There is nothing to fear except
the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the
persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.
-- Dorothy Thompson
Q: How many materialists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Given time the light bulb will change itself.
No joke. Light from darkness, life from non-life, mind from matter; it's all a mere marvel of matter in motion. Never mind where matter came from, and no matter where mind came from, for matter-only materialists everything that is came unplanned from everything that was in a string of unguided eternal change. Magically transforming the mundane into the marvelous, it seems nothing is impossible with change--time makes light work of miracles. For the life sciences branch of materialist philosophy, Darwin's theory mandates the same explanation for all life: unguided change over time gave us eyes to close and mouths to open in the service of a dead philosophy emanating from a brain that thinks it has a mind. Who would have thought?
"Evolution" is described by those who know better as simply "change over time". And why not? After all, change over time is observable, and observable change over time is incontrovertible and uncontroversial. Observed change over time in biology works its magic by changing beak sizes among finch populations, changing antibacterial resistance among bacteria populations, changing virtually nothing of interest in fruit fly populations, all showcased as "evolution in action". But is "change over time" alone really sufficient to make life, and life more abundantly? It seems not; no unguided change agent has been observed to make anything but finches from finches, bacteria from bacteria, and legions upon legions of hapless fruit flies that cannot become something more than they are already. At best the observed change over time in the unguided forces of nature due to undirected energy acting on matter always acts in one direction: toward less order and more disorder. It seems that unguided change is more bumbler than tinkerer.
"Directional" change doesn't sound so bad. In fact it isn't bad if you aren't constrained by a philosophy that requires "directional" to mean unguided progression of matter to increasing (and increasingly) improbable complex specified order. But for materialists who depend on unguided, undirected change to produce massive amounts of the increasing improbable change theorized by Darwinism, the observed directional nature of change is a disaster. Because in nature the observed change of unguided, undirected matter always conforms to physical constraints. Under immutable physical laws the change is at best to simple order, as in crystal formation where matter is rigidly constrained by unguided atomic forces, or to random disorder, as in the diffusion of food coloring in water (which is nevertheless still simply obeying constraints of atomic forces). The disordering of matter in nature when left to undirected energy in time is so well understood that it's one of the few features of nature described by a law, and not just any law--one of the most robust laws known: First Theory of Evolution meet Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Unfortunately for truth (but fortunately for those who wish to suppress it) the Second Law of Thermodynamics, while conceptually simple, is expressed in various scientific disciplines in complex-sounding language. Setting aside strange concepts like "entropy", "Gibb's free energy" and "closed or open systems", the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be simply understood as the idea that left to the undirected forces of nature, undirected energy always expends to cause existing matter to go from a more ordered state to a less ordered state.
If you grasp the words of that last sentence, you will always and forever know why "evolution" is a dead-end theory when stated in its strong form, i.e., the massive ordering of increasingly complex information by unguided forces of nature to produce new and more complex features (like wings and eyes) in living organisms. Very simply, it is easier to make a mess than to clean up a mess; it is easier to destroy a house than build a house; and it is easier to corrupt computer software than to program computer software. And "easier" is not the real issue, the real issue is one of possibilities due to intelligent intervention--in every example above, the former condition can be effected by mindless activity but the latter must, in every case, involve a mind. Nature has no secret mind substitute.
Here's the catch missed by the evolution-is-merely-change-over-time crowd: there are two kinds of scientifically observable change: intelligently manipulated change (or guided change) and unintelligently occurring change (or unguided change). On the observable effects side, scientific evidence shows two corresponding categories: guided change results in improbable complex order (e.g., computer codes or DNA) while unguided change results in probable simple order (e.g., iron filings to a magnet or crystals) or what appears to be random disorder (e.g., bits of shattered glass or pattern of fallen leaves). Unguided changes are well-studied in nature, and in complete agreement with the Second Law of Thermodynamics they always in every observed case result in systems going from a more ordered state to a less ordered state. It is the Law.
On its face, therefore, the Second Law of Thermodynamics stands diametrically opposed to any theory, including biological evolution, that requires matter to go spontaneously unguided and undirected from a simple, random form to a more complex, specified form. The stock reply from virtually all Darwinists, invariably flashed like a fake ID to get past all but those who actually care, is that the Second Law applies only to closed systems. In our case, Darwinists say, the Second Law's tendency to prevent the incredibly improbable creations necessary for "evolution" is circumvented by including the sun's energy input in our local earth system. But as any free thinker knows (and even a few Darwinists), it is not the mere presence of raw, undirected energy in a system that matters. Even in an open system in the absence of energy direction (like the coded instructions used in photosynthesis), the raw energy of the sun must obey the Law, and the result of the sun's energy on matter will be to rot, fade, decompose, decay and otherwise destroy.
Usually Darwinists dismiss the Second Law flippantly, as if its inapplicability to evolution is hardly worth elaboration. For example, in preeminent evolutionist Ernst Mayr's 318-page book What Evolution Is, fully one paragraph of seven lines is employed on page 8 to assure us:
"[T]here is no conflict, because the law of entropy is valid only for closed systems, whereas the evolution of a species of organisms takes place in an open system in which organisms can reduce entropy at the expense of the environment and the sun supplies a continuing input of energy."
Here Mayr flashes his fake ID, stating that the Second Law (i.e., what he calls "the law of entropy") applies only to systems closed to external sources of energy input, and our earth system has unlimited energy input from the sun. True enough, but so what? Even granting the entire universe as the "system", where's the link between massive amounts of raw supplied energy flowing in and massive amounts of law defied complexity growing out?
Other Darwinists try to make the link and inadvertently prove themselves wrong while pretending to give a scientific answer to the question. Consider Dr. Tim M. Berra, a Darwinist who in his book Evolution and the Myth of Creationism addressed "Some Creationist Claims" including the claim that "evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics". In the same book, Berra sought to refute another "creationist claim" and unwittingly showed the opposite. By showing four Corvette automobiles from different years to illustrate Darwin's descent with modification, Berra actually showed the necessity of creation by design. This show of Darwinist pretend-thought was rightly referred to by Phillip E. Johnson as "Berra's Blunder". Perhaps we now have Berra's Blunder II; clumsily brandishing his fake ID, Berra blubbers:
"These statements conveniently ignore the fact that you can get order out of disorder if you add energy. For example, an unassembled bicycle that arrives at your house in a shopping carton is in a state of disorder. You supply the energy of your muscles (which you get from food that came ultimately from sunlight) to assemble the bike. You have got order from disorder by supplying energy. The Sun is the source of energy input to the Earth's living systems and allows them to evolve."
Dr. Berra's blunder is easy to see; it doesn't take a PhD. to see that Berra's science is doctored with philosophy. Obviously, it is not raw, undirected energy from the sun that is supplied to the bicycle parts; a large dose of intelligent direction is also necessarily present. If Berra wants to use the bicycle analogy, he must explain how raw, undirected energy from the sun might combine with unguided natural processes to do anything but cause the bicycle parts to decay, rust, or otherwise deteriorate. As he has set up his illustration, Berra has succeeded in proving that an intelligent being is necessary to direct and manipulate energy to have the "change over time" of the type to result in an assembled bicycle (even if all the parts are in existence, and the energy ultimately comes from the sun). Like Berra's bicycle, living organisms also need a "maker" otherwise the component parts would simply bask in the sun until they break down into even greater and greater disorder.
Very few Darwinists think freely on this issue. But a few courageous collections of atoms like Paul Davies at least admit that simply throwing energy at the problem of the Second Law's applicability to evolution is not a solution. In his book The Fifth Miracle, The Search for the Origin of Life, Davies brandishes a custom-made fake ID as he bravely mounts a failed attempt to show how natural laws based on chance and necessity can convert raw energy into information-rich, complex, specified structures. His explanation, translated into plain language: even bumblers get lucky and as long as there are more unlucky bumblers than lucky, the Second Law is satisfied and "evolution" can happen. Good luck, ye Bumblers, this evidence-starved concept goes beyond clever pretend-think to wishful-think. Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.
Like all the rest Davies fought the law, and the law won. Simply invoking the sun into the earth's system as a cure-all for evolutionary complexity ignores the fact that raw, undirected energy is not known to be capable in itself, i.e., in the absence of a directing law or process (or person, such as Berra's bicycle maker), of providing order out of disorder, much less specified complex cellular information. The undirected energy of the sun has the opposite effect-in the absence of an imposed ordering principle (like photosynthesis), the sun's radiation tends to break down matter into less ordered states of rot and decay.
Fake ID's are only effective for those who don't know or don't care. For the rest of us, the evidence of change in nature compels a logical inference of true ID: intelligent design. Darwinist disciples of Bumbelology have yet to mount a serious explanation of how "evolution" in its strong form can happen in spite of the Second Law. That is, Darwinists have yet to propose any natural law, process, or mechanism that can explain the origin of new information-rich, specified complexity exhibited by living organisms. Appealing to the sun to explain Second-Law-defying phenomena is like assuring us that somewhere a bicycle is assembling on its own simply because the sun is shining brightly. A light bulb will sooner change itself.
Roddy Bullock, JD, BSME, is the Executive Director of the Intelligent Design Network of Ohio (www.idnetohio.com) and is the author of The Cave Painting: A Parable of Science, published by Access Research Network. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (C) 2007 Roddy M. Bullock, all rights reserved. Quotes and links permitted with attribution.
References and further notes:
Portions of this essay adapted from Roddy M. Bullock, The Cave Painting: A Parable of Science, (Access Research Network, 2006), End Note 63. Write for a free copy of the End Note to email@example.com.
Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is (New York: Basic Books, 2001), p. 8. Note the Second Law, or thermodynamics in general, is not even mentioned in the index to Mayr's book. The only other mention of "entropy" is in the glossary in which it is evident that Mayr apparently does not even understand the concept. Entropy is defined by Mayr as "The degradation of matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. Entropy can be reached only in a closed system" (Mayr, p. 285). The first sentence is not a definition of entropy, but it is at least an acceptable description of the effects of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and can pass for a description of "entropy" for the lay reader. However, the second sentence is simply nonsense. Entropy is a measure of something, like other measures such as temperature, weight, or distance. The second sentence is analogous to saying "Temperature can be reached only in a closed system." Mistakes are excusable, but such cursory treatment of a topic otherwise given short shrift by someone of Mayr's stature is difficult to understand.
The National Association of Biology Teachers stated in their "Statement on Teaching Evolution," as one of their "tenets of science": "Evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics: producing order from disorder is possible with the addition of energy, such as from the sun" (National Academy of Sciences, Teaching About Evolution, p. 127).
"Berra's Blunder II" found at Tim M. Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990), p. 126.
For a serious Darwinist perspective on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, see Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle, The Search for the Origin of Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), p. 52. Davies notes, for example:
"Some eminent scientists have been deeply mystified by this contradiction [i.e., natural examples of an increase in order]. The German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, himself one of the founders of the science of thermodynamics, was one of the first to suggest that life somehow circumvents the second law. ... Eddington likewise perceived a clash between Darwinian evolution and thermodynamics, and suggested either that the former be abandoned or that an "anti-evolution principle" be set alongside it. ... Even Schroedinger had his doubts. In his book What Is Life he examined the relationship between order and disorder in conventional thermodynamics and contrasted it with life's hereditary principle of more order from order."
Davies makes a sound attempt at reconciling the Second Law with Darwinism. For a response to Davies' argument, see Roddy M. Bullock, The Cave Painting: A Parable of Science, (Access Research Network, 2006), End Note 63. For a free copy, write to Roddy M. Bullock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission.