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# The Truth About Evolution and Religion

Author Topic:   The Truth About Evolution and Religion
nwr
Member
Posts: 5587
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005

 Message 346 of 419 (561935) 05-24-2010 1:43 PM Reply to: Message 344 by dkroemer05-24-2010 1:04 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 dkroemer writes:The chance of getting four perfect bridge hands is 52 factorial.

Actually, it isn't. In fact, probabilities are at most 1, so you are way off.

If we assume that you really meant 1/52!, then you are still wrong as Straggler shows in Message 345. And if we assume that you intended an additional condition, that the hands were dealt completely randomly, then you are still wrong. In that case it should be

You don't much help your credibility when you make such obvious mistakes.

 This message is a reply to: Message 344 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 1:04 PM dkroemer has not yet responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 448 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

 (1)
 Message 347 of 419 (561936) 05-24-2010 1:48 PM Reply to: Message 344 by dkroemer05-24-2010 1:04 PM

Natural selection driven by energy flows across gradients
 The chance of getting four perfect bridge hands is 52 factorial. If everyone on Earth played bridge for 3.5 billion years, the chance of getting a perfect bridge hand is less than 0.0000000001 percent. This is the kind of calculation you have to understand in order to do statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. This is the basis of the second law of thermodynamics.

Unless work is done to sort them. You agree that work can be done to sort them, right? So given life receives as much energy as I indicated before, how is it impossible for work to be done in creating complex life forms?

by the way: as you successfully demonstrated the second law of thermodynamics does not state that a perfect bridge game is impossible. You demonstrated that with an insufficient number of trials it is improbable. Likewise with sufficient trials it is highly probable.

 Darwinists--not trained biologists-- say evolution comes about because of chemicals jumping around chemically. Just like a deck of cards.

Whatever you mean by 'Darwinist' let us agree that should such an entity exist - they are wrong, as everybody has been agreeing over and over again in this thread all along. Trained biologists know that thermodynamics is not an impediment to biological evolution.

This guy, for instance:

quote:
Most evolutionary biologists cherish Darwin's theory of natural selection (NS) as the process of adaptive evolution more than 140 years after publication of his first book on the subject. However, in the past few decades the study of self-organization (SO) in complex dynamical systems has suggested that adaptation may occur through intrinsic reorganization without NS. In this study, we attempt to describe the logical framework that relates the general process of SO to the specific process of NS. We describe NS as a mechanism that coordinates the coevolution of species in an ecosystem to effectively capture, process and dissipate solar energy into the earth's shadow. Finally, we conclude that NS is an emergent process founded on the same thermodynamic imperatives that are thought to underlie all SO. This perspective suggests that the theory of self-organizing systems offers a broader physical context in which to understand the process of NS, rather than contesting it. It even suggests the possibility that there may be a physical basis for understanding the origin of the process of NS. Rather than being merely a fluke of nature, the origin of NS that may be driven by energy flows across gradients.

the abstract from the paper, On the logical relationship between natural selection and self-organization.

Or as he said in an interview:

quote:
I see it as physics — my own point of view is that chemistry is a subset of physics, and biology a subset of chemistry, so these scales of organization of matter are all aspects of self-organization and driven by physics. What are the drivers? From a thermodynamic perspective, if you have a dynamical system composed of lots parts, it seems to rather generically have this tendency to self-organization.
That builds higher levels of organizations, from (perhaps) strings to subatomic particles up to macromolecules, to biomolcules, cells, multicellular organisms, species, ecosystems and so on.

 This message is a reply to: Message 344 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 1:04 PM dkroemer has responded

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fizz57102
Junior Member (Idle past 2350 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 05-24-2010

 (2)
 Message 348 of 419 (561938) 05-24-2010 2:53 PM Reply to: Message 342 by dkroemer05-24-2010 12:55 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 If the molecules of a gas in a container move to one side, that side may or may not heat up. What if all the low kinetic energy molecules move to one side of the container? I don't know about the temperature. There is no interaction with an outside system in this thought experiment. Such a movement of gas molecules violates the second law of thermodynamics.If the molecules of a gas in a container move to one side, that side may or may not heat up. What if all the low kinetic energy molecules move to one side of the container? I don't know about the temperature. There is no interaction with an outside system in this thought experiment. Such a movement of gas molecules violates the second law of thermodynamics.

Fail. You didn't even understand the question. What would happen to the gas in the container if one end is kept hotter than the other (an external system is obviously required to do this).

dk, you seem to be unable to answer the simple yes/no questions I put in my previous posts, questions covered in any elementary course in thermodynamics. You obviously think you know enough physics to challenge Dawkins' application of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. So what's keeping you?

 This message is a reply to: Message 342 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 12:55 PM dkroemer has responded

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dkroemer
Member (Idle past 3398 days)
Posts: 125
From: Brooklyn, New York
Joined: 05-15-2010

 Message 349 of 419 (561939) 05-24-2010 3:14 PM Reply to: Message 345 by Straggler05-24-2010 1:13 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Yes, you increased the knowledge of the location of the cards. When you shuffle the deck, there will be less knowledge, less order or more entropy. If you claim that upon shuffling the deck for a few years many thousands of times a second by a computer that you got back the original order you started with, you would be violating the second law of thermodynamics.

 This message is a reply to: Message 345 by Straggler, posted 05-24-2010 1:13 PM Straggler has responded

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dkroemer
Member (Idle past 3398 days)
Posts: 125
From: Brooklyn, New York
Joined: 05-15-2010

 Message 350 of 419 (561940) 05-24-2010 3:20 PM Reply to: Message 348 by fizz5710205-24-2010 2:53 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Dawkins said:

"When creationists say, as they frequently do, that the theory of evolution contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics, they are telling us no more than that they don’t understand the Second Law (we already knew that they don’t understand evolution). There is no contraction, because of the sun!
…energy from the sun powers life, to coax and stretch the laws of physics and chemistry to evolve prodigious feats of complexity, diversity , beauty, and an uncanny illusion of statistical improbability and deliberate design…Natural selection is an improbability pump: a process that generates the statistically improbable. It systematically seizes the minority of random changes that have what it takes to survive, and accumulates them, step by tiny step over unimaginable timescales, until evolution eventually climbs mountains of improbability and diversity, peaks whose height and range seem to know no limit, the metaphorical mountain that I have called ‘Mount Improbable’…Life evolves greater complexity only because natural selection drives it locally away from the statistically probable towards the improbable. (p. 415 of the Greatest Show on Earth)

Notice that he says the energy of the sun generated "improbability." Anyone who understands the second law knows that it was the decrease in entropy of the sun that caused the entropy of living organisms to increase.

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dkroemer
Member (Idle past 3398 days)
Posts: 125
From: Brooklyn, New York
Joined: 05-15-2010

 Message 351 of 419 (561941) 05-24-2010 3:28 PM Reply to: Message 347 by Modulous05-24-2010 1:48 PM

Re: Natural selection driven by energy flows across gradients
Your quotes prove what I am saying. The author is discussing the causes or mechanisms of evolution. At no time does he say, "We have explained common descent, not just the adaptation of species to their environment."

If you read my review of Dawkins book and the Gerhart-Kirschner book, you will see that serious biologists always mention "adaptation" and do not mention the complexity of life. Dawkins, as my review shows, talks out of both sides of his mouth.

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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007

 Message 352 of 419 (561942) 05-24-2010 3:36 PM Reply to: Message 350 by dkroemer05-24-2010 3:20 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 dkroemer writes:Anyone who understands the second law knows that it was the decrease in entropy of the sun that caused the entropy of living organisms to increase.

Try:

Anyone who understands the second law knows that it is the increase in entropy of the sun that causes the entropy of the biosphere to decrease.

Edited by bluegenes, : typo

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lyx2no
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Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008

 Message 353 of 419 (561949) 05-24-2010 5:02 PM Reply to: Message 335 by fizz5710205-24-2010 8:46 AM

Whacker
Welcome to EvC, fizz.

I think someone jumped the gun and whacked your first posting with a one. It wasn't a one. Maybe that whacker will see this message and go fix it.

"Mom! Ban Ki-moon made a non-binding resolution at me." — Mohmoud Ahmadinejad

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 Message 354 of 419 (561951) 05-24-2010 5:24 PM Reply to: Message 349 by dkroemer05-24-2010 3:14 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 Yes, you increased the knowledge of the location of the cards. When you shuffle the deck, there will be less knowledge, less order or more entropy. If you claim that upon shuffling the deck for a few years many thousands of times a second by a computer that you got back the original order you started with, you would be violating the second law of thermodynamics.

Of course you would eventually restore the order of the cards.

So, either

(a) your thought experiment with the computer disproves the second law of thermodynamics.

(b) you don't understand the second law of thermodynamics.

The second is (of course) the case. For two reasons. First, because (of course) every arrangement of the cards has the same entropy, and second because (of course) the computer and the shuffling mechanism would need a power source, and so would convert electricity into waste heat, increasing the net entropy of the universe.

 This message is a reply to: Message 349 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 3:14 PM dkroemer has not yet responded

Straggler
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Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006

 (1)
 Message 355 of 419 (561952) 05-24-2010 5:28 PM Reply to: Message 349 by dkroemer05-24-2010 3:14 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 Straggler writes:I have a deck of cards. I have just arranged them into suits and number order.Have I increased the order of the deck of cards? Have I violated the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

 dkroemer writes:Yes, you increased the knowledge of the location of the cards.

So as far as you are concerned I violated the 2nd law of thermodynamics by simply sorting cards into an ordered pile.

Can you explain how I was able to defy this fundamental law of nature so simply and easily? Am I special or can anyone defy the 2nd law of thermodynamics if they so choose?

 This message is a reply to: Message 349 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 3:14 PM dkroemer has not yet responded

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 Message 356 of 419 (561954) 05-24-2010 5:35 PM Reply to: Message 344 by dkroemer05-24-2010 1:04 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 The chance of getting four perfect bridge hands is 52 factorial. If everyone on Earth played bridge for 3.5 billion years, the chance of getting a perfect bridge hand is less than 0.0000000001 percent. This is the kind of calculation you have to understand in order to do statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. This is the basis of the second law of thermodynamics.

No.

 Darwinists--not trained biologists--

If by "Darwinists" you mean people who understand the theory of evolution, then this is a distinction without a difference.

 say evolution comes about because of chemicals jumping around chemically.

Of course all biologists know that biology is chemistry viewed at a higher level.

 Just like a deck of cards.

Of course no biologist thinks that chemistry is like a deck of cards, because they're not mad.

 This message is a reply to: Message 344 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 1:04 PM dkroemer has responded

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 448 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

 Message 357 of 419 (561965) 05-24-2010 8:01 PM Reply to: Message 351 by dkroemer05-24-2010 3:28 PM

Re: Natural selection driven by energy flows across gradients
 Your quotes prove what I am saying.

So you agree that complexity and diversity is a certainty borne out of the same principles at play in thermodynamics and that therefore a spontaneous increase in complexity does not pose a problem for thermodynamics at all. I'm glad we're on the same page.

So why are you bringing complexity and thermodynamics up?

 The author is discussing the causes or mechanisms of evolution.

As far as I can tell, when he talks about 'organisation' he is talking about a concept akin to your 'complexity' which seems to imply some kind of specific arrangement of parts.

Darwinism is 'descent with modification', not 'randomly juggled amino acids'. You can not find a single quote from a serious biologist that describes Darwinism as "The idea that evolution comes about because of chemicals jumping around chemically. Just like a deck of cards." You won't find any biologists that hold this strange view who aren't IDists, creationists or crazy in some fashion or another.

(In the spirit that you meant it).

Clearly, pure classic Darwinism is not a position that anybody I've ever come across who has spent a few hours reading about what Darwinism actually is and what neo-Darwinism is and whatever we want to call the present synthesis, 'The theory of evolution'. IF you are trying to show problems with Darwinism there are much better ways than trying to make some silly thermodynamic argument.

But this topic is about evolution, surely? Am I right that you think that the increase in complexity is a normal and expected outcome for life? That an increase in complexity would constitute 'evolution'? You're only concern is that we can't explain that complexity merely referring to 'Darwinism', by which you mean 'randomly shuffling amino acids around'. But you are content that there are some biological/physics explanations for complexity out there, yes?

I am hesitant to adopt the stance of attempting to seek agreement since you seem to respond more readily to hostility, but in for a penny, in for a pound.

 This message is a reply to: Message 351 by dkroemer, posted 05-24-2010 3:28 PM dkroemer has not yet responded

dkroemer
Member (Idle past 3398 days)
Posts: 125
From: Brooklyn, New York
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 Message 358 of 419 (561966) 05-24-2010 8:01 PM Reply to: Message 356 by Dr Adequate05-24-2010 5:35 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
The following is a quote from a biology textbook used by 65% of biology majors in the U. S. Notice that Campbell treats a protein just like a deck of cards. Nowhere in his book does he suggest Darwinism explains the existence of proteins.

"Each of the four identical polypeptide chains that together make up transthyretin is composed of 127 amino acids…The primary structure is like the order of letters in a very long word. If left to chance, there would be 20127 different ways of making a polypeptide chain 127 amino acids long." (page 82, Biology by Campbell and Reece)

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Coragyps
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 Message 359 of 419 (561967) 05-24-2010 8:39 PM Reply to: Message 358 by dkroemer05-24-2010 8:01 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 If left to chance......

I think Mrs Cornwell called that a "conditional phrase" back in High School English class. What do Campbell and Reece say in the next few sentences? Or do I have to go look up for myself what that "if" anticipates?

"The wretched world lies now under the tyranny of foolishness; things are believed by Christians of such absurdity as no one ever could aforetime induce the heathen to believe." - Agobard of Lyons, ca. 830 AD

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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 821 days)
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From: U.K.
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 Message 360 of 419 (561970) 05-24-2010 9:07 PM Reply to: Message 359 by Coragyps05-24-2010 8:39 PM

Re: Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
 Coragyps writes:I think Mrs Cornwell called that a "conditional phrase" back in High School English class. What do Campbell and Reece say in the next few sentences? Or do I have to go look up for myself what that "if" anticipates?

You don't have to, and it's predictable.

Next sentence:

"However, the precise primary structure of a protein is determined not by the random linking of amino acids, but by inherited genetic information."

Much later, after a brief explanation of DNA and how mutations can change proteins, they say this:

quote:

"Because we now understand that DNA carries heritable information in the form of genes, we can see that genes and their products (proteins) document the hereditary background of an organism. The linear sequences of nucleotides in DNA molecules are passed from parents to offspring; these sequences determine the amino acid sequences of proteins. Siblings have greater similarity in their DNA and proteins than do unrelated individuals of the same species. If the evolutionary view of life is valid, we should be able to extend this concept of “molecular genealogy” to relationships between species: We should expect two species that appear to be closely related based on fossil and anatomical evidence to also share a greater proportion of their DNA and protein sequences than do more distantly related species. In fact, that is the case. For example, if we compare a polypeptide chain of human hemoglobin with the corresponding hemoglobin polypeptide in five other vertebrates, we find the following. In this chain of 146 amino acids, humans and gorillas differ in just 1 amino acid, humans and gibbons differ in 2 amino acids, and humans and rhesus monkeys differ in 8 amino acids. More distantly related species have chains that are less similar. Humans and mice differ in 27 amino acids, and humans and frogs differ in 67 amino acids. Molecular biology has added a new tape measure to the toolkit biologists use to assess evolutionary kinship."

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