Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

ONE OF THE MOST boneheaded arguments advanced by creationists is that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

When debating one of those people in person, it’s amusing to respond by asking your opponent to recite the First Law of Thermodynamics, or the Third. Naturally they’re silent, as they know nothing whatsoever about that, or anything else. All they’re doing is mindlessly repeating something they scooped up at one of those intellectual dumpster-sties that promote the nonsense of creationism.

This “argument” about the 2nd Law has been around so long that it’s one of those listed at the TalkOrigins site on their excellent Index to Creationist Claims. It’s specifically dealt with here.

As if that weren’t sufficient refutation, there is now a paper published in Proceedings of The Royal Society A, authored by Ville R.I. Kaila and Arto Annila: Natural selection for least action. Here’s the abstract (emphasis supplied):

The second law of thermodynamics is a powerful imperative that has acquired several expressions during the past centuries. Connections between two of its most prominent forms, i.e. the evolutionary principle by natural selection and the principle of least action, are examined. Although no fundamentally new findings are provided, it is illuminating to see how the two principles rationalizing natural motions reconcile to one law. The second law, when written as a differential equation of motion, describes evolution along the steepest descents in energy and, when it is given in its integral form, the motion is pictured to take place along the shortest paths in energy. In general, evolution is a non-Euclidian energy density landscape in flattening motion.

If you’re up to it, the entire paper — loaded with equations and footnotes — is at the link above. For a more general discussion, you might go here: Evolution as Described by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. One brief excerpt:

… the second law of thermodynamics can be written as an equation of motion to describe evolution, and, in doing so, connect biology with physics.

Will creationists ever stop using the 2nd Law argument? Of course not. Will the creationist dumpster-sites retract their 2nd Law claims? No, they won’t. Are creationists becoming increasingly marginalized from the real world with each passing day? Yes, they are; but they want to teach your children. Therefore, we soldier on.

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One response to “Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

  1. You left out the favorite variation used by the most crazed (and craven) of anti-Evos:

    the 2nd Law of Thermal Documents