evolution and second law

nsaunders at molbiol.ox.ac.uk nsaunders at molbiol.ox.ac.uk
Fri Nov 24 12:04:11 EST 1995


I was under the impression that the second law of tthermodynamics implies that 
the disorder of the universe as a whole increases over time, although 
localised regions may briefly attain order, albeit transiently. So living 
organisms are brief, localised regions of order which decay, quite literally 
when they die. Actually there's something not right about this physicists 
argument (as usual when physicists try and talk biology); surely order could 
only be said to be increasing due to the increased complexity of living things 
if the more complex organisms contained the original material of the earlier 
ones and had added to it? Obviously we don't take atoms from the environment, 
build them into ordered molecules and then keep the same atoms and pass them 
on; we're continually breaking down the complex molecules in our bodies and 
building them afresh from new starting material. So we have the illusion of 
permanence and order, but energy is continually being spent to maintain it, in 
perfect accordance with the laws of physics.
Anyway, physicists just don't like evolution because they think they're on a
 direct telephone line to God through their equations.

Neil

nsaunders at molbiol.ox.ac.uk




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