Key Issue with and Challenge to Evolution
In essence, this issue is that there are no known mutations which give new information to living things. They all either lose information or re-arrange existing information – this is also the case for genetic information. Evolution requires that new information be added without external intervention.
The first and second laws of thermodynamics preclude things becoming more ordered over any timescale without outside intervention. These laws are:
- First Law of Thermodynamics: energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed.
- Second Law of Thermodynamics: there is always an increase in disorder (loss of structure or information); entropy always increases.
As energy is transferred from one form to another, some is lost as heat; as the energy decreases. The disorder in the system increases and therefore the entropy increases. So, for an isolated system, the natural course of events takes the system towards a more disordered (higher entropy) state.
We will also explore this further when looking at the genetics and the implications on Evolution / Creation.
Addressing secular responses to this challenge
What do we mean by Entropy and Information?
Before going on to explain what secular challenges are and why they are misplaced, it will be beneficial for us to have a visual understanding of Entropy (I understand pictures better than words – and know that many people are the same in this).
The simple diagramme below summarises the concept of entropy and will help you to visualise what we mean by “more” or “less” information.
(I always found it to be a little “counter-intuitive.” As a concept I wanted less entropy to mean less information, however, please remember that more information = less entropy.)
It is not necessary for you to work through these challenges and responses if you don’t wish to. They do not change the explanation above, but do provide some responses if these challenges are presented to you.
There is no loss of information
It should be noted that a challenge to this, from secular sources, is often that there are the same number of genes before and after mutations, so there is no reduction in information. As we have seen from the two laws, there is also no reduction in energy, but there is a reduction in order/information. In addition, during the changes that are often described as evolution, the genes that provide for long hair, straight beaks, flight feathers, have been lost – and this represents a loss of information. In any case, simply saying that the same number of genes are present does not mean that no information is lost (and we will see later, when we look at the Genetic issues with evolution, just how complicated this in reality). Saying no information is lost is like saying that there is no information loss between 1110001111 (the number 911 in binary) and 0000000000 (which is zero in binary) as there are the same number of digits – there is clearly a loss of information between the two.
We are not looking at a closed system
It should be noted that some believers in evolution respond to this claim by asserting that the 2nd Law only applies to a closed system. They then go on to say that there are no closed systems, unless you consider the entire universe. This is to place a hurdle in the way of its use that is not there for normal science and engineering applications, and is unrealistic as a result. When scientists and engineers consider “closed systems” they do not produce models of the entire universe.
Trying to apply a higher hurdle for Creationists that for normal scientific applications is a twisting of the Laws to suit their desired outcome. We should remember:
- The “Laws” are not true laws (they do not influence the behaviour of anything);
- They are models of the world or universe that we use in order to make sense of it and to be able work within it effectively;
- They are used very effectively in a range of applications (e.g. power stations, car engine, HVAC units, etc etc) that do not require a model of the entire universe to make them useable;
- To require that now, just because it is inconvenient is misleading at best;
- There would need to be a very good reason for saying that this was an exception (and being an inconvenience to evolutionary theory does not count in my book!).
Our interaction Changes the Measured Outcomes
A further assertion, though from a separate source, is that we interact with the systems and provide inputs which affect their operation. This idea is an extension of the ideas and concepts from Quantum Theory and Quantum Mechanics, and is essentially that the act observing a system changes and influences the system itself. I am not an expert in Quantum Theory and Mechanics but I do know that they are only applicable at the sub-atomic level. At the subatomic level the macro level laws of science no longer apply, and the challenge might appear to have some merit.
However, if we take a step back, we realise that evolution is said to be a random, undirected process that has been in operation “for millions of years”. This means that it has been in operation for a long time before there were any sentient beings such as ourselves who could intervene and direct the process. This means that there cannot have been an external interaction that was directing or influencing the changes.
In actual fact, the only possible external intelligence that could have influenced evolutionary processes over this length of time is God, and we know that God used Creation and not Evolution as the method of creating life!
There will continue to be challenges to Creation as an explanation, and we should welcome them (so long as they are a genuine attempt at understanding). Challenges mean that people are engaging with what we are saying and trying to understand. The fact that the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics themselves present difficulties for Evolutionary theory is important – scientific discoveries continue to support Creation. We shall see this in later posts in this series. The next post in this series describes the Special Theory of Evolution (or Natural Selection or Speciation) as this actually agrees with the Bible and Genesis – something that most Christians are completely unaware of!