Help! Help! (He’s) Being Opressed! – Quick DpSU June 20

Yes, folks, according to Brian Thomas, after some uppity “anti-design blogger” wrote to the Applied Mathematics Letters Journal, the “Journal Censors ‘Second Law’ Paper Refuting Evolution“. I kid you not – he really thinks that 😀

Let me go and calm down a moment.

Basically, the whole article is talking about how a paper that purports to prove that evolution does, in fact, violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics has been rejected by the aforementioned journal after formally having been approved.

Sewell refutes the notion that the second law can be circumvented as long as the order increase/decrease occurs in an open system. In an online lecture video explaining his “second law” paper, Sewell said, “Suppose you and your wife go for a vacation, leaving a dog, a cat and a parakeet loose in the house (I put the animals there to cause the entropy to increase more rapidly, otherwise you might have to take a much longer vacation to see the same effect). When you come back you will not be surprised to see chaos in the house. But tell her some scientists say, ‘but if you leave the door open while on vacation, your house becomes an open system, and the second law does not apply to open systems…you may find everything in better condition than when you left.’ I’ll bet she will say, ‘if a maid enters through the door and cleans the house, maybe, but if all that enters is sunlight, wind and other animals, probably not.'” Sewell, G. A second look at the second law. Online video. Posted on, accessed June 9, 2011.

He certainly doesn’t refute my favourite Second Law counterargument. To quote PZ Myers:

Point to the creationist: ask whether he was a baby once. Has he grown? Has he become larger and more complex? Isn’t he standing there in violation of the second law himself? Demand that he immediately regress to a slimy puddle of mingled menses and semen.

The paper itself seems to suffer from a few fatal flaws. As usual, the author confuses Entropy with Disorder. As it happens, Sewell is largely regurgitating things he has already said in previous papers – he quotes himself often. This article covers a lot of what he has said previously.

Possibly new is the claim that “entropy cannot decrease faster than it is exported through the boundary”. The statement is possibly true, but the article never demonstrates that evolution violates it, preferring irrelevant analogies like the one you see above. The author also conflates the possibility of life evolving with that of the creation of man-made technology such as computers, missing the point entirely (what’s new?).

To cap it all off, and to return to Mr Thomas, we end with an irrelevant Bible quote:

Similarly, the way to arrive at DNA is not to transfer sunlight’s energy onto earth’s chemicals, but for someone to build DNA and place it in living creatures on the planet. And that scenario may sound familiar to those who have read Exodus 20:11. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”

Why that quote, exactly? I despair of these people sometimes…

One thought on “Help! Help! (He’s) Being Opressed! – Quick DpSU June 20

  1. Pingback: Dinosaurs! (Flood Part #2) « Eye on the ICR


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