The second law of thermodynamics says that everything tends toward
disorder, making evolutionary development impossible.
Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master
Books, pp. 38-46.
- The second law of thermodynamics says no such thing. It says that heat
will not spontaneously flow from a colder body to a warmer one or,
equivalently, that total entropy (a measure of useful energy) in a
closed system will not decrease. This does not prevent increasing
In short, order from disorder happens on earth all the time.
- the earth is not a closed system; sunlight (with low entropy) shines
on it and heat (with higher entropy) radiates off. This flow of
energy, and the change in entropy that accompanies it, can and will
power local decreases in entropy on earth.
- entropy is not the same as disorder. Sometimes the two correspond,
but sometimes order increases as entropy increases. (Aranda-Espinoza
et al. 1999; Kestenbaum 1998) Entropy can even be used to produce
order, such as in the sorting of molecules by size (Han and Craighead
- even in a closed system, pockets of lower entropy can form if they
are offset by increased entropy elsewhere in the system.
- The only processes necessary for evolution to occur are reproduction,
heritable variation, and selection. All of these are seen to happen
all the time, so, obviously, no physical laws are preventing them. In
fact, connections between evolution and entropy have been studied in
depth, and never to the detriment of evolution (Demetrius 2000).
Several scientists have proposed that evolution and the origin of
life is driven by entropy (McShea 1998). Some see the information
content of organisms subject to diversification according to the second
law (Brooks and Wiley 1988), so organisms diversify to fill empty
niches much as a gas expands to fill an empty container. Others
propose that highly ordered complex systems emerge and evolve to
dissipate energy (and increase overall entropy) more efficiently
(Schneider and Kay 1994).
- Creationists themselves admit that increasing order is possible. They
introduce fictional exceptions to the law
to account for it.
- Creationists themselves make claims that directly contradict their
claims about the second law of thermodynamics, such as
hydrological sorting of fossils during the
- Aranda-Espinoza, H., Y. Chen, N. Dan, T. C. Lubensky, P. Nelson,
L. Ramos and D. A. Weitz, 1999. Electrostatic repulsion of positively
charged vesicles and negatively charged objects. Science 285:
- Brooks, D. R. and E. O. Wiley, 1988. Evolution As Entropy,
University of Chicago Press.
- Kestenbaum, David, 1998. Gentle force of entropy bridges disciplines.
Science 279: 1849.
- Han, J. and H. G. Craighead, 2000. Separation of long DNA molecules in
a microfabricated entropic trap array. Science 288: 1026-1029.
- Demetrius, Lloyd, 2000. Theromodynamics and evolution. Journal of
Theoretical Biology 206(1): 1-16.
- McShea, Daniel W., 1998. Possible largest-scale trends in organismal
evolution: eight live hypotheses. Annual Review of Ecology and
Systematics 29: 293-318.
- Schneider, Eric D. and James J. Kay, 1994. Life as a manifestation of
the second law of thermodynamics. Mathematical and Computer
Modelling 19(6-8): 25-48.
Atkins, P. W. 1984. The Second Law. New York: Scientific American
Kauffman, Stuart A. 1993. The Origins of Order. New York:
Lambert, Frank L. 1999. The second law of thermodynamics.
See for Yourself:
You can see order come and go in nature in many different ways. A few
examples are snowflakes and other frost crystals, cloud formations, dust
devils, ripples in sand dunes, and eddies and whirlpools in streams. See
how many other examples you can find.
created 2001-2-18, modified 2004-6-26