolated with a perfect adiabatic boundary that allows zero heat and mass transfer.
The Earth operates continually in an Open System with the Sun as its main thermal energy source. The reader should note that cosmologists on both sides of the evolution issue agree the Universe is a closed system. Eventually, all the stars will burn out, and the last piece of matter will approach absolute zero, uniformly distributed throughout the then dead and cold Universe.
This exchange can be in the form of heat transfer perhaps by placing a hot body in thermal contact with the system or work perhaps by compressing the system via a piston. There are many statements of it; perhaps the simplest is that it is impossible for there to exist any process whose only effect is to transfer energy from a system at a low temperature to one at a higher temperature.
In other words, heat flows downhill. Another statement of the 2nd law is that, for any isolated system, the entropy remains the same during any reversible process and increases during any irreversible process. The 2nd law also places bounds on the entropy change in a non-isolated system in relation to the temperatures of the system and the surroundings and the amount of energy leaving or entering it, but it is important to note that a system can experience a decrease in entropy if it is exchanging energy with its surroundings.
The 2nd law is ultimately a statement about heat flows, work, and temperature, and also about the direction of time. It states that, as time goes forward, the overall effect is for energy to dissipate from hot things to cold things.
Allow me to amplify: statistically, entropy, which is a measure of the randomness of a system, is part of the process of energy conversion. As Dr. Harvey said, heat flows downhill, because it is more probable for things to go from order to disorder as the heat dissipates. Heat propagates from a warmer source toward a cooler background. The reverse is extremely improbable. If a person builds a beautiful sand castle with exquisite design, it is more probable that tide, winds and rain will convert the sand castle back to its random collection of sand particles, scattered along the beach.
The opposite process, that tide, winds and rain alone will build a sand castle, is extremely improbable. Entropy tends toward a maximum. Unless someone detects a supertanker spaceship enter our Universe from without, and then proceeds to each star for a hydrogen refueling, then total, complete randomness and exhaustive heat death is the final end game of our beloved Uni verse. It does not come up in the contexts of concern in this essay.
This is a well-written popular introduction to the subject. The reader is cautioned, however, that Atkins has a bias toward metaphysical naturalism which sometimes leads him to extrapolate from the science to unfounded metaphysical conclusions.
If you can ignore the philosophy and stick to the science, you will learn a lot from his book. It would be nice here if Dr. However, Harvey makes a very good point — concentrate on the actual science, something that he strays from in this treatise.
Fast, McGraw Hill, Something that was roughly the 2nd law was stated by French engineer Sadi Carnot in with regard to the efficiency of steam engines.
Die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu. The entropy of the world strives toward a maximum. It is time to answer this intriguing question. How can life exist with its extreme amount of order—with its unaccountably low entropy? The answer is that all living things have an energy-fixing mechanism.
In other words, all living things have the ability to derive usable energy from their environment, and to use that energy to decrease entropy for example to synthesize large, ordered molecules.
A living thing has an extremely complex set of metabolic pathways; a series of chemical steps controlled by enzyme molecules which it uses to turn food into the raw materials sugars, fats or amino acids for metabolism, eventually converting the energy in food into such energy-storing molecules as ATP adenosine triphosphate.
The energy stored in these molecules, used in an intelligent way, allows the living cell to synthesize large protein and nucleic acid molecules—those molecules which allow a living thing to eat, grow, reproduce and think, etc.
The bottom line is that if energy is used in a carefully controlled way, it can be used to reduce entropy locally at the expense of increasing entropy globally. This is demonstrated in a refrigerator. A refrigerator moves heat from a cold place to a hot place. At first glance this would be in direct violation of the original statement of the second law.
However, the second law allows for the possibility of energy from outside a system being used to decrease entropy locally, if it is incorporated into a system in a carefully controlled way. The point to be made here is that refrigerators do not create themselves. It takes a thinking, planning designer to create a device such as a refrigerator. The same is true, except to an inconceivably greater degree, in the design of a living thing. Remember the boulder which fell off the cliff in an earlier illustration?
It is possible for a being with a purpose in mind to take the boulder, carry it up the hill, and place it balanced precariously at the edge of the cliff. Of course, such a process would involve the one carrying the boulder back up the hill to increase the entropy of his or her environment at the same time.
This simple example illustrates the problem nicely. Imagine trying to pump a lot of energy into the boulder at the bottom of the cliff in some sort of random fashion.
Perhaps by some amazing accident, the energy could conceivably cause the rock to be thrown up into the air, landing at the edge of the cliff, but it is incalculably more likely to destroy the rock.
Energy incorporated into a system with out intelligent flow of that energy is very limited in what it can accomplish. One of my favorite subjects to teach is biochemistry. In studying this subject one gets a glance at the overwhelming chemical complexity of even the simplest living system.
This sort of thing, with its great order and very low entropy , is made possible because a very intelligent designer created a chemical system which can incorporate food energy in such a way which allows the system to synthesize the very chemicals which allowed it to incorporate the food in the first place. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This brings the argument to the last stand of the materialists as they attempt to save the religion of scientism which excludes the possibility of a transcendent creator.
They claim that if sufficient energy were available from sunlight, or perhaps from thermal vents in the ocean , given the right building blocks, and sufficient time, entropy could be reduced enough in some local environment to spontaneously produce a living thing. Given our description of how a refrigerator works, this almost sounds plausible.
However, this scenario is not possible. This is because if sufficient energy is input into a system in a non-intelligent way, thermal entropy may be reduced, but informational entropy cannot. The creation of life by spontaneous chemical event requires a reduction in both kinds of entropy. When thermal entropy is reduced, ordered arrangements are created from disorder, such as disordered liquid water molecules acquiring a definite geometric pattern when they are turned into ice.
However, ice does not contain information. Reducing thermal entropy can produce a repeating pattern, but it cannot produce non-random information.
When gasoline is burned in an internal combustion engine, the energy produced can be used to compress a gas, move a piston, and cause a car to go uphill. In this case energy is used to cause a normally non-spontaneous process a car moving uphill to happen, but it is not producing information. None of these illustrations involve a decrease in informational entropy. Consider a room with a pack of playing cards randomly distributed on the floor.
Now, picture a backward vacuum cleaner pointed at the cards as a source of energy. It could also not be used to build a house out of cards.
The likelihood of the backward vacuum cleaner creating a house of cards is zero. Energy can only be used to build a house of cards or to create neat stacks of cards sorted by suit if the energy is directed by design. Simply throwing energy at a system will never decrease the informational entropy of that system to a significant degree.
The fact is that thermal energy always tends to decrease information. The refrigerator provides another case in point. A refrigerator can be used to reduce entropy inside the device. It uses up electrical energy to reduce thermal entropy. However throwing a lot of energy at the raw materials needed to produce a refrigerator could never result in the production of a refrigerator.
There is no way that one could take a pile of iron ore and crude petroleum as well as all the other raw materials required to build a refrigerator, and then simply add energy and wait long enough for a refrigerator to result, with the bolts turned into the proper holes, the belt on the motor and so forth.
A design is required to direct the flow of energy needed to create the refrigerator. Because the refrigerator contains information. There is no way around this fact of nature. Nature does not create information by itself. Materialists, intent on preserving belief in the random creation of life, simply avoid the unavoidable requirement for a great decrease in informational entropy in order for life to be created by ignoring it.
One exception to this rule is Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine, who received the Nobel prize for his work on non-equilibrium thermodynamics. He discussed the distinction between reducing thermal and informational entropy as it relates to the origin of life. Needless to say, these simple remarks cannot suffice to solve the problem of prebiological order. Prigogine and his co-author Nicolis point out that it is not enough to show that overall system entropy what I am calling thermal entropy can be reduced by inputting energy.
This amounts to hand-waving. Use of these nice-sounding terms does nothing to change the fact that more and more energy and more and more time will always yield an increase in informational entropy, not a decrease.
Information simply does not gradually increase in nature without an intelligent injection of energy. Humans are quite good at creating objects with low informational entropy. Such objects illustrate the general rule that intelligence or design is required for energy to be used to create information.
Consider a blank cassette tape. It contains magnetic material which, when the tape is bought, is randomly oriented high entropy. When an electric signal proportional to the sound of a musical instrument is run through the record head, the magnetic field on the tape is unrandomized low informational entropy , producing sufficient order that it is able to cause music to be played back when the magnetic signal is read.
Does anyone believe that the applying magnetic energy to a tape at random could ever produce a piece of music, with a rhythm, lyrics and so forth? It could only be done by intelligent design.
Even the simplest living organism is much more complex and has much more information than a house of cards or even the cassette tape of a musical piece. In other words, the probability of a backward vacuum cleaner being applied to a pile of playing cards producing a well-designed house of cards is far greater than the chances of a prebiological soup producing even one usable gene, never mind all the thousands of proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids needed to produce a living thing.
In fact, the probability of a house of cards being built by a backward vacuum cleaner is not just small; it is zero. Even if by some amazing coincidence all the cards just happened to be in the right position to form a house at some instant in time, the very vacuum which created the house in the first place would instantaneously destroy it.
This is another reason the proposal of scientists that an unlimited amount of energy could create a large degree of informational order is illogical.
The large amount of energy required to decrease the entropy in a chemical system or a group of cards would very quickly randomize that information, even if it were instantaneously produced. There is the rub. The magic ingredient which believers in non-transcendent creation of life always invoke is time. The problem with this is that with systems which are not controlled intelligently, time inevitably produces higher entropy, not lower.
Very unlikely events will have their probability increased by waiting. If one plays the lottery ten million times, the probability of winning goes up.
However, impossible events, such as those that grossly decrease informational entropy without the intervention of an intelligence, will not become more possible with time. To illustrate, the probability of a very large asteroid hitting the earth this year is extremely low. However, it can be predicted that in the time span of a billion years, this very small probability will increase to the point that the event actually becomes likely over that very great time span.
Picture the reverse process, the impossible one. Imagine running an asteroid collision backwards. In other words, imagine trillions of dust particles, small rocks, many huge boulders as well as millions of gas particles spontaneously joining themselves together to become a giant asteroid, which then lifts itself off the surface of the earth to be hurtled back into space. This is an impossible event, whose probability will not grow with time. Kinetic energy is energy in use or motion.
A tank of gasoline has a certain potential energy that is converted into kinetic energy by the engine. When the potential is used up, you're outta gas! Batteries, when new or recharged, have a certain potential. When placed into a tape recorder and played at loud volume the only settings for such things , the potential in the batteries is transformed into kinetic energy to drive the speakers.
When the potential energy is all used up, the batteries are dead. In the case of rechargeable batteries, their potential is reelevated or restored. In the hydrologic cycle, the sun is the ultimate source of energy, evaporating water in a fashion raising it's potential above water in the ocean.
When the water falls as rain or snow it begins to run downhill toward sea-level. As the water get closer to sea-level, it's potential energy is decreased. Without the sun, the water would eventually still reach sea-level, but never be evaporated to recharge the cycle.
Chemicals may also be considered from a potential energy or kinetic energy standpoint. One pound of sugar has a certain potential energy. If that pound of sugar is burned the energy is released all at once.
Even if by some amazing coincidence all the cards just happened to be in the right position to form a house at some instant in time, the very vacuum which created the house in the first place would instantaneously destroy it. The history of this view clearly shows attempts by certain Christians to compromise with science. Recent discoveries in molecular biology have shown that very many mechanisms in living cells exist for the purpose of transferring exact information. The ice-from-water example will provide a good illustration.
Therefore a scientist can calculate the freezing point of water to be zero degrees centigrade, based on the second law of thermodynamics. My only point is that the specific assertion that the existence of human life in and of itself violates the 2nd law is unfounded. Some of the energy is lost as heat due to friction with the air. This extremely complicated process, governed by many enzymes, is called DNA replication.
John Pratte, Clayton State Univ. However, Harvey makes a very good point — concentrate on the actual science, something that he strays from in this treatise. Therefore a scientist can calculate the freezing point of water to be zero degrees centigrade, based on the second law of thermodynamics.
Astrophysicists, using data such as the cosmic background radiation, have verified that the universe has obeyed the second law of thermodynamics very well since the time of the big bang. The Universe is just such an example, as stated by me earlier. For a Christian, there is no alternative to identifying natural selection with divine selection, whether in a direct or an indirect sense. Throwing out extremely small numbers and multiplying them to produce even smaller numbers could go on ad infinitum. This means that, even if one can apply a "second law" to them, it will not be in the simple "entropy must increase" form valid for isolated systems. However, lower textual criticism and careful scriptural exegesis can also provide persuasive arguments for a young Universe less than 10, years old.
Another conservation law was discovered about forty years before the conservation of energy. It is this definition that causes entropy to be thought of in terms of "disorder," because a highly ordered system like a crystal has fewer available states.
However, at this level the arguments are primarily about plausibility of chemical mechanisms rather than thermodynamics and those who use them should not say their position is based on thermodynamics , so they are outside the scope of this essay. This exchange can be in the form of heat transfer perhaps by placing a hot body in thermal contact with the system or work perhaps by compressing the system via a piston. This too requires a decrease in entropy. However, this does not help the argument they are trying to make.
Textbooks commonly consider the system to be the contents of a box-like container. Assuming there were flowers in the garden, it is the 2nd law that allowed Adam and Eve to smell them again speaking against the concept that entropy is inherently evil. However, the broad concept of SLOT is quite simple — all potential forms of energy normally are convertible to kinetic or thermal energy, sometimes reversible almost to its original state. This information is able, intelligently, to direct the synthesis of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and, most significantly, the reproduction of the information for the next generation of cells. It is well known that as coffee sits in any container, it cools down towards room temperature, making it less tasty to drink once it gets lukewarm or even room temperature. It is not an isolated system because, among other things, it receives radiant energy from the Sun.
None of these illustrations involve a decrease in informational entropy. Their main contributions here were in tying things to the concept of molecules including the science of statistical mechanics, which they basically invented though Gibbs brought it to maturity , which was not a part of the thinking of people like Kelvin and Clausius. This law states that the amount of energy created or used up in a process is equal to the amount of mass used up or created in the process times the square of the speed of light.
Energy is defined as the ability to do work.