MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 61
Article views: 723
Latest Badges:

View all CharlieC's badges.

Evolution and Thermodynamics

17 January 2013, 09:09

It has often been said that the Theory of Evolution violates the second Law of Thermodynamics. If this was true then there would be no Theory of Evolution. Yes it really is that simple. Now for the, hopefully not impossible, task of trying to get the evolution deniers to understand why this is so.

Basically the second law states that entropy increases over time. Personally I prefer the description that the amount of energy left over for work will decrease over time. Both of these descriptions are valid for the 2nd law.

It is from another description of the 2nd law that I think the problem lies. This description states that the amount of disorder in a system will increase over time. While this description is true I think it has been misunderstood by certain people to mean something totally different. The reason I say this is when pressed for an explanation on why evolution violates the 2nd law often the answer is that you can’t get complexity from disorder or order from chaos. I’m going to answer the chaos question and from my answer, and what follows, it should become self evident that complexity, as it is meant in this instance, has nothing to do with disorder.

I’d like you to imagine a closed thermodynamic system (closed as in there in no input of energy from outside the system). If we knew the conditions of the system at a particular point in time then we could work out the amount of order and disorder in the system at any other particular point in time with a high degree of accuracy. In other words how much energy is left for work (order) and how much has been lost to waste heat (disorder). Chaos, in physics, is not the same as disorder. Basically a chaotic system is highly sensitive to initial conditions (minute changes of the initial conditions can lead to widely different outcomes). A good example of a chaotic system would be the weather, think of butterfly wings causing hurricanes. For this reason you cannot make accurate long term predictions for chaotic systems. Please note that a system can be deterministic (not random) and still be chaotic.

Let’s now look at Earth. Earth is not a closed thermodynamic system; we receive a lot of energy from the sun. You can say that the solar system is a closed thermodynamic system. Thermodynamically the Earth has two main sources of energy, the Earth’s core and the sun. At first blush it might seem that entropy is decreasing on earth, due to life, but that matters not because the entropy of the system (remember you have to include the whole solar system) has increased over time.  

Now I know that people today prefer to read short articles so I’ve made this one as short as possible at the expense of a fuller and deeper explanation but I think that I have shown that evolution and thermodynamics are compatible, if not let me know and I might write a piece from the evolution angle.        

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
My Invincible Disease

This disease has taken so much from me, we really need a cure, we really need help to just live a normal life.  Read more...

0 comments 1385 views
Submitted by
JoPro Blog
EcoMobility: The Un-Trained I

Sandton is perfectly poised become the eco-hub it so richly deserves to be: one that is thriving, fluid and mobile, with an eco-echo resounding. Read more...

0 comments 370 views
Submitted by
Jim Dickson
Cecil the lion

While it is sad that Cecil was killed I am glad to see that Walter Palmer has been exonerated from criminal charges related to this. Read more...

0 comments 104 views
Submitted by
Kindness ripples


0 comments 46 views
Submitted by
Arnold Hlathi Mdepa
The ANC must save itself from its...

For the sake of South Africa and many countries in Africa that still look up to South Africa, the ANC needs to reinvent itself as a modern party. Read more...

0 comments 631 views
Submitted by
Jay Clark


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.