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.

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.

Apologetics

Creationists claim that evolution is impossible because the second law of thermodynamics does not allow an unguided increase in complexity.

Counter-apologetics

The most common definition of the second law is: "The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium." The second law of thermodynamics uses the word entropy, which is what causes the confusion (Or allows the lies, depending on how you look at it.) The meaning of the word entropy that is used in the second law is: "For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work." Using that correct definition the second law of thermodynamics obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution. It never did, it's just about thermal energy. (As should be evident by its very name.)

But the definition that the apologists use is: "A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system." And using that definition, the second law of thermodynamics would mean: The random disorderliness of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium. However, this is not only an incorrect use of the second law. It is also untrue, some closed systems will tend to fall into disorder, while some will become more orderly. Examples: Disorderly dust clouds in space eventualy gravitate towards a central/denser point, forming a star.

So in summary, the second law of thermodynamics has nothing to do with evolution, the beginings of life, star formation, or anything at all other than the movement and/or effects of energy.

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