Ever since Rudolf Clausius first formulated the 2ndLaw of Thermodynamics in 1850 Theists have used the principle as an argument for their god. The 2ndLaw, roughly stated, says that a closed physical system over time will tend toward less order. The argument is thus; that the increasing complexity of life on earth could only have occurred as the result of a force outside of nature. That supernatural force is, of course, God.
One needs only to re-read the 2ndLaw of Thermodynamics to quickly find the flaws in this argument. First, the law requires a closed system. The earth is definitely not a closed system in that it receives vast amount of energy from the sun and in turn radiates much of that energy back out to space. And if you attempt to extend the system to the entire universe you are left with the task of showing that the universe is finite and closed, neither of which has been demonstrated. Second, the system will “tend” toward less order. In other words it is possible for localized and/or temporary increases in order without violating the principle. Either way you look at it, the 2ndLaw argument simply doesn’t work.
So if you believe in God, and one of your arguments is shown to be faulty, you abandon that argument, right? Well, not exactly. Much as the creationist crowd re-branded their overtly theological creation myth under the banner of intelligent design, theists have turned to semantic trickery to remake the failed 2ndLaw of Thermodynamics argument under the title of increased information. Instead of referring to the complexity of life using terms such as entropy (a term associated with the 2ndLaw) the terms heard today are “information” and “code”, generally associated with DNA. A decrease in entropy is synonymous with an increase in information, and vice versa. And contrary to theist’s assertions, an increase in the information content of genetic code over time is perfectly natural. The Nobel Prize winning Chemist Llya Prigogine’s work in the 1970’s lead to an understanding of how biological systems increase on complexity as the result of dissipating solar energy. No God required.
So it is with this explanation that I await word back on a presentation given at RIT by Dr. Joseph Miano entitled “Digging Truth in the Genome”. I could not attend the talk, but Dr. Miano has promised me his slides and a fellow skeptic, Bill Courtney, attended the talk and will know doubt give me his pithy analysis. So come back tomorrow and see if I pegged it, or as has happened more times than I’ll admit, there will be crow on my menu.