Creationist Wisdom #392: Science Student

"The scientifically-proven, recorded and testable Second Law of Thermodynamics stands in direct opposition to the theory of evolution. It states all things change/move from a state of higher organization to disorder … which is the opposite of evolution proposes.

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Second Law of Thermodynamics apply in a closed system? If so, it doesn't apply to evolution because the Earth is an open system, getting energy from the sun and expelling energy into the universe. 

This article is an interesting one upon which the Sensuous Curmudgeon commented. The writer, Wayne, "claims he has “a bachelors degree in science, a masters and [is] working on a doctorate”. He doesn't say what his doctorate is in or where he is studying, however, from his comments Curmudgeon does not buy into his being a biology, physics, or a math major.

So, I am needing some education here. I keep hearing this claim about the 2nd law and need to be able to respond to it. 

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In books I've read about complexity they talk about self organizing and dissipative systems. Living things are self organizing but so are crystals and a number of other non-living things. Wikipedia has a good article on Self-organization.

Dissipative systems take in energy at high density and dissipate it at a lower density. For example, we consume energy dense food so we can expend/dissipate that energy for walking, chatting, playing video games and maybe doing some real work like shovelling snow. A portion of that energy is waste heat because we are not 100% efficient.

If I remember my science history correctly, it was a doctor, studying the relationship between how much work a man could do and how many calories he took in, who came up with what engineers called thermodynamics. These engineers did not have deep metaphysical concerns. They only wanted to know why their cannon barrels heated up when they were boring them out, why did their hot coffee always cool down to room temperature or how come you couldn't build a perpetual motion machine. There was always waste heat somewhere along the line and entropy was simply a way to account for it.

One of my engineering profs warned me not to get too hung up on entropy's metaphysical implications. Apparently there were a few students each year who became so obsessed with entropy that they flunked out.

Jay, thanks for this information. It is curiosity, the kind the doctor studies to find the relationship between intake of calories and output of labor, that leads to so many other forms of awareness.

The notion that we are created to love god and obey is just too outrageous. We are created to participate in life with all our faculties, including our imagination. That is where meaning and purpose emerge. Our developmental task is to find what is there inside each of us that can bring forth into the material world that which solves problems, creates new ideas, interrelates with others and feels so very good

Yeah, I found entropy a bit of a mind bender. Coffee helps.

The general public doesn't have a clue about thermodynamics so it is easy for preachers, who are trained speakers, to redefine terms & cloud the issue. Also, creationists don't have a lot of facts so they turn to rhetoric, the art of persuasive speaking, to sway their audience.

This is a natural go to for bible types who've been trained in this art. I really clued in to what they are doing when I watched this video of a talk, given by a catholic bible scholar, on St. Paul's use of rhetoric in his epistles. I tend to watch this stuff just to know what sort of crazy is going on in the other camp. In the talk, Dr. Ben Witherington III (somewhat pretentious name), discusses how rhetoric can be used as a powerful tool to zombify people and bring them to christ. If you are already familiar with rhetoric skip the video as it is chock full of gooey, preachy, stuff. If not steel yourself and go to:

and watch the Wizard behind his curtain.

OK, since it is so clear that science is being misused, either deliberately or because of ignorance, why are we still so polite to the false claims and those who make them? Ignorance is real and politely tolerated when involving religion. Chicanery is real and again, too politely tolerated.  

There are so many really bright, intelligent things said on A|N, and there are a lot of people who are on the fence out there in lala land; they need to hear our disdain for the foolish sophistry being heard as fact. 

When has silence ever solved real problems? When has politeness ever defeated ignorance? When has patience ever overcome centuries of outrage. 

Sentient Biped recently wrote that he had to move away from bigotry. That is outrageous! I hope no one has to move away because of who they are and what they say! Isn't that what USA stands for? 

We're polite or more accurately, THEY'RE polite because having faith is supposedly virtuous and worthy of respect.  As a result, when people are challenged for relying on faith, they get all upset and start talking about tolerance and diversity and science doesn't have all the answers.

And no, science doesn't have all that answers ... but it has the ones that WORK.

Hay! Do what works! Be pragmatic! 

why are we still so polite to the false claims and those who make them?

Surely most of us would correct wrong science claims. We don't give them the deference of letting them stand.

I hope more non-believers get more courage and speak up. Some places are not safe for such action, but we have to break through the ice and let creationists know we will not remain silent, and those who are unsure can do a critical thinking. 

It's appalling that a lot of high school biology teachers in the USA (at least in the bible belt) shy away from teaching evolution.  I watched a Dawkins documentary about that.  They are afraid.  I don't know if they have good reason to fear physical attack for teaching evolution.  They probably do fear job problems, like complaints or even losing their jobs for it. 

Hell, if they were only shying away from teaching biological evolution, we would be better off than we actually are.  We have many of them going past the neutral stance, all the way into actively teaching creationism, in podunk towns where they can get away with it.

That is precisely why we cannot remain solicitously silent any longer. 

Here is an interesting article I found just yesterday published in 1981 discussing the effort of Creationists to misrepresent the Laws of Thermodynamics. This debate has been going on for a long time, and in the article it apparently has been going on long before 1981. And I thought the Climate Change arguments had been old and tired.


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