Does the Second Law of Thermodynamics really disprove Evolution?
The second law does not disprove evolution. It is an expression of what is viewed as a universal law of increasing entropy. In some forms it states that the entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time. The measure of entropy will approach a maximum value at equilibrium. In simple terms, the second law is an expression of the fact that over time, ignoring the effects of self-gravity, differences in temperature, pressure, and density tend to even out in a physical system that is isolated from the outside world. Entropy is a measure of how far along this evening-out process has progressed. There are many versions of the second law, but they all have the same effect, which is to explain the phenomenon of the general lack of reversibility in nature. It is often stated in several ways each of which implies the other: 1. In an isolated system, a process can occur only if it increases the total entropy of the system. 2. Heat cannot spontaneously fl
nobody can prove it, nor disprove – source, second law of thermodynamics secondly, the Second Law of Thermodynamics has not been proven. It is merely a rule-of-thumb based upon 200 years of experience in thermodynamics. Remember, Newtonian Mechanics operates upon the assumption that space and time are absolute, and Newtonian Mechanics functioned just fine with that underlying assumption until Relativity showed it was incorrect. The same parallel exists today regarding the Second Law. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Also, new evidence will not destroy the Second Law; it will only place a boundary on it, just like classical mechanics. The Second Law is valid, but not universally.
Frater Pan, No, the second law does not disprove evolution. (I have a BS in chemistry and am working on a Ph.D. in geochemistry, so I am very familiar with what the second law says and what its implications are.) The second law states that a CLOSED system (one with no energy exchange with its environment) cannot DECREASE its entropy. In other words, a box containing two different types of gas molecules (say, nitrogen and oxygen) that is isolated from the rest of the universe will not spontaneously order itself (decrease its entropy) so that oxygen molecules are on one side of the box and nitrogen molecules are on the other side. However, if energy is pouring into the box (ie, the box is no longer a closed system), and there is a mechanism for properly utilizing this energy, it is absolutely possible (even LIKELY, depending on the conditions!) that the box will order itself in this way. Creationists who use this argument fail to recognize that life is not a closed system, and therefore
The second law of thermodynamics has been proven mathematically for thermodynamic systems, where entropy is defined in terms of heat divided by the absolute temperature. The second law is often applied to other situations, such as the complexity of life, or orderliness. In sciences such as biology and biochemistry the application of thermodynamics is well-established, e.g. biological thermodynamics. The general viewpoint on this subject is summarized well by biological thermodynamicist Donald Haynie; as he states: “Any theory claiming to describe how organisms originate and continue to exist by natural causes must be compatible with the first and second laws of thermodynamics.” This is very different, however, from the claim made by many creationists that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. In fact, evidence indicates that biological systems and obviously the evolution of those systems conform to the second law.