Response to Creationist 4

4. “Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove Evolution?”

No, it doesn’t. In brief summary, the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy (disorder) increases in a closed system, and since the planet earth, the system on which life evolved, is not closed – it has energy being put into it from an external source, the sun – it doesn’t apply.

Besides, the law refers to the average entropy of the system, which means that pockets of order can appear as long as greater disorder occurs elsewhere, like several space modules converging and docking to form a more complex object, but only by firing their rockets and spreading plumes of propellant exhaust all over the place.

Damn it, I’ve got side-tracked already, trying to argue logically against creationist bollocks. I’m meant to be concentrating on why they’re asking the questions, not on the actual answers.

So why does 4 think that the second law disproves evolution? Well, I’m willing to bet one thing, at least: it’s not because of his deep and knowledgeable understanding of the second law of thermodynamics. Someone (I can’t remember who) once suggested, “the next time you hear someone cite the second law of thermodynamics as an argument against evolution, ask them if they can state the other laws.”

It’s highly unlikely that 4 would even be able to state confidently how many laws of thermodynamics there are, let alone give the technical definitions of terms such as “entropy” and “thermodynamic equilibrium” which are fundamental to his favourite one, the second. It’s very probable indeed that 4 knows nothing at all about any of this, because “the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution” is an old and tiresome piece of creationist rhetoric, and 4 has heard it somewhere and is smugly repeating it because he thinks it sounds good and sciency, and so he’s scored a point against scientists on their home turf. Look at how smug he is!

If that’s 4’s motivation – he enjoys being smug and knowing something which proves you wrong – then maybe that’s the way to get to him. Maybe, it would be possible to persuade him that by honestly studying science and rejecting creationist dogma, he could end up amassing far more knowledge, and not just the possession of empty, sciency-sounding phrases he barely understands, but a real, deep understanding of actual science. Maybe he’d like that, because then he could feel even smugger toward all his old creationist friends than he’s ever managed to feel toward scientists.

But then again, maybe not, because that would involve a lot of hard work and study, definitely more than the few minutes’ worth of effort, which he clearly hasn’t been able to muster, which it takes to type his question into Google and read the answer.

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