Chapter

Thermodynamics and the Origins of Order

Niall Shanks

in God, the Devil, and Darwin

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195161991
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835058 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195161998.003.0004
 Thermodynamics and the Origins of Order

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The creationist claim that evolution is inconsistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that entropy in the universe increases, is discussed and refuted: local reductions in entropy can be offset against increases in entropy elsewhere, so that the net increase in entropy required by the Law is consistent with local decreases in entropy. It is explained how recent developments in nonequilibrium thermodynamics have shown how physical systems can organize themselves into highly ordered states under the influence of natural laws alone.

Keywords: entropy; Second Law of Thermodynamics; self-organization; nonequilibrium thermodynamics; creationist

Chapter.  15752 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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