Thermodynamics and bible

February 26, 2014


This picture was found on a BuzzFeed article of pictures that Creationists made regarding the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate. Click the image to see the Buzzfeed post.

The second law of thermodynamics is largely misunderstood. I will be the first to admit that I did not fully understand it at one point. The second law of thermodynamics says, “Every process occurring in nature proceeds in the sense in which the sum of the entropies of all bodies taking part in the process is increased.” Simply put, the entropy of a system always increases, it never decreases.

Entropy can be loosely defined as disorder. While this definition can pose some problems, it can be used to help understand what entropy is. This simpler definition can also feed into a Creationist misunderstanding of the second law,  and might be the cause of some of the confusion. Creationists use this to “prove” that the theory of Evolution cannot be correct because “order” coming out of nothing would be a decrease of entropy.  A decrease in entropy would then violate the second law of thermodynamics. While it may appear that a material object such as a rock would be an decrease on entropy from a cloud of dust, that is not the case.

Thinking about entropy in terms of “order” and “disorder” causes this confusion. Order and disorder are not part of the second law. The second law only states the the entropies of all bodies is increased. Misunderstanding the second law of thermodynamics as “order” vs “disorder” causes confusion when you look at the world around us. A better and more accurate way to understand the law would be the increase or decrease in “useful energy”. The easiest way I found to understand this is to think about an oxygen atom. O¹, one oxygen molecule has a lot of energy. When O¹ becomes O², there is a decrease in useful energy.

As you can see in this image, when oxygen bonds to oxygen, there is a double bond where four electrons are shared. This is a decrease in useful energy. To split these atoms apart, energy is going to need to be spent. All throughout this process, energy is being lost, increasing the entropy of the system. Water is another good example. When the two hydrogen atoms bond with the oxygen atom, each hydrogen atom shares its one electron with the oxygen atom, decreasing their available energy. To split these atoms apart again, you can perform electrolysis on the water, splitting it into free hydrogen and oxygen atoms, which would be a decease of entropy if you did not have to spend more energy to perform the action than the freed up energy that you get after it is completed.

But how does this apply to evolution and creation? I have my problems with Darwinian macroevolution, and the religious zeal that it is proclaimed with, but the second law of thermodynamics does not contradict it. While a strand of DNA is more ordered that the nucleotides, sugars, and phosphates that it is made of, the process of assembling this molecule expends energy. The energy expended in structuring the DNA molecule is a increase in entropy. The useful energy is deceased in the process. The second law of thermodynamics is not a defeater for evolution. The law is concrete and even biblical. Psalm 102 proclaims that God is creator, the universe is decaying, and God is above it all.

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

So please, fellow Christians, don’t use this as an argument against evolution. Common design, appearance of design, consciousness, the soul, objective morals, etc are all better arguments. The second law of thermodynamics is not anti-evolution, nor is it anti-creation. It is simply the way that the universe works, it is fading away and groaning as it waits to be renewed and recreated at the end of time.


Geoff hard at work

January 24, 2010

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The Buzzing!!

January 9, 2010

So I have been fighting a pretty massive infection in my ears. I normally struggle with Tinnitus, which is a constant ringing in my ears. This ear infection has made that much, much worse. Normally, I am able to deal with it, and can drown it out, but at this new increased volume, it is nearly impossible to escape it.

Ever since I became affected by this condition, I have longed for the day when I can truly experience silence. I know that will be on the day that I meet my savior and no longer have to hear the buzzing. I have always just assumed that this is something that I would have to deal with. I realized tonight, however, that I am not trusting God. God made my ears, He knows how they work, and He is more than able to heal me of the ringing.

So now, and for as long as it takes, I am praying for healing. I am praying that God will take this away and let me truly know what silence is like. I know that he has the power to heal me, and I trust that if it is His plan, He can remove this from me.

I am asking anyone who reads this if they would give a quick prayer to God on my behalf. Thank you, God Bless!

Collide Magazine just posted an article about Technolgy and the church that really reflects what I was trying to express in my previous blog post.



November 23, 2009

I have a confession: I was an Apple fanboy. After using a Mac for the first time, I fell in love. A week later, I purchased a Macbook. I love Apple’s attention to detail and the way that their hardware is nearly flawless. They have a great design team and they make good products. I was also in love with their software, and the way that it worked really well together. I was an Apple evangelist, telling everyone about how great I thought that Apple was.

It could be my new views on finances, it could be the problems encountered with Snow Leopard, but for the past couple of weeks, I have discovered that I am no longer in love with Apple. The main reason as far as I can tell is that I am tired of Apple’s business practices. They are a selfish and restrictive company. I do not like being told what I can and cannot do with the products that I buy.

I just switched my Macbook over to Ubuntu. While I still use OSX for my job, and the tools that I need to use are on that platform, for my own personal use, I use Ubuntu. I like the freedom to be able to do whatever I want on my computer. If I don’t like the way the windows look, I can change them, if I don’t like the fonts, boom! different fonts.

I think that the whole idea of freedom is very close to the message of Christianity as well. I think that if you compare Mac OS to Ubuntu, you can make a strong argument that Mac OS is like Catholicism, and Ubuntu is like Protestantism. Mac OS is available one way, has strict rules, and it ruled by one man. Steve Jobs performs the role of the pope, deciding himself what direction things should go. The rules are arcane and there is no good reason why half of them exist. Why can I not have anything fullscreen? On a Macbook, that would be very handy, but Steve decided he didn’t want that, so poof!, no easy fullscreen. Ubuntu is like protestantism. Linux is an offshoot of Unix, same as Mac, but it is available in THOUSANDS of different flavors. Ubuntu is just one of those. There is freedom in the way things are done, leadership is split among many people, and in a very real sense, among every user of the OS. Just as there is no ONE RIGHT WAY to worship God, and we have a great array of methods to do so, Ubuntu and Linux provide many different ways to experience personal computing.

I am tired of being treated like a child and told what I can and cannot do on my computer. I want freedom and the ability to use applications, browse the web, and use media in my OWN way. I want no one man in a turtleneck making decisions about what is best for me. I choose Ubuntu, and I choose freedom.

Producing Good Fruit

November 19, 2009

John the Baptist warned the Pharisees that there was a standard coming from Jesus that they would not be able to live up to.

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Before Jesus came, the Pharisees enjoyed a lush life, living as respected community leaders, teaching in the temple, and having a lot of influence on the political system. This came from their standing within Jewish society and the respect that that earned them. John’s warning was that there was going to be a new standard through which they would be viewed. When Jesus came, He removed the barrier between us and God that had given rise to the Pharisees and Priests. When judged by the content of their character, it was seen just how far they had been from God in the first place.

I know that there are many areas of my life through which I could be producing much more fruit than I am. John warms that those that don’t produce good fruit will be thrown into the fire. I don’t want to be seen as the Pharisees. I don’t want my life to be judged unfruitful. The good news is that we have the best source of nurishment for our fruit, and that is a relationship with God and His Word. These are the only things that we need to produce an overabundance of fruit from our lives.

Has the progression of technology made it harder to seek God or has it made Him more available. As someone who works in the Church and we technology, it is easy for me to interweave the two. While technology is a distraction in many ways, I am very guiltty of escaping my surrounding with my iPod, I has also made it easier, I can be listening to worship music or a sermon on that iPod.

One of the things that I really struggle with is the availability of the Bible versues how much we actually read it. Just a couple centries ago, it was very bard to get a copy of the Bible. The teaching and the reading of the Word was reserved to just those priveledged enough to have access tithe scriptures. Christians longed for the Word and were faithful in attending church because it was the only place they could hear from God. Now the scripture is easily available, in everything for inexpensive print versions to phones and other technological gadgets. I have dozens of print Bibles and hundreds of Binle translations on my iPod and Kindle. With the Word of God so close, so accessible, it should be a no-brainer to be able to connect to God all day long. But that is too often not what happens. There are so many things I can do with the technology at my disposal that reading the word can sadly be shadowed by other, less important things.

How about you? Has technology become an instrument or a hurdle in your pursuit of a deeper relationship with God? Leave your opinion in the comments.