Thermodynamics

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Thermodynamics is the study of the transfer of heat energy. There are three main laws of thermodynamics, the second being frequently brought into arguments against evolution.

Contents

Laws

First

In any process, the total energy of the universe remains constant.

Second

There is no process that, operating in a cycle, produces no other effect than the subtraction of a positive amount of heat from a reservoir and the production of an equal amount of work.

Alternatively:

The entropy of an isolated macroscopic system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.

Third

As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant.

Alternative descriptions

The laws of thermodynamics have also been described in a tongue-in-cheek way as:

  1. You can't win.
  2. You can't break even.
  3. And you can't get out of the game.

Alternatively, thermodynamics is understood to give time a direction. [1] Without time going forward, the universe would be a very strange place, where things would spontaneously un-break, un-burn, un-fall, etc.

Apologetics/Counter-apologetics

Argument for God from the 2nd law

Main Article: Argument from the second law of thermodynamics

Creationists sometimes claim that evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. This is usually due to a misunderstanding of what the second law actually says, or else due to the false assumption that the Earth is an isolated (closed) system.

Argument for God from the 1st law

Main Article: Argument from conservation of energy

Energy conservation means the total amount of energy in the universe is fixed. Therefore the energy requires an external cause i.e. God.

Argument for a finite age of the universe from the 2nd law

Main Article: Second law of thermodynamics implies the universe is of finite age

The amount of usable energy is decreasing. It cannot have been decreasing indefinitely, so the universe had a beginning.

Fine tuning of entropy

The initial conditions of the universe was low entropy. This requires a cause. Natural processes would violate the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, God. This is a variant of the fine tuning argument.

"Only the creator of the second law of thermodynamics could violate the second law of thermodynamics, and create energy in a state of availability in the first place. [2]"

Other

There is also a rough thermodynamic argument against the existence of an orderly God that could create the universe.

References

  1. Entropy (arrow of time), Wikipedia [1]
  2. John M. Cimbala, Does the Second Law of Thermodynamics Prove the Existence of God?, 2000 [2]

External links

  • secondlaw.com explains the second law of thermodynamics.
  • 2ndlaw.com fields questions generated by the previous site, including issues with evolution.
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