# Which explanation is better? Intelligent Design or Natural Processes

What has your application of probability got to do with reality? Starting with the reality of Hadean abiogenesis? Reality doesn’t happen backwards.

All of those doctorates – the physicists, chemists, and biologists – know what the 2nd Law actually is. They’re telling you you’re wrong because you’re wrong.

You’re free to argue that some kind of machinery is needed to harness the energy of the sun – but that’s not the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. There is nothing in any statement of the 2nd Law that says ‘except in the presence of machinery’. Machinery has to obey the laws of physics just like the rest of the universe: if a process can happen with the aid of machinery, then the process doesn’t violate the 2nd Law.

What you’ve got is not the 2nd Law and entropy but a law you made up and a concept that has nothing to do with thermodynamic entropy. Since you made up the law, you’re responsible for demonstrating that it’s correct.

6 Likes

The problem with this claim is that it’s simply wrong. We can watch genomes change, generation after generation, incorporating new mutations and changing the form and function of the organisms that carry them. We can measure the rate at which they change and we see that it is far, far faster than the rate needed to explain the changes that have occurred over the history of life. We compare organisms and their genomes, and we see that they all look like they’re relatives of one another, and that all of the differences look like the result of lots of mutations accumulated over time. Every piece of evidence we have says that life evolves and that evolution explains the history of life on this planet.

5 Likes

There are 17,576 possible strings of three letters in the English alphabet, of those, 1292 are considered English-language words. The probability that a 100-character string contains a given 3-letter word is 0.55%. The probability that it contains any three letter english-language word is 99.9943%. Here is an example: dkdhgvbnsiycgvsDjdkvbakutcmbnsdlkfjgejfnfduoegfkdskjvnwoudfvlkeglwiorriqhporrigvkvbsfouegpioqhiuwvos. It contains two three-letter words.

Likewise, the probability of any given mutation happening is quite low, but there are a huge number of possible mutations.

It is accurate to the bounds of our current knowlege. If you wish to create a new theory of how gravity works that magically acts exactly as if there is extra mass, evenly spread through space, then you can legitimately claim this.

What dark matter is is “We can directly detect extra mass that increases the orbital speed of stars around the galaxy, and speeds up interactions among galactic clusters. Whatever composes it only interacts with gravity and the weak nuclear force.”

Dark energy is “something is causing space to stretch at an increasing rate, what causes it, we do not know.”

If those can be realistically categorized as “fudge factors”, then so can claiming that you have found an undescribed species based on dozens of specimens.

6 Likes

The irony is you still don’t realize this is not correct.

Of course not. Silly made up example.

The previous link is a very good explanation of the second law with a discussion of why evolution doesn’t violate it when it is understood correctly. Come back after you have read it and let us know what you think, if you dare.

3 Likes

There are no “storage locations” in the genome. The insertions occur in random locations. You like probabilities. What is the probability that you can flip 2 fair coins 100,000 times and have them match every time?

This has been discussed several times on this forum. For example here Why Aren't the Twin Locations of >100k+ ERV's (human vs. chimp) Discussed More?

2 Likes

It is 1/10^30103.

“So you are saying that those who put forward evolution have no need to back up their theory with evidence?”

The burden of proof should be on the person proposing a position. Those who put forward evolution need to back up their theory with evidence. Those who put forward anti-evolution need to put forward their theory with evidence. The scoffers’ position of putting all the burden of proof on the other and none upon oneself is all too popular.

As to probabilities of possibly suitable mutations, we simply do not have adequate data to determine that. The ID anti-evolutionary argument requires that we do know those probabilities. But we would have to know both how many different ways there would be to make a set of biochemical molecules that would function like those in known organisms and how many alternative biochemical systems might exist for life to function with a different suite of biochemical molecules. We don’t know that, and it is unlikely to be practical to determine the answer. What we do know is that there are a huge number of different ways to make proteins with any one particular function, some with minor differences and some with huge differences in structure. The range of functional DNA sequences is similarly huge. Also, starting with very simple life, evolution is tweaking something that already works, not starting from scratch to produce each result. Thus, we can be quite confident that the probabilities cited in “it couldn’t happen” are wrong, but not very certain of the true numbers.

Even Answers in Genesis admits that calling dark matter a “fudge factor” is untrue. Some young-earth advocates have slandered astronomers by making that claim, because dark matter is (1) also involved in big bang-related calculation and (2) part of the explanation of why spiral galaxy arms continue to exist, invalidating a young-earth argument.

2 Likes

That’s been done till the cows came home, but it can’t work against magical thinking.

1 Like

I detect a certain pride in this sentence. “Those of us who have not spent decades of professional study on the evidence know more those who have.”

Really? I learned in high school biology that chlorophyll stores the sun’s energy into carbohydrates, and metabolic processes use carbohydrates to perform work.

Maybe you think that’s wrong because it was those crazy “experts,” biologists, who were talking about biology. What do they know? They’ve only spent entire careers as a scientific community that maintains high standards of evidence for publication…

Uncharitable attributions of motive are strictly forbidden on this forum. Please be more careful about following the forum rules. @moderators

These sentences combine the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy with a deep misunderstanding of biology (because a series of mutations can be incremental and selectable, which changes the probability by dozens of orders of magnitude).

I am not sure what you are trying to say in this sentence, because population-level genetic mutations by definition occur in the genome of a single population.

Perhaps you meant to say “gene” instead of “genome”? If so, you may not be aware of the work that biologists have done on this very question. Have you carefully read this recent article in Nature, for example?

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03061-x

Best,
Chris Falter

4 Likes

So noted, Chris - and thanks. He’s right, @SixDays. Let’s all try to avoid attribution of bad motives.

2 Likes

Well they are stating something that is incorrect- open systems don’t apply to the second law of thermodynamics. Basically, they are parroting something they heard from a group advocating evolution trying to shoot down the thermodynamic issue with a lie. And you are going to push their argument when they can’t even get basic facts straight about thermodynamics! I find it rather humorous.

You’re free to argue that some kind of machinery is needed to harness the energy of the sun – but that’s not the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics . There is nothing in any statement of the 2nd Law that says ‘except in the presence of machinery’.

Look at the Clausius statement and it would appear that refrigerators are impossible. The “sole result” implies having an auxiliary device that harnesses energy, constrains boundary conditions, enabling the nonspontaneous process. These systems typically contain ID because natural systems don’t have the ability to do this. You might find water dripping over the walls of a cave where wind blowing through the cave experiences evaporative cooling, but you will never find a refrigerator with all the functional parts because naturally it just won’t happen.

I stated above, the 2nd Law applies to open, closed, and isolated systems, so I do indeed have the basic facts right.

I’ve looked at it and it says nothing of the sort.

‘Sole result’ says absolutely nothing about any device, auxiliary or otherwise. It talks only about the result. The sole result of a refrigerator running is not the transfer of heat from a colder body to a hotter body, therefore refrigerators are not impossible by the Clausius statement.

Which is to say, caves – and human bodies, and puddles – do transfer heat from a colder body to a hotter one without violating the Clausius statement of the 2nd Law and without requiring intelligent design.

I’m afraid you’re not succeeding in making a point here.

6 Likes

Here’s what I find humorous: a guy with no discernable scientific training at the graduate level is upbraiding a physics Ph.D. on a topic in physics.

Is it possible, just maybe, that during his several years of physics training at leading undergraduate and graduate institutions – including a Ph.D. in Particle Physics at Yale University – @glipsnort learned something about the laws of thermodynamics that you have not yet discerned?

You’re having a conversation with an extremely talented scientist. (And he’s also humble, as you might infer from the fact that he has not pulled rank in this conversation.) Maybe, just maybe, you could learn something from him if you took a different approach.

Best,
Chris Falter

7 Likes

True. Both sides need to back up their position with evidence; evolutionary biology has done so with valid evidence.

1 Like

You just can’t resist attributing malicious motives, can you? And you just got warned by one of the @moderators !

If you want to say all the scientists, tens of thousands of them – each with decades of work in labs and/or ridiculously expensive sensors and advanced math that you and I do not even understand – and all of them working collectively to correct errors and misunderstandings – are wrong, and you, with no discernable scientific training, understand the equations and theories better than they do, you’re free to make that claim. But to call their statements lies can easily be perceived as attributing a state of mind and motive to them.

And the rules of the forum do not allow you to do that.

Best,
Chris

2 Likes

@SixDays
Our forum guidelines do require that you interact civilly without being derisive of people you don’t agree with. You are going to have to change your debate style accordingly.

@everyone else

So it appears Thomas is a YEC who intends to portray scientists as deluded and incompetent and bent on destroying Christian faith. If engaging with such people annoys you, then scroll on by.

3 Likes

Yes, you did and I commend you for that, but there are many others who have doctorates who are pushing this notion that the second law doesn’t apply to opened systems. This started over 20 years ago at “talk origins” pushing this view which is wrong.

‘Sole result’ says absolutely nothing about any device, auxiliary or otherwise. It talks only about the result. The sole result of a refrigerator running is “not” the transfer of heat from a colder body to a hotter body, therefore refrigerators are not impossible by the Clausius statement.

In a strictly classical thermodynamic perspective we ignore the device - one of the powers of the second law. For example, I used to use the classical perspective to size jet engines in software that I developed. It can get you into the general ballpark of where you want to be for these engines, but you need to be careful because you can find design solutions that are totally unrealistic. For example, you can input unrealistic pressures or temperatures which will get you a really smoking engine, but if you would try to build it you would not find materials able to function and your engine would just blow up should you attempt to develop it. The point is that you need a viable thermodynamic mechanism.

This is where the engineering thermodynamic perspective comes in where we work at developing machines that function enabling nonspontaneous processes. This is what engineering is all about and some spontaneous processes too.

Which is to say, caves – and human bodies, and puddles – do transfer heat from a colder body to a hotter one without violating the Clausius statement of the 2nd Law and without requiring intelligent design.

Natural systems have limited ability to produce nonspontaneous processes. How much cooling will your puddle produce? Let us all get rid of our refrigerators and get a puddle to cool our food. How smart would this be? Not too bright! Intelligent Designed systems can constrain boundary conditions and utilize energy, enabling very efficient machines. A refrigerator will cool food down to a safe temperature and it works because it was designed to work.

I’m afraid you’re not succeeding in making a point here.

If you were cognizant of the limitations of natural systems then you would understand why we have the statements of the second law. If there are no limitations, then why would we have the statements?

Chris, putting forward false statements like the second law of thermodynamics doesn’t apply to open systems is a lie or reveals complete ignorance on the subject. Having seen this statement put forward all the time by advocates of evolution year after year, I am left confounded why somebody would have to resort to false statements on science to push forward their points supporting evolution if the theory was so strong.

Please get off my back Chris.

The theory is all there is, like the theories of gravitation and electro-magnetism, there is no rational alternative. No recourse to thermodynamics is necessary at all, unless a disinterested materialist raises a question with regard to chemical and biological complexity for some reason. And none have. Even if they do and a gap is established, it doesn’t matter. Nature does abiogenesis and evolution, as it does creation itself ex nihilo. If one has to believe a four thousand year anti-Christian folk tale to filter reality, billions will be OK with that. Scientists are certainly interested in the psychology of that, it sheds great light on the evolved human condition.