Saturday, March 03, 2007

Entropy versus Evolution

Probably one of the most annoying laws of science is the fact that entropy tends to increase. I am reminded of this whenever my wireless mouse stops working. When that happens it means that the batteries powering my mouse have reached maximum entropy. Well maybe that's a bad example of how annoying entropy can be because if it wasn't for entropy the mouse wouldn't work at all.

But when I look into the mirror that's when entropy really annoys me. That's when I notice that I don't have as much hair as I used to and that it is turning gray. Basically I notice that I am growing old. Human aging and its associated diseases and conditions can be traced to a gradual increase in cell division errors in tissues throughout the body. This process begins slowly and increases gradually with advancing age. We can do things to slow the increase in cell division errors (or speed it up) but we can't stop it. If not by accident, we all eventually die due to the increasing entropy of our own DNA.

Now what I have just said is based on indisputable scientific fact which is readily observed (unfortunately) by every single one of us. But cell division errors not only affect us as individuals they also affect groups of individuals when these errors are of the type that can be transmitted to offspring. These errors are genetic disorders which vary in severity and there around 4,000 genetic disorders that are currently known. Most disorders are rare and may affect one person in every several thousands or millions. Others, like early onset lactose intolerance, are more prevalent.

Entropy predicts that over time inherited genetic disorders will become more prevelent within a species and will eventually cause extinction. This prediction is confirmed by the fossil record and is contrary to the belief that genetic mutations lead to superior genetic organization, that is, evolution.

Evolutionists argue that genetic mutatution plus natural selection has resulted in evolution. This leads us to the cosmological question: Is natural selection sufficient enough to overcome entropy?

Now since I am a software developer, mutation (development) and selection (testing) of complex systems is an everyday activity for me. So there are similarities between what I do for a living and the concept of evolution. This difference is that DNA is considerably more complex than software. Yet no one develops software by random mutation and testing alone. Instead of random mutation the software development process employs intelligent design. I don't believe that random mutation has any place in the software development process -- so why should I believe in evolution?


At 9:22 PM, January 03, 2008, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

In characteristically smarmy fashion Dr. Scott Page critiques this blog entry here and I respond (sometimes sarcastically).

At 4:58 PM, February 26, 2008, Blogger Douglas said...

As you mention in another post, the entropy S = k log W, where k is a constant and W is the number of microstates associated with a given energy. If the system is at a higher energy level, more microstates are accessible, so W is larger and so is S.

In your example for the wireless mouse, when the battery runs down, it holds less energy, so it's total entropy must be lower, as W is lower. So it is wrong to say that the battery "reaches maximum entropy."

The rest of the article seems to rest on this misunderstanding of entropy.

At 7:16 PM, February 27, 2008, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

Hi Douglas,

According to Google Books "a fully charged battery has low entropy which increases and energy is used".

See also Aging of the brain, entropy, and Alzheimer disease and The Genetics of Aging

At 4:50 PM, February 28, 2008, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

I just noticed that I misquoted google books. The quote is: a fully charged battery has low entropy which increases as energy is used.

At 4:53 PM, April 30, 2009, Blogger Skeptical Optimist said...

Never had a real physics class, huh?

Please take a moment from building strawmen to read this. (it's pretty funny)


At 7:54 PM, April 30, 2009, Blogger Intelligent Designer said...

Hi Ryan,

I had two years of Physics at the University of Washington. Also if you browse through the comments section of the pharyngula blog entry you referenced you will see my comments.

At 10:30 PM, February 28, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked at the science blog and noted he said "a long term local decrease in entropy". He did not specify what "long term" meant. The moment a baby is born it begins shedding cells that are no longer useful..... it may also be growing new ones, but again that darned increase in heat, and the continued shedding of waste cells...

At 4:58 PM, May 22, 2011, Blogger Rui Monteiro said...

When it comes to entropy, the model of Natural Selection exclusivity becomes to much cumbersome. You never see the Sexual Selection being put in equation, something that explains why entropy is hardly explained in life. If you are interested in the model that incorporates Natural and Sexual Selection in equation for a good explanation, see my blog here:

At 7:02 AM, June 28, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the episode of Wonders of the Universe where this fella, Prof. Cox,does a masterful job of explaining entropy for the layman. This led me to search for the precise title of your post. Seems to me the condition of life is the only force that defies entropy if only from the brief interlude of conception to maturity. Evolutionists would have us believe this life force originated by happenstance of unimaginable odds in opposition, entropy, and then continues to repeat itself in unimaginable succession at the nano-level in every life form that has existed on planet earth. So, the conclusion of this view would seem to indicate that the original life force was not only spontaneous but also repeatable now for how many millions of years? Why? By what mechanism does this occur at nano-levels which Darwin, smart as he was, was completely and utterly ignorant? Seems to me that the shortest distance between two points is the so much simpler and clear hypothesis. Namely, the life force which is so clearly and unequivocally direct in every nano-moment of a life form's existence, is a permanence of an otherworldly intelligence beyond any present imaginings of the only life form that can contemplate existence, us. Until some one can offer an explanation that even comes some where within reason of dealing with the gigantic holes in the great intellectual attempt of a 19th century observer, the default designed universe of life concept is where I'll stand. If you read Darwin, himself, you'll see he, in light of what he couldn't know in his time, would stand apart from his original position as well. i'm not stating that he'd leap to my position but he would certainly waste can his own.


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