Does evolution violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?


*chuckles KC nope Just interested to see the exchange between the two camps

Read my other questions fmi

Update 2:

What then do you think of Penrose's cyclical universe?

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Update 3:

why are people so antagonistic? It's a simple question. Just answer it or ignore it.

Update 4:

mollymac, because i like to see the exchange and hopefully introduce other ideas in to both camps.

Update 5:

lol interest . . .

Update 6:

thank you warrior poo . . . but there is a reason I ask this question in R&S and not in physics. Although I was hoping to see more posts with information aimed at educating people. . .

Update 7:

thank you Dreamstuff... exactly what I was hoping for

26 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Claim CF001:

    The second law of thermodynamics says that everything tends toward disorder, making evolutionary development impossible.


    1. The second law of thermodynamics says no such thing. It says that heat will not spontaneously flow from a colder body to a warmer one or, equivalently, that total entropy (a measure of useful energy) in a closed system will not decrease. This does not prevent increasing order because

    * the earth is not a closed system; sunlight (with low entropy) shines on it and heat (with higher entropy) radiates off. This flow of energy, and the change in entropy that accompanies it, can and will power local decreases in entropy on earth.

    * entropy is not the same as disorder. Sometimes the two correspond, but sometimes order increases as entropy increases. (Aranda-Espinoza et al. 1999; Kestenbaum 1998) Entropy can even be used to produce order, such as in the sorting of molecules by size (Han and Craighead 2000).

    * even in a closed system, pockets of lower entropy can form if they are offset by increased entropy elsewhere in the system.

    In short, order from disorder happens on earth all the time.

    2. The only processes necessary for evolution to occur are reproduction, heritable variation, and selection. All of these are seen to happen all the time, so, obviously, no physical laws are preventing them. In fact, connections between evolution and entropy have been studied in depth, and never to the detriment of evolution (Demetrius 2000).

    Several scientists have proposed that evolution and the origin of life is driven by entropy (McShea 1998). Some see the information content of organisms subject to diversification according to the second law (Brooks and Wiley 1988), so organisms diversify to fill empty niches much as a gas expands to fill an empty container. Others propose that highly ordered complex systems emerge and evolve to dissipate energy (and increase overall entropy) more efficiently (Schneider and Kay 1994).

    3. Creationists themselves admit that increasing order is possible. They introduce fictional exceptions to the law to account for it.

    4. Creationists themselves make claims that directly contradict their claims about the second law of thermodynamics, such as hydrological sorting of fossils during the Flood.


    1. Aranda-Espinoza, H., Y. Chen, N. Dan, T. C. Lubensky, P. Nelson, L. Ramos and D. A. Weitz, 1999. Electrostatic repulsion of positively charged vesicles and negatively charged objects. Science 285: 394-397.

    2. Brooks, D. R. and E. O. Wiley, 1988. Evolution As Entropy, University of Chicago Press.

    3. Kestenbaum, David, 1998. Gentle force of entropy bridges disciplines. Science 279: 1849.

    4. Han, J. and H. G. Craighead, 2000. Separation of long DNA molecules in a microfabricated entropic trap array. Science 288: 1026-1029.

    5. Demetrius, Lloyd, 2000. Theromodynamics and evolution. Journal of Theoretical Biology 206(1): 1-16.

    6. McShea, Daniel W., 1998. Possible largest-scale trends in organismal evolution: eight live hypotheses. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29: 293-318.

    7. Schneider, Eric D. and James J. Kay, 1994. Life as a manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics. Mathematical and Computer Modelling 19(6-8): 25-48.

    Further Reading:

    Atkins, P. W. 1984. The Second Law. New York: Scientific American Books.

    Kauffman, Stuart A. 1993. The Origins of Order. New York: Oxford. (technical)

    Lambert, Frank L. 1999. The second law of thermodynamics.

    See for Yourself:

    You can see order come and go in nature in many different ways. A few examples are snowflakes and other frost crystals, cloud formations, dust devils, ripples in sand dunes, and eddies and whirlpools in streams. See how many other examples you can find.

  • 1 decade ago

    When Earth was formed by accretion of interstellar matter and ended up being a molten ball for some time, things were pretty thoroughly mxied up. Since then, rocks, minerals, and the elements have come to be sorted out. For example, we have oceans, we have ice at the poles, we have gold mines, salt mines, oil deposits. It's not thoroughly mixed up any more. How could this possibly even happen? Doesn't this violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

    The fact is, emergent order can be found just about anywhere if we understood what would be examples of it, and where to look for it. The idea that everything necessarily can only progress to greater disorder, without exception, is an old idea dating back to Greek times, when it was thought that perfection existed only at the beginning.

    Here's a reverse kind of the Ontological Argument:

    1) Entropy and disorder is always on the rise, never decreases

    2) Going back in time, entropy was less and there was more order

    3) Zero entropy is zero disorder, which is perfection

    4) Nothingness has zero entropy, therefore nothingness is perfection

    5) God is perfection. Therefore God is nothingness.

  • 4 years ago

    It truly would not have something to do with evolution. Even by utilizing not getting it you nonetheless understand extra approximately it than creationists. The 2nd regulation in certainty states that throughout a closed gadget the quantity of available means is fixed and, on the same time because it is not destroyed, it does exchange into extra ineffective. that's the comparable reason perpetual action machines do not and may be able to never paintings. Their "argument" is that length evolution is in certainty a upward thrust in corporation, this violates the 2nd regulation and is as a result impossible. that's for sure nonsense you have probable already observed it. precise now, you're physique is attempting to attain a state of thermal equilibrium with the exterior atmosphere (this is the 2nd regulation at paintings). difficulty is, a physique in equilibrium with the exterior atmosphere is a state generally customary as "lifeless". You look after a differential between you and the exterior atmosphere for the reason which you intake means. You eat, you breathe etc. you're actually not a closed gadget you radiate physique warmth and do mechanical paintings (you progression around) yet you're means reserves are consistently resupplied. sickness can exchange into order given an expenditure of means. The Earth, and evolution, are the comparable they consistently get carry of means from the sunlight. The creationist argument could in common terms carry if we've been in some style of bubble that sealed us off from something of the universe.

  • mark h
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    A matter of great dispute.

    I have heard the idea recently that life itself may be responsible for what is termed negative entropy, which is to suggest that life somehow is not subject to the 2LoTD, or at the very least, can work against it.

    Of course its all theoretical musings untill we collide enough particles to prove everything or send us all back to our respective drawing boards, which ever comes first.

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  • 1ofU
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Hey, uncle tom, it's ENTROPY. But it really doesn't matter because as the good Reverend pointed out, there's more energy being pumped into the earth than earth's creatures are using up. Everything happening on the earth is well within the bounds of the laws of thermodynamics and, believe me, entropy is rampant in my life.

  • 1 decade ago

    The 2nd law of thermodynamics only applies to a closed system....

    ...thus making the theory of evolution (or pretty much any of earth's theories) moot in relation to it.

  • extton
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    No. The 2nd law states that entropy always increases in a closed system.

    Earth is not a closed system - it received an input of energy from the sun.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Do you ask this in the physics category? or whatever science category is appropriate? I'll do it for you and send you a link.

    Here ya go:

    You're more likely to get a precise or more accurate answer from there, statistically speaking.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, completely. Because the earth is a closed system, and there isn't something like a great big energy source nearby, something like... a star. Like a sun.

    Source(s): Hey, waaaaaait a minute!
  • 1 decade ago

    Anyone who makes that claim doesn't understand that there is a very very large ball in the sky that is pumping energy into our system.

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