Scientific law, Bible both support order-to-disorder in nature

You said that evolution goes against the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  My teacher claims that the Second Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t apply to evolution because we live in an “open system.”  He gave the example of the influx of the sun’s energy on earth and the growth of crystals.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful question.  For the sake of those readers who have not brushed up on their thermodynamics lately, let me try to simplify this issue.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics, as it applies to our discussion here is not a hard concept to understand.  Simply put, this universal law of science says that all systems, if left to themselves, move from a state of order to disorder.  I once explained this saying, “What if there was a neat and orderly room full of toys and then a you let loose a bunch of three-year-olds for an hour?  Order to disorder.”  Then my daughter said, “What if you had a messy room and let loose a bunch of mommies?”

So, a better example might be that pile of bricks in my backyard.  If no one touches if for the next 1000 years they will eventually wear away.  That is, if left alone they will not move themselves and form a wall.  (My neighbors will testify to that.)  Even Isaac Asimov summarized it saying, “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.”

The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics are the most universal and basic of all scientific laws.  They are not based on some abstract mathematical theory or proof but on the solid science of empirical observation and testing.  They are broad in their scope providing the framework for understanding all forms of energy from chemical energy to physical energy to matter itself.

The Second Law provides an insurmountable problem for evolution.  The Second Law, also called the Law of Entropy and evolution are mutually exclusive concepts.  The word, “evolution” comes from the Latin word meaning “out-rolling.”  “Entropy,” on the other hand, comes from the Greek “en” meaning “in” and “trope” meaning “turning.”  Thus, it means “in-turning.”  Both concepts are defining change, but in opposite directions!

Hence, many attempts have been made to sidestep this truth.  The “open system” argument demonstrates the desperate state of evolution.  Essentially it is explained that because of the influx of the sun’s energy that the earth is an “open system.”  For example, a seed growing into a plant producing order is open to the sun’s supply of energy.  This argument is at best naďve, and at worst deceptive.  Likewise, the argument could be make that exposing my backyard brick pile to sun would eventually produce a wall.  In both cases there is an open system exposed to the influx of the sun.  What’s the difference?  The difference is, that within the seed is not only a genetic code for the plant but also the mechanism to store, use and convert the sun’s energy to produce the plant.  Likewise, without a plan and workers (the mechanism) my pile of backyard bricks does not grow into a wall no matter how much energy this “system” is open to.

Regarding crystallization and the Law of Entropy Hubert Yockey in the “Journal of Theoretical Biology” wrote, “Attempts to relate the idea of ‘order’ in a crystal with biological organization or specificity must be regarded as a play on words which cannot stand careful scrutiny.”  The formation of a crystal also relies on pre-existing information.  A chemical code and specific properties of elements are necessary to form the geometric pattern of a crystal.  In addition, because of the large amount of energy lost and waste whenever a crystal is formed there is more of an increase of entropy than there is an increase of order producing the crystal.

On the other hand, the creation model, based on the scientifically reliable Bible predicts disorder from order.  In Romans 8:22, “the whole creation groans and suffers…”; Genesis 3:17 “Cursed is the ground because of you…”; the orderly, initial creation that God called “very good” is deteriorating as a result of the original sin.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics has never been circumvented.  Explanations like the open system argument or crystallization provide no help for evolution. 


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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen