The Second Law of Thermodynamics

To the right is one picture out of a series that was taken after the Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate the other night. Creationist question Creationists were asked to write questions that they would like to ask of Nye. (I’d link the whole series, but it came from BuzzFeed. I already feel dirty enough having clicked the link myself.)

To answer the man’s question, the second law of thermodynamics does not disprove evolution. The second law states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases. That is, things because less orderly and more chaotic over time without an input of energy from an outside source. Since the Universe is an isolated system as near as we can tell, all the organization we see will eventually dissipate – no more stars or planets or black holes or anything else that uses energy. Eventually even all atoms will cease to move.

Creationists believe this fact of the Universe applies to evolution because they view evolution as greater and greater organization over time, and that requires an input of energy. They’re right so far. Where they fail is in their belief that greater and greater organization is not possible over time. As best as any rational person can tell, creationists appear to believe Earth is a closed system and that with enough time it should all fall away. Except it isn’t closed. That big yellow ball in the sky has a tendency to provide us with more energy than we know what to do with. (Not that we’ve been the best at harnessing it.)

Of course, we don’t need to even go as far as the Sun – at least so long as we aren’t talking about plants or photosynthesizing bacteria. We take in energy all the time. It ultimately comes from the Sun and, to an extent, Earth’s core and magnetic field, but on a day-to-day level, we don’t exist in a closed system at all. A dinosaur that killed another dinosaur had a source of energy to take in: the dead dino. An early hunter-gatherer would find energy by hunting and gathering. And right now I’m about to go find some energy in a hot chai tea.

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4 Responses

  1. It’s funny when creationists throw out physics laws as if they understand them better than someone who has actually a scientist, specifically one who has taken physics. I mean the laws of thermodynamics were so contrary to observations in the natural world, physicists would have done something about this a long time ago. I just wanted to respond to that guy and say “Does your lack of understanding of the 2nd law of thermodynamics prove that you may be wrong about other things as well?” lol

  2. Also, just for trivia’s sake, did you know that chai is the Hindi word for tea, so when we say chai tea, we are actually saying “tea tea”. lol If it wasn’t for a confused Columbus we could probably call it Indian tea. But then some annoying person would say “But the native Indians didn’t have tea”. lol

  3. The debate was funny, no matter what the question, Ken said “the bible…”

    Why is the earth only 6,000 years old? The Bible.
    Why do fish swim? The bible.
    Why aren’t you answering direct questions? The bible….that’s why.

    Funny stuff. LOL, he is a very silly man.

  4. The embarrassingly ignorant things Ham said about Science will be “gifts that keep on giving” that creationists will be trying to answer for a long time just to avoid the well deserved ridicule.

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