Look in any textbook on thermodynamics, and you will find a definition for entropy. Here i

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Look in any textbook on thermodynamics, and you will find a definition for entropy. Here it is: S = k ln(N(E)) where S is entropy, k is Boltzmann's constant, and N(E) is the total number of states accessible to the system, in the energy interval between E and E+de. Now consider the famous second law of thermodynamics. Here is a statement of that law, from "Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics" by F. Reif, a very standard book on the subject. See section 3.11, page 122. Emphasis on the word "isolated" is not mine, it is Reif's. QUOTE Second law: An equilibrium macrostate of a system can be characterized by a quantity S (called "entropy"), which has the properties that a. In any process in which a thermally ISOLATED system goes from one macrostate to another, the entropy tends to increase, i.e., ds >= 0 b. If the system is not isolated and undergoes a quasi-static infinitesimal process in which it abdorbs heat dQ, then ds = dQ/T where T is a quantity characteristic of the macrostate of the system (T is called the "absolute temperature" of the system). ENDQUOTE Now look again at the definition. I don't see either the words, or the concepts, of "disorder" or "order" mentioned anywhere. I do see a reference to the total number of accessible states. Now consider the surface of the earth. It is an open system, at or near equilibrium with its environment. Since it is not an isolated system, it is not bound by part "a" above, but it clearly is bound by part "b". However, now consider the process of evolution, the change from a basically lifeless and simple system to a very complex system. The complex system is far richer in states accessible, as a function of energy, than the simple system. It would seem that the process of evolution does, in fact, considerably increase the entropy of the system, rather than to decrease it, as creation scientists would like to believe. In short, the "creation 'science'" definition of entropy is thermodynamically bogus. The "creation 'science'" claim that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics is equally bogus. I see no flaw in my line of reasoning here, but you are welcome to point out any that you find. But why do "creation 'scientists'" persist with their inappropriate definition for entropy? The book "Decision Theory" by D.J. White (the only book I have on this field), a definition of entropy is given for the field of information and communication theory. I can't put an upper case sigma, the mathematical symbol for a summation here, so I will use 'SUM(X)' to mean a big sigma, with an 'X' under it. E = -SUM(X) {p(X)log2(p(X))} where E is entropy, X is any valid propositional form, p is the probability the the proposition X is true, and log2 is a base 2 logarithm. You can see for youself that if p(X) is near 1 (almost certainly true), or near 0 (almost certainly false), in either case, the entropy as defined will tend toward a minimum. This entropy will tend toward a maximum where P(X) tends toward 1/2, or where uncertainty is at a maximum. In information theory we see entropy as a measure of uncertainty. This is not disorder, but it could be construed as such by the unwary. I think you will find this definition of entropy in the popular literature, but construed as a measure of disorder. Creation scientists have lifted this popularized version of entropy, and dropped it into a thermodynamic setting, where it is quite inappropriate. In my mind, this lends great credence to the notion that creation science is far from proper science. ------------------------------------------------------------ Timothy J. Thompson, Earth and Space Sciences Division, JPL.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank