Creationists have long used the 2nd law of thermodynamics against evolution. The response has been that a system’s entropy can decrease if energy is applied to that system, and that the Earth is such an open system. The problem is that there seems to be no general principle that shows how applied energy affects entropy. Even the most casual of observations shows that applying energy to a system can either increase or decrease entropy depending on how it is applied to the system. This fact best illustrated by the difference between construction work and a bomb. Despite this fact there seems to be no general principle describing this difference. It turns out that statistical analysis of the problem provides this needed general principle. Here in it is shown that when energy is applied to a system it tends move the system’s degree of randomness towards that of the applied energy. The result is that energy applied in an organized manner will decrease entropy, while energy applied in a random manner will increases entropy.
Charles Creager Jr.
Originally Published in the Creation Research Society Quarterly
Volume 48, Spring 2012, Number 4, Pg. 276-279
Copyright 2012 by Creation Research Society.
The 2nd law of thermodynamics has long been used by Creationists against Evolution and in particular against abiogenesis. This is because the 2nd law shows that left to it self a system’s entropy will always increase. It is however known that the entropy of a system can be decreased by applying energy to the system, but there seems to be no general principle that addresses how applied energy will affect entropy. Now even from the most casual of observations it is clear that how energy is applied to a system determines how it affects the system’s entropy. Energy can be applied in an organized manner such as construction work resulting in a decrease in the system’s entropy, or it can be applied in a random manner such as a bomb resulting in an increase in the system’s entropy. A statistical analysis of the problem provides this needed general principle.
Statistically entropy is logarithmically related to the randomness of a system (Bromberg, 1984) as shown in formula 1
S = k ln W (1)
S = entropy
k = Boltzmann constant = 1.380662 x 10-23 J K-1
W = the number of equivalent micro states (possible arrangements) of a system.
Now the change in the entropy of a system is:
DS = S2 - S1 (2)
Now plugging formula 1 into formula 2 produces:
DS = k ln W 2 - k ln W1 = k ln W 2 / W 1
DS = k ln W2 / W1 (3)
Because of these relationships, the problem of applied energy is best dealt with statistically. Further more any system consists of smaller parts with their own independent equivalent micro states resulting in formula 4.
Ws = W1 W2 W3 W 4… WN = P Wn n =1
Ws = P Wn
n =1 (4)
where Ws is the total number of equivalent microstates, the product of the number Wn of microstates of each of the distinct smaller parts. Plugging formula 4 into formula 1 results in: Ss = k ln Ws, Such that:
Ss = k ln P Wn
n =1 (5)
Se = k ln P Wn
n =1 (6)
This forms the bases for analyzing what happens to the entropy of a system when energy is applied to it.
The simplest possible system to analyze is one consisting of a single particle, that is moved to a targeted location by the applied energy. The entropy of the applied energy (Se) is related to the accuracy with which it can place the particle such that We equals the number of locations (equivalent states) where the applied energy could actually place the particle. The result would be that entropy of the single particle system after the energy is applied would equal the entropy of the applied energy, such that: Ss = Se.
In a complex system the entropy of the applied energy would be the sum of the entropy of the energy applied to each component part of the system in accordance with formula 5 such that:
If the energy were applied to each component part of the system perfectly then the entropy of the system after the energy is applied would be equal to the entropy of the applied energy resulting in Ss = Se. In
the real world this would not be the case since some energy is lost. However at some level this process could be modeled such that some individual components of the system get energy applied to them while others do not. In such a model each component
would have one of two possible out comes.
1. Component gets energy applied: W2n = Wen.
2. Component does not get energy applied: W2n = W1n.
So when Ss2 is calculated by formula 5 that the total entropy of the system moves towards the entropy of the applied energy such that DSmax = Se – Ss. Applying formula 3 to this produces formula 7.
DSmax = k ln We / Ws (7)
In general this shows the direction that applying energy to a system will move the entropy of that system. However the actual change in entropy is a result of the amount of energy applied to the system. The amount of energy applied to a system is measured in the number of component parts of the system to which it is actually applied, (s) which is less than or equal to the total number of component parts of the system. (N)
In systems with a variable W were energy is applied such that s << N and W1 < Ws < W2 an anomaly can occur when W1 < We < Ws or Ws < We <W2. In such cases a small increase in entropy can occur when We < Ws or and a small decrease in entropy can occur when Ws < We. In such cases the change in W is limited to the range of W already within the system. This is because the anomalous change occurs only because the energy is affecting parts of the system with a | Ws - Wn| > | Ws - We|.
The entropy change formula 7 shows the difference between construction work and a bomb. Construction work has a We smaller than the Ws of the raw material, while in a bomb a We is larger than the Ws of the raw material. A good illustration is to consider what happens when a system is heated or cooled. It is known that heating a system produces a DS > 0, while cooling a system produces a DS < 0 and formula 7 shows why this occurs.At the molecular level, heat energy is applied randomly such that We = Ws(Max) for any system where Ws < Ws(Max) and then heating the system produces a DS > 0. This result is shown by DS max= k ln We / Ws = k ln Ws(Max) / W s. When a system is cooled the electromagnetic forces between molecules are better able to guide the molecular motion such that the energy of these electromagnetic forces are applied to the system as a whole with W e= Ws0 where Ws0 = Ws at absolute zero, such that for any system when W s> Ws0 then cooling the system produces DS < 0. This results is shown by DSmax = k ln We / Ws = k ln Ws0 / Ws. This principle can be shown to apply to all systems since the analysis is both system and path independent. The basic principle is that adding more randomness to a system makes it more random and adding more order to a system makes it more organized.
Prediction 1: The general application of energy to a system in a manner more random than that system will increase the entropy of that system.
Prediction 2: The general application of energy to a system in a manner less random than that system will decrease the entropy of that system.
It is already known that conservation and degeneration are observed in natural process, while the improvement processes needed for the evolutionary model are not. (Williams, E.L., 1976) The present principle goes beyond the earlier concept, not only showing why this is the case, but also providing the basic thermodynamic principles that set the process types apart. It shows that degeneration results from energy being applied to a system in a random manner such as heat and radiation. Conservation of order and complexity can occur because it requires no net change. Also, such a conservation system already possesses the order and complexity it needs to maintain itself. Since a spontaneous improvement process would by definition require order and complexity to be produced where none exists, and the present principle indicates that this is impossible; it shows why such processes are not observed.
This principle has profound implications for the idea of a naturalistic origin of life. The simplest possible living cell has a Wc = Ws. Energy can
be applied to a non living system in three natural ways: molecular motion (heat) where We = Wh, radiation where We =
Wr and molecular forces where We = Wm. Since both molecular motion and radiation interact with
molecular systems like that of a living cell in essentially a totally random manner then Wc << Wh »
Wr. Furthermore while molecular forces do have a degree of order to them, it is far short of the order
and complexity of the simplest possible living cell so the result is that Wc << Wm. This means that all of the naturally occurring forces that
could be involved in the origin of life would drive any non living system that is near the degree of order of a living cell toward increased disorganization and as such prevent any naturalistic origin of life. This is illustrated by the fact that
when even the simplest cell dies the cell’s molecular structure breaks down and eventually disintegrates entirely.
Since information is a system that encodes and represents an abstract description of something else, (Gitt, 1997, p 85) then an information system would have an extremely low Ws. Noise on the other hand , being defined as random changes in an information system, has a vary high We such that Ws << We. The result is that noise always destroys and distorts information and never creates it as is actually observed in information systems.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is the information storage medium for living things. (Gitt, 1997, p 90) Like any information system it has an extremely low WDNA = Ws.
Like wise mutations apply energy to DNA such that Wm = We. This application of energy has an extremely high Wm so
that WDNA << Wm. This can only result in the information in the DNA being damaged or destroyed, and thus
these entropy change equations reinforce the observation that genetic mutations are so harmful. (Sanford, 2005). These results mean the total collapse of all naturalistic methods for producing information in the DNA of living things by way of natural
processes. The response given by evolutionist would be to invoke Natural Selection as a solution. To qualify as an adequate solution however, Natural Selection would have to apply energy to DNA with an Wns =
We < WDNA. As it turns out Natural Selection is incapable of meeting above requirement. Note that Natural Selection
not have a well defined objective which would be needed to have Wns < WDNA since each DNA instruction has a well
defined meaning within the cell. Furthermore
, Natural Selection does not apply energy to the DNA under consideration. In fact Natural Selection does not act directly on DNA at all, it only reacts to the traits that existing DNA produces. As a result there is no
Wns to be applied to the DNA, meaning that Natural Selection is totally incapable of increasing Genetic information.
It has been previously shown that living systems are generally conservation systems in that the increase of their entropy over time is slower than that of non-living systems. This applies not only to individual organisms but entire created kinds as
well. (Williams, E.L., 1971) The present principle not only applies to both living and non living systems but allows the earlier concept to be expanded on by showing why it is case. The reason why living systems are
generally conservative is that they apply energy to maintain themselves against degeneration such that We »
Ws but they increase their entropy because no mater how close We is to Ws it is still always a
little greater than Ws
.As such living systems will increase their entropy over time but more slowly than a non living system.
It has been shown herein that when energy is applied to a system, the degree of randomness of the system moves towards the degree of randomness of the applied energy. When energy is applied in manner more random that the system it is applied to, then the system’s entropy increases. When energy is applied in manner less random that the system it is applied to, then the system’s entropy decreases. This represents a general concept of how applied energy affects a system’s entropy that describes any application of energy to any system. Furthermore, this provides a solid answer to the argument that a naturalistic origin of life is consistent with the laws of thermodynamics because the Earth is an open system. The argument fails because that energy is applied in a manner far more random than the high degree of organized complexity of even the simplest living cell.
Bromberg, J Philip. 1984, Physical Chemistry 2nd ed. pp. 689-691. Allyn and Bacon, Inc. Boston, Ma
Gitt, Werner. 1997, In the Beginning was Information. Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung e. V., Bielefeld, Germany, especially pages 85 and 90.
Sanford, J.C. 2005, Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome, pp. 14. FMS Publications. Waterloo, NY
Williams, E.L., 1971, Resistance of living organisms to the second law of thermodynamics: Irreversible processes, open systems, creation, and evolution, Creation Research Society Quarterly 8: 117-126, reprinted in Williams, E.L., editor, 1981, Thermodynamics and the Development of Order, Creation Research Society Books, Chino Valley, AZ, pages 91-110.
Williams, E.L., 1976, A creation model for natural processes, Creation Research Society Quarterly 13: 34-37, reprinted in slightly revised form in Williams, E.L., editor, 1981, Thermodynamics and the Development of Order, Creation Research Society Books, Chino Valley, AZ, pages 114-119.