-On 16, Dec 1998 7:45 PM "Howard J. Van Till" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Mark McDonnel asked:
> >>One of the arguments of the ICR has to do with the Second Law of
> >>Thermodynamics. In his commentary on Genesis, Henry Morris says that
> this law
> >>is the scientific expression of the curse that God placed on the
> as a
> >>result of the fall. I was wondering if you could tell me, are there
> >>beneficial aspects to the Second Law. Would the Second Law have been
> >>beneficial or even necessary in the perfect environment of the garden
> >>Or is the Law simply as the ICR describes it, a law of decay?
> >>If you could answer this question, I would appreciate it.
> Here are some brief comments that I recently gave to another person with
> similar question:
> As I have often said, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a commonly
> misunderstood (and often misrepresented by many proponents of recent
> episodic creationism) description of an important principle of natural (I
> prefer to say "creaturely") processes. To characterize it as "the law of
> decay" in the way that Morris often does is, I believe, both inaccurate
> misleading. Here is a very brief set of comments:
> The word "entropy" represents a quantitative measure of _thermodynamic_
> disorder. _Thermodynamic_ order has many contributions, having to do not
> only with the configuration, or structure, or form of something, but also
> with types of energy, temperature differences, and the like.
> The second law states that, in all natural processes, the entropy change
> will be greater than, or equal to, zero. HOWEVER, it is essential to look
> more closely. First, we must distinguish between a 'system' and its
> 'environment.' By 'system' we ordinarily mean some particular and
> entity whose behavior is the focus of our attention. Its 'environment'
> could be taken, if you like, to be the rest of the universe (even if only
> small portion of it is relevant to some process under consideration).
> Stating the 2nd law more carefully now, we must say that in the course of
> any natural process that takes a (system + environment) from some initial
> state to some final state, it is the SUM of two entopy change values that
> must be greater than, or equal to, zero. Correctly stated: [the change in
> entropy of the system] + [the change in entropy of the environment] = a
> value greater than or equal to zero.
> Correctly understood and applied, the 2nd law does not in itself rule out
> any natural process, including those that might be relevant to biotic
> evolution, in which the entropy of the _system_ is decreased
> order increased). The law aplies only to the __SUM__ of two terms, not to
> either term individually.
> The real question is, Is the set of the Creation's formational
> (for self-organizing, for transforming, etc) sufficiently robust to make
> such evolutionary processes possible? Are there functional dynamic
> (processes made possible by creaturely capablities given to the Creation)
> that will accomplish what biologists judge to have taken place in the
> formational history of life on earth? I side with those who judge that
> answer is, Yes. I envision a 'fully-gifted Creation' capable of
> accomplishing such remarkable things.
> The Second Law of Thermodynamics is no foreigner in a "good" Creation.
> There are several ways of stating the law. These differing statements are
> 100% equivalent. If one is true, all are true. If one is false, all are
> false. One statement of the 2nd Law is that heat will flow naturally
> (wthout any form of "heat pump") only from a hotter to a cooler body.
> Supppose that law were suspended. If that were so, then it would be
> possible for heat to flow naturally from a cooler to a hotter body. A
> person could walk outdoors on a hot day and freeze to death. NOT GOOD! :)
> Howard Van Till
Kenneth Piers, Professor Telephone:(616)-957-6491 (W)
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (616)-676-2056 (H)
Calvin College Fax: (616)-957-6501
GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49546 E-mail: email@example.com
"Meaning is the being of all that has been created...it has a religious
root and a divine origin." H. Dooyeweerd