In our continuing series of trying to help religious apologists see the errors in their arguments so they can clean them up (who am I kidding, religious apologists are not trying to convert atheists, they are trying to feed cogent-sounding arguments to believers to keep them in the faith fold):
An argument that comes up now and again in apologetics for both Islam and Christianity is that “order cannot come from disorder,” or a profound misunderstanding of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection when trying to debunk the theory. (As an aside, if someone could debunk the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, they aren’t going to do it on an apologetics blog such as Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, a wiki page like Conservapedia, or YouTube. They’re going to do it in a peer-reviewed journal, and if successful, go collect their Nobel Prize for Biology.)
By the way, today’s featured article at Conservapedia, the Trustworthy Encyclopedia (LOL) is Atheism and Cancer (which asserts that atheism is the cause of cancer, no, seriously, it does, with all sorts of dishonest representations and omissions). That wiki is run by Andrew Schafley (son of Phyllis Schafley). As an aside, Mr. Schafley and editors are rewriting the Bible to remove “all the liberal bias.” (Seriously.)
www.conservapedia.com/Conservative_Bible_Project (Mr. Shafley is looking for volunteers to help him edit the Bible to remove the “liberal bias,” though they have completed some of it. If you’re interested in helping rehabilitate that socialist anti-establishment hippie that is the centre of the Gospels, have a look at some of the work they’ve already completed at the link.)
Anyway, back to the assertion we’re trying to debunk here:
In support of the assertion “order cannot come from disorder,” apologists will try to use science to debunk science (somewhat of an oxymoron itself).
A quick debunk of the argument is a simple question: Do you know what the other laws of thermodynamics are? (That one has never failed me.)
If you actually have to go farther than that (drawing on my high school physics from long ago), the Second Law says that when energy changes from one form to another (or matter moves freely), entropy increases in a closed system.
Entropy (when expressed as energy loss, usually the way creationists mean it) is simply the amount of energy not available to do work. Thus when invoking the Second Law of Thermodynamics, what a creationist is trying to argue is that the Earth is a closed system, thus “order” (evolution of species) could not arise from it. If order could not arise from it, that means evolution is not true and atheism is false.
(That is always where the argument goes: Atheism is false. Never mind evolution has nothing to do with atheism: Even if the Theory of Evolution was debunked tomorrow, that doesn’t mean you get to insert God as the solution. God becomes the solution when someone demonstrates God.)
Moreover, the error in the creationism argument can be shown as a syllogism:
A) The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy can only increase in a closed system.
B) Earth is a closed system.
C) Evolution, being increasing order, violates the Second Law.
(Bonus: and therefore atheism is untrue)
We’ll skip for the moment that many churches accept Evolution by Natural Selection as the best explanation for how life diversified on Earth.
Premise B) is false: Earth is not a closed system. Energy is constantly being added to Earth by the Sun.
Therefore, C) can be rejected outright for a false premise.
The bonus can be rejected outright because evolution is not equal to atheism.