Originally Posted by dr wu23
The idea that evolution and life moves toward complexity (as well as the 'watchmaker' theme) being against the idea of a random universe ruled by entropy is a center point in most ID and Creationist writings. I would be willing to bet it's in most books that support design but i haven't read one in a long time.
I honestly don't recall a specific link right now for someone who countered that argument except that I'm sure both Dawkins and Harris have done so in their books as well as many science writers but (not copping out here..) again I haven't read anything in this area for a few years. I tend to go in hot streaks on topics then move on. But I am interested myself so I'll take a few days to see if I can find a direct comment on that from a known science writer. Being such a central issue it must be addressed on a regular basis .
Actually, I have found arguments for decreased entropy by Erwin Shrodinger et al attempting to show that DNA accomplishes this via the extraction of nutrients from the environment. I will quote the argument from wikipedia below.
However, my argument is different; and furthermore I believe Shrodinger's argument flawed. He only considered a portion of the total process (that of using nutrients from the environment to sustain complex, ordered life). What he seems to have forgotten is that life does more than simply live. IT FUNCTIONS! And when life functions, it tends to create disorder of the environment to an extent greater than it creates order. Hence entropy rise
for the total system over time.
is that the process of evolution modifies life designs in a way that in time improves the overall net effect of life integrating with its environment,
thus reducing the amount of disorder life creates in its environment (lowering entropy increase). Thus life improvements increase harmony between life and its environment. Obviously this is contrary to how humans interact with their environment and why they need to evolve more so that they don't end up destroying the whole planet. Perhaps ETs have an operation in the works that will make this occur faster than it would otherwise given the slowness of natural processes and the rapidity of humans damaging the environment.
Quoted below is what the "great minds" have concluded about the entropy of life. Please take the time to understand how what I am saying is different from what most are saying; and how they are failing to consider the universe of functioning actions of life which increase entropy net. Then note how the very last paragraph seems to nearly imply my argument (almost! if only they had taken their thought one step further and considered the net result to the total system as life functions in and with its environment. then they would have concluded a NET DECREASE IN TOTAL SYSTEM ENTROPY RISE DUE TO EVOLUTION PROCESSES.
one must consider the complete cycle of interactions, not just those which nurish and sustain life. one must also consider the effect of the life on its environment, such as destruction and/or unbalancing of ecosystems, pollution of resources, etc. once the total system is considered, one sees that evolution processes work over time to reduce the destructive effect on environment while improving the survivability of life. even logic dictates that improvement is that which sustains both life and its environment). And when you view humans in this way, you see that humans are misfits in the planet's scheme of things. Apes are much better adapted at living in harmony with nature than is man. Humans raise entropy more than apes and are therefore an illogical product of evolution on this planet.
" Entropy and life
For nearly a century and a half, beginning with Clausius' 1863 memoir "On the Concentration of Rays of Heat and Light, and on the Limits of its Action", much writing and research has been devoted to the relationship between thermodynamic entropy and the evolution
. The argument that life feeds on negative entropy or negentropy
was asserted by physicist Erwin SchrÃ¶dinger
in a 1944 book What is Life?
. He posed, "How does the living organism avoid decay?" The obvious answer is: "By eating, drinking, breathing and (in the case of plants) assimilating." Recent writings have used the concept of Gibbs free energy
to elaborate on this issue.
While energy from nutrients is necessary to sustain an organism's order, there is also the SchrÃ¶dinger prescience: "An organism's astonishing gift of concentrating a stream of order on itself and thus escaping the decay into atomic chaos – of drinking orderliness from a suitable environment – seems to be connected with the presence of the aperiodic solids..." We now know that the 'aperiodic' crystal is DNA and that the irregular arrangement is a form of information. "The DNA in the cell nucleus contains the master copy of the software, in duplicate. This software seems to control by. "specifying an algorithm, or set of instructions, for creating and maintaining the entire organism containing the cell."
DNA and other macromolecules determine an organism's life cycle: birth, growth, maturity, decline, and death. Nutrition is necessary but not sufficient to account for growth in size as genetics is the governing factor. At some point, organisms normally decline and die even while remaining in environments that contain sufficient nutrients to sustain life. The controlling factor must be internal and not nutrients or sunlight acting as causal exogenous variables. Organisms inherit the ability to create unique and complex biological structures; it is unlikely for those capabilities to be reinvented or be taught each generation. Therefore DNA must be operative as the prime cause in this characteristic as well. Applying Boltzmann's perspective of the second law, the change of state from a more probable, less ordered and high entropy arrangement to one of less probability, more order, and lower entropy seen in biological ordering calls for a function like that known of DNA. DNA's apparent information processing function provides a resolution of the paradox posed by life and the entropy requirement of the second law.
In 1982, American biochemist Albert Lehninger
argued that the "order" produced within cells as they grow and divide is more than compensated for by the "disorder" they create in their surroundings in the course of growth and division. "Living organisms preserve their internal order by taking from their surroundings free energy
, in the form of nutrients or sunlight, and returning to their surroundings an equal amount of energy as heat
- Negentropy – a shorthand colloquial phrase for negative entropy.
- Ectropy – a measure of the tendency of a dynamical system to do useful work and grow more organized.
- Extropy – a metaphorical term defining the extent of a living or organizational system's intelligence, functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth.
- Ecological entropy – a measure of biodiversity in the study of biological ecology.
In a study titled "Natural selection for least action" published in the Proceedings of The Royal Society A.
, Ville Kaila and Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki
describe how the second law of thermodynamics can be written as an equation of motion to describe evolution, showing how natural selection and the principle of least action can be connected by expressing natural selection in terms of chemical thermodynamics. In this view, evolution explores possible paths to level differences in energy densities and so increase entropy most rapidly. Thus, an organism serves as an energy transfer mechanism, and beneficial mutations allow successive organisms to transfer more energy within their environment.