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.


Jesus is not my copilot

November 4, 2009

Have you ever seen those “Jesus is my copilot” bumper stickers? I see the reasoning behind them, letting people know that God’s will plays a part in your life, but I don’t think that they are enough. I think the Jesus should be our pilot, and we should be in the copilot seat. Who better to make the tough decisions in our life and to guide it towards its final destination that the one who has already planned our steps and knows how it is all going to play out. I hope to trust His judgment in my life far more than my own.