patfoley at saclink.csus.edu
Thu Sep 10 23:28:28 EDT 1998
I agree with everything Doug Yanega wrote in his treatment of entropy. It
is also worth noting that the only law of physics that suggests entropy
increases is the second law of thermodynamics. All of the other laws help
to create order (such as the formation of galaxies by the action of
gravity and conservation laws). The second law of thermodynamics is not
the action of Satan in the material world; it is just a probabilistic law
that states that in the absence of external input, a closed system is
more likely to move towards a more probable (i. e. disordered) state. It
is not immutable or mysterious; it must hold in any universe that
follows rules of logic and is complex enough to be worth noticing.
The essence of Darwin's theory is that local order can be created by the
action of natural selection. Mutations are blind to their own value.
Natural selection is not. However, mutations are not completely "random".
Genetic variability is constrained by the channels of development,
already trenched out by past natural selection. Evolution isa less
predictive science than we could wish because 1) the pattern of expressed
mutations is not very predictable and 2) natural selection undergoes
great stochastic changes during the history of a clade of creatures.
It may not be profitable to argue out creation science frequently, but it
is surely a mistake to leave readers with an impression that science is
as stupid as creation scientists claim. This is subtle stuff, not all
biologists make the most effective arguments in support of evolution, but
it is not just soapbox argument. People devote lives to collect
information and analyze it. To say 'I don't see how ...' is pretty
unimpressive. See how! or take some courses in genetics, ecology,
evolution and systematics.
patfoley at csus.edu
More information about the Leps-l