Monday, April 10, 2006

New CSICOP Column

My new column for CSICOP's Creation Watch website is now available. It's my take on the latest version of the thermodynamics argument against evolution.

If you're really keen on this subject, you should also have a look at Mark Perakh's evisceration of some of the same arguments. Enjoy!

7 Comments:

At 1:18 PM, Blogger The Gline said...

The one thing I have come to believe about ID proponents is that they don't really care how shoddy their "logic" really is, because the audience they are appealing to doesn't really care about such things either.

What matters is whether or not they appear to be defending their turf. The exact nature of the argument is beside the point. Someone attacks, they defend. ID is not about science or belief, but politics, and if we keep treating it like a problem we can simply out-argue then we're not going to get anywhere.

 
At 1:55 PM, Anonymous tgbrowning said...

What I don't understand is why I never see anyone take the position that the key to the entire argument is what defines the bloody system. With the rigor that Creationists and ID proponents use, a simple cell cannot function, either.

The TOTAL entropy of the system increases. But INSIDE that system, cells are able to decrease their overall entropy.

It's no great leap to figure that in a system (say, the Earth) pockets of decreased entropy can naturally occur.

Thermodynamics arguments are simply specious.

Browning>>>

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Frank Shoemaker said...

Those who love reason dilute and weaken their arguments when they employ ad hominem attacks on the proponents of ID. Statements characterizing those who support ID as “extreme simple-mindedness,” “mind-numbing ignorance,” “level of silliness,” and similar mud-slinging have no place in a scientific argument. The ID theory needs to be attacked on it’s own lack of merits. Come on, guys! Tighten up your writing!

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger Jason said...

tgbrowning-

As I disucss in my article, the 2LoT applies in principle to any sort of system. The more primitive version of the creationist argument simply ignored the distinction between open, closed and isolated systems and scientists almost invariably replied by pointing out that the Earth is not an isolated system.

Sewell's argument is marginally better than the primitive version. He recognizes that entropy can decrease in an open system, but that the second law still says something about the magnitude of that decrease. He's still making a very bad argument though. As I say in my article, it is for him to show, by carrying out the appropriate calculation, that the decrease in entropy in the Earth's ecosystems during the course of evolution is not compensated for by corresponding entropy increases elsewhere. He will not do that, however, because the calculation is mathematically intractable, and the fact that we have ample evidence tghat natural selection, fueled by the Sun and other energy sources, is perfectly cpaable of epxlaining the evolution of life on Earth.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Jason said...

frank-

I devote some three thousand words to demolishing a creationist argument, and you harp on a few negative comments. Those comments are not ad hominem attacks, by the way. They are accurate descriptions of the sort of assertions creationists and ID folks make. If you consistently make arguments at thelevel of “The 2LoT contradicts evolution,” you forfeit your right to be treated respectfully.

 
At 1:30 AM, Anonymous buckminster said...

The fact that creationists use the laws of thermodynamics and entropy as arguments against natural selection simply indicates they don't understand the difference between an open system that has incoming energy and a closed system where the energy level is fixed. Or they may just want to ignore the difference....

 
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