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Posted by S.H. Le on November 13, 1999 22:40:18 UTC

I wanted you to see this as well as all the other creationists on this forum, because I think It's really important to clarify a few concepts before criticising evolution. I've also noticed that many of you creationists, have used the same arguments. Why not kill several birds with the same stone then eh? ------------- Greetings bzrd. Let's get started shall we? "To compare snowflakes, cyrstals etc., with an information system is not a fair analogy; simply exposing an information system to energy does not increase the information in the system."

This argument rests on a BIG misconception about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. It actually isn't an analogy, it was meant to show that your use of the definition of the 2nd law of thermodynamics wasn't accurate because there are so many exceptions to what you're saying, the 2nd law doesn't support most of the things your saying. You said that the 2nd law automatically implies that all entropy inevitably increases anywhere, which if true, would be impossible for such things as snowflakes, crystals, etc, to form. That's why it isn't an analogy (comparision of two different things, one being more familiar than another). Simply for purposes of review, the 2nd law is simply that the "OVERALL entropy (unusable energy) in a CLOSED system cannot decrease." This is why I think you've misinterpreted the 2nd law. Now according to this law, any closed system would see a increase in entropy, but the earth isn't a closed system because the sun inputs energy constantly. Therefore, with this new input of energy, entropy wouldn't necessarily always increase (or information as you put it, but as far as I know, the 2nd law states nothing about information), because new energy is always being inputed.

Allow me to illlustrate. Now say you burn up a lump of coal to heat a bucket of water. The second law, restated also means that no energy conversion can be 100% efficient (entropy - unusable energy increases). Thus, it is inevitable that energy is lost by burning coal. Now creationists look at this example and assume that this is indicative of intelligent design (the human genome is deteriorating, information is lost, de-evolution, a downward spiral to destruction, etc. etc.). But the energy to heat the bucket of water in this case comes only from the coal, since it's a closed system. But let's say we now add a heating lamp over the water bucket. Now the water would be receiving lots of energy, and it would seem that there is more then enough energy to compensate for the increase in entropy. Where did this energy come from? It should now be apparent that by adding the heating lamp, the second law is violated, because the system ceases to be a closed one. Sound familiar? The earth, by the same token is not a closed system because of constant input of energy from the sun. That is why we don't observe a downward spiral to destruction on earth (except for the harmful things we artificially create, but that's not relavant here because entropy doesn't directly cause that stuff to happen). furthermore, the Law does not say that in every part of a system, at all times, entropy can only increase. If that were the case, no machine, mechanical or living, could ever work (nor could the examples of a snowflake, tornado, etc. previously mentioned), because that's what a machine does: temporarily and locally, entropy is decreased, at the expense of a larger, permanent increase elsewhere in the system. The Law says that in the system OVERALL, entropy must increase. What you're insisting is that everything in the universe is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics, which it clearly is not. That is where the flaw in creationist reasoning lies. If evolution really did violate the second law, there would be an endless battle between biologists and physicists. But there isn't is there? This creationist argument is more indicitave of your misunderstanding of this law, than it is of any apparent flaw in evolution.

"... if you doubt this you haven't seen the finish on my pick-up truck lately."

I'm sorry to hear about your truck, but again your argument is unsound. Rust is simply a natural oxidation reaction when oxygen and water are present. The second law doesn't suggest that the existence of the sun should rule out the observation of rust (a natural oxidation reaction that occurs in the presence of oxygen and water onto iron?). Again it's relavant to understand that the 2nd law bases observations on what happens in the OVERALL system, and does allow for "pockets" of order.

"There are instances whereby mutations occur by transmutation. But invariably, this mutation does not result in a net increase in information within the genome, just a rearranging of prior information; evolution requires that a vast quantity of information be added to account for the microbes to man scenario."

I thought I already described an example where it does. Via the process of DNA ADDITION, DNA can be added (as the name suggests) to increase complexity of the strand. Thus if enough favorable mutations occured (and they do exist as I outlined in my previous post) that were naturally selected by the environment, then given the benefit of many many years, it's convievable how we could have evolved from single celled life.

"natural selection is not random. But mutations are."

You're right, but I think that helps clarify my point. Nature selects upon which mutations are best. So random mutations (which may increase complexity) occur, which are selected by nature. Therefore, which mutations actually become favorable and therefore more frequent is not a random process. Now it's not hard to see how evolution could occur the way biologist see it.

"Also, my artificial selection analogy still stands; the information which pertains to milk production already existed, before being selected from the cow genome, the fact that the individual would be ill-suited for life in the wild is irrelevant."

Yes, the gene existed before natural selection occured on the animal, because it was created by a prior mutation. But what you're suggesting is that this "milk producing information" already existed and therefore always existed (since creation?). What evidence is this based on? This would imply that cows always existed. So by your reasoning, the fossil record should show cows dating all the way back to creation. I see no evidence for this at all, and creationists mainly retort by saying that carbon dating (or other dating methods) are wrong. It seems that creationism is bent on trying to disprove not only evolution, but nearly all aspects of science as well.

"Evolution predicts that there be many transformational forms in the fossil record; the overwhelming consensous [even amongst evolutionists] is stasis [see puctuated equilibria]."

I must seriously question your sources of information here. Evolution does indeed predict many transformational forms in the fossil record, and the fossil records actually show this. As I've previously said, we can observe evolution occuring through the fossil record. The fact that the record is "spotted" shows no inconsistency in evolution. This is expected since some specimens may have died in areas unsuitable for fossilization to occur. This argument is not dissimular to your previous argument about the necessity of directly observing things happen in order for it to be true. Yes many of the points in evolution (and for much of science for that matter) have not been directly observed, but that is not an inherent weakness of evolution/science. I'll restate that Mendel did not directly observe the existence of genes when studying pea plants... physicists have not seen those tiny strings in string theory, but these things are extrapolated from data. We infer them from evidence. Your argument is like saying that just because we didn't see a criminal perpetrating the crime, any evidence against him is unreliable and we can't postulate that he/she committed the crime. Your argument is inconsistent.

"Evolution predicts abiogenesis; a biomolecular impossibility. Is a theory which predicts the impossible falsified?"

Wrong. Evolution does not predict abiogenesis. As I've said, abiogenesis (the theory that life arose from inert matter) is entirely separate from evolution (change in the gene pool over time in biological terms) and evolution could certainly function without it. Nonetheless, according to the theory of abiogenesis, it's not impossible. You've offered no reasons as to why it is impossible, other than insisting that it's impossible. Care to elaborate on which point(s) (or all of it) you disagree with?

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