I had a debate/discussion/argument with the evolution collective a few days ago on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and Evolution. I said it applies and they said it didn’t. It all involves the the terms of open systems and closed systems.
First of all what is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? From Wiki
The second law of thermodynamics states that in a natural thermodynamic process there is an increase in the sum of the entropies of the participating systems.
We need to understand what a thermodynamic process is and what entropy is. Thermodynamic process is the flow of energy and entropy is a measure of disorder. What this means in English is that energy is lost and complex systems break down to their simple elements if left to itself. The interesting part is that the sentence above states “Participating Systems”. A closed system is one where there is no outside interference and an open system is obviously a system with outside interference.
Our universe as a whole is a closed system. It contains all the matter and energy ever created and cannot be added to. However as the existing energy does work it is lost. Think of a perpetual energy machine which people in the past envisioned. A grandfather clock is very close. A pendulum swings back and forth and seemingly goes on forever. However the pendulum moves a clock mechanism doing work and just a fraction of energy is lost. The pendulum left to itself would finally stop. An outside force e.g. human resets the pendulum every now and again to keep it going.
If you look around everything we humans build needs to be maintained. If not it runs down. Cars break down, houses run down, gardens get messy, roads break up these are all examples of the 2nd Law in motion. Order becomes disorder. So how does this apply to evolution.
Living being need energy to survive. All the components like cells do work and this work takes energy. In the case of us humans we eat food and drink liquids (mostly water) some of which is converted to energy for work to be done. So living organisms are thermodynamic machines however they are not a closed systems but open systems since the source energy comes from outside the system. Does this matter? I don’t think so. Consider this, if you put a bullet in a persons heart they cease to function. All the food and drink given will not keep them functioning. After a bit of time the components that make up a body disintegrates and goes back to its simplest form which is dust. Living systems are very sophisticated machines. They are programmed to carry out certain functions and energy sources from the outside help keep these programs running. Take a desk top computer for example. There is an outside energy source (a plug which is inserted into a power point) and the machine runs. It runs until the power source is disconnected. If you leave it connected forever the computer will run down and die unless maintained. After the computer id dead you can leave it plugged in but it is still dead.
Basically what I have shown is that living organisms are a closed system with a couple of outside connections to provide energy. The organism still runs down if not maintained.
OK I have provided my side so lets look at the evolutionists side.
“Defining the System
However, this objection is grounded in a misunderstanding of the second law, which states any isolated system will increase its total entropy over time. An isolated system is defined as one without any outside energy input. Because the universe is an isolated system, the total disorder of the universe is always increasing.
With biological evolution however, the system being considered is not the universe, but the Earth. And the Earth is not an isolated system. This means that an increase in order can occur on Earth as long as there is an energy input — most notably the light of the sun. Therefore, energy input from the sun could give rise to the increase in order on Earth including complex molecules and organisms. At the same time, the sun becomes increasingly disordered as it emits energy to the Earth. Even though order may be increasing on Earth, the total order of the solar system and universe is still decreasing, and the second law is not violated. ”
A comment I would make here is that biologos is stating that the universe can run down and even our sun run down yet the energy of the sun COULD give rise to an increase in order on earth.
“Misapplication of The Second Law
To claim that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics is also grounded in a misunderstanding of where the law applies. Nobody has ever figured out how to apply the second law to living creatures. There is no meaning to the entropy of a frog. The kinds of systems that can be analyzed with the second law are much simpler.
A living organism is not so much a unified whole as it is a collection of subsystems. In the development of life, for example, a major leap occurred when cells mutated in such a way that they clumped together so that multicellular life was possible. A simple mutation allowing one cell to stick to other cells enabled a larger and more complex life form. However, such a transformation does not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics any more than superglue violates the law when it sticks your fingers to the kitchen counter.”
Really, cells mutated then clumped together so multicellular life was possible. And what is the mechanism? Also I seem to have explained entropy in a living organism. OK Biologos isn’t providing a lot of info so let us try another site.
“However, they neglect the fact that life is not a closed system. The sun provides more than enough energy to drive things. If a mature tomato plant can have more usable energy than the seed it grew from, why should anyone expect that the next generation of tomatoes can’t have more usable energy still? Creationists sometimes try to get around this by claiming that the information carried by living things lets them create order. However, not only is life irrelevant to the 2nd law, but order from disorder is common in nonliving systems, too.”
Talkorigins state that the a mature tomato plant can have more usable energy then the seed it grew from. Where does the “More usable energy” come from. We have a concrete example that we can work with.
A tomato plant like most plants needs four elements to grow and thrive. The sun for incoming energy, soil for minerals, Carbon Dioxide for photosynthesis and water because we all need water. As a seed it starts to grow and it takes in what it needs to grow. If any of the 4 elements are missing then growth stops. Yes at night the sun stops shining and photosynthesis comes to a halt. If CO2 drops below about 180 parts per million then growth stops. If it stops raining growth stops and if the soil does not have enough nutrients then growth stops. If any of these elements stop for any length of time the plant dies (entropy). The tomato plant creates the energy it needs from these elements to grow and maintain itself. It does NOT have MORE USABLE ENERGY.
If evolution is true we would constantly see simple organisms become more complex organisms. Tomatoes were first discovered by westerners in South America. It seems the Aztecs ate them. There are many natural varieties of tomatoes but the interesting thing is that they are still tomatoes. They haven’t evolved into a strawberry for example. There are about 2500 varieties of tomatoes and most of these varieties were created by mankind. Ah yes the outside force.
Living organisms are a closed system but have a plug to an outside power source. If the living system is not maintained or it just wears out it stops working even if still plugged into the outside power source. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics in action and shows that evolution is a crock.