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Why the second law of thermodynamics really is a threat to Darwinist tenure

Granville Sewell, math prof, satirist of silly ideas, and apology recipient (from math journal), has this to say about Darwinists’ attempt to rescue their theory from the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Organization always decrees, left to itself.

Anyone who has made such an argument is familiar with the standard reply: the Earth is an open system, it receives energy from the sun, and order can increase in an open system, as it is “compensated” somehow by a comparable or greater decrease outside the system.

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According to this reasoning, then, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal – and the door is open. – In the Beginning, and Other Essays on Intelligent Design (Discovery Institute Press, 2010), p. 68

This guy risks the fate of the common sense philosophers, making these kinds of points …

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4 Responses to Why the second law of thermodynamics really is a threat to Darwinist tenure

  1. For a clear example of how pervasive entropic decay is, please note, in this following music video, just how far these buildings have decayed in only a few short decades of neglect;

    New Chris Tomlin – I Lift My Hands (Official Music Video)
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FJ0J9CNU

    Sigh :(

    Romans 8:20-21
    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

  2. According to this reasoning, then, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal – and the door is open.

    But that’s actually correct — the second law doesn’t prohibit that. Likewise, the law of gravity does not prohibit alchemists from making a philosopher’s stone. No one scientific law prohibits everything that is impossible!

    The quoted sentence smuggles that assumption in a very sneaky way that makes any disagreement sound like a declaration that magical computer formation is definitely possible. (“So you’re saying that under this traffic code, it’s not illegal for a man in Japan to murder his brother?”)

    It also ironically has nearly the opposite effect of its author’s intention — it suggests that scrap metal would transform into a computer if only it weren’t for 2LOT! (Among the numerous other laws such an event would violate, it would also have to have an immediate cause of some sort — and IDists are the first to point out that all events have causes. There is no parallel to the process of evolution, wherein every step has a cause, and even IDists don’t dispute this, mostly.)

    This is the kernel of illogic from which the argument follows. If we pretend that it is the job of 2LOT to prohibit something like that, then perhaps we have sufficient license to “reinterpret” the law so broadly that it prohibits evolution. (This too is bogus, if course.)

    An unfortunate consequence of this broad reinterpretation is that it would rule out any process of building a computer, as well as things like functional refrigerators, etc. Ah, says the IDist, but intelligent agents can overrule the law. Really? Seemingly ironclad scientific principles like conservation of energy can be broken because someone really wants to break it? Why is 2LOT the only instance of this principle, and not gravity? Or, well, anything? And that response still doesn’t explain why anything is capable of growth, etc.

  3. Lenoxus, actually the burden is on the evolutionist to show that the Second Law Of Thermodynamics does not enforce a overwhelming tendency on things to decay, and that complexity/functional information can be built gradually by chance and necessity (material) processes;

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www.scitopics.com/The_L.....iency.html

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    Excerpt: Shannon information theory measures the relative degrees of RSC and OSC. Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC).,,,

    Testable hypotheses about FSC

    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1
    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2
    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3
    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4
    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.”
    http://www.bioscience.org/2009.....6/3426.pdf
    http://www.us.net/life/index.htm

    While neo-Darwinian evolution has no evidence that material processes can generate functional prescriptive information, Intelligent Design does have ‘proof of principle’ that information can ‘locally’ violate the second law and generate potential energy:

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

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  4. further notes:

    Evolution Vs Genetic Entropy – Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028086

    For a broad outline of the ‘Fitness test’, required to be passed to show a violation of the principle of Genetic Entropy, please see the following video and article:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘The Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.(that is a net ‘fitness gain’ within a ‘stressed’ environment i.e. remove the stress from the environment and the parent strain is always more ‘fit’)
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

    Mutation Studies, Videos, And Quotes
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....ZnM5M21mZg

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    Red – Breathe Into Me – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH-k_6tU9Wc

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