A New Twist on Entropy
by Wayne Childress 9/23/2013 / Christian Apologetics
I consider myself well read and educated but I am not a physicist. That said this topic came up the other day so I decided to write a short piece on it. When things like this come up with nonbelievers I typically pose a few questions or relate my thoughts. Depending on their attitude, I either expound further or try to steer the conversation to less tumultuous ground. I don't think anyone was ever argued into belief - debated maybe, argued nay. At any rate I am sure some may find this entertaining, others educational.
The classical view of the Second Law of Thermodynamics is Boltzmann's interpretation the Law of Entropy. This became known as the Law of Disorder. Evolutionists hate it the view debunked macroevolution in one fell swoop. Scientist set out to salvage what they could, and came up with something (in 1988/89) called the Law of Maximum Entropy Production LMEP or MEP. MEP states: A system will select the path or assemblage of paths out of available paths that minimizes the potential or maximizes the entropy at the fastest rate given the constraints.
Without getting technical, the difference between the two is that the second view says Nature will purposely accelerate what happens in the first view. For an example, often used by MEP proponents, we will use the following. The first view says that if you have a mountain cabin in a snow-covered forest warmed by a fire and the fire goes out that energy (the thermal warmth) in the cabin will eventually dissipate and the cabin will reach a temperature equal with the outside temperature. That is easy enough to understand. MEP says the same thing but adds that if you open a door or window that the energy (thermal warmth) will dissipate quicker (hence, the cabin will get colder quicker at the fastest rate given the constraints). Again, that is easy enough to understand. Water does not just flow downhill; it follows the path of least resistance to get downhill the quickest way possible. This deals with energy.
Again, without getting too technical, the first view says there is tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity. In other words, matter tends to get simpler not more complex. MEP proponents say that because Nature knows to take the quickest route it actually creates complexity.
This newest interpretative addition, MEP, may have something for Physics. Much of Inorganic Nature (nonliving), as the examples show, does try to expedite the balancing of energy. However, consider with matter that a piece of metal is made more complex by us - a refined ore. If you give Nature enough time, it will return most metals back to a form of ore. We call the process corrosion or oxidation steel will rust and turn into iron oxide. In other words, get simpler regardless of the rate. Even Organic Nature with "life" removed breaks down to simpler components. Chop down a tree and it rots. If you expedite the event by burning the tree, you get ashes. Burning is "the fastest rate" to dissipate the energy in a tree but are ashes more complex than a tree rotted or alive?
Now we will move forward to consider the more complex forms of life. Living organisms try to conserve energy! Inorganic materials do absorb or dissipate heat (thermal energy) to seek equilibrium. Life seeks to maintain a life sustaining body temperature (thermal energy level). Life avoids equilibrium with its environment rapidly or otherwise. Put a cold-blooded animal in an extreme desert or artic environment and they will reach thermal (energy) equilibrium with their environment as they are dying! Put a warm-blooded animal in an extreme desert or artic environment they will try their very best not to reach thermal (energy) equilibrium with their environment rapidly or not because if they do they too are dead! Even most plant life must avoid thermal (energy) equilibrium with the environment or die.
The nonbeliever (or even a believer) who holds the first view may ask, "Why would God create a world that is moving toward disorder?" The answer is simple - He didn't. Man caused the change:
And He said to the man, because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, saying, you shall not eat from it, the ground shall be cursed because of you. You shall eat of it in sorrow all the days of your life.
For the nonbeliever (or believer) who holds the MEP view I ask, "So God made a perfect self-correcting system?"
As an aside, and interestingly enough, no Christian should be surprised by the Law of Conservation of Energy that energy cannot be created nor destroyed.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them.
When the Bible says they were finished they were finished. Man can neither create nor destroy what God has finished.
Anyway, it seems to me that energy trying to find equilibrium as fast as possible is true and life tries to avoid it!
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