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This question raises some interesting issues and exposes some real challenges to evolutionists. Because evolutionists often speak "ex cathedra" on such subjects they do not have to defend their assertions, and thus end the discussion prematurely. Dr. Granville Sewell, a mathematician at University of Texas (UTEP) has recently addressed this issue in a thoughtful manner in a recent publication. There he sheds significant light on the enormity of the problem facing evolutionists who would wish the origin of complex living systems to happen naturalistically. He writes:

"In Appendix D of my new book The Numerical Solution of Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations, Second Edition [John Wiley & Sons, 2005], I take a closer look at the equations for entropy change, which apply not only to thermal entropy but also to the entropy associated with anything else that diffuses, and show that they do not simply say that order cannot increase in a closed system, they also say that in an open system, order cannot increase faster than it is imported through the boundary. According to these equations, the thermal order in an open system can decrease in two different ways -- it can be converted to disorder, or it can be exported through the boundary. It can increase in only one way: by importation through the boundary. Similarly, the increase in "carbon order" in an open system cannot be greater than the carbon order imported through the boundary, and the increase in "chromium order" cannot be greater than the chromium order imported through the boundary, and so on.

"The "compensation" argument was produced by people who generalized the model equation for closed systems, but forgot to generalize the equation for open systems. Both equations are only valid for our simple models, where it is assumed that only heat conduction or diffusion is going on; naturally in more complex situations, the laws of probability do not make such simple predictions. Nevertheless, in "Can ANYTHING Happen in an Open System?," [ The Mathematical Intelligencer 23, number 4, 8-10, 2001] I generalized the equation for open systems to the following tautology, which is valid in all situations: "If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable." The fact that order is disappearing in the next room does not make it any easier for computers to appear in our room -- unless this order is disappearing into our room, and then only if it is a type of order that makes the appearance of computers not extremely improbable, for example, computers. Importing thermal order will make the temperature distribution less random, and importing carbon order will make the carbon distribution less random, but neither makes the formation of computers more probable.

"What happens in a closed system depends on the initial conditions; what happens in an open system depends on the boundary conditions as well. As I wrote in "Can ANYTHING Happen in an Open System?", "order can increase in an open system, not because the laws of probability are suspended when the door is open, but simply because order may walk in through the door.... If we found evidence that DNA, auto parts, computer chips, and books entered through the Earth's atmosphere at some time in the past, then perhaps the appearance of humans, cars, computers, and encyclopedias on a previously barren planet could be explained without postulating a violation of the second law here (it would have been violated somewhere else!). But if all we see entering is radiation and meteorite fragments, it seems clear that what is entering through the boundary cannot explain the increase in order observed here." Evolution is a movie running backward, that is what makes it special."

For a more detailed explanation see his discussion in A Second Look at the Second Law.

Others have supported these logical contentions:

"The thermodynamicist immediately clarifies the latter question by pointing out that the Second Law classically refers to isolated systems which exchange neither energy nor matter with the environment; biological systems are open and exchange both energy and matter. ...This explanation, however, is not completely satisfying, because it still leaves the problem of how or why the ordering process has arisen (an apparent lowering of the entropy), and a number of scientists have wrestled with this issue. Bertalanffy called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unresolved problems in biology. I would go further and include the problem of meaning and value." Smith, Charles J., "Problems with Entropy in Biology," /Biosystems/, vol. 1 (1975), pp. 259-265.


Ó 2010 Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.