The Second Law of Thermodynamics and Evolution

by Helen Fryman

Question: I haven't had a chance to read what you've written yet, but I'd just like to say that the THEORY of evolution goes against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (out of order, chaos will be created).  A theory is weaker than a law. God is a God of order.

Response: The Second Law of Thermodynamics has to do with heat transfer explicitly.  It is perhaps safer to refer to a more generalized tendency toward entropy which is far more inclusive of other phenomena.  The tendency from order to disorder, from complexity to simplicity, from life to death, is something we all see and can both define and measure.

I have seen two responses from evolutionists regarding this tendency toward entropy in the universe (aside from "You're kidding!").  The first is in regard to chemical changes which go from simple to complex, and the second to biological changes that go from simple to complex.

An example of the first is a snowflake -- or any crystallization.  Crystallization, however, happens to specific elements at specific times under specific conditions.  It is a phenomena that is intrinsic to the atomic structure of the element or compound being considered.  It is not a random ordering of a material from a non-ordered state, but rather the result of a specific design involved in the material and can be counted on to happen every time under the prescribed conditions.  What is interesting, however, about this particular thing, is that there is a heat transfer involved in crystallization and the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not violated therein.  Heat is diffused.

Biological increase in complexity is exemplified by a seed becoming a bush or flower or tree, or a fertilized egg becoming a person.  However, the design is already present in these beginnings of life. The DNA is there from the beginning, along with whatever might be "sparking" it, and the rest is simply a matter of following instructions.  It is, again, not a random ordering from a non-ordered condition.  It is a design being executed.  As in the case of crystallization, the execution of the biological design requires specific environmental requirements or it cannot proceed.  Perhaps it should also be mentioned that evolution as inferred from the fossil record is not even a theory.  Theories are testable and, ideally, falsifiable.  Evolution is neither.  It is, therefore, simply an idea.  For some it is a belief, perhaps, but it cannot be rightly called either fact or theory when it refers to the "bacteria to bears" progression.

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I submitted the above response to a high school teacher of physics and chemistry and asked for comment.  The comment is as follows: "In addition to crystallization and biological growth, the other example that consistently comes up (at least with high schoolers) when discussing entropy is thermonuclear fusion."

This whole 2LOT argument bothers me . . . Yes, I know that the physicists insist that the 2LOT is 'only about heat transfer,' but in chemical contexts it is acceptable to express it in terms of entropy. And entropy changes imply changes in randomness, which implies an inherent direction that a process will take (without outside intervention). I don't see how one can divorce the implications from the law."

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Regarding thermonuclear fusion, any increase in complexity or order of the new elements is at the expense of a tremendous loss of heat and light which then diffuse, as per the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  It should be noted as well that the reactions are specific, and take place in exactly the same way with the same elements under the same conditions.  Atomic fusion, being specific, can be considered a matter of the design of the elements involved.

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.