Intelligent Design Mathematics

Mathematician Granville Sewell as early ID theorist

Spread the love

U Tech’s Granville Sewell recalls:

Author’s note: To paraphrase Barbara Mandrell, I was ID when ID wasn’t cool. What, intelligent design still isn’t cool, you say? Oh…well, compared to 1985 it is.

I offer for your interest the Postscript to my 1985 Springer book, Analysis of a Finite Element Method: PDE/PROTRAN. This Postscript draws an analogy between the evolution of the software described in the book (now calledPDE2D) and the evolution of life, and it is primarily about irreducible complexity, although Michael Behe would not coin that term until 11 years later. It is also clear that I was an intelligent design proponent then, though I had never heard of that term either at the time.

In fact, as far as I knew, I was the only ID proponent in the world in 1985. I had never heard of anyone else who doubted unguided evolution yet didn’t believe in what would today be called “creationism.” Of course I now know that there were many of us, especially in the more mathematical sciences. We just didn’t have any way to publicly share our ideas then, since all scientific publications were controlled by Darwinists, who allowed less dissent than Pravda in the USSR. Well, they still are, but it is now occasionally possible to express dissenting viewpoints, and now we have the Internet, which makes it harder to completely suppress controversial points of view.

I included my ideas in a Postscript because there was no other way to express them in the scientific literature (believe me, I tried!). More.

Anyone with other stories to share about the very early days?

Note: Sewell is the author of In the Beginning.

See also:

Granville Sewell’s important contribution to physics: Entropy-X

and

Granville Sewell on how to challenge a scientific consensus

Follow UD News at Twitter!

43 Replies to “Mathematician Granville Sewell as early ID theorist

  1. 1
    bornagain says:

    as to:

    In fact, as far as I knew, I was the only ID proponent in the world in 1985. I had never heard of anyone else who doubted unguided evolution yet didn’t believe in what would today be called “creationism.” Of course I now know that there were many of us, especially in the more mathematical sciences. We just didn’t have any way to publicly share our ideas then, since all scientific publications were controlled by Darwinists, who allowed less dissent than Pravda in the USSR. Well, they still are, but it is now occasionally possible to express dissenting viewpoints, and now we have the Internet, which makes it harder to completely suppress controversial points of view.

    Of note, Charles Darwin said that he found math to be ‘repugnant’

    “During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned, as completely as at Edinburgh & at school. I attempted mathematics, & even went during the summer of 1828 with a private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth, but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra.”
    Charles Darwin, 1887 – Recollections of the Development of my Mind & Character, the work which Darwin himself referred to as his autobiography

    A few more notes

    Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: “Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859.” …
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....emagician/

    “There is a consistent group of people, among mathematicians, among physicists, among some very good speculative biologists, who simply don’t accept it (Darwin’s theory). (They) don’t even regard it as a scientific theory in any reasonable sense.”
    Dr. David Berlinski

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.'”
    Wolfgang Pauli

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt: If evolutionary biologists are really Seekers of the Truth, they need to focus more on finding the mathematical regularities of biology, following in the giant footsteps of Sewall Wright, JBS Haldane, Ronald Fisher and so on.
    The messiness of biology has made it relatively hard to discern the mathematical fundamentals of evolution. Perhaps the laws of biology are deductive consequences of the laws of physics and chemistry. Perhaps natural selection is not a statistical consequence of physics, but a new and fundamental physical law. Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that the genes of E. coli contain over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.
    http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.u.....ution-etc/

    “In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.”
    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

    Laurence Moran’s Sandwalk Evolves Chloroquine Resistance – Michael Behe August 13, 2014
    Excerpt: That’s the reason I issued the challenge in the first place. In my experience almost all Darwinists and fellow travelers (Professor Moran doesn’t consider himself a Darwinist) simply don’t think quantitatively about what their theory asks of nature in the way of probability. When prodded to do so, they quickly encounter numbers that are, to say the least, bleak. They then seem to lose all interest in the problem and wander away. The conclusion that an unbiased observer should draw is that Darwinian claims simply don’t stand up to even the most cursory calculations.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88811.html

    “Darwin’s theory is easily the dumbest idea ever taken seriously by science.”
    Granville Sewell – Professor Of Mathematics – University Of Texas – El Paso

  2. 2
    bornagain says:

    Of related interest to Darwinian evolution having no rigid mathematical basis as other overarching theories of science have to test against so as to potentially falsify those theories, it is interesting to note that, none-the-less, the numbers one gets from mathematics against Darwinian evolution should, by all rights, be more than enough to falsify it as a ‘scientific’ theory.

    The numbers one gets against unguided Darwinian evolution being true are simply tremendous.

    Most people on UD are familiar with the probabilities found against unguided material processes generating even a simple protein fold.

    Evolution vs. Functional Protein Domains (“Mount Improbable”) – Doug Axe and Stephen Meyer – Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Yockey and a Calculator Versus Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter PhD – September 25, 2015
    Excerpt: In a 1977 paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Hubert Yockey used information theory to evaluate the likelihood of the evolution of a relatively simple protein.,,,
    Yockey found that the probability of evolution finding the cytochrome c protein sequence is about one in 10^64. That is a one followed by 64 zeros—an astronomically large number. He concluded in the peer-reviewed paper that the belief that proteins appeared spontaneously “is based on faith.”
    Indeed, Yockey’s early findings are in line with, though a bit more conservative than, later findings. A 1990 study of a small, simple protein found that 10^63 attempts would be required for evolution to find the protein.
    A 2004 study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and a 2006 study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required.
    These requirements dwarf the resources evolution has at its disposal. Even evolutionists have had to admit that evolution could only have a maximum of 10^43 such experiments. It is important to understand how tiny this number is compared to 10^70. 10^43 is not more than half of 10^70. It is not even close to half. 10^43 is an astronomically tiny sliver of 10^70.
    Furthermore, the estimate of 10^43 is, itself, entirely unrealistic. For instance, it assumes the entire history of the Earth is available, rather than the limited time window that evolution actually would have had.,,,
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ersus.html

    The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds – Douglas Axe – 2010
    Excerpt Pg. 11: “Based on analysis of the genomes of 447 bacterial species, the projected number of different domain structures per species averages 991. Comparing this to the number of pathways by which metabolic processes are carried out, which is around 263 for E. coli, provides a rough figure of three or four new domain folds being needed, on average, for every new metabolic pathway. In order to accomplish this successfully, an evolutionary search would need to be capable of locating sequences that amount to anything from one in 10^159 to one in 10^308 possibilities, something the neo-Darwinian model falls short of by a very wide margin.”
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.1

    Moreover, proteins are found to be ‘context’ dependent.
    Context dependency greatly exasperates the problem for Darwinists of finding a functional protein by unguided material processes.

    (A Reply To PZ Myers) Estimating the Probability of Functional Biological Proteins? Kirk Durston , Ph.D. Biophysics – 2012
    Excerpt (Page 4): The Probabilities Get Worse
    This measure of functional information (for the RecA protein) is good as a first pass estimate, but the situation is actually far worse for an evolutionary search. In the method described above and as noted in our paper, each site in an amino acid protein sequence is assumed to be independent of all other sites in the sequence. In reality, we know that this is not the case. There are numerous sites in the sequence that are mutually interdependent with other sites somewhere else in the sequence. A more recent paper shows how these interdependencies can be located within multiple sequence alignments.[6] These interdependencies greatly reduce the number of possible functional protein sequences by many orders of magnitude which, in turn, reduce the probabilities by many orders of magnitude as well. In other words, the numbers we obtained for RecA above are exceedingly generous; the actual situation is far worse for an evolutionary search.
    http://powertochange.com/wp-co.....Myers_.pdf

    Moreover, context dependency is found on several different levels of a protein structure:

    “Why Proteins Aren’t Easily Recombined, Part 2” – Ann Gauger – May 2012
    Excerpt: “So we have context-dependent effects on protein function at the level of primary sequence, secondary structure, and tertiary (domain-level) structure. This does not bode well for successful, random recombination of bits of sequence into functional, stable protein folds, or even for domain-level recombinations where significant interaction is required.”
    http://www.biologicinstitute.o.....ned-part-2

    That ‘contextual’ information resides ‘physically’ along the entire protein structure is established here:

    Proteins with cruise control provide new perspective:
    “A mathematical analysis of the experiments showed that the proteins themselves acted to correct any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations and restored the chain to working order.”
    http://www.princeton.edu/main/...../60/95O56/

    As well, the fact that ‘contextual’ information can ‘physically’ reside along the entire protein is also established by the fact that quantum information and coherence are now found to be in proteins.

    Classical and Quantum Information Channels in Protein Chain – Dj. Koruga, A. Tomi?, Z. Ratkaj, L. Matija – 2006
    Abstract: Investigation of the properties of peptide plane in protein chain from both classical and quantum approach is presented. We calculated interatomic force constants for peptide plane and hydrogen bonds between peptide planes in protein chain. On the basis of force constants, displacements of each atom in peptide plane, and time of action we found that the value of the peptide plane action is close to the Planck constant. This indicates that peptide plane from the energy viewpoint possesses synergetic classical/quantum properties. Consideration of peptide planes in protein chain from information viewpoint also shows that protein chain possesses classical and quantum properties. So, it appears that protein chain behaves as a triple dual system: (1) structural – amino acids and peptide planes, (2) energy – classical and quantum state, and (3) information – classical and quantum coding. Based on experimental facts of protein chain, we proposed from the structure-energy-information viewpoint its synergetic code system.
    http://www.scientific.net/MSF.518.491
    Quantum coherent-like state observed in a biological protein for the first time – October 13, 2015
    Excerpt: If you take certain atoms and make them almost as cold as they possibly can be, the atoms will fuse into a collective low-energy quantum state called a Bose-Einstein condensate. In 1968 physicist Herbert Fröhlich predicted that a similar process at a much higher temperature could concentrate all of the vibrational energy in a biological protein into its lowest-frequency vibrational mode. Now scientists in Sweden and Germany have the first experimental evidence of such so-called Fröhlich condensation (in proteins).,,,
    The real-world support for Fröhlich’s theory (for proteins) took so long to obtain because of the technical challenges of the experiment, Katona said.
    per physorg

    The ‘quantum criticality’ required to achieve quantum coherence in proteins greatly exasperates the problem for Darwinists of ever ‘randomly’ finding a functional protein by unguided material processes.

    Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules
    Excerpt: The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,,
    “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?”
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552

    Moreover, quantum coherence, like quantum entanglement, requires a ‘non-local’, beyond space-time matter-energy, cause to explain its effect.

    Coherence and nonlocality
    Usually quantum nonlocality is discussed in terms of correlated multiparticle systems such as those discussed by John Bell in his famous 1964 theorem and then later clarified by GHZ, David Mermin and others.
    But more striking and significant is the qualitative nonlocal phenomena associated with coherent states,,,,
    In fact, theoretically these two kinds of nonlocality have precisely the same basis: the unmeasured singlet state uncovered by EPR is a coherent ‘pure state’ despite its spatial extension, and when the parts are realized in a measurement (a la Bell) this coherence is harvested or cashed in.
    Whereas the “EPR” connections are ephemeral and fragile, some forms of nonlocal coherence are robust.
    http://www.nonlocal.com/hbar/n.....rence.html

  3. 3
    bornagain says:

    Finding quantum non-locality in biology simply falsifies the reductive materialistic contention of Darwinists that information must be ’emergent’ from some material basis.

    Moreover, even if Darwinists could somehow explain how unguided material processes could possibly find a functional protein by unguided material processes, Darwinists would still be faced with the insurmountable problem of explaining how unguided ‘random’ processes can possibly find the final folded form of a functional protein.

    Confronting Science’s Logical Limits – John L. Casti – 1996
    Excerpt: It has been estimated that a supercomputer applying plausible rules for protein folding would need 10^127 years to find the final folded form for even a very short sequence consisting of just 100 amino acids. (The universe is 13.7 x 10^9 years old). In fact, in 1993 Aviezri S. Fraenkel of the University of Pennsylvania showed that the mathematical formulation of the protein-folding problem is computationally “hard” in the same way that the traveling-salesman problem is hard.
    http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~ro.....Limits.pdf

    DNA computer helps travelling salesman – Philip Ball – 2000
    Excerpt: Just about the meanest problems you can set a computer (on) belong to the class called ‘NP-complete’. The number of possible answers to these conundrums, and so the time required to find the correct solution, increases exponentially as the problem is scaled up in size. A famous example is the ‘travelling salesman’ puzzle, which involves finding the shortest route connecting all of a certain number of cities.,,,
    Solving the travelling-salesman problem is a little like finding the most stable folded shape of a protein’s chain-like molecular structure — in which the number of ‘cities’ can run to hundreds or even thousands.
    http://www.nature.com/news/200.....13-10.html

    To try to put this problem into proper perspective, it is interesting to note that the problem of a protein finding its final folded form is far more complex of a problem that solving a Rubik’s cube is

    Rubik’s Cube Is a Hand-Sized Illustration of Intelligent Design – Dec. 2, 2014
    Excerpt: The world record (for solving a Rubik’s cube) is now 4.904 seconds,,,
    You need a search algorithm (for solving a Rubik’s cube).,,,
    (Randomly) Trying all 43 x 1018 (43 quintillion) combinations (of a Rubik’s cube) at 1 per second would take 1.3 trillion years. The robot would have a 50-50 chance of getting the solution in half that time, but it would already vastly exceed the time available (about forty times the age of the universe).,,,
    How fast can an intelligent cause solve it? 4.904 seconds. That’s the power of intelligent causes over unguided causes.,,,
    The Rubik’s cube is simple compared to a protein. Imagine solving a cube with 20 colors and 100 sides. Then imagine solving hundreds of different such cubes, each with its own solution, simultaneously in the same place at the same time (in nanoseconds). (That is exactly what is happening in each of the trillions of cells of your body as you read this right now).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01311.html

    Not so surprisingly, protein folding is found to belong to the world of quantum physics, not to the classic materialistic physics of Darwinian evolution:

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Personally, I think that quantum computation must somehow be involved in protein folding in order to explain how protein folding is even possible:

    Speed Test of Quantum Versus Conventional Computing: Quantum Computer Wins – May 8, 2013
    Excerpt: quantum computing is, “in some cases, really, really fast.”
    McGeoch says the calculations the D-Wave excels at involve a specific combinatorial optimization problem, comparable in difficulty to the more famous “travelling salesperson” problem that’s been a foundation of theoretical computing for decades.,,,
    “This type of computer is not intended for surfing the internet, but it does solve this narrow but important type of problem really, really fast,” McGeoch says. “There are degrees of what it can do. If you want it to solve the exact problem it’s built to solve, at the problem sizes I tested, it’s thousands of times faster than anything I’m aware of. If you want it to solve more general problems of that size, I would say it competes — it does as well as some of the best things I’ve looked at. At this point it’s merely above average but shows a promising scaling trajectory.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....122828.htm

    Scientists achieve critical steps to building first practical quantum computer – April 30, 2015
    Excerpt: If a quantum computer could be built with just 50 quantum bits (qubits), no combination of today’s TOP500 supercomputers could successfully outperform it (for certain tasks).
    http://phys.org/news/2015-04-s.....antum.html

    Moreover, as if the preceding were not bad enough, Darwinists must now contend with the fact that up to half of proteins are now found to be rare orphan sequences that show up in a very un-Darwinian manner.

    Unexpected features of the dark proteome – Oct. 2015
    Excerpt: Nearly half of the dark proteome comprised dark proteins, in which the entire sequence lacked similarity to any known structure. Dark proteins fulfill a wide variety of functions,,,
    We deliberately chose this stringent definition of “darkness,” so we can be confident that the dark proteome has completely unknown structure.,,,
    ,,,in eukaryotes and viruses, about half (44–54%) of the proteome was dark (Fig. 1B). Of the total dark proteome, nearly half (34–52%) comprised dark proteins.
    We repeated the above analysis using an even more stringent definition for darkness—combining PMP (2) and Aquaria (SI Methods) — but this had little effect (Fig. S1).,,,
    Lower Evolutionary Reuse.
    For each protein, we calculated how frequently any part of its sequence has been reused across all other known proteins (SI Methods). Dark proteins were reused much less frequently than nondark proteins (Fig. 4 C and Fig. S8), suggesting that dark proteins may be newly evolved proteins or rare proteins adapted to specific functional niches. This result was partly expected, given how darkness was defined and given the progress of structural genomics in targeting large protein families with unknown structure (8). Low evolutionary reuse also partly explains why dark proteins have few known interactions (Fig. 4 B and Fig. S8), because many interactions are inferred by homology (33).
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....2.full.pdf

    The Dark Proteome and Dark Evolution – Evolution Did It – Cornelius Hunter – Nov. 23, 2015
    Excerpt: “Thus, our results suggest that many of the uncharacterized orphan sequences … are indeed real proteins.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ution.html

    No wonder Charles Darwin found mathematics to be ‘repugnant’, it seems mathematics finds Darwin’s theory itself to be ‘repugnant’. Thus the feeling mutual.

    Too bad Darwin needed math more than math needed him! 🙂

  4. 4
    Gordon Davisson says:

    As I’ve pointed out many times before, Sewell’s “contribution to physics” is worthless nonsense. He derives a law in a very specific situation (diffusion in a solid in the absence of gravity), and assumes that it applies in other situations — but in fact, there are a great many situations where it completely fails. Here are a few simple examples:

    – Diffusion through a solid in the presence of gravity. In this case, the lighter components will diffuse toward the top and heavier components toward the top, decreasing their respective entropies.

    – Precipitation from a solution. For instance, if you start with a saturated solution of salt in water, and cool it, some of the salt will precipitate out as a solid (salt crystals), decreasing the salt-entropy.

    (BTW, something very similar would happen if we started with a box of saturated water vapor and cooled it. Some of the water would condense out as liquid water, decreasing the water-entropy. Many types of phase change violate Sewell’s “law”.)

    – Radioactive decay. For instance, take a chunk of potassium-containing rock, like K-feldspar. Over time, some of the potassium-40 decays. Even though the potassium is still uniformly distributed in the rock, the decrease in the amount of potassium produces a decrease in the potassium-entropy (using Sewell’s formula). Note that this one can occur even in a completely isolated system.

    – Compression. Take a block of carbon (or pretty much anything else, actually), compress it (by cooling it, increasing pressure, whatever), and try to use Sewell’s formula to compute the carbon-entropy change. You will fail; the formula simply does not work for a changing volume of material. Depending on exactly how you set up the calculation, you’ll either run into a constant of integration that fails to cancel itself out (and since the constant is undefined, the result winds up undefined), or you’ll get negative infinity for the carbon-entropy density in the volume that no longer contains carbon.

    Sewell’s X-entropy just plain doesn’t work, and I’m really disturbed that nobody on the ID side (well, except Sal Cordova) seems to be able to face this.

    BTW, I see that Robert Sheldon replied to me in the linked discussion, but unfortunately I didn’t see his comment at the time. Short answer: Rob’s wrong, conversion between different forms of entropy is real. In fact, conversion between different forms of entropy is exactly what’s going on in my examples above (although the relevant entropy is configurational entropy, which is a bit different from Sewell’s X-entropy.)

  5. 5
    bornagain says:

    Funny that the ‘common sense’ law of Physics, as Dr. Sewell terms the second law, is found to hold for molecular biology and that no one can seem to find a single instance where unguided material processes have generated more non-trivial functional information than is already found in life.

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Getting There First: An Evolutionary Rate Advantage for Adaptive Loss-of-Function Mutations
    Michael J. Behe – 2013
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0020

    Biological Information – Loss-of-Function Mutations (Michael Behe) by Paul Giem 2015 – video
    (Behe – Loss of function mutations are far more likely to fix in a population than gain of function mutations)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzD3hhvepK8&index=20&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUUhiC9VwPnhl-ymuObyTWJ

    Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper on this podcast:

    Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_46-08_00

    Michael Behe: Intelligent Design – interview on radio program – ‘The Mind Renewed’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9SmPNQrQHE

    Much less have unguided material processes, all by their lonesome, ever been observed to create computers and space ships

    Are You Looking for the Simplest and Clearest Argument for Intelligent Design? – Granville Sewell (2nd Law) – video
    Excerpt: This always seems to be the end of the argument: order can increase (entropy can decrease) in an open system, therefore, ANYTHING can happen in an open system, even the rearrangement of atoms into computers, without violating the second law.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56711.html

    How the Scientific “Consensus” on Evolution is Maintained – Granville Sewell – April, 2012
    Excerpt: If you want to show that the spontaneous rearrangement of atoms into machines capable of mathematical computation and interplanetary travel does not violate the fundamental natural principle behind the second law, you cannot simply say, as Styer and Bunn and so many others do, sure, evolution is astronomically improbable, but the Earth is an open system, so there is no problem as long as something (anything, apparently!) is happening outside the Earth which, if reversed, would be even more improbable. You have to argue that what has happened on Earth is not really astronomically improbable, given what has entered (and exited) our open system. Why is such a simple and obvious point so controversial?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59011.html

    Physicist Rob Sheldon offers some thoughts on Sal Cordova vs. Granville Sewell on 2nd Law Thermo – July 5, 2012
    Excerpt: This is where Granville derives the potency of his argument, since a living organism certainly shows unusual permutations of the atoms, and thus has stat mech entropy that via Boltzmann, must obey the 2nd law. If life violates this, then it must not be lawfully possible for evolution to happen (without an input of work or information.)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....aw-thermo/

  6. 6
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Funny that the ‘common sense’ law of Physics, as Dr. Sewell terms the second law, is found to hold for molecular biology and that no one can seem to find a single instance where unguided material processes have generated more non-trivial functional information than is already found in life.

    Anyone who thinks thermodynamics is common sense doesn’t understand thermodynamics. What Sewell tends to do it misunderstand thermodynamics, reject it as nonsense (on the basis that it doesn’t make sense to him), then substitute his common sense instead and claim that’s thermodynamics. But he’s wrong; his common sense does not correspond to either actual thermodynamics or reality (see my examples above).

    As for your claim about non-trivial functional information, whether it’s true or not has nothing to do with thermodynamics. To the extent thermo connects up to information theory, it relates to order vs disorder, not organization, functional info, etc. For example, consider three DNA sequences (all the same length):

    1) A completely random sequence.
    2) A sequence that codes for a functional protein.
    3) A sequence consisting entirely of adenine (“AAAAAAAA…”)

    The information entropy of each of these is proportional to the logarithm of the number of possible specific sequences they might have. #1 could have any sequence of bases at all, and hence will have the highest entropy. #2 has a much more restricted set of possible sequences (although there will still be a large total number of possible sequences), so its entropy will be much lower than the entropy of #1. For #3, there’s only one possible sequence, so its information entropy will be zero (log(1) = 0).

    (BTW, other simple repetitive sequences will have similar zero or near-zero information entropies.)

    Since the entropy of a functional sequence is higher than that of simple repetitive sequence, if entropy were a limiting factor and prevented the generation of new functional sequences, it’d also prevent the generation of simple repetitive sequences. Conversely, if the relevant entropy limits allow the generation of simple repetitive sequences, they’ll also allow the generation of new functional sequences.

    In fact, repetitive DNA sequences can be produced naturally without violating the second law, so the second law must necessarily also allow new functional sequences. Note that this doesn’t prove that the production of new functional sequences is actually possible, since it’s entirely normal for something to be allowed by the second law but still impossible in practice; what it does mean is that if new functional sequences cannot be produced naturally, it’s not the second law that prevents it.

    The second law — the actual second law, not Sewell’s misunderstanding of it — simply doesn’t back you up on this. You need to find a different law.

  7. 7
    Gordon Davisson says:

    BTW, I should also note that Sewell’s understanding of thermodynamics doesn’t seem to connect up to functional information at all. X-entropies have to do with the distribution of different materials (essentially, he claims that each different material gets more uniformly distributed over time), which doesn’t have much of anything to do with functional information. Some of his other idea do seem to connect up at least a little with functional information, but I don’t know of anything specific he says about it.

    I should also point out in “Poker Entropy and the Theory of Compensation” (which I can’t find online anymore, although he posted about it on UD here), he seems to reject a connection between thermodynamics and information entropy.

  8. 8
    bornagain says:

    GD, I’m a ‘common sense’, empirical evidence, kind of guy, and I certainly see a deep underlying physical connection of entropy to molecular biology even if you ‘book sense’ guys can’t seem to figure out the theoretical connection yet.

    The evidence for the detrimental nature of mutations in humans is overwhelming for scientists have already cited over 100,000 mutational disorders.

    “Another compilation of gene lesions responsible for inherited diseases is the web-based Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). Recent versions of HGMD describe more than 75,000 different disease causing mutations identified to date in Homo-sapiens.”
    John C. Avise – Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design – Pg. 57

    I went to the mutation database website cited by John Avise and found:

    Mutation total (as of Dec. 4, 2015) – 174,999
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

    That is certainly not good from an evolutionary standpoint!
    Nor are the following studies good for those who prefer Darwinian evolution to be true:

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – May 2013
    Excerpt: It is almost universally acknowledged that beneficial mutations are rare compared to deleterious mutations [1–10].,, It appears that beneficial mutations may be too rare to actually allow the accurate measurement of how rare they are [11].
    1. Kibota T, Lynch M (1996) Estimate of the genomic mutation rate deleterious to overall fitness in E. coli . Nature 381:694–696.
    2. Charlesworth B, Charlesworth D (1998) Some evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutations. Genetica 103: 3–19.
    3. Elena S, et al (1998) Distribution of fitness effects caused by random insertion mutations in Escherichia coli. Genetica 102/103: 349–358.
    4. Gerrish P, Lenski R N (1998) The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population. Genetica 102/103:127–144.
    5. Crow J (2000) The origins, patterns, and implications of human spontaneous mutation. Nature Reviews 1:40–47.
    6. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    7. Imhof M, Schlotterer C (2001) Fitness effects of advantageous mutations in evolving Escherichia coli populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:1113–1117.
    8. Orr H (2003) The distribution of fitness effects among beneficial mutations. Genetics 163: 1519–1526.
    9. Keightley P, Lynch M (2003) Toward a realistic model of mutations affecting fitness. Evolution 57:683–685.
    10. Barrett R, et al (2006) The distribution of beneficial mutation effects under strong selection. Genetics 174:2071–2079.
    11. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

    Essential Prediction of Darwinian Theory of Macroevolution Falsified by Information Degradation – Kirk Durston – June 24, 2015 (with links to papers on site)
    Excerpt: It is generally agreed that the rate of deleterious mutations is much greater than the rate of beneficial mutations. My own work with 35 protein families suggests that the rate of destruction is, at minimum, 8 times the rate of neutral or beneficial mutations. Simply put, the digital information of life is being destroyed much faster than it can be repaired or improved. New functions may evolve, but the overall loss of functional information in other areas of the genome will, on average, be significantly greater. The net result is that the digital information of life is running down.
    The second series of falsifying observations is indicated by actual organisms we have studied most closely. First, the digital information for the bacterial world is degrading due to a net deletional bias in mutations involving insertions and deletions. Second, the fruit fly, also one of the most studied life forms in evolutionary biology, is showing an ongoing, genome-wide loss of DNA across the entire genus. Finally, humans are not exempt and are accumulating harmful mutations (degrading changes in our digital information) at an alarming rate. There are many more examples.
    In conclusion, the digital information of life appears to be steadily degrading, rather than increasing, falsifying an essential prediction of neo-Darwinian theory and verifying a prediction of intelligent design science. This ought not to be surprising, as every other area of science, except for evolutionary biology, grants that natural processes degrade information, regardless of the storage media and copying process. For neo-Darwinian macroevolution to work, it required something that was in flat-out contradiction to the real world.
    http://p2c.com/students/blogs/.....-falsified

    Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy – Dr John Sanford – 7 March 2013
    Excerpt: Where are the beneficial mutations in man? It is very well documented that there are thousands of deleterious Mendelian mutations accumulating in the human gene pool, even though there is strong selection against such mutations. Yet such easily recognized deleterious mutations are just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of deleterious mutations will not display any clear phenotype at all. There is a very high rate of visible birth defects, all of which appear deleterious. Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Why are no beneficial birth anomalies being seen? This is not just a matter of identifying positive changes. If there are so many beneficial mutations happening in the human population, selection should very effectively amplify them. They should be popping up virtually everywhere. They should be much more common than genetic pathologies. Where are they? European adult lactose tolerance appears to be due to a broken lactase promoter [see Can’t drink milk? You’re ‘normal’! Ed.].
    African resistance to malaria is due to a broken hemoglobin protein [see Sickle-cell disease. Also, immunity of an estimated 20% of western Europeans to HIV infection is due to a broken chemokine receptor—see CCR5-delta32: a very beneficial mutation. Ed.] Beneficials happen, but generally they are loss-of-function mutations, and even then they are very rare!
    http://creation.com/genetic-entropy

    Dr. John Sanford “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY98io7JH-c

    Genetic Entropy in the Human Genome is found to be ‘recent’:

    Human Genetic Variation Recent, Varies Among Populations – (Nov. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: Nearly three-quarters of mutations in genes that code for proteins — the workhorses of the cell — occurred within the past 5,000 to 10,000 years,,,
    “One of the most interesting points is that Europeans have more new deleterious (potentially disease-causing) mutations than Africans,”,,,
    “Having so many of these new variants can be partially explained by the population explosion in the European population. However, variation that occur in genes that are involved in Mendelian traits and in those that affect genes essential to the proper functioning of the cell tend to be much older.” (A Mendelian trait is controlled by a single gene. Mutations in that gene can have devastating effects.) The amount variation or mutation identified in protein-coding genes (the exome) in this study is very different from what would have been seen 5,000 years ago,,,
    The report shows that “recent” events have a potent effect on the human genome. Eighty-six percent of the genetic variation or mutations that are expected to be harmful arose in European-Americans in the last five thousand years, said the researchers.
    The researchers used established bioinformatics techniques to calculate the age of more than a million changes in single base pairs (the A-T, C-G of the genetic code) that are part of the exome or protein-coding portion of the genomes (human genetic blueprint) of 6,515 people of both European-American and African-American decent.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132259.htm

    Here’s an interesting talk by Dr. John Sanford. Starting at the 17 minute mark going to the 22 minute mark. He relates how slightly detrimental mutations, that accumulate each time a cell divides, are the primary reason why our physical/material bodies grow old and die.

    John Sanford on (Genetic Entropy) – Down, Not Up – 2-4-2012 (at Loma Linda University) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....L0#t=1040s

    Notes from John Sanford’s preceding video:
    *3 new mutations every time a cell divides in your body
    * Average cell of 15 year old has up to 6000 mutations
    *Average cell of 60 year old has 40,000 mutations
    Reproductive cells are ‘designed’ so that, early on in development, they are ‘set aside’ and thus they do not accumulate mutations as the rest of the cells of our bodies do. Regardless of this protective barrier against the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations still we find that,,,
    *60-175 mutations are passed on to each new generation.

    The following study also holds that the primary reason our physical bodies grow old and die is because of entropy.

    Entropy Explains Aging, Genetic Determinism Explains Longevity, and Undefined Terminology Explains Misunderstanding Both – 2007
    Excerpt: There is a huge body of knowledge supporting the belief that age changes are characterized by increasing entropy, which results in the random loss of molecular fidelity, and accumulates to slowly overwhelm maintenance systems [1–4].,,,
    http://www.plosgenetics.org/ar.....en.0030220

    This following video brings the point personally home to us about the effects of genetic entropy:

    Aging Process – 85 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A91Fwf_sMhk

    Quote and Verse:

    “We have the sober scientific certainty that the heavens and earth shall ‘wax old as doth a garment’….
    Dark indeed would be the prospects of the human race if unilluminated by that light which reveals ‘new heavens and a new earth.’”
    Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824 – 1907) – pioneer in many different fields, particularly electromagnetism and thermodynamics.

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    Thermodynamics is just good old common sense. Else everyone would have their own perpetual motion machine by now.

  10. 10
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Thermodynamics is just good old common sense. Else everyone would have their own perpetual motion machine by now.

    Actually, many very reasonable people, dating back at least to the eighth century, have attempted to build a perpetual motion machine, that is, until the development of thermodynamics. The relationship between temperature and energy is not mere common sense, and many equations of thermodynamics have a mathematical basis. What you call common sense is just familiarity.

  11. 11
    harry says:

    Matter tends to fall apart, not self-assemble, to move from integration to disintegration, to go from whatever order came to be by whatever means, to disorder. It is a process that only goes one way. Releases of energy that are not managed and controlled by a mechanism that constructively harnesses them, are disintegrating, not integrating. The greater the release of unharnessed energy the greater the disintegration. This inexorable disintegration ends when the Universe has reached a state of maximum entropy and perfect equilibrium.

    Everyone knows that things tend to fall apart, not self-assemble. As Stephen Hawing puts it in his lecture Life in the Universe:

    It is a matter of common experience, that things get more disordered and chaotic with time.

    But what does it take to arrive at a mechanism to constructively harness energy? How does such a mechanism come into being when disintegration is the irresistible, universal law? Hawking mentions how without considering the implications of what he is saying:

    … the total amount of disorder, or entropy, in the universe, always increases with time. However, the Law refers only to the total amount of disorder. The order in one body can increase, provided that the amount of disorder in its surroundings increases by a greater amount. This is what happens in a living being. One can define Life to be an ordered system that can sustain itself against the tendency to disorder, and can reproduce itself. That is, it can make similar, but independent, ordered systems. To do these things, the system must convert energy in some ordered form, like food, sunlight, or electric power, into disordered energy, in the form of heat. In this way, the system can satisfy the requirement that the total amount of disorder increases, while, at the same time, increasing the order in itself and its offspring. A living being usually has two elements: a set of instructions that tell the system how to sustain and reproduce itself, and a mechanism to carry out the instructions. In biology, these two parts are called genes and metabolism.

    Where do instructions come from? The necessary instructions to build the mechanism can’t be sustained without the mechanism already being in place, but the mechanism can’t come to be without the instructions.

  12. 12
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Matter tends to fall apart, not self-assemble, to move from integration to disintegration, to go from whatever order came to be by whatever means, to disorder.

    Which is why stars and planets never form from the dust, why water never collects into oceans, why gemstones never form in mountains, why lightning never strikes, and why sunlight never warms your face.

  13. 13
    harry says:

    Stars, planets, oceans and gemstones are, as I acknowledged existed, instances of order that “came to be by whatever means,” which for each of those was the inevitable result of the application of the laws of physics to whatever environment it was that produced them; they are not instances of that which can only come about if, as Hawking mentions, a set of instructions exist. They reached a state of equilibrium, and can only increase in entropy from there, due to the inexorable tendency of matter to disintegrate. They will never assemble themselves into phenomena that increase in functional complexity in spite of that inexorable tendency. To do that requires a set of instructions.

    Again: Where do the instructions come from? The necessary instructions to build the mechanism can’t be sustained without the mechanism already being in place, but the mechanism can’t come to be without the instructions:

    What makes the origin of life and of the genetic code a disturbing riddle is this: the genetic code is without any biological function unless it is translated; that is, unless it leads to the synthesis of the proteins whose structure is laid down by the code. But … the machinery by which the cell (at least the non-primitive cell, which is the only one we know) translates the code consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are themselves coded in the DNA. Thus the code cannot be translated except by using certain products of its translation. This constitutes a baffling circle; a really vicious circle, it seems, for any attempt to form a model or theory of the genesis of the genetic code. Thus we may be faced with the possibility that the origin of life (like the origin of physics) becomes an impenetrable barrier to science, and a residue to all attempts to reduce biology to chemistry and physics.
    — Karl Popper

  14. 14
    Zachriel says:

    harry: They reached a state of equilibrium, and can only increase in entropy from there, due to the inexorable tendency of matter to disintegrate.

    This is not equilibrium.
    https://treasurytoday.com/~/media/articles/2015/03/2015-03and-04-tta-09-t-stormy-sea-with-lightning-ss149368970-300×200.ashx

  15. 15
    harry says:

    Your link provides me with a picture of lightning striking over the ocean and nothing else. The rest of the page is blank. If the article not displaying was suggesting that somehow lightning striking the ocean generated life, reminiscent of the old Frankenstein movie with lightning strikes generating life in the Frankenstein monster (Boris Karloff), and Colin Clive, playing mad scientist Henry Frankenstein, exclaiming “It’s alive!”, then I will find it as convincing than your other arguments, which is to say I won’t find it convincing at all.

  16. 16
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Your link provides me with a picture of lightning striking over the ocean and nothing else.

    That’s right. Lightning is far from equilibrium.

    harry: If the article not displaying was suggesting that somehow lightning striking the ocean generated life,

    No. You suggested that entropy can only increase. While it must increase globally, there is nothing preventing local decreases of entropy. That includes lightning, wind and storm, and crashing waves.

  17. 17
    bornagain says:

    We Don’t Actually Know What Triggers Lightning Strikes – Aug. 2013
    Excerpt: Lightning is a natural electrical discharge—but scientists are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what triggers it.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....osmic.html

    Physicist finds mysterious anti-electron clouds inside thunderstorm – May 13, 2015
    Excerpt: Says Dwyer, “We really don’t understand how lightning gets started very well because we don’t understand the electrical environment of thunderstorms. This positron phenomenon could be telling us something new about how thunderstorms charge up and make lightning, but our finding definitely complicates things because it doesn’t fit into the picture that was developing.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-p.....storm.html

    Job 38:35
    “Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?”

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain: We Don’t Actually Know What Triggers Lightning Strikes

    It’s an angry sky-god hurling thunderbolts at the wicked in the Vale of Tempe below.
    http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/119/779/11977906_640.jpg

  19. 19
    bornagain says:

    Zach, it is precisely because of the initial 1 in 10^10^123 low entropy condition of the universe, (and ‘infinite time’), and the atheist’s rejection of the living God who brought the universe into being, that atheists are the ones who are forced to believe that mythological angry sky gods, flying spaghetti monsters, fluffy pink unicorns, and every other possible imaginary thing, are real in some other universe.

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    Why Most Atheists Believe in Pink Unicorns – May 2014
    Excerpt: Given an infinite amount of time, anything that is logically possible(11) will eventually happen. So, given an infinite number of universes being created in (presumably) an infinite amount of time, you are not only guaranteed to get your universe but every other possible universe. This means that every conceivable universe exists, from ones that consist of nothing but a giant black hole, to ones that are just like ours and where someone just like you is reading a blog post just like this, except it’s titled: “Why most atheists believe in blue unicorns.”
    By now I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll say it anyway. Since we know that horses are possible, and that pink animals are possible, and that horned animals are possible, then there is no logical reason why pink unicorns are not possible entities. Ergo, if infinite universes exist, then pink unicorns must necessarily exist. For an atheist to appeal to multiverse theory to deny the need of a designer infers that he believes in that theory more than a theistically suggestive single universe. And to believe in the multiverse means that one is saddled with everything that goes with it, like pink unicorns. In fact, they not only believe in pink unicorns, but that someone just like them is riding on one at this very moment, and who believes that elephants, giraffes, and zebra are merely childish fairytales.
    Postscript
    While it may be amusing to imagine atheists riding pink unicorns, it should be noted that the belief in them does not logically invalidate atheism. There theoretically could be multiple universes and there theoretically could be pink unicorns. However, there is a more substantial problem for the atheist if he wants to believe in them and he wants to remain an atheist. Since, as I said, anything can happen in the realm of infinities, one of those possibilities is the production of a being of vast intelligence and power. Such a being would be as a god to those like us, and could perhaps breach the boundaries of the multiverse to, in fact, be a “god” to this universe. This being might even have the means to create its own universe and embody the very description of the God of Christianity (or any other religion that the atheist otherwise rejects). It seems the atheist, in affirming the multiverse in order to avoid the problem of fine-tuning, finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. The further irony is that somewhere, in the great wide world of infinities, the atheist’s doppelganger is going to war against an army of theists riding on the horns of a great pink beast known to his tribesman as “The Saddlehorn Dilemma.”
    https://pspruett.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/why-most-atheists-believe-in-pink-unicorns/

    Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing On Rainbows – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-xWhG4UU_Y

    A Matter of Considerable Gravity: On the Purported Detection of Gravitational Waves and Cosmic Inflation – Bruce Gordon – April 4, 2014
    Excerpt: Thirdly, at least two paradoxes result from the inflationary multiverse proposal that suggest our place in such a multiverse must be very special: the “Boltzmann Brain Paradox” and the “Youngness Paradox.” In brief, if the inflationary mechanism is autonomously operative in a way that generates a multiverse, then with probability indistinguishable from one (i.e., virtual necessity) the typical observer in such a multiverse is an evanescent thermal fluctuation with memories of a past that never existed (a Boltzmann brain) rather than an observer of the sort we take ourselves to be. Alternatively, by a second measure, post-inflationary universes should overwhelmingly have just been formed, which means that our existence in an old universe like our own has a probability that is effectively zero (i.e., it’s nigh impossible). So if our universe existed as part of such a multiverse, it would not be at all typical, but rather infinitely improbable (fine-tuned) with respect to its age and compatibility with stable life-forms.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....84001.html

    Can ‘you’ (if there were a ‘you’ in atheism) say, ‘epistemological failure of the atheistic worldview’?

    Interestingly when an atheist denies the reality of God, that atheist, of logical necessity, ends up denying the reality of his own conscious experience, i.e. of his own ‘personhood’, which happens to be the most sure thing that a person can know about reality.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-591212

  20. 20
    bornagain says:

    Coldplay – Miracles (Official Lyric Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7atDQreame4

    John Tesh • We Three Kings • Christmas in Positano, Italy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJbfLcD9O9s

  21. 21
    harry says:

    Zachriel @ 16

    You suggested that entropy can only increase. While it must increase globally, there is nothing preventing local decreases of entropy. That includes lightning, wind and storm, and crashing waves.

    I cited Hawking saying

    It is a matter of common experience, that things get more disordered and chaotic with time. … the total amount of disorder, or entropy, in the universe, always increases with time. However, the Law refers only to the total amount of disorder. The order in one body can increase, provided that the amount of disorder in its surroundings increases by a greater amount.

    Lightning, wind and storm are destructive releases of energy. They don’t build anything. Yeah, a tornado might occasionally drive a nail into a board, but that doesn’t mean that tornados can build houses. Overall, tornados destroy things. Overall, entropy can only increase.

  22. 22
    Zachriel says:

    harry: “It is a matter of common experience, that things get more disordered and chaotic with time.

    That is not quite correct. People have a lot of common experience with things becoming more ordered, e.g. snowflakes.

    harry: “the total amount of disorder, or entropy, in the universe, always increases with time.

    That is correct.

    harry: “However, the Law refers only to the total amount of disorder. The order in one body can increase, provided that the amount of disorder in its surroundings increases by a greater amount.

    That is correct.

    harry: Lightning, wind and storm are destructive releases of energy.

    Storms bring water over the land, like a pump, allowing plants to grow.

    In any case, you said, “They {such as oceans} reached a state of equilibrium, and can only increase in entropy from there, due to the inexorable tendency of matter to disintegrate.” An equilibrium can be disrupted by the flow of energy, and that can result in reductions in local entropy.

  23. 23
    Virgil Cain says:

    People have a lot of common experience with things becoming more ordered, e.g. snowflakes.

    And given TIME those snowflakes will become more disorganized. At least TRY to address what you are responding to.

  24. 24
    harry says:

    Zachriel,

    You create distractions from the central point being made because you don’t have an answer to it. Ultimately things do reach a state of equilibrium and only increase in entropy from there. That does not mean there is never, ever an emergence of some kind of trivial order that is the inevitable result of the laws of physics being applied to some environment, like the emergence of crystals and snowflakes. Again, tornados sometimes drive nails into boards, too. That does not mean it is reasonable to expect that a tornado will build a house, or that digital information-based nanotechnology (life) can be brought about merely by the mindless application of the laws of physics to a natural environment. As Hawking points out, a set of instructions are necessary for that to happen.

    Storms bring water over the land, like a pump, allowing plants to grow.

    Plants are a form of life. Life can’t come about without a set of instructions. Before there was life, before the instructions for life were written, storms brought water over the land and the land got wet. That was it. How life was arrived at is the question, so It is begging the question to use plants as an example of increasing order.

  25. 25
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Ultimately things do reach a state of equilibrium and only increase in entropy from there.

    Ultimately may be billions of years. Meanwhile, the Earth is in constant flux.

    harry: That does not mean there is never, ever an emergence of some kind of trivial order that is the inevitable result of the laws of physics being applied to some environment, like the emergence of crystals and snowflakes.

    The order in a single snowflake is well beyond the “Universal Probability Bound” for a random assortment of water molecules.

  26. 26
    harry says:

    Zachriel @ 25,

    You still dodge the issue.

    Other than life itself, name ten examples of the laws of physics applied to a mindlessly formed natural environment bringing about significant functional complexity. Snowflakes have some intricacy, but no functional complexity.

    Order is not functional complexity. Intricacy is not functional complexity. Significant functional complexity only comes about via intelligent agents.

    Life is the most functionally complex phenomenon known to us. Give me ten reasons why it is rational to just assume it came about mindlessly and accidentally when there is no evidence whatsoever that significant functional complexity ever arises mindlessly and accidentally. It doesn’t because it would have to overcome the inexorable tendency of matter to disintegrate. Yes, limited order arises due to the properties of certain elements but that is nothing like functionality that can, as Hawking put it, “sustain itself against the tendency to disorder.”

  27. 27
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Harry, you’re making a number of mistakes, some trivial and some important. I’ll try to explain the important ones, but I need to start with straightening out a couple of minor ones.

    Ultimately things do reach a state of equilibrium and only increase in entropy from there.

    First, after a system reaches a state of equilibrium, its entropy is not going to change. At equilibrium, no macroscopic change takes place, so the system’s thermodynamic state will not change at all.

    Second, you seem to be assuming that entropy increase = approach to equilibrium, which is only true for isolated systems. For non-isloated systems with equilibrium boundary conditions, they will tend to approach equilibrium with their surroundings, but it’s entirely normal for their entropy to decrease as they do so. For instance, for a system that’s isloated except that it exchanges heat with its surroundings at a constant temperature, the Helmholtz free energy will decrease toward a minimum as it approaches equilibrium, but entropy might either increase or decrease.

    Ok, now we get to an important problem: for a system with non-equilibrium or changing boundary conditions, the second law gives no reason to think the system will approach equibrium at all. Ever.

    The Earth has non-equilibrium boundary conditions. It exchanges heat with both the sun’s photosphere (at a temperature of around 6,000 Kelvin) and deep space (temp around 3 Kelvin). And since it takes in heat from the sun (a high temp = low entropy) and dumps heat to deep space (at low temp = high entropy), that heat flow is constantly driving Earth away from thermodynamic equilibrium. The Earth might reach an approximately stationary state where thermodynamically irreversable processes on Earth drive it towards equilibrium at the same rate the heat flow drives it away (so they effectively cancel and it stays in the same state), but this is very very different from thermodynamic equilibrium.

    The heat flow through Earth powers a wide variety of non-equilibrium phenomenon on Earth, including (but not limited to):

    – Weather of all kinds (well, except still air)
    – The temperature difference between the poles and the equator
    – The hydrologic cycle
    – Life, including metabolism, homeostasis, reproduction, and evolution

    If the heat flow through the Earth were to stop for some reason, the Earth would run down and approach thermodynamic equilibrium. It would look nothing at all like the Earth does today:

    – Weather would run down. Winds would die down and the atmosphere would settle down to a uniform temperature, with no clouds, rain, or … well, anything even slightly interesting.
    – All above-sea-level lakes and rivers would drain into the world ocean and never be replenished by rain and snow.
    – Without an energy source (the sun), plants would die. Then the herbivores that eat them, followed by the carnovores that eat them. Life needs usable (non-equilibrium) energy to do any of the things life does, and without it… life ends.
    (Well, except for deep-ocean vent communities; they get their free energy from radioactive decay deep in the Earth, rather than from the sun. They’d probably keep going until they radioactive elements had mostly decayed away, which would take billions of years. But eventually they’d die too.)

    The things you are talking about, functional complexity, instructions, etc are all completely irrelevant to thermodynamics. Trying to apply the second law to them is like trying to apply the law of gravity to the stock market — it may sound good if you don’t know anything about the actual physics involved, and it might possibly work as a metaphor, but as far as the actual physics is concerned it’s pure garbage.

    Oh, and as for the universe as a whole: it’s expanding, which means the second law doesn’t require it to approach equilibrium. To oversimplify quite a bit, when system is expanding (or contracting, or generally has changing boundary conditions) its equilibrium state is a moving target. If the equilibrium state changes faster than the system approaches it, the system gets left behind in a non-equilibrium state. Currently it’s not expanding very fast, but during inflation (and even during the early post-inflation expansion) the actual state would’ve been left far behind. I’m not a cosmologist, but AIUI the universe was far from equilibrium even before the inflationary phase, but whether that’s surprising or not depends entirely on what process produced that state, and we don’t know that. Insisting that it must be ID is a pure argument from ignorance.

  28. 28
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Other than life itself, name ten examples of the laws of physics applied to a mindlessly formed natural environment bringing about significant functional complexity. Snowflakes have some intricacy, but no functional complexity.

    Why? I agree that we don’t see many examples of highly-complex functional systems other than life and human-created examples, but that in no way supports the claim that the second law forbids such systems. Here’s a hierarchy of claims; each one implies all of the claims after it, but none logically implies any of the claims before it:

    1: The second law of thermodynamics forbids X.
    2: X is impossible.
    3: X never actually happens.
    4: X hardly ever happens.

    You’re trying to use claim #4 to support claim #1, and that’s not logically valid.

  29. 29
    harry says:

    Gordon Davisson,

    Have you read Granville Sewell’s Entropy and Evolution? I think you would find it very helpful. It won’t take long to read it. It can be found here:

    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.2

    I wrote 5 or 6 paragraphs of commentary on the conclusions I had drawn from it, then submitted my work, and found that I had been logged out and all I had written was lost. ;o) I hope that happening doesn’t signify how things are going to go today.

    I have to get ready to go to work now. If you don’t mind, read it and let me know what you think of it.

    I will respond more fully to your remarks when I can.

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    harry: Have you read Granville Sewell’s Entropy and Evolution?

    C. A tornado hits a town, turning houses and cars into rubble. Then, another tornado hits, and turns the rubble back into houses and cars.

    So we have a quintillion objects all neatly stacked. Something comes along and disperses the objects willy-nilly, leaving a jumble. Then the quintillion objects form into a delicate tapestry. Does this represent a violation of thermodynamics?

  31. 31
    harry says:

    Gordon Davisson @ 27,28

    What is your response to Sewell’s Entropy and Evolution?

    He makes a very compelling case that since “The second law is all about using probability at the microscopic level to predict macroscopic change,” and since “the laws of probability do not apply only to isolated systems,” the textbook assertion that “In an isolated system, the direction of spontaneous change is from an arrangement of lesser probability to an arrangement of greater probability,” can be generalized to open systems as “Natural (unintelligent) forces do not do macroscopically describable things that are extremely improbable from the microscopic point of view.”

    In other words, the Earth being an open system does not explain dumb, lifeless matter mindlessly and accidentally assembling itself into the ultra-sophisticated, digital information-based nanotechnology of life, the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch.

    The Earth receiving energy from the sun makes it an open system, but that does not magically allow the virtually impossible to occur.

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    Harry,

    in fact the Clausius expression is based on considering two subsystems inside an isolated system passing d’q of heat from hot to cold subsystem. The source, at higher temp, loses some entropy and the recipient gains some, but as – d’q/Thot is less than + d’q/Tcold, overall entropy rises.

    The micro picture is that the second’s gain in no of ways to arrange mass and energy so greatly overwhelms the reduction in the first that k ln W net rises, if you will for simplicity.

    In short, as I have pointed out for years, an energy importing open system is liable to see entropy rise significantly absent coupling and conversion to work.

    KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: When that coupling-conversion system involves functionally specific complex organisation and information beyond 500 – 1,000 bits [FSCO/I], one is epistemically entitled — per inference to best inductive and analytically supported empirically reliable explanation — to infer design as key cause. This points directly to intelligent design of cell based life and of major body plans including our own.

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    GD, 28:

    4: X hardly ever happens.

    You’re trying to use claim #4 to support claim #1, and that’s not logically valid.

    Nope.

    Statistical thermodynamics gives statistical underpinnings to the classical form of the 2nd law in terms of, the logically conceivable possible states are so overwhelmed by the statistical weight of predominant clusters that they are practically unobservable. Too much haystack, the needles are too deeply isolated.

    For 1,000 bits, there are 1.07* 10^301 possibilities.

    These bits can be viewed as descriptions of node arcs networks describing configs in a description language reduced to structured y/n qs. In the end that is what AutoCAD etc do.

    An observed cosmos of 10^80 atoms changing state at 10^12 – 14 times/s, for 10^17s would be so overwhelmed by the field of possibilities that a direct search for FSCO/I rich clusters would be utterly overwhelmed. Converting the number of tries into a straw sized unit, the haystack for the config space would dwarf the observed cosmos. And you would only be able to sample one straw from it.

    Effective odds of finding a needle in such a haystack without intelligent direction: nil.

    And if you imagine that there are searches that are golden, the set of searches of a set is effectively the set of subsets.

    Search for golden search then is blindly searching the power set of the config space, of order 2^[1.07*10^301], calculator smoking territory.

    Worse, FSCO/I naturally requires clusters of specific highly constrained configs.

    That leads to a pattern of deeply isolated islands of function in the config space, setting up the blind needle in haystack search challenge.

    The evolutionary materialist accounts of origin of cell based life, protein families, and body plans are not plausible in the face of this challenge, obfuscations and dismissive talking points notwithstanding.

    The only reasonable, empirically tested and reliable cause of FSCO/I is intelligently directed configuration, aka design.

    Which is commonly ideologically locked out.

    KF

  35. 35
    harry says:

    kairosfocus @ 32

    … an energy importing open system is liable to see entropy rise significantly absent coupling and conversion to work.

    Exactly.

  36. 36
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: an energy importing open system is liable to see entropy rise significantly absent coupling and conversion to work.

    With regards to the Earth, it absorbs energy as emitted by the Sun, then dumps energy into the cold of space; therefore, solar energy *flows* through the Earth’s surface system. Due to this flow, some areas will have low entropy and other areas will have high entropy, and the Earth’s surface system is in constant and chaotic change.

    So we have a quintillion objects all neatly stacked. Something comes along and disperses the objects willy-nilly, leaving a jumble. Then the quintillion objects form into a delicate tapestry. Does this represent a violation of thermodynamics?

  37. 37
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Harry: I hope the rest of your day went better. I am working on a response to the Sewell paper, but unfortunately he makes a lot of mistakes and it’s taking me a while to sort them out and explain them coherently. I’m partway through, but can’t say for certain when I’ll finish.

    The base problem is that Sewell simply doesn’t understand thermodynamics. In some cases, he can’t make sense of some thermodynamic principle, assumes the problem must be with the physics rather than his understanding, and rejects it as obvious nonsense (e.g. compensation and conversion between different types of entropy). In other cases, he thinks he understands something (when he doesn’t), and takes his “understanding” and runs with it (e.g. the relation between thermodynamics and probability). In still other cases, he simply makes up things that make sense to him and assumes they have something to do with actual thermo (e.g. X-entropies).

    The net result is a mess. But because he’s using his intuition as a guide, it’s an intuitively plausible mess; it just doesn’t match up with reality terribly well.

    Anyway, I’m working on it and will post when I have something reasonably complete.

    In the meantime, a quick reply to kairosfocus: as Zachriel pointed out, you’re ignoring the energy leaving Earth, and you really need to take that into account. The Earth receives high-temperature (low entropy) heat from the sun, and dumps low-temperature (high entropy) heat to deep space. If you look at this in terms of free energy or negentropy, it’s the influx from the sun that’s more important; if you look at it in terms of entropy (as you’re doing), the efflux to deep space is far more significant. But in any case, if you want the full picture you need to take both into account.

    The sunlight reaching Earth carries about 3.8e13 J/K per second of entropy (see my calculation here), and hence adds that much entropy to the Earth’s inventory. The entropy of the thermal radiation leaving Earth is much harder to calculate exactly, but it’s at least 3.7e14 J/K per second. That’s almost a factor of 10 higher than the influx (and realistically it’ll be significantly higher than that). Net result: as far as the second law is concerned, the Earth’s entropy could be decreasing by up to 3.7e14-3.8e13 = 3.3e14 J/K per second without there even being a question that the second law was being violated (at least at this whole-Earth level).

    Now, realistically, there’s no chance at all that the Earth’s entropy is decreasing anything like that fast. Essentially, the second law says that entropy can be produced, and can move around and change form, but cannot be destroyed. The actual rate of change will depend on the entropy flux in/out of the Earth (estimated above) and the rate that entropy is produced on Earth. The second law doesn’t tell you anything at all about what the production rate is; all it addresses is the destruction rate, which is zero.

    The second law also doesn’t place any limits on conversion between different types of entropy, so in addition to not saying whether there’ll be an actual entropy decrease on Earth, or how much (other than less than the net efflux rate), it also says nothing at all about what form the entropy decrease might take.

    Your argument about the difficulty of a blind search isn’t related to the second-law constraints; thermodynamics simply doesn’t address that type of question. This is the sort of thing I was talking about as being like applying the law of gravity to the stock market.

    Aside from thermodynamics, the argument based on the assumption of a blind search is simply wrong. As Winton Ewert recently admitted, “I agree that weak long-range interactions should produce a fitness landscape somewhat smoother than random chance and this fitness landscape would thus be a source of some active information,” which means that evolution can do better than blind search, even without any intelligent assistance.

    The real question is whether evolution can do enough better. Winston goes on to say “We disagree in that I do not think that is going to be a sufficient source of active information to account for biology. I do not have a proof of this.” In order to settle this question completely we’d need to know a lot more about the overall fitness function (and how smooth or rough it is) than we actually do. But in the meantime, if you base your argument on the assumption that unassisted evolution = blind search, you’re arguing from an assumption that’s known to be false.

  38. 38
    harry says:

    Gordon Davisson @ 37,

    Again, other than life itself, name ten examples of the laws of physics applied to a mindlessly formed natural environment bringing about significant functional complexity.

    You can’t. Life on Earth is a spectacular, singular exception to what all the evidence we have been able to gather about the Universe tells us: That Sewell is absolutely right. In both open and closed systems the laws of probability apply.

    The only causally adequate explanation for life is intelligent agency, exactly like the only causally adequate explanation for a laptop PC is intelligent agency.

    Net result: as far as the second law is concerned, the Earth’s entropy could be decreasing by up to 3.7e14-3.8e13 = 3.3e14 J/K per second without there even being a question that the second law was being violated (at least at this whole-Earth level).

    If some people actually believed that a laptop PC might get assembled mindlessly and accidentally, would you encourage them in their belief with remark? If not, why not?

  39. 39
    harry says:

    harry @ 38,

    Oops.

    … encourage them in their belief with that remark?

  40. 40
    Zachriel says:

    harry: In both open and closed systems the laws of probability apply.

    Of course the laws of probability apply.

    harry: If some people actually believed that a laptop PC might get assembled mindlessly and accidentally, would you encourage them in their belief with remark?

    Of course not. But it has nothing to do with the the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is not violated in the making of computers.

  41. 41
    harry says:

    Zachriel @ 40,

    It appears that you do not comprehend Sewell’s point at all.

  42. 42
    Zachriel says:

    harry: It appears that you do not comprehend Sewell’s point at all.

    Handwaving.

    Let’s start with this. Do you think that the manufacture and use of computers is consistent or inconsistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

  43. 43
    Virgil Cain says:

    Do you think that the manufacture and use of computers is consistent or inconsistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

    If mother nature was the manufacturer, yes.

Leave a Reply