The second Law of Thermodynamics and Evolution


2nd LoT

“Nice try, evolutionist! But the second law of thermodynamics contradicts evolution” No, it doesn’t. Consider the energy provided by the sun.

Here a little explanation for those not familiar with the argumentation: Some arguments from the creationist/ID community are coming back over and over again, and one of them is that evolution cannot be true, because it contradicts the 2nd law of thermodynamics (2LoT).

The 2LoT states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, a state with maximum entropy.This means, in lay terms, that in an isolated system, everything tends to get to a random-chaotic state (thinks of a house becoming a ruin over time).

John Ross, currently at Stanford University, correctly emphasizes that “…there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated [closed] systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems … 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.” (No idea, why creationist/ID community always references John Ross, but anyway, he is correct).

Please note the following:(1) The earth is an open system receiving energy from the sun. (2) Living beings are open systems. They constantly burn energy (e.g. photosynthesis in plants; food intake and breathing in animals and humans) – so we build order and complexity by using a lot of energy in fact! (3) The 2LoT does not contradict the existence of living beings, therefore it also does not contradict evolution.

Please also note: the 2LoT has nothing to do with order, complexity or abiogenesis.


originally posted: 18 April 2014 / (c)  fb page ScienceMeetsFaith
recommended further reading: Is Evolution Statistically Impossible? Life, the Universe, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

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