Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Evolution Contradicts the LAW

"Reclaiming Science from Darwinism" by Kenneth Poppe

Chapter 11

Trying to neutralize the laws
of thermodynamics

Allow me to back up in history a bit to look at objections levied by the first group of modern scientists to drastically doubt Darwinism. Physicists have long been aware of the laws of thermodynamics and how they prohibit the type of random improvement claimed everywhere in natural evolution. I guarantee you these laws must somehow be neutralized, or "self-made" cannot even get out of the cosmic gate.

Let me start by saying it is rather rare to hear the word law applied to a concept. If something is called a law, it had better prove inviolate, or someone is sure to proclaim an exception. How many laws can you name? The law of gravity, of course. How about the law of supply and demand? I've heard of something called the law of diminishing returns, and then there's the infamous Murphy's law. Any more come to mind? I know there should be a longer list, but offhand, I can't think of another.

In science, laws seem the most difficult to come by. The reason is that in science, a law must hold true in all times, conditions, and locations, and must be validated by any independent investigator with no exceptions. I' would call that very stringent. Even the concept of atoms is still referred to in textbooks as the "atomic theory," despite the fact that the periodic table of elements graces the walls of almost every science classroom. Though all chemistry seems to operate on rock-solid principles, perhaps in its caution science will wait to grant atoms "law" status until we can examine an individual particle held in our hand.

I would say the best-known scientific law is the law of gravity. As long as you stay on our planet, Isaac Newton showed that what goes up must eventually come down, leading to the various laws of motion.

Moreover, Earth's gravity behaves predictably and reliably anywhere on the planet at all times. But are there any other scientific laws unerringly backed by science and never disproved by experiments, laws that are so dependable that science stands on them without even a modicum of caution? If you know your physics, you already have an answer.

The laws of thermodynamics are most assuredly written in stone, so to say. This set of laws explains relationships between matter and energy for which no exceptions are found anywhere in the universe. The first law, also called the law of conservation of matter and energy, basically says that the sum total of both matter and energy in the universe is always constant. In shirtsleeve English, this means that since the event that brought the universe into existence, no new matter has been generated from any other source. It also means you can't make any more new atoms, and you can never lose the old ones. True, new stars appear to be forming, but the atoms in the stellar gas clouds that condense and ignite have also been in the universe since its origin, and the rise in energy is balanced by the loss of mass.

Here is a simple example. The two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom in a particular water molecule of H2O may travel the world over by condensation, precipitation, and evaporation, but it is the same three atoms. (I heard it once said that as many as four of the water molecules in each of our bodies once traveled through the body of a dinosaur.)

It is true that the water molecule may be fractured and the hydrogen and oxygen atoms become integrated into sugars, proteins, and so on, but the existence of these three atoms still coincides with the point of origin of all other particles. Furthermore, they can never pass out of existence unless a nuclear reaction changes them to energy, and then the sum total of matter lost and energy gained still remains unchanged. The first law can be summed up in three words-"creation has ceased"-and this no reputable physicist denies.

Entropy .

The second law of thermodynamics is an extension of the first. It says that since its origin, the universe has been in the process of winding down to complete silence. The pathway to its death could be explained in many ways-going from ordered to random, action to stillness, diverse to uniform, dynamic to inert, or organized to chaos. Again, in shirtsleeve English this means that energy expenditures in any closed system (closed meaning a system with no additional matter or energy input) will eventually leave it powerless, and it must wear out and die. The entire concept is captured by the single term entropy, and the degree to which a system has lost entropic energy is measured by the change symbol A (Greek letter delta).

This one-way path toward complete confoundedness is also called the law of universal decay, and is frequently compared to a newly wound spring as in an old-styled watch. When the watch is fully wound (or a reaction starts, or a star ignites), the first tick of time signifies the beginning of the descent from maximum order, and the last tick means the system is now fully disordered, silent and inert, never to be started again without an outside influence. Our sun is another example of entropy. At some past point in time it ignited and began to burn its fuel. At some future point (one estimate is 500 million years), the fuel will be expended, the sun will explode or wink out, and entropy with respect to the sun will have reached a maximum state-zero activity. Whether it is watches, chemical reactions, or stars, all these one-way paths to silence are irreversible.

I have found a perfect analogy to explain the second law to my students. I tell them to imagine their bedroom freshly and fully cleaned. There it is-bed made, all clothes put away, and everything in its place. All is dusted, vacuumed, and spotless. Then from that point, the entropy process seems unstoppable as disorganization slowly creeps in. A smudge here, a shoe left there, and so on. If an object were never put away, clothes never laundered, a bed never made, or a surface never dusted, eventually the result would be the room's return to the accustomed total teenage chaos. As any parent knows, this is an unstoppable process unless one intervenes.

Losses Everywhere

Important corollaries to the second law abound. One is that every time you change states of energy, there is a net loss. In my environmental science class I often use this explanation for how the sun is the ultimate source for all our energy needs, and how we work hard to use its energy as efficiently as possible. Consider the case of hydroelectric power that likely supplies some of the energy needs in your house. Water vapor in the clouds has to lose energy to condense and get back into the river. It then loses more kinetic energy as it flows downstream to 'the dam. The water expends additional energy as it drives the turbine to produce electricity, and returns downstream where it eventually reaches the ocean where it is finally at rest. Meanwhile, the electricity that reaches your house may power a TV that gives off the last remaining power in the form of heat and light.

Now we could use the sun's energy to directly power our TV, but the size of the required solar panel makes that impractical. So instead we have to deal with the pathway by trying to cut down the energy loss at each step (more reliable turbines, more energy efficient TVs, and so on). At any rate, the final result is the same. All this radiant energy from cooling water, hot turbines, and warm TVs drifts off into the cold of space, obviously not returning to the sun. Of course, as the sun continues to churn out more energy, the water cycle continues to renew itself and our TV keeps working. And yet remember-the sun is on its own pathway to death, so the water cycle is destined to cease if time continues that far.

Another second law corollary is that heat always flows to cold. This means energy leaves a system that is more dynamic and travels to one that is less dynamic. For this reason we heat our cars in winter as the warmth escapes through the exterior and into the colder air. However, we air-condition them in summer as the heat from the summer day keeps working its way into the cab through the car's insulation.

This is also the reason animals in the food chain or web must con tinue to eat. Without the intake of additional calories in food, the body begins to run out of fuel and will cease to live. So tertiary consumers

like the owl eat secondary consumers like the shrew, but about 90 percent of the intake of shrew biomass is lost through the owl's waste products and energy expenditures, and only about 10 percent is used to support cellular components in the owl's body. At the same time, secondary consumers eat primary consumers-such as shrews eating grasshoppers-also with a 90 percent net biomass loss; and primary consumers eat primary producers-grasshoppers eating grass-at about the same rate of loss.

At that point, scavengers and decomposers consume dead bodies and release nutrients and gases back into the system to recycle the process. But since all food chains are anchored by primary producers like photosynthetic plants, and plants need that dying sun for energy, life on Earth is also on a one-way ticket, where the energy supply at all levels is destined to be exhausted-eventual silence being guaranteed.

One final corollary to the second law is, when chemicals interact, you end with less energy than was initially present, either in the molecular bonds or in the catalyst driving the reaction. If a chemical reaction is exothermic (giving off heat)-like burning wood, for example-the energy escaping is obvious, and the amount of energy potential left in the ashes is certainly lower than originally in the wood. If the reaction is endothermic (absorbing energy)-like your freezer making ice, for example-the outside power source recycling the refrigerant is doing more work than the refrigerant did to make the ice.

And of course the freezer's power source can be traced back to the electricity running the compressor, electricity that cannot be provided indefinitely. That is because hydro, solar, wind, wave, fossil fuel, and even geothermal generating systems are all linked to that entropic sun as the power source. Returning to chemicals, once the reaction is over (like the concoction quits fizzing), and the products are generated in full, nothing can ever restart unless something outside the system reenergizes it.

Applications and Analogies

So what is the overall application of the second law to the origins debate? It is as simple as it is powerful. The second law absolutely negates any type of random improvement-the backbone of Darwinistic thinking. For example, it prohibits a series of interacting chemicals from becoming more complex, like amino acids developing into proteins, without outside assistance. In fact, the law says the reverse tendency is true. If complex chemicals could somehow be intentionally made to exist, there is no way to keep them from reverting to simpler forms without intentional assistance.

The truth is, if inorganic chemistry ever naturally evolved into increasingly complex organic chemistry, then evolved into a living cell, and finally into a complex life-form, then the second law governing all reality would have been set aside, violated, and would be no law at all. Since physics says entropy never works in reverse, I would agree with many who say the debate over Darwinism and Design is immediately settled because advancing life is an impossibility. Disorder never goes to order ... unless, of course, intelligence is lending a hand. Have you ever heard the phrase "there's no free lunch" applied to the false expectation of getting something for nothing? In this case the phrase is a perfect description because life just can't organize of its own accord.

Time Enough to Monkey Around?

Perhaps an automobile analogy would help. What happens if you put this year's brand-new model in the manufacturing parking lot and wait upon the second law of thermodynamics to do its thing?

After one year, probably no observable changes. The second year, maybe a slight bit of fading paint. Five years? Cracking upholstery. Twenty-five years? Flat tires. A hundred years? Detaching parts. A thousand years? A growing pile of parts. Ten thousand years? You can't tell what model it was. A hundred thousand years? You can't even tell the pile of rubble was once was a car. A million years? Remember the song "Dust in the Wind"? Now if you were to return and find next year's model after the passage of any of those time frames, wouldn't that be quite a surprise?

But in all sincerity, this is not a fair analogy. Evolution is said to have a change mechanism (random mutations) and a driving force (natural selection) to retain positive changes for eventual improvement. Fine. Wheel the car onto the manufacturing floor to protect it from the

elements and add a random change mechanism for mutation in the form of our old friends, once again-a band of free-roaming chimpanzees.

Then give the chimps a copious supply of all the metals, fiberglass, wires, glass, and other necessary components-as well as the tools, computers, drafting boards, and art supplies humans would need for next year's model. And to be sure to create a closed system-supply the chimps with ongoing habitat maintenance such as places to raise young, unlimited food, and waste removal. Then lock the doors. Oh, yes-to add the factor of natural selection, provide the manufacturing floor with a team of ever-watchful engineers who will rescue any improved components, correctly typed instructions, or perfectly pressed quarter panels and set them aside for later assembly when the chimps feel inclined.

Now, how many millions of years before the chimps have an improved model ready to hit the streets? Is 4.6 billion years, the supposed age of the Earth, enough? How about 13.7 billion years, the supposed age of the universe? If you are calling "foul" in this scenario, then explain how the analogy is not being true to the theory of evolution. You have a change agent, a selection method, and huge quantities of time. If nothing is missing, you must say there is at least a slight chance the chimps could build that car. (And maybe even place a Darwin fish on the rear bumper!)

Random Rubble

I have actually heard people try to defend scenarios that possibly reverse the second law, like the chimp/new car example. Now I don't want to seem rude, but their rambling "what ifs" sound like they have been inhaling the wrong kind of secondhand smoke. I maintain that if the above scenario, or any others like it, were tried for an unlimited number of years in an unlimited number of settings, your chances of getting that new car are zero, zilch, nada. It's the law, you know. The second law says that without outside help (in this case, intelligence), there can never be advancement-ever-only degradation.

I've seen it firsthand. I once drove through an animal theme park in Europe that had a separate section with free-roaming monkeys. As soon as I made it through the screened gate, two or three landed on my car and began to pull at the windshield wipers, radio antenna-whatever seemed loose. On the car in front of me I saw one monkey pulling off a long strip of rubber window molding. And the ground was littered with broken mirrors, strips of chrome, you name it. (One monkey even reached through the window and slapped me when I rolled it down and tried to shoo him off the hood!) No, monkeys do not improve cars.

One team of researchers sought to bring this analogy into reality. They actually placed a group of primates in a room with functional computers to see if they could ever accidentally create something on the various monitors. The best result ever achieved was that one chimp depressed one key for several seconds and typed long strings of the same letter before losing interest. But the experiment was stopped after equipment was destroyed and keyboards became nonfunctional when covered in excrement.

So my apologies, but at any location at any given time, your manufacturing floor will look like the bottom of a giant chimp cage desperately in need of a new liner. And going back to your new car on that floor, you can be sure that the chimps will beat it to rubble quite a bit faster than did the elements in the parking lot.

Printing and Pennies

If you are still not convinced, imagine a series of violent lightning strikes hitting an old-style printing business, as mentioned in chapter 6. Some say it could produce a dictionary as bindings, glue, paper, ink, and letter type are flying through the air. Okay, I can envision an A covered in splashing ink smacking a blank sheet and leaving an impression. I can even imagine another A hitting right beside the first letter a split-second later. Then an R followed by a D and a V and another A and an R and finally a K. There-AARDVARK-the first complete word in the dictionary, and we're on our way.

But if this doesn't exceed the universal probability boundary from chapter 7, nothing will. No, even the "chimp-made car" scenario sounds like a better bet because a dictionary, like a single cell or 30,000,000 life-forms on Earth, has more variables to account for than a car. Finally consider that both car and dictionary analogies represent just the assemblage of finished components. There has been no mention of the complexity involved in accidentally producing metal or paper-or amino acids-from their raw sources. (No doubt about it-whether it's biochemicals, books, or Buicks, any imagined probabilities are in actuality impossibilities.)

Perhaps the complexities of building cars and assembling dictionaries is too removed from everyday life. I suggest doing a simple hands-on experiment to test the second law of thermodynamics. Place 100 pennies on a tray, all showing heads. (Of course the first law of thermodynamics says that all the copper atoms in the pennies came into being by a one-time process.) The array of 100 heads would represent minimum entropy and complete order. Now give the tray a slight flip.

The winding down process has begun-a few tails represent a slight loss of order. Flip the tray again, and more tails appear. Now, depending on how aggressively you flip the tray, it may take as few as seven flips, certainly no more than ten, to achieve total randomness or maximum entropy, where the original set of 100 heads is completely unrecognizable. From here, more flips only give a different arrangement to the disorder.

At this point, it would be proper to note that occasionally a flip might produce a small cluster of pennies all showing heads. In fact, this not just likely, it is certain. However, this is no closer to ensuring a return to 100 heads than the few amino acids produced in the Miller-Urey experiment are sure to become a protein. those clusters of pennies will disappear, or at best appear elsewhere, with subsequent shuffles. This would be the same result as Dawkins's weasel scenario (chapter 9) if he had not smuggled a good bit of intelligence into the computer program.

In the same manner, any amino acids in Miller's flask, or in the ancient ocean, will be fractured by the same reconfiguring forces long before they can even reach the polypeptide stage. Remember my analogy back in chapter 8, where you throw all the Scrabble letters on the table at once? Assuming they all land face-up and properly orientedundoubtedly a huge assumption-might you find a few simple words? Of course. But if you keep kicking the table, will the words begin to get more sophisticated and then arrange themselves into sentences? Then, assuming unlimited letters, will sentences become paragraphs and finally a book? Consult the second law.

It is an unfair question, but I'll ask it anyway. Now that your pennies are in a random jumble of maximum entropy, how many flips of the tray will it take to return to the 100 heads? Give it a try. Any progress? Probabilities say that you have one chance of success only if you give the tray a fair flip 2100 times. That is about 1021, or one thousand million million million flips. To get a sense of that number, imagine flipping the tray once per second for 32 trillion years, waiting for a chance for success. Such is the challenge of nullifying the second law for just one "small" event.

And yet the pennies dilemma is child's play compared to the odds of constructing that previously mentioned medium-sized human protein (1 in 10360) out of the approximately 100,000 proteins needed in our bodies, not to mention additional proteins for an estimated 30 million species worldwide. Again, the universe itself isn't big enough to contain such probabilities.

Therefore, allow me to suggest an easier way to restore your pennies. Use the same way the cars, the castles, the jetliners, the houses, and the dictionaries-and the proteins for the chimps, aardvarks, and humans-were made in the first place. Apply intelligence and intent. For the pennies, physically turn them all back to heads. For the rest, seek to understand the Designer who is superior to the laws of thermodynamics and responsible for their existence.

In summary, physics says that complete order always goes to complete disorder. And examples can be found everywhere, from deep space to your own bedroom. (Christian theology is like-minded, saying that man began in perfection only to fall into imperfection-and examples can be found in every civilization and every individual.) In contrast, Darwinists say molecules kept improving into cells, but they have no verifiable mechanisms to back that claim. Then they say cells evolved

into today's modern species, but have woefully insufficient fossilized examples to provide as proof. (Just how woeful will be shown in part five.) Doesn't anyone have respect for "the law" anymore?

Moving on, Darwinists say it wasn't a big explosion at a printing press that outsmarted the law-it was a bigger explosion in outer space that supposedly blew the universe into existence. Let's take a look at the big bang.

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