Theories of Evolution

I. Badcoe mbbad at s-crim1.dl.ac.uk
Thu Aug 25 04:18:12 EST 1994


Robert S. McKee (rs_mckee at pnl.gov) wrote:
: >> Simply stated, evolution is the belief that physical systems (in this 
: >> case biological systems)
: >> spontaneously through random processes organize themselves into states of
: >> higher-order.  Unfortunately, this violates the entropy laws which tell 
: >> us that all physical systems tend toward greater disorder.
: >> Ref:  Thermodynamics With an Introduction to Thermostatistics, 
: >> Herbert B. Callen, 3rd ed. 
: Thanks for the complement...however, I am an engineer by education.
: I might point out the application of the laws of thermodynamics to 
: OPEN systems is standard engineering practice, and has been for 
: over a century...the closed system is merely a mathematical abstraction.
: All real systems are open.	-- RS McKee

Never-the-less, evolution *DOES*NOT* contravene any of the laws of
thermodynamics, because:

(i) The assumption that higher life-forms have a lower entropy is simply not
    true (is the entropy of an elephant lower than that of a rat ?; does an
    organism become 'higher' when it empties its bowels <faeces have a high
    entropy because the body has extracted a lot on energy from them>)

(ii) The assumption that evolution produces 'higher' organisms is flawed.
     Evolution just produces survivors.  Some of them are 'higher', some of
     them are not.  (It's a mistake to think of (for example) people as being
     more highly evolved than microbes.  They're both equally evolved (they've
     both been doing it for the same total time) it's just that they found
     different solutions to the question "How do we survive ?".)

(iii) Even if 'higher' organisms were of lower entropy, it still wouldn't
      voilate the laws of thermodynamics.  In this case all that would be
      required was that the entropy of some other part of the universe was
      increased by an even greater amount.  (Which is the case.  Many
      sub-systems can be shown to have gained entropy (like all the grass the
      elephant ate) but the ultimate factor is that the IR quanta which
      leave the earth have a far higher entropy that the UV and visible quanta
      that arrive from the sun.

Anyway, my ultimate point:

	"Please don't waste our time with these *STUPID* and obviously flawed
	 ideas.  How dare you invoke a theory which you obviously don't
	 understand merely in order to try and disprove another theory which
	 obviously don't understand (and to which it can only be applied with
	 great care) ?

	 Worse than that, how dare you do it in a newsgroup which by its very
	 nature caters to those who do understand (and believe) the latter
	 theory (so there's *NO*CHANCE* of you persuading any of them,
	 anyway).

	 I can only assume that your real intention was just to trigger a
	 Flame-Fest.  Well done.  Now go and do it somewhere else."

Badders (who won't respond to any more messages on this subject)





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