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Archive for the ‘Creationism’ Category

The second law of thermodynamics states that the order of an isolated system never increases, but rather that disorder increases to a maximum state of entropy and stays there.

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This can be illustrated by leaving a child alone and responsible for a room. The contents will reach a maximum state of disorder and not change until some outside force impels correction.

The claim is made that the second law invalidates the theory of evolution by natural selection. After all, isn’t evolution an increase in order?

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Well, that’s not actually what Darwin’s idea says. In fact, evolution by natural selection is the theory that some offspring are better adapted to a given environment than others, and those better adapted youngins live longer and have more youngins of their own. That adaptation isn’t necessarily more advanced. Viruses, for example, are probably derived from more complex organisms.

But certainly, multicellular life is more complex than single cells, and the vast diversity of species is more complex than a handful of creatures. So how is it possible for an increase in complexity or in order to occur without miraculous intervention?

Look again at the second law. There’s a key point that creationists ignore:

An isolated system.

The Earth is not an isolated system. We have energy added to the system continually from the Sun. Now someday, several billion years from the present, the Sun will reach its maximum state of entropy, having converted all of its available fuel, but that day has not arrived yet. As long as we receive sunlight, order can increase here.

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As a non-Christian who was raised by fundamentalist parents and sent to religious schools–creationist, among other things–I look at the debate among Christians over evolution with nostalgic amusement. David Michael McFarlane, a student at Union Theological Seminary, recently wrote an article in The Huffington Post, asking whether Christians could give up creationism. He says that his faith doesn’t need a literal creation event some 6,000 years ago.

But fundamentalists insist that such an event is necessary. First, the text describes it, so it must have happened. But more importantly, without a Fall, there’s no need for a redeeming Christ. I’m sitting off on the sidelines nodding my head and saying, you finally figured it out, under my breath (not always), but there it is.

So let’s work with the premise that Christ is necessary. Let’s say that humans exist in a fallen state and have to be extracted from that.

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Let’s even say that until the life and death of Christ some 2,000 years ago, there was no way to elevate humans. Can’t we allow for the possibility that human beings were insufficiently developed before that point? Does it matter how they became that way–either by dropping down or simply by never having risen up? Christians preach that human beings aren’t worthy on their own. Nothing about accepting the science of evolution has to challenge that.

Of course, this would mean understanding that the Biblical stories are just that–stories. That is not meant to reduce the Bible in value. In fact, I regard stories as our most basic way of understanding the world. As I said, on this matter, I’m an outsider looking in, so it’s just a suggestion.

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