From +quot;Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution+quot; by Douglas J. Futuyma, 1983 The

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From "Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution" by Douglas J. Futuyma, 1983 The first law of thermodynamics holds that the sum total of energy in the universe is constant and neither increases nor decreases; the second-law of thermodynamics holds that in a closed system, energy tends to go from organized states to disorganization in the form of heat. Creationists take these laws of physics to mean that organized living systems could not have evolved from less organized matter, and that complex organisms could not evolve from simpler ones: "For the evolu- tion of a more advanced organism, however, energy must somehow be gained, order must be increased, and information added. The Second Law says this will not happen in any natural process unless external factors enter to make it happen." But order arises from disorder all around us. A human body arises from the relative formlessness of a fertilized egg; disordered water mole- cules form ordered ice crystals in our refrigerators. The reason, of course, is that neither an organism nor anything else except the universe as a whole is a closed system: the earth and its organisms are open systems that acquire energy from the sun to build complexity from simple precursors. As Isaac Asimov has said, the creationist argument from the second law is "an argument based on kindergarten terms [that] is suitable only for kindergartens."


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