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Second law of thermodynamics  Today, much effort in the field is attempting to understand why the

initial conditions early in the universe were those of low entropy, as this
The law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy and explains the is seen as the origin of the second law
phenomenon of irreversibility in nature.
 The second law can be stated in various succinct ways, including:
The second law declares the impossibility of machines that generate usable
energy from the abundant internal energy of nature by processes called • It is impossible to produce work in the surroundings using a cyclic
perpetual motion of the second kind. process connected to a single heat reservoir (Kelvin, 1851).
• It is impossible to carry out a cyclic process using an engine connected
The first theory of the conversion of heat into mechanical work is due to Nicolas to two heat reservoirs that will have as its only effect the transfer of a
Léonard Sadi Carnot in 1824. He was the first to realize correctly that the quantity of heat from the low-temperature reservoir to the high-
efficiency of this conversion depends on the difference of temperature between temperature reservoir (Clausius, 1854).
an engine and its environment. • If thermodynamic work is to be done at a finite rate, free energy must
be expended.
Recognizing the significance of James Prescott Joule's work on the conservation
of energy, Rudolf Clausius was the first to formulate the second law during 1850,
Statistical mechanics gives an explanation for the second law by postulating that
in this form: heat does not flow spontaneously from cold to hot bodies. While
a material is composed of atoms and molecules which are in constant motion. A
common knowledge now, this was contrary to the caloric theory of heat popular
particular set of positions and velocities for each particle in the system is called
at the time, which considered heat as a fluid. From there he was able to infer
a microstate of the system and because of the constant motion, the system is
the principle of Sadi Carnot and the definition of entropy (1865).
constantly changing its microstate. Statistical mechanics postulates that, in
Established during the 19th century, the Kelvin-Planck statement of the Second equilibrium, each microstate that the system might be in is equally likely to
Law says, "It is impossible for any device that operates on a cycle to receive occur, and when this assumption is made, it leads directly to the conclusion that
heat from a single reservoir and produce a net amount of work." This was shown the second law must hold in a statistical sense. That is, the second law will hold
to be equivalent to the statement of Clausius. on average, with a statistical variation on the order of 1/√N where N is the
number of particles in the system. For everyday (macroscopic) situations, the
The ergodic hypothesis is also important for the Boltzmann approach. It says probability that the second law will be violated is practically zero. However, for
that, over long periods of time, the time spent in some region of the phase space systems with a small number of particles, thermodynamic parameters, including
of microstates with the same energy is proportional to the volume of this region, the entropy, may show significant statistical deviations from that predicted by
i.e. that all accessible microstates are equally probable over a long period of the second law. Classical thermodynamic theory does not deal with these
time. Equivalently, it says that time average and average over the statistical statistical variations.
ensemble are the same.

It has been shown that not only classical systems but also quantum mechanical
ones tend to maximize their entropy over time. Thus the second law follows,
given initial conditions with low entropy. More precisely, it has been shown that
the local von Neumann entropy is at its maximum value with a very high
probability.The result is valid for a large class of isolated quantum systems (e.g.
a gas in a container). While the full system is pure and therefore does not have
any entropy, the entanglement between gas and container gives rise to an
increase of the local entropy of the gas. This result is one of the most important  INTRODUCTION:
achievements of quantum thermodynamics
In this article, the classical formulations of the second law of thermodynamics The discovery of the law of temporal hierarchies, which may be considered a new
as they relate to the evolution of living systems will be presented. Some general law of nature, has determined the extension of Gibbs's theory to living
mistakes in the understanding of the physical meaning of this general law of systems This law makes it possible to apply thermodynamics, or more precisely
nature will be noted. It is asserted that many misunderstandings of the second the hierarchic thermodynamics of quasi-closed systems, to all hierarchies of the
law of thermodynamics are related to terminological confusion and to the real world, particularly, living objects and biological systems, to quite a good
underestimation or disregard of the theory developed by Willard Gibbs and approximation.
other founders of "true thermodynamics", which is impossible to disprove.  where the equality sign pertains to reversible processes and the
inequality (greater-than) sign, to irreversible ones. Expression is
suitable for a simple isolated system, which can exchange neither
substance nor energy with the environment and whose internal energy
 To a certain approximation then, herein, the thermodynamics of Rudolf
(U) and volume (V) are constant. In such systems only the work of
Clausius and Willard Gibbs will be applied to description of the evolution
expansion or no work at all is performed In this case, the second law of
of living systems. This is possible due to the law of temporal hierarchies
thermodynamics may be written as:
and to the premise that the functions of state of living systems have
Thus, the entropy of this system increases when irreversible processes occur,
real physical meaning in the practical sense, in all hierarchical levels, and
and it is maximum in the state of thermodynamic equilibrium.
at every moment of time.

 Making no pretensions to perfection, the author offers some advice to The second law of thermodynamics according to Thomson, i.e. Thomson's
researchers dealing with thermodynamics. The author believes that, principle, states that: “the process during which work is transformed into heat
when considering thermodynamic problems, "ambiguous" terms and without any other changes in the system's state is irreversible.” This means that
definitions should be clarified preliminarily in order to preclude possible all heat withdrawn from a body cannot be entirely transformed into work unless
misunderstandings. It is also advisable to refer to the classical works of the system is changed in other respects. This formulation is equivalent to the
those noted; including textbooks, encyclopedias, and founding articles in statement that the perpetuum mobile of the second kind is impossible [7-10].
each respective historical publication. This will allow the correctness of
the results reported to be estimated at least preliminarily. Carnot's theorem is also equivalent to the impossibility of the perpetuum mobile
of the second kind. According to this theorem, no heat engine can have a higher
efficiency than that of the Carnot cycle, η = (T1 – T2)/T1, which is determined
"… the true and only goal of science is only by the temperatures of the heater and the cooler (T1 and T2, respectively).
 to reveal unity rather than mechanisms" Carnot's theorem lays the basis for the absolute temperature scale. Sometimes,
Henri Poincaré, French Mathematician [1854-1912] the second law of thermodynamics is formulated as the well-known
 Caratheodory's principle (1908).
where k is the Boltzmann constant. Note that the Boltzmann's substantiating the
Classics of science enunciated the second law of thermodynamics, one of general statistical basis of the second law of thermodynamics, as well as the statistical
laws of nature, in the first half of the 19th century. Well-known formulations of substantiation of phenomenological thermodynamics suggested by Gibbs, involves
this law are associated with the names of Sadi Carnot (1824), Rudolf Clausius ideal models, e.g., a perfect gas. In the case of more complex systems [3-4, 8],
(1850), and William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) (1851). Although the formulations where pronounced (especially, strong) electromagnetic interactions between
themselves are different, mainly because of the difference in phrasing, they may particles (molecules) are observed, it is difficult to perform the calculations.
be considered equivalent. Many authors have attempted to change or improve the Therefore, it is obvious that these models are unlikely to be effective when
formulations as regards to their physical meaning, yet none have succeeded. The studying most natural systems (e.g., biological), i.e., systems that are far from
meaning and essence of these formulations has not been disproved to date corresponding to ideal or simple models.


 New concepts, however, have extended the possible applications of the
second law of thermodynamics to different sciences, especially To justify these statements, let us make a digression to cite the renowned
chemistry and, as it turned out later, biology. This became possible scientists Boltzmann and Schrödinger who asserted that "living organisms
mainly due to J.W. Gibbs' works performed in 1873–1878. To a certain struggle for negative entropy" or, as it is sometimes called, "negentropy". In
approximation, the methodologies of Gibbs thermodynamics have been addition, we will cite some of Prigogine's] quotations that appeared even on the
extended to date to all hierarchies of natural systems, which are cover of his books. The reader will find references to them in the Internet Here
generally open ones. we note that the quotations presented below do not pertain to the second law of
 Clausius' formulation of the second law of thermodynamics, also known thermodynamics in its classical form Today, they may seem surprising, especially
as the Clausius principle, states that: "a process that involves no when we take into account that all this was written several years after Gibbs
changes except for the transfer of heat from a warmer body to a published his works. For example, Boltzmann (1886) wrote:
colder body is irreversible, i.e., heat cannot spontaneously pass from a
colder body to a warmer one Building on this principle, in 1865, Clausius "The general struggle for existence of animate beings is therefore not a
introduced the concept of entropy (S), a function of state of a system, struggle for raw materials - these, for organisms, are air, water and soil, all
i.e. a function that has a full differential, according to the Clausius abundantly available—nor for energy which exists in plenty in any body in the
inequality: form of heat (albeit unfortunately not transformable), but a struggle for
Historically, the formulations of the second law of thermodynamics were closely entropy, which becomes available through the transition of energy from the hot
associated with the study of heat engines. This approach has been developed by sun to the cold earth.”
physicists, mainly thermal physicists, and heat engineers. Another trend in the
use of the second law of thermodynamics is related to the attempts of some Then, in 1944, Schrödinger wrote:
mathematicians and physicists constructing ideal and simple models to explain "the only way a living system stays alive, away from maximum entropy or death is
many natural phenomena in statistical terms. However, since all interactions in to be continually drawing from its environment negative entropy. Thus the device
real systems are near to impossible to take into account, there is but little hope by which an organism maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of
that calculations in the framework of these models will successfully solve the orderliness (= fairly low level of entropy) really consists in continually sucking
problem. Hence, only the phenomenological thermodynamics of systems close to orderliness from its environment. …Plants of course have their most powerful
equilibrium, i.e. equilibrium or quasi-equilibrium thermodynamics, are likely to supply in negative entropy in sunlight…"
ensure the insight into many natural phenomena and make reliable quantitative
predictions. Later, Prigogine also supposed, on the basis of previous notions of Boltzmann,
The above formulations of the second law of thermodynamics are, in a sense, Schrödinger, and their followers in the life sciences, that the phenomenon of life
somewhat outside the realm of the chemistry of molecular and supramolecular is hardly consistent with the second law of thermodynamics. He noted, "During
systems. These formulations may seem to be even farther from biology, the last decades, an opinion has widely spread that there is the apparent
sociology, and other sciences that are mainly based on chemistry, both molecular contradiction between biological order and laws of physics—particularly the
chemistry per se and the chemistry of supramolecular structures, which we second law of thermodynamics" (1980). Prigogine also emphasized that:
perceive as "chemistry around us". Therefore, it is not unexpected that a purely
physical, rather than a physicochemical, approach to the origin of life, biological this contradiction cannot be removed as long as one tries to understand
evolution, and the aging of living organisms has lead to numerous living systems by the methods of equilibrium thermodynamics".
misunderstandings—one might say, even to tragic errors—in life science. It
should suffice to mention L. Boltzmann's, E. Schrödinger's, I. Prigogine’s and
other researchers' fallacies accounted for by neglecting to some or another
One of the greatest merits of Gibbs and other renowned founders of
extent, Gibbs's works and underestimating the possibilities offered by
classical thermodynamics is that they used the works by Joseph Lagrange,
thermodynamics. The following publications emphasized the substantial
Leonhard Euler, and other outstanding mathematicians, in particular the variation
misunderstandings in this field that the founders of classical thermodynamics
principles developed by them, as a basis for the concepts of the functions of
noted long ago
state of the system other than entropy, which, like entropy, have full
differentials. The functions of state permit the determination of the directions Russian as замкнутая система (literally, closed system). So the terms are often
of spontaneous processes and the estimation of the extent of their advancement regarded as equivalent or identical.
in individual thermodynamic systems identified in the real world.
Other errors result from semantic coincidence of some terms. For
In other words, the evolution of systems themselves can now be studied, example, the Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies are often confused with energy
to a certain approximation, if certain natural (independent) variables are in the ordinary sense. This is why many researchers have attempted to replace
constant. The Gibbs function G, i.e. the Gibbs free energy or, briefly, the Gibbs this term with the term the Gibbs function [19]. Another example is the term
energy, can be used for studying equilibrium, i.e. quasi-equilibrium, processes and complex system. Here, the word complex has a double meaning. In
closed systems, i.e. quasi-closed systems in which quasi-equilibrium thermodynamics, a complex system, as opposed to a simple one, usually means a
transformations occur, at constant temperature and pressure. Similarly, the system in which or on which a work other than the work of expansion is done [15,
Helmholtz function A, is applicable to studying these processes and systems at 16]. Sometimes, however, the word complex is used to emphasize a structural or
constant temperature and volume. some other heterogeneity of the system itself or the diversity of its elements.
This also applies to the term simple system, and so on.
Certainly, this is only true on the assumption that the functions of state
of the systems studied have actual physical sense at any moment of time. This is Certainly, these and other such confusions may lead to blunders that
true for systems close to equilibrium but not for those far from equilibrium. escape a nonprofessional's notice. These and other similar errors creep into
Here, we emphasize once more that the law of temporal hierarchies gives some textbooks, reference books, and then into the Internet. It is our intention
grounds for the use of the functions of state when the direction and the extent that the above remarks will warn beginners about the erroneous views that may
of advancement of the evolutionary processes that occur in quasi-closed systems exist in thermodynamics. Also, we encourage all physicists, chemists, biologists,
are estimated at different hierarchical levels of living matter [17]. For clarity, and other specialists that deal with thermodynamics to study the Gibbs
let us make a digression on the law of temporal hierarchies. phenomenological thermodynamics first of all.

The law of temporal hierarchies makes it possible to identify quasi- As noted above, this authentic and, in a certain sense, true
closed thermodynamic systems and subsystems within open biological systems, thermodynamics is based on the notion of full differentials. This approach to
thus facilitating the study of individual development (ontogenesis) and evolution understanding the world surrounding us is intrinsically irrefutable. We may only
(phylogenesis) of these subsystems via the study of the changes in the discuss the accuracy of the Gibbs thermodynamics as applied to, e.g., quasi-
“specific”, i.e. calculated per unit volume or mass, Gibbs function for the closed systems the processes in which are close to equilibrium. In accordance
formation of a given higher monohierarchical structure out of lower with the very essence of the full differential, i.e. its mathematical meaning, as
monohierarchical structures. For example, it has been found that the specific well as the first law of thermodynamics, the change in the function of state of
Gibbs function for the formation of supramolecular structures of biological the system accompanying the transition from one equilibrium state to another is
tissues G tends towards its minimum in the course of ontogenesis as well as for independent of the way or mechanisms of this transition.
phylogenesis and evolution as a whole:
It is likely that our lack of knowledge on actual complex systems may be
SUMMARY partly attributed to the changes in entropy during this transition, being that the
entropy cannot be measured directly. The changes in phenomenological entropy
It is impossible in this short article to list all of the important accompanying transformations in both simple and complex systems may be
conditions for the use of each function of state of each respective system. calculated only if one has studied the corresponding thermal processes. In
Moreover, we have not noted all of the main "delicate" points that beginners statistical terms, the entropy is calculated only for ideal systems or systems
should take into account. Besides, we have referred to just a few publications, close to ideal. It is impossible to perform any precise calculations of this
those that are most important. It should also be noted that this paper, as well as function of state for systems with significant interactions between particles, i.e.
most publications on thermodynamics, may contain some inaccuracies of wording molecules and supramolecular structures, on a statistical basis. We would like to
resulting from the ambiguity of translation. For example, most professional emphasize that this applies to complex thermodynamic systems, i.e., the systems
scientists know about inexcusable confusions with the terms isolated system and in which measurable interactions occur.
closed system (originally English). Both terms are sometimes translated into
Thermodynamics, owing to its impeccably reliable mathematical basis, branches of science, and the editors of scientific periodicals. This advice is the
may be regarded as a "machine" that always yields the right result if the following: when discussing the problems of thermodynamics or using its
premises are correct. Physical chemistry has repeatedly confirmed this [8–10, mathematical tools for calculations, it is necessary to clarify "ambiguous" terms
14, 19]. Unfortunately, some physicists, biophysicists, biologists, and, especially, and definitions. It is also advisable to refer to the classical works including
modern "philosophers" are still unaware of this experience of chemists and textbooks, reference books, and encyclopedias that the authors of the original
chemical technologists. publications used. In this case, the correctness of the results reported in the
publications can be at least preliminarily estimated.
We repeat that the aforementioned ambiguities, which are mainly related to the
disregard of the correct use of many terms that are semantically similar but THIMS' HUMAN THERMODYNAMICS:
differ in physical meaning, result in confusion and misunderstandings. These
misunderstandings discredit, at least in nonprofessionals' opinion, On the forefront of hierarchical thermodynamics, is the work of
thermodynamics itself and science as a whole. Hence, the numerous incorrect chemical engineer Libb Thims who in 2001 published, via local distribution, a
interpretations of the second law of thermodynamics, various dubious "views" on short paper entitled “On the application of the Gibbs free energy equation to
entropy [11, 13, 20, 22], and other far-fetched "functions of state of systems" in the human reaction mechanism.” Before this, however, building on the
the literature are apparent. mathematical framework and structure of Gibbsian thermodynamics, beginning in
1995, Thims proposed to investigate the interactions of humans, from a
Many authors, ignoring classical works in this field, apply different reactionary point of view, within their respective structural hierarchies, based
formulations of the second law of thermodynamics to systems where they are on the essentials of physical chemistry, i.e. Gibbsian thermodynamics, and thus
inherently inapplicable. Some of these authors suggest their own interpretations created “human thermodynamics”.
of this general law of nature. This debases science and education. Moreover, it
can be said that several "second laws of thermodynamics" have appeared, none of In fact, this application of thermodynamics has been applied similarly to
which having anything to do with reality. A good example is the aforementioned the philosophic reduction principle that was also used in the development of
Prigogine's [29] interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics. This hierarchical thermodynamics. In doing so, Thims extended, i.e. applied, the
interpretation "extends" the well-known incorrect and indemonstrable statement principles of chemical thermodynamics to the interactions between humans. He
by the great Boltzmann [31], who neglected the important concepts put forward has named the elemental structures, i.e. the human organism and their
by Clausius and Gibbs. communities in the human hierarchy, “human molecules”. Thims’ model fully
corresponds to the principles of hierarchical thermodynamics which allow us to
The interpretation suggested by Prigogine has practically conquered the apply the laws of physics and chemistry, primary physical chemistry, to all
"scientific" world and still remains one of the trendiest interpretations of the temporal and structural hierarchies and sub-hierarchies of our world. Thus
second law of thermodynamics. We are well aware that it would be hopeless to Thims’ theory has a reliable foundation and is a key step in the human community
argue with the visionaries that create or support these concepts: they have sciences.
developed an excellent method for leading such debates. They unfailingly give
lots of arguments, which are mostly quotations from published or oral HUMAN THERMODYNAMICS
statements made by other visionaries or by insufficiently informed scientists. It
In science, human thermodynamics (HT) is the study of heat and work
is often emphasized that those scientists are well known or even famous.
transformations involved in the processes of human existence. HT is a fusion of
However, the visionaries forget that scientists that are well known and famous in
the following fields:
one field are not necessarily professionals in others. The only way to withstand
this conjuncture is to refer the readers to classical works and serious textbooks
written in a highly professional milieu of world-renowned scientific schools with
centuries-long traditions. 1. Particle Physics – the science of sub-atomic behaviors.

Thus, making no pretensions to perfection, we would nevertheless like to 2. Human Chemistry – the science of human molecular behaviors.
offer advice to researchers dealing with thermodynamics, as well as other
3. Evolutionary Psychology – the science of human mating behaviors.

4. Thermodynamics – the science of energy transformations. HT

It's now time to apply what we've learned to our own lives!
H2O molecules in possession
of gravitational potential energy
In more detail, human thermodynamics is the study of the energy and
entropy aspects of the work cycles involved in human life, namely those existent
between heat, spontaneity, irreversibility and the laws defining therein. In
short, human thermodynamics is the study of heat and its relation to the motion
and changes in the equilibriums of human bodies. The essential process of
thermodynamics is that whereby heat cycles through a system of chemical
species, e.g. water molecules in a steam engine or human molecules in a social
system (sociological thermodynamics) and thereby mediates the production of
What - do I have to do to get (i.e. bond with) that
work. In simple terms, heat, in the form of gamma-ray photons, cycles from the
most desired man or woman?
sun, the systems are coupled economies, the chemical species are people, and the
work is the work of life. The four laws of thermodynamics define the boundaries
of this action.

PRINCIPLES | LAWS | HISTORY If everyone agrees with absolute certainty that there do exist ‘bonds’ between
With respect to intimate relationship (reaction) life, to elaborate on the humans, some strong, some weak, then why over the course of our existence has
concepts of equilibrium and spontaneity, it is well known that the process of pair- no one come forward to explain their mechanism of operation via the
bonding or human bonding in general and the characteristic love or heat energy fundamental forces?
dynamics resulting from such bond formations mediates thru the action of [1]
conjoined parallel, evolving, substrate-attached, human chemical reactions. The HEAT
change in the Gibbs free energy determines the "spontaneity" of these energy in transit [1]
reactions, i.e. if they will work or not. In other words, for example, in theory, ENERGY
rather than haphazardly and inefficiently stumbling through the dating market fundamental interactions [2]
"testing the water" (i.e. hot, ambient, or cold) one can instead constructively use As many will agree, the mechanism underlying the desire to bond perfectly with
the Gibbs free energy equation to pre-calculate or see into the future whether another human being is the most fundamental curiosity of all human existence.
or not any particular bond will hold, be it a relationship bond, occupational bond, No other question carries more weight! The science of human thermodynamics
or friendship bond, etc., as determined by how far such bonds are from provides the answer. This objective defines HT's pinnacle mandate for millennia
equilibrium (i.e. dead relationship level) [12]. to come. Thermodynamics itself is concerned with transformations of energy,
Say a woman Fy desires employment W with a certain company; will the product and the laws of thermodynamics describe the bounds within which these
FyW of this potential merger work? transformations are observed to occur. The "process" of human life defined by
its myriad peculiarities within its insatiable multi-timed flow is one of these
Furthermore, suppose we impose constraints onto the system such that only bounded transformations. Over the last 200-years, more than 105+ individuals
monogamous relationships (bonds) are ‘legal’. The question remains, because of have published views on the relationship between thermodynamics and existence.
these constraints, who will be more likely to stay married – and who will be more Willard Gibbs [1839-1903]
likely, or tempted, to ‘cheat’ through a sort of crude serial monogamy? ■ Founder of the science of Chemical Thermodynamics
■ Descendant of 6 generations of college graduates: 8 Harvard, 3 Yale, and 2 (C) Summing A + B, together with our curiosity of human life, we note that
Princeton. starting from an early age there are several questions that seem to forever build
■ Received the first doctorate of engineering to be granted in the U.S. (Yale) to encompass our daily lives:
■ His 1876 paper On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances is concidered
to be:
"the Principia of Thermodynamics". [6]
■ Formulated an equilibrium equation for chemical reactions as based on his
analysis of the equilibrium of James Watt's steam engine governor.
■ Both parents died before he was 21.
A balance of two entities: the heat energy supplied to and the work energy
performed by a substance [7]
the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state [3]
When - do I have to make this pristine SELECTION?

Where - do I need to be in life to optimally effectuate this PROCESS?

Why - am I innately HOT for certain PEOPLE, objectives, or occupations, etc.?

Why is attractiveness A inversely proportional to intelligence I? Why in any

random high school, for instance, are the least physically attractive students
typically found in math class, and the most physically attractive students
typically found in English class?

For years we've had great success in measuring the potential, the capacity to
(A) Why do certain subatomic particles, atoms, or molecules DESIRE to be with develop into actuality, of such small reactions as:
other certain subatomic particles, atoms, or molecules?

(B) Through these DESIRE fulfillment processes is HEAT Q released or

absorbed (and why)?
Human Thermodynamics (Latin: humus = of earth + Greek: thermo = heat + 1. a carbon dioxide molecule - CO2?
dynamis = power) may be encapsulated as the qualitative and quantitative study 2. a water molecule - H2O?
of human life via thermodynamic analysis. In this assignment is the "Any theory claiming to describe how organisms originate and continue to exist
understanding and science that humans are comprised in essence of fundamental by natural causes must be compatible with the First and Second Laws of
particles organized according to the actions of fundamental forces. Thermodynamics."
– Donald Haynie, Biological Thermodynamics
Central to HT is an equality called the combined law to thermodynamics: ∆G =
These processes are studied under the auspices of particle physics. At the ∆H - T∆S, also known as the Gibbs free energy equation, derived in 1876 by the
earth-bound energy levels, of 300 k, these fundamentals organize themselves famed theoretical physicist and chemical engineer Willard Gibbs. The Gibbs
into atoms and molecules. This is the realm of physical chemistry. Over the last free energy equation essentially measures the level of spontaneity for any
200,000 years, these atoms and molecules have coalesced, evolved, and potential chemical reaction or future molecular relationship at STP. That is, it
enhanced, over time to form the self-defined psychological structures known determines if a reaction is going to work or not, i.e. be energetically favorable.
through biological classification as Homo sapiens. This is the domain of According to Gibbs, from the opening sentence of his famed 1876 paper "the
evolutionary psychology. In the last 300 years, these structures have, of their comprehension of the laws which govern any material system (of which all
own accord, come to discern their internal and external atomic and molecular systems are) is greatly facilitated by considering the energy and entropy of the
structure, as modified along, through, and in evolutionary time scales, via heat system in the various states of which it is capable." This fundamental sentence
analysis on the dynamics of engines. This is the school of thermodynamics. constitutes the starting point for any analysis of human life. In short, according
to Gibbs, for any system one only needs to determine the energy and entropy
quantifiers effecting the state of the system, from this the “criteria of
Together, these diverse yet unified sciences constitute the study of equilibrium and stability”, and hence the conditions for spontaneous change, i.e.
fundamental interactions and their effect on the developmental, organizational, reaction, change, or evolution.
and interoperational kinetically designed patterns and directions of spontaneous EQUILIBRIUM
fundamental particle work throughout the universe in its vast and seemingly
never-ending expanse. A balance of two entities: the heat energy supplied to and the work
“Direct conversion of chemical free energy into mechanical work without such energy performed by a substance
intermediates as electricity or heated gases is unique to life.”
With respect to intimate relationship (reaction) life, to elaborate on the
– James Bailey & David Ollis
concepts of equilibrium and spontaneity, it is well known that the process of pair-
Biochemical Engineering Fundamentals
bonding or human bonding in general and the characteristic love or heat energy
dynamics resulting from such bond formations mediates thru the action of
We first study this system; and then ask:
conjoined parallel, evolving, substrate-attached, human chemical reactions. The
1. which entity will be perceived as being physically the ‘hottest’?
change in the Gibbs free energy determines the "spontaneity" of these
2. which entity will be perceived as being neurologically the ‘hottest’?
reactions, i.e. if they will work or not. In other words, for example, in theory,
“…whose name not only in America but in the whole world will ever be reckoned
rather than haphazardly and inefficiently stumbling through the dating market
among the most renowned theoretical physicists of all times…”
"testing the water" (i.e. hot, ambient, or cold) one can instead constructively use
– Max Planck, 1918 Nobel prize physics
the Gibbs free energy equation to pre-calculate or see into the future whether
Suppose you’re married with two kids: Bc1 and Bc2; when, in certain
or not any particular bond will hold, be it a relationship bond, occupational bond,
circumstances, does it become in everyone’s best interest to get a ‘divorce’ – i.e.
or friendship bond, etc., as determined by how far such bonds are from .
to de-bond:
Hydrogen: H
In the human case, as we are definitively carbon-centric molecular
Oxygen: O
structures, it is a combination of both neurological and physical "structure" that
Nitrogen: N
determines reactivity. Organic chemistry in human life is, therefore, a study of
Carbon: C
the relationship between the structures of molecules and their reactions. creationist argument is based on their interpretation of the relationship
Moreover, in agreement with intuition, statistically it is known that 66% of between probability and a thermodynamic property called "entropy."
people agree that love, being the central process in human life, is a chemical
reaction equilibrium (i.e. dead relationship level) .

You are a big chemical reaction. Everything you say, all that you do, all By way of background, and in order to clarify the creationist position,
that you see, decide or remember, think or feel is nothing but the manifestation let me quote from the creationist literature:
of the chemical reaction that is you.”

– Jim Eadon
The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth, by Henry Morris:
With an understanding of this relationship, we are able to make
predictions about molecules and reactions that are new to us. Subsequently, as
humans are definitively 26-element biomolecules that react over substrate [see:
(p. 14) All processes manifest a tendency toward decay and
Molecular Evolution Table], i.e. "human molecules", a term coined by French
disintegration, with a net increase in what is called the entropy, or state of
philosopher Hippolyte Taine in 1869, it is a matter of logical reasoning that
randomness or disorder, of the system. This is called the Second Law of
quantitative formulations and predictions on "potential" human interactions
(reactions) will have significant, time saving, and quality improving meaning [14].
For comparison, the de-bond rate for first marriages in the US is 43% at 15-
years [15]. Scientifically, from the get-go, marriages, i.e. unions (reactions),
that end quickly in divorce are less thermodynamically stable than as compared (p. 19) There is a universal tendency for all systems to go from order
to more energetically-favored marriages (reactions) that continue to ignite for to disorder, as stated in the Second Law, and this tendency can only be arrested
50-years or more.** and reversed under very special circumstances. We have already seen, in Chapter
I, that disorder can never produce order through any kind of random process.
There must be present some form of code or program, to direct the ordering
process, and this code must contain at least as much "information" as is needed
One of the first to follow this line of reasoning was English physicist
to provide this direction.
C.G. Darwin, the grandson of English naturalist Charles Darwin, who in his 1952
book The Next Million Years argued for the future development of a type of Furthermore, there must be present some kind of mechanism for
human statistical thermodynamics, in which statistical mechanics could be used converting the environmental energy into the energy required to produce the
to predict the future course of evolution reactions between human molecules in higher organization of the system involved. ...
the next million years to come.
Thus, any system that experiences even a temporary growth in order and complexity must not only be "open" to the sun's energy but must also contain
Evolution.html a "program" to direct the growth and a "mechanism" to energize the growth.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics,

Evolution, and Probability Scientific Creationism, edited by Henry Morris:

reationists believe that the second law of thermodynamics does not

permit order to arise from disorder, and therefore the macro evolution of
complex living things from single-celled ancestors could not have occurred. The (p.25) The Second Law (Law of Energy Decay) states that every
system left to its own devices always tends to move from order to disorder, its
energy tending to be transformed into lower levels of availability, finally When we say that a change is irreversible (in the thermodynamics
reaching the state of complete randomness and unavailability for further work. sense) it means only that the change will not spontaneously reverse itself without
some change in the surrounding conditions. It does not mean that it cannot be
reversed by any means at all!

Of course, the creationist application of the second law of

thermodynamics to the development of living things is inconsistent with any
model of origins. Creationists get around this problem by invoking the
It is important to remember that a change that has a high degree of
probability under one set of circumstances may have a very low degree of
probability under a different set of circumstances. To illustrate: If the
The Genesis Flood, by Whitcomb and Morris: temperature drops below freezing, the probability of water becoming ice is very
high. The change from water to ice is thermodynamically irreversible. If the
surrounding temperature should happen to rise above the freezing point, the
probability of water becoming ice, or remaining as ice, is zero. Under these
(p. 223) But during the period of Creation, God was introducing order
conditions the reverse change of ice to liquid water is also thermodynamically
and organization into the universe in a very high degree, even to life itself! It is
thus quite plain that the processes used by God in creation were utterly
different from the processes which now operate in the universe!

Failure to understand that in thermodynamics probabilities are not

fixed entities has led to a misinterpretation that is responsible for the wide-
As will be shown later on, it is only the over-all entropy of a complete, or
spread and totally false belief that the second law of thermodynamics does not
closed system that must increase when spontaneous change occurs. In the case
permit order to spontaneously arise from disorder. In fact, there are many
of spontaneously interacting sub-systems of a closed system, some may gain
examples in nature where order does arise spontaneously from disorder:
entropy, while others may lose entropy. For example, it is a fundamental axiom of
Snowflakes with their six-sided crystalline symmetry are formed spontaneously
thermodynamics that when heat flows from subsystem A to subsystem B, the
from randomly moving water vapor molecules. Salts with precise planes of
entropy of A decreases and the entropy of B increases. The statement that an
crystalline symmetry form spontaneously when water evaporates from a solution.
increase in order can only occur as the result of a directional mechanism,
Seeds sprout into flowering plants and eggs develop into chicks.
program, or code is misleading. Any process that can be demonstrated to take
place with an increase in order/decrease in entropy is arbitrarily deemed to be
the consequence of an undefined "directional mechanism."
Thermodynamics is an exact science that is based on a limited number
of specific mathematical concepts. It is not explainable in terms of qualitative
metaphors. In order to understand the relationship between probability and the
Probability, as used in thermodynamics, means the probability that some
second law, the reader must be familiar with the relationship between
specific change will occur. Probability is related to the thermodynamic concept
probability and entropy. Entropy is a mathematically defined entity which is the
of irreversibility. An irreversible physical or chemical change is a change that
fundamental basis of the second law of thermodynamics and all of its engineering
will not spontaneously reverse itself without some change in the surrounding
and physical chemistry ramifications.
conditions. Irreversible changes have a high degree of probability. The
probability of an irreversible change spontaneously reversing itself without
outside interference is zero.
In the following sections we will try to explain the true relation between In statistical thermodynamics and information theory, entropy is
entropy and probability and show why this relationship does not preclude the defined by a different equation, namely S = k·ln(W). Here S is the entropy of the
possibility of order spontaneously arising from disorder. system, k is a constant, and W is the number of microstates available to the
system. The concept of microstates available to a system can be defined in
various ways in information theory, but if we want to apply the Second Law of
Thermodynamics, then we must define it in such a way as to make this definition
In describing the laws of thermodynamics we often refer to "systems."
of entropy equivalent to the definition in classical thermodynamics, provided
A system is a specific entity or object or region in space to be evaluated in
that the right constant k is used. This is exactly what is done in statistical
terms of its thermodynamic properties and possible changes. It could be an ice
thermodynamics, where k is known as the Boltzmann constant.
cube, a toy balloon, a steam turbine, or even the entire earth itself.

This second definition of entropy is the one that more clearly
Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
demonstrates why entropy is a measure of the "disorder" of a system. If a
system is highly organized into a rigid, crystalline structure, then the entropy is
low because the molecular arrangement is relatively fixed, meaning there are not
I am amazed at how many Christians claim that the theory of evolution very many degrees of freedom, or microstates, that the system can be in. If a
violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This can be clearly shown to be system is not so well-ordered, then there are many degrees of freedom on the
false. There may well be some good, valid arguments against evolution, but molecular level, and the entropy is high.
claiming that it violates the Second Law is not one of them. If we are so careless
in our thinking about this subject, are we not in danger of being equally careless
in our thinking about more important issues?
Note that the concept of "disorder" is not necessarily the opposite of
"complex design," as often assumed. For example, the rigid structure with low
entropy may actually be a very simple, repetitive design, whereas the other
The first thing we need to understand about the Second Law of system with high entropy may have a far more complex design.
Thermodynamics is that it is a very well-defined scientific statement, not a
general philosophical idea. Things like the degradation of morals in society and
the crumbling of civil empires are often compared to the Second Law, but no one
Since the universe is taken to be a closed system, the Second Law
who is knowledgeable and honest about the subject would call them true
requires that the total entropy of the universe can never decrease, no matter
examples of the Second Law at work.
what changes are taking place in the universe. For example, when heat flows
naturally from a hot object to a cold object, the entropy of the two objects
taken together always increases. From a classical thermodynamics viewpoint, this
The only scientifically valid statements of the Second Law of is because the T of the dQ/T expression is greater for the hot object than for
Thermodynamics are those that can be proven to be equivalent to the idea that the cold object, making the entropy lost by the hot object less than the entropy
the thermodynamic entropy of a closed system cannot decrease. In classical gained by the cold object. From the equivalent statistical thermodynamics
thermodynamics, entropy is a quantity which is defined to be zero for a pure viewpoint, it is because the number of microstates available to the combined
crystalline substance at absolute zero temperature, and is otherwise defined by system of the two resulting warm objects is greater than the number of
the calculus equation dS = dQ/T, where dS is the change in entropy of the microstates that were available to the combined system when one object was
system, dQ is the change in heat of the system, and T is the temperature of the cold and the other was hot. The number of microstates available to the combined
system. system is the product of the numbers of microstates available to each part,
which means the entropy of the combined system is the sum of the entropies of
each part, because of the logarithm in k·ln(W). Thus the entropy lost by the hot
object is again seen to be less than the entropy gained by the cold object, and entropy a single 100-pound load of organic material. The entropy of a population
we can say that the composite system (as well as the entire universe) has become of fifty 100-pound monkeys is fifty times the entropy of a single 100-pound
more "disordered" after the change. monkey. And the entropy of a population of fifty 100-pound humans is fifty times
the entropy of a single 100-pound human.

Now let's look at the application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics

to the theory of evolution. The traditional creationist argument is that the Now let's assume (for the sake of argument) that the entropy of a
evolution of lower life-forms to higher life-forms is not possible because it monkey is less than the entropy of a 100-pound load of organic material, and the
involves an increase in complexity, which they say amounts to a decrease in entropy of a human is least of all. For this example, we'll arbitrarily assign an
entropy. This argument is fundamentally flawed in two different ways. entropy of 1 unit to each human, 2 to each monkey, and 3 to each load of organic
material. So, for the collections of 50 of each item we have an overall entropy of
1×50 + 2×50 + 3×50, which is 300.

First, we have no evidence that the complex life-form is actually less

entropic than the simple life-form. Entropy is a measure of statistical disorder,
not simplicity vs. complexity of design. There is no reason that I am aware of to Now what happens when a new human is born and grows up? The
believe that a man is less "disordered," on a molecular level, than an equivalently- population of humans grows from 50 to 51, but where does the matter (which
sized chimpanzee, for example. That might be the case, but if so, it has nothing must be conserved) for the new human come from? It has to come from the
to do with the complexity of our design. Consider the fact that, all else being surrounding environment. We can model this by saying that the collection of
equal (most notably mass and temperature), crystalline solids have lower entropy organic material decreases from 50 loads to 49. So if we again add up the overall
than either men or chimpanzees, and yet clearly their design is much more simple entropy (of the items we're discussing, not of the whole universe) we find it
and repetitive, not more complex. decreases by 2 to 298.

Second, even if higher life-forms do have lower entropy than lower life- But here is the key concept. This change in entropy is completely
forms, the Second Law does not say that they therefore can't evolve. The independent of whether the new human was born to human parents or to monkey
burning up of the sun, with its corresponding energy transfer to the earth, along parents. It does not depend on whether or not there was already an initial
with other processes such as the geothermal activities within the earth itself, presence of humans. We can start with zero humans and fifty monkeys, and
increase the entropy of the universe at a far higher rate than evolution could postulate a sudden and bizarre evolution by assuming a human born to a pair of
possibly decrease it. There are many processes on earth that result in a local monkeys, and the entropy decrease is still 2, exactly the same amount of
entropy decrease, but this is permissible by the Second Law, since they are decrease as when the human baby is born to human parents.
receiving energy from the sun. The entropy of the universe as a whole is still

Obviously, the birth of a human baby to human parents happens all the
time and thus cannot be a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Beyond these two fundamental flaws in the argument, there is a reason Therefore, it would not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics if the human
that we can be absolutely sure that evolution does not violate the Second Law. baby were born to monkey parents either. The same argument can be made for
To see this, we must understand that entropy is an example of what is known as any evolutionary step, no matter how large or small.
an "extensive property." That means the entropy of an entire system is just the
addition of the entropy of all of its parts. So, for example, the entropy of a
collection of fifty identical 100-pound loads of organic material is fifty times the
So the bottom line is, the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not College of Engineering
argue against the theory of evolution. Evolution doesn't violate the Second Law
of Thermodynamics any more than it violates Newton's Law of Gravity. That Iowa State University; 1997
doesn't necessarily mean evolution is true, but we shouldn't make a false claim
that it violates the laws of physics, unless we want to be intellectually dishonest.
Numerous authors already in print have done an excellent job of
exposing the more serious mistakes and downright whoppers that the so-called
Thermodynamics, Creationism, and Evolution “scientific” creationists have proudly authored. I reference here only six of the
many critics,2456789the ones I’ve read, while making special note of
John W. Patterson Cramer.6His blistering critique, published by the American Scientific Affiliation
in 1978, was the most stinging of all at the time – not only because of his clear
“Scientific” creationists destroy their own credibility and that of their elucidation of the second-law misrepresentations being perpetrated back then,
beliefs by the way they present themselves and their ideas in public. One of but also because Cramer (like Robbins cited above 1) is a devout believer in the
the more scornful exposes of their deceitful tactics, published under the title Genesis account of creation.
“The Hoax of Scientific Creationism,”1was authored by Dr. John W. Robbins, a
devout biblical creationist whose doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University
is in philosophy and political theory. Robbins’ article describes the deceptive
tactics of the scientific creationists in considerable detail and goes on to explain I will not rehash the earlier criticisms, preferring instead to develop
how hostile were their misrepresentations of Christianity in their oral arguments somewhat different lines of attack. For example, previous critics of creation
before the Supreme Court in 1987. Christians who find my characterizations of “science,” (I among them,24) have described any number of remarkable
scientific creationism a bit harsh will do well to read and reflect on Robbins’ mechanical devices that seem to defy the second law of thermodynamics – so
account. “backwards” do they seem to operate. Among the more interesting examples is
the hydraulic ram, reliable versions of which have been in operation since the
late 18th century.24 In response, creationists simply note that all such devices
were ultimately designed and built by an intelligent human, whereupon they
“Scientific” creationists also have destroyed their own credibility in develop the false analogy that “intelligent design” also pervades nature (which it
every branch of science about which they have written by the tactics they does not) and assert that it, too, must have been designed and created. It is
employ in writing. This is especially true in thermodynamics, of which there are best to anticipate this bogus explanation for apparent design by explaining why
many distinct versions, depending on the application involved.2This comes about science is totally justified in rejecting intelligent design because it is rooted in
because creationists view the laws of science not as do scientists on a quest, but supernaturalism. Accordingly, I have dedicated space “up front” on why all
as evangelists on a mission. They use whatever knowledge they may have not to supernaturalism is strictly forbidden in modern science. This means that such
further scientific understanding, but to forge apologetic defenses of the biblical notions as intelligent design, miracles, creators, and such – however cleverly
truths they believe in. Here’s an example3from one of my former bosses: disguised – amount to counterfeiture in science.

[diagram of hydraulic ram]

In teaching on-campus and at church, I have found that an The hydraulic ram:
understanding of physical laws, particularly the First and Second Laws of
Thermodynamics, is essential to the defense of biblical truths. The Second Law
has been particularly helpful in developing an apologetic against abiogenesis...

Dr. David R. Boylan, Dean

suitable calculations. Finally, I have outlined a thermodynamics-based approach
I’d consider if asked to examine the relation between evolution and the second
law. This approach strongly suggests that living organisms generate so much
entropy, just staying alive, that life should never lower entropy anywhere, no
matter what the rate or path of evolution.

Creation “Research,” Creation “Science"

Creationists love grand-sounding names with a ring of authority. So

much so, that they named their two most prominent ministries, the Institute for
Creation Research and the Creation Research Society, or ICR and CRS for short.
But the members are not researchers so much as lay evangelists. They develop
reams of counterfeit rhetoric, apologetics and polemics – CRAP for short. The
“research” smacks of the “concordance approach” ministers use to prepare their
sermons, which goes something like this. First, decide what is to be supported
and what denied. (If in doubt, consult The King James.) Next, scour the
publications and public utterances of scientists and compile a well-indexed
database from these materials. The index should be of the key-word variety,
much like biblical concordances, so that you can quote a snippet here, a passage
there, etc., to defend everything you decided on beforehand. Defenses prepared
in this way are called apologetics.

If you are defending the Bible, as creationists are, you’ll need a

strategy to deal with the reams of things that flatly contradict your
water forces itself uphill by being coupled to its own downhill flow -
presuppositions. For this you prepare a litany of ad hominem attacks to
most of which is lost.
intimidate all questioners, friend and foe alike, in hopes of diverting attention
away from the embarrassing stuff. Ad hominem attacks prepared in this way are
called polemics. Should embarrassing stuff ever come up, just fly off the handle
Another area short-changed by previous authors, is that of classical with a few of your polemics.
thermodynamics, particularly its technical aspects, and how it differs from the
statistical and informational theories of thermodynamics that creationists
exploit almost exclusively. Though risky for a popular article, a brief account of
For the most part, creation “research” is library work – the kind needed
the classical theory of thermodynamics is given below, along with a some of the
to prepare defenses of the creationists’ presuppositions. Creation “science,” is
mathematical methods on which it is based. The purpose is to show how deviously
the organized body of CRAP that creationists have amassed. Because of its
creationists have misrepresented thermodynamics and, more importantly, what
biblical basis,1011121314creation “science” is so deeply rooted in supernaturalism
would really be necessary to prove that the second law renders biological
that modern science won’t give it a hearing – which infuriates the creation
evolution impossible. Fact is, thermodynamics does not rule evolution impossible.
scientists and their grassroots supporters. This important issue is worth a
Creationists have only claimed it does, but have never demonstrated it with
closer look for two reasons. First, to see how the scientific denial of
supernaturalism is justified and, second, to see how creationists tie
supernaturalism into science and the laws of thermodynamics. The Status of Supernaturalism in Modern Science

The Status of Supernaturalism in Creation Science. Closed- minded as it may seem, modern science simply refuses to
consider supernaturalism in any form. I like to put it this way:

What disqualifies creationism from modern science is its direct

dependence on things supernatural. This makes it religion, not science. Supernaturally-based ideas, such as Design in nature, miracles and
Depending on the audience, creationists will either soft-pedal the supernatural – such, are never to be seriously considered in modern science not even when
as when arguing to get creationism into public school science curricula – or they science itself is in disarray because it has no explanations to offer.
may flaunt it – as when addressing throngs of bible-believing supporters. Here
are some of the religious ideas creation “scientists” and their supporters have
advocated in the past:
This seems unfair, but is not. It is as completely justified, for example,
as is the policy of rejecting anything and everything based on the idea of
perpetual motion, this being the idea that energy-from-nothing is possible. Here,
1. Their supernatural creator idea, which is firmly rooted in the Book too, pre-ordained rejection is justified, even before the plans are drawn!
of Genesis.10

2. Their miracle mechanism, also described in Genesis, which they

Here are two of the many lines of reasoning scientists use to justify
think is the only way to explain the origins of life and of everything else in the
such harsh rejection policies toward supernatural explanations:

3. Intelligent design, which they say pervades nature. By identifying

design as the handiwork of God they use the idea in two ways. (A) Everything in
1. Supernatural explanations are worse than none at all, because they
nature can be explained as the handiwork of God. (B) They use the same
do the opposite of what explanations should do. Explanations should be
handiwork as evidence that an intelligent designer really exists. [Scientists
considered only if they have the potential for replacing confusion and
find(A) and (B) both circular and vacuous.]
misunderstanding with clear insights and improved understanding. (As when well-
understood, natural mechanisms are shown to explain what once seemed a
4. They claim the law of the conservation of engergy – the first law of
bewildering array of observed phenomena.) But using supernatural agents or
thermodynamics – is evidence that the creation, chronicled in Genesis, was
miracles in an explanation only adds more mystery and bewilderment than was
absolutely complete; i.e., nothing new has appeared since creation week. (Ask
present to begin with. The supernatural, by definition, is always more
about the subsequent appearance of things like evil or the ongoing creation of
mysterious, more unknowable and more bewildering than anything that can be
entropy via the second law, and you'll witness a very fine polemic.)
found or observed in nature.
5. The seduction of Adam and Eve by Lucifer (a supernatural Angel of
2. The track record registered by supernaturalism is even more
Light), we are told, is what unleashed the two-fold, universal curse of death and
pathetic than that of perpetual motion. Every scheme or device based on the
increasing entropy. So creation science credits a second supernatural agent for
idea of perpetual motion has completely failed to vindicate the claims of its
the belated origin of the second law of thermodynamics. (Presumably, entropy
advocates. So it is with all past theories and explanations based on the
did not exist prior to the mythical Fall of Adam.)
supernatural. Indeed, all have since been supplanted by vastly superior
alternatives based exclusively on atheistic mechanisms, atheistic principles A theory is more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises,
and/or atheistic explanations. This is precisely how science has advanced. the more different are the kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its
Better yet, no atheistic explanation, however weak, has ever been supplanted by range of applicability. Therefore the deep impression which classical
a supernaturally-based alternative, which makes the track record completely thermodynamics made on me. It is the only physical theory of universal content
one-sided. The parallels here are important. First, so valuable has been the which I am convinced, that within the framework of applicability of its basic
denial of perpetual motion, that it has since been elevated to the status of a concepts will never be overthrown.
scientific law, namely, the first law of classical thermodynamics. Second, so
valuable has been the denial of supernaturalism that it now defines what science Albert Einstein
is: Modern science is simply the search for purely naturalistic descriptions
(1879-1955) 15
and explanations for everything in nature.
Classical Thermodynamics: A Breed Apart

Is Design Evidence Credible?

The most powerful branch of physical theory, and the most certain by
far, is classical thermodynamics. Not surprisingly it is thoroughly atheistic, as
A brief digression here on the disingenuousness of creationists as are all viable theories of modern science. What is surprising, is the extent to
regards the credibility of their design evidence is in order. Creationists pretend which classical thermodynamics is “a-structural” as well as a-theistic. Classical
that nature reeks of intelligent design, but they don’t really believe that this thermodynamics all but ignores whatever substance or substances may be under
constitutes genuine scientific evidence for a designer. As proof, you need only consideration. It focuses instead on work and heat exchanges at the boundary of
consider this: if design in nature were actually supported by valid evidence, it the substances in question. This total disregard for internal structural details is
could be used as evidence of a supremely advanced (but not supernatural) what makes classical thermodynamics so much more general and powerful than all
extraterrestrial-alien designer. That is, if the so-called evidences for intelligent its lesser siblings. Here in barest outline is a summary of classical
design were cast as the handiwork – not of God – but of an alien designer, at thermodynamics.
least the idea could not be dismissed forthwith because of supernaturalism.
Certainly, aliens could exist out there and their sciences and technologies,
though not super-natural, could seem so, especially if they had evolved billions of
The most basic objects in classical thermodynamics are the system, its
years before us. So why don’t creationists just drop their fixation on the
surroundings and the boundary between the two. The system is simply that
supernatural and try an “alien-designer model” instead of their “Inelligent-
portion of the universe selected for consideration. Everything else belongs to
Designer model?” Because they want acceptance for their religious agenda, not
the surroundings. The two together can be thought of as making up the entire
for their so-called evidence. When their evidence from design is used to support
universe, which cannot exchange any work or heat across its boundary (because
the alien/designer idea, even creationists decry the argument as being bogus.
there’s nothing out there). A thermodynamic system and its surroundings are
This is a really nasty mess for creationists and more should be made of it,
separated by an imaginary envelope called the system boundary. It is only
especially in debates.
through this boundary that heat and work effects may be communicated to the

The bottom line: Even when observed phenomena defy all attempts at
scientific explanation, science still cannot budge on supernaturalism.
As mentioned above, classical thermodynamics cares not one wit about
the fine structure of what’s inside or outside the system. All that matters is
how much heat and work are exchanged and how it is done. The system may be a
solid, liquid or gas, made of atoms, or molecules, or even pure light – the same
calculation methods of classical thermodynamics apply with equal rigor. Not so sequence of individual additions and removals may be. The same is true of energy
for the statistical or information theories of thermodynamics, for they focus on inventories.
the detailed atomic configurations of the substances involved, not on things like
heat and work. Hence non-thermodynamic hypotheses must be introduced so
that things such as “complexity,” can be defined well enough for calculations to
The second Law of Classical Thermodynamics
be made. Unfortunately, even now there is no real consensus among the leading
experts as to the definition of “complexity.”16Without a clear, mathematical
Alas, entropy and the second law are anything but intuitively clear.
definition of complexity available, none of the entropy calculations needed by
Entropy as defined by the second law is as difficult to grasp as any concept in
creationists can be made. Of course, this has not deterred them from conjuring
physics. I cannot do justice to the topic here, but I can convey a feel for how
up an abundance of “whopper-type” claims that evolution contravenes the second
abstruse the idea of entropy is and how counterfeit are the creationists
law of thermodynamics and therefore could never have occurred. So few
thermodynamic arguments against evolution. As regards the abstruseness, kindly
individuals know anything at all about thermodynamics, that creationists have
read the passage quoted below on entropy and the second law of classical
little difficulty exploiting these completely bogus second-law arguments in
thermodynamics. It was taken from a college chemistry book17used years ago as
public. To see what a non-bogus thermodynamic analysis would entail, we must
a text for undergraduate engineering and chemistry students at Iowa State
consider the laws of classical thermodynamics in a bit more detail.
University. Note that it makes no reference to anything like complexity or
randomness, etc., of the system, only to the tiny amounts of heat, dq, exchanged
between the system and its surroundings. Note also the counter-intuitive logic
First Law of Classical Thermodynamics one has to go through to correctly evaluate the entropy changes associated with
irreversible processes.
Very briefly, the first law defines the energy inventory of a system so
that changes in the energy can be calculated in a quantitative fashion.
Specifically, if a system, in going from state 1 to state 2, absorbs a quantity of
heat, q, from the surroundings, while doing an amount of work, w, on the
surroundings, then the energy difference between the two states is simply given

Just as the first law of thermodynamics is a general statement

E2 - E1 = q - w.
about the behavior of the state function, energy, the second law tells us the
general behavior of another state function called entropy. The entropy change of
a system for any change in state is defined by
That’s it. There is no fretting about how much of the energy went into
[Entropy Equasion] (8-27)
which particles, or photons, or whatever, because no such entities are explicitly
assumed to exist in classical thermodynamics. (Adding such hypotheses takes
one out of the realm of classical thermodynamics and into that of statistical or
informational thermodynamics, as mentioned above.) The first law, being a In words, Eq. (8-27) says: take the system from state 1 to state 2
conservation principle, is easily taught to students, because analogous by a reversible path. To compute the entropy change of the system, divide each
conservation principles are familiar from everyday experience. For example, if infinitesimal amount of heat by the temperature T at which it is absorbed by the
to a beaker containing W1 kilograms of water, you add a total of q Kg of water system, and add all these quantities.
while removing a total of w Kg, the final amount of water, W2, will always be W1
plus q – w. Moreover, this will always be true, no matter how complicated the
Entropy changes must always be computed by taking the system the universe – then the system can not pass spontaneously from state 1 to state
from the initial state to the final state by means of a reversible path. However, 2 , because that would violate the law of increasing entropy. In this case the
entropy is a state function, and this DS is independent of the path. Although change in question would be ruled impossible because it would violate the second
these two statements sound contradictory, they are not, since law. Creationists proclaim the completely faulty notion, based on their completely
counterfeit arguments that every macroevolutionary change falls in this latter
[another equasion] category, i.e., that macroevolution implies an overall decrease in the entropy
inventory of the universe (which is totally untrue) and that macroevolution can
The formal statement of the second law of thermodynamics is:
therefore be ruled impossible by the second law (which it definitely can not.)
They have never provided a definitive calculation to support their claims, only
bogus qualitative arguments based on such ill-defined notions as configurational
The entropy S is a function of state. In a reversible process, the complexity and such.
entropy of the universe is constant. In an irreversible process, the entropy of
the universe increases.
To do the thermodynamics correctly is not at all easy, but none of the
creationists’ supporters understands it anyway, which is all the creationist
As we have remarked, the thermodynamic laws are not derived purveyors of CRAP need to know. Why should they do correct analysis when it
mathematically, but are general expressions of experimental findings. To “prove” would only refute their second-law position anyway? Why not resort instead to a
the first law of thermodynamics, that energy is a state function, we showed that “whopper-filled” version that portends to rule out the possibility of evolution?
to deny its validity would be to say that creation of energy is possible, and all our And were someone to expose the hoax, who among the believers would be able to
experience tells us this is not true. To “prove” the second law of understand it anyway? None, actually, which again is why thermodynamics has
thermodynamics, we will demonstrate that to deny it implies that gases can become the apologetic tool of choice for so many creationists.
spontaneously compress themselves, and that heat can flow spontaneously from
cold to hot regions.
If creationists really wanted to prove that second law rules out
evolution, there is one way and one way only to do it. Here are the steps:
The term “path” (or “process,” the terms are used interchangeably) is
any series of states leading from an initial state, 1, to a final state, 2. In general,
infinitely many paths will connect the two end states. Paths comprised solely of
1. Properly define the initial state of the biosphere, or any part of it,
equilibrium states, are reversible, while all others are called irreversible paths.
as it existed at a time before the evolutionary changes in question took place.
The entropy difference so calculated applies to all possible paths, not just the
Let this be state 1.
reversible one, but the entropy calculation will be correct only if carried out
using a reversible path. (Understandably, this statement seems quite 2. Then define the final state of the same system as it would exist
contradictory to most students.) In addition to calculating the entropy change after the evolutionary changes took place. This would be state 2.
for the system, as outlined above, one must also calculate the entropy change of
the surroundings for the same change of state. (I’ve skipped that here.) In any 3. Carefully define a suitable, reversible path joining the initial and
case, the second law goes on to say which changes are possible and which not. If final states defined above.
the entropy changes of the system and the surroundings sum to greater than
zero, the system could proceed spontaneously from the initial to the final state, 4. Correctly evaluate DSsysas the integral of dqrev/T over the
without violating the second law. (Whether it does so or not is another matter, reversible path in step 3.
but at least it is not ruled out by the second law.) However if the entropy
5. Correctly evaluate DSsurr as the corresponding entropy change for
changes sum to less than zero – i.e., to an overall drop in the entropy inventory of
the surroundings.
6. Evaluate the sum, as DSsys + DSsurr in hopes it will come out less energy, and many more. Now for the last idea of this article, which may prove
than zero. the most interesting of all.

That’s all there is to it. Had the creationists truly proved that evolution Were I a physiologist, I might explore this line of argument with more
contravenes the second law, one or more such analyses would long ago have been verve. As it is, I shall content myself to merely rough out the basic ideas. In the
found in the creation science literature. But no such refutation is to be found past, opponents have noted, quite correctly, that local entropy decreases – such
anywhere in their books or tracts. Only the counterfeit “proofs” based on such as may be due to an evolving community of complex organisms – need not be
vacuous notions as “comparative complexity” and such are to be found, and these regarded as violations of the second law. As long as entropy increases elsewhere
are totally without foundation. Instead of wasting space here on any of their overwhelm any local decreases, the entropy of the universe overall would go up,
counterfeit “thermodynamic proofs,” I thought it better to outline a possible so that no violation of the second law need be considered. Rather than rehash
method, partly based on classical thermodynamics, that might be used to show those kinds of “closed system vs open systems” arguments yet again, I prefer to
that the evolution of living organisms, whatever direction it may take, might consider a more aggressive frontal attack on the creationists’ basic claim. Why
never violate the law of increasing entropy. take seriously their unproven, bald assertions that evolution to a more complex
form implies a local reduction in entropy? They have asserted it, to be sure, but
have never provided a quantitative calculation of any sort to support it, and I,
for one, see no reason to take any part of it seriously. In fact, I suspect that
The Local and Global Entropy Effects of Living Organisms
no living organism, whether alone or in an evolving community, is capable of
lowering any overall entropy inventory – local or otherwise – under any
circumstances. This may seem a bit bold, but the chain of reasoning is rather
According to creationists, the entropy of highly complex and organized simple at least in outline, if not in detail.
configurations must be lower than the entropy of less complex, less organized
ones. Clearly, if one cell is a highly complex, highly organized configuration in its
own right, then surely an assemblage of, say, several trillion or so such cells
In every living organism, even those at rest, every cell has countless
should exceed the complexity of its individual cells by a factor of trillions, or so.
thousands, perhaps millions or billions, of irreversible processes going on inside.
This being the case, the entropy inventory of the assemblage must therefore be
These are needed just to maintain a status quo. Some digestive processes would
far, far below that of any of the individuals that make up the assemblage.
be going on, as would some respiratory processes and so on. (This is where
knowledge of physiology would be handy, because I am not sure how many
processes might be going on at any time, how rapidly their rates, or how
That this is definitely not the case, follows from the well-known fact irreversible each of them would be.) But the point is this, every one of them
that entropy, like energy, is an extensive thermodynamic property, which means must be spontaneous, otherwise they could not proceed spontaneously without
that the entropy of n cells should be roughly n times the entropy of each violating the second law of classical thermodynamics. But if they are proceeding
individual cell. In the case of our example, the assemblage should have an spontaneously, as they surely must, then each of them must be churning out
entropy inventory that is several trillions of times larger than that of each entropy at a net positive rate, as the second law dictates. And the more
individual cell. In other words, the entropy inventory does not go down with size, irreversible and rapid the ongoing process, the greater is the net rate of
as the creationists’ complexity arguments would imply; rather it increases entropy production. Adding up over all the millions of such microscopic processes
roughly in proportion to the number of individuals contained in the assemblage! going on in each cell and then again over all the cells in the organism, we come to
There is no hint in the creationist literature that their thermodynamicists have a startling realization: every organism even at rest must be continually
addressed this seeming contradiction, which derives from the extensive nature generating incredible amounts of entropy inside its own cells and hence inside its
of such thermodynamic properties as energy, entropy, enthalpy, Gibbs free own body. Moreover this must be going in every living organism, every second of
every day of its life. Hence, the local environment – the one in which the
biosphere is itself embedded – must truly be “bubbling over,” so to speak, with
excess entropy being generated from within. And where is the local reduction in
entropy to overcome all this – the one that creationists insist can not be
adequately compensated for? The burden is on them to not only prove that their
claimed local decrease actually takes place, but also that its magnitude is
sufficient to overwhelm all that bubbling forth from inside all the organisms that
make up any local ecology. I’m convinced they can’t do it, for the simple reason
that it’s just nowhere to be found.

If every living organism continually churns out substantially more

entropy than it consumes – as in backward running internal processes, say – then
we are assured that the second law is conformed to by every organism every
second it is alive. This assures us that every living community must also be in
conformance, whether evolution by natural selection is going on or not. In other
words it doesn’t matter one bit how natural selection may be pruning the gene
pools at any given time. The internal processes required to sustain life from
minute to minute automatically guarantee that all life will, individually and
collectively, will conform to the second law, no matter what kinds of weird new
species may evolve from the old.