Discussion Thread: If you'd like to comment on this TOL One on One.
Dan Styer on TOL: Prof. Styer himself disputes the claim that his 2008 AJP paper furthered the confusion between information and heat entropy.
Johnny and I have agreed to "take it outside," i.e., move a discussion on evolution from the BEL Forum to TheologyOnline's Coliseum right here. So we'll each copy our first posts in that existing discussion, and then continue. So here's the Opening Post (thanks Johnny, I hope this worthwhile and instructive):
In his thread: End of 2nd Law Cannard [sic] (emphasis added):
Okay, LsOL, deal the cards (or should I say: the canards).
Originally Posted by laughsoutloud
Johnny & LsOL, Stipe can read that paper for 19 bucks; it's at the American Journal of Physics: [Daniel] Styer DF (2008) Entropy and evolution, 76(11):1031-1033 here.
Originally Posted by Johnny
But the paper repeats an error that Henry Morris made fifty years ago, and yes that error rippled through the Creation movement, but after all these years, evolutionists, physicists and creationists should stop making the error.
Entropy is NOT a manifestation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
It is not.
The reverse is true.
The 2nd law is a manifestation of entropy.
Heat transfer entropy and information entropy are two very different phenomenas.
From Timothy R. Stout, B.S. in physics from UCLA, patent holder with 30 years of design engineering experience:
So, how do evolutionists… get around the problem of information entropy? … They treat entropy as an independent entity which can be transferred between its different forms. Thus a decrease in entropy associated with a fuel source is equated to the organization present in an information-driven system such as a [living] cell. In other words, thermodynamic entropy is assumed to be convertible into information entropy. … Entropy related to heat engines has nothing to do with entropy related to a Mozart symphony or to an information sequence.
A friend of mine, Dr. Ed Holroyd of Arvada Colorado, B.S in astrophysics and Ph.D. in atmospheric science who has specialized in remote sensing research for the U.S. government for 30 years, wrote a chapter in a 2001 book, in six days, stating (p. 279), "we know about how often there are supernovae, such as about every 25 years in a galaxy like our own. … We can calculate that we should be able to detect those nebulae for millions of years before they diffuse… [However] there are only enough for about 7,000, not millions of, years of explosions. Here is an important discrepancy that has been known for decades."
What do millions of years of missing supernovae have to do with this information entropy and thermodynamic entropy differentiation? Nothing. But I included it as a rib (as in Adam's) to naturalists and as a transition to a quote from that book that is relevant. Dr. Jeremy L. Walter, head of Engineering Analysis and Design at Penn State's Applied Research Lab in their Energy Science and Power Systems Division has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. all in mechanical engineering, received an NSF grant to be used at an institution of his choice, and has led undersea propulsion development projects for the U.S. Navy researching thermal power systems.
Walter wrote (p. 15-16), "…without a heat engine, no efficient useful work is produced by the flow of heat. … many evolutionists believe the solution to the threat of the second law is to be found in statistical thermodynamics." This is the argument in the paper LsOL referred to, that evolution on earth can appear to violate the 2nd Law locally because a decrease in [information] entropy as a squid evolves in the sea is offset by a fluctuation of [heat] entropy in a galaxy far, far away. Okaay.
Sorry. Actually, the paper didn't even make the distinction between information entropy and heat entropy that I just did. So, to realize what Styer's paper actually claimed, just delete the two bracketed words above:
that evolution on earth can appear to violate the 2nd Law locally because a decrease in entropy as a squid evolves in the sea is offset by a fluctuation of entropy in a galaxy far, far away.
After summarizing the attempt by James Clerk Maxwell in 1891 to find a way around the thermodynamic entropy issue, and the offsetting 1929 paper by Szilard demonstrating the ruthlessness of the 2nd law, Dr. Walter then stated (p. 17):
In naturalistic evolution, life is believed to have originated as high fluxes of energy passed through a chemical soup of fortuitous composition. The problem here is much more difficult than that faced by the Maxwell demon, because life requires structures of incredible complexity, not just high energy levels. … The presumed high-energy fluxes do not provide structure or intelligence…
But as a creationist indebted to Henry Morris, the Copernicus of the Young Earth Creation movement, let me first level two criticisms at Morris:
Morris Error 1
: Henry Morris wrongly
stated that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics resulted
from the Fall (Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science
1984, pp. 195-197; copied
by countless others), as though a cup of hot cocoa would not have cooled down if left to sit in the Garden; and as though an oven could have continue to burn its fuel forever; etc. (For Bible students: "the Tree of Life" had the same purpose in the initial creation as it does in the New Creation; God put it in Eden, and later transferred the Tree of Life to heaven, to deal with the effects of entropy on the human body, so that "the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:2; Gen. 2:9, 16; 3:22).
Morris Error 2
: Henry Morris (even though he began his work in the early decades after Bell Laboratories' discovery of information entropy, and it's parallel to thermodynamic entropy, still) should not have used the term Entropy as a synonym for the 2nd Law
The equation for Entropy is engraved on the tombstone of the 19th century Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann who famously quantified entropy in heat engines. Wikipedia quotes physicist Max Plank, "The logarithmic connection between entropy and probability was first stated by L. Boltzmann in his kinetic theory of gases." LsOL and Johnny, this should interest you because decades later, at Bell Laboratories, as described by Stout (CM, Sept/Oct 2008, Vol 13, Num. 5, p. 1):
During the late 1940's Claude E. Shannon, considered
the father of "information theory," was a scientist working for Bell Labs. He had the responsibility to determine the maximum data rate at which digital information could be sent reliably across telephone lines… In performing statistical analyses on the corruption of digital information, he ended up with certain formulas that were very similar to Boltzmann's
(Elsewhere I'll tell of my interacting with Bell engineers as a teenager in NJ.) Yikes! What's going on with Shannon's information degradation formulas being similar to Boltzmann's thermodynamic formulas? Heat entropy was NOT the significant factor in that degradation of transferred information. This was ANOTHER manifestation of entropy, other than thermodynamic entropy, this was "information entropy."
Stout continues (p. 2):
"Shannon also called this trait entropy… More technically, though, it is information entropy and not thermodynamic entropy.
Works of art are organized…. Thus, a random blast on a trumpet during… a Mozart symphony will… detract from the performance."
Entropy has to do with the move from order to disorder in any organized system, whether it is organized by energy states, ergonomics (arrangement of utensils in your kitchen, etc), aesthetic values, information content, etc.
Stout also wrote:
the more organized a system is, the harder or more unlikely it is for a random change [mutation] to increase its order. … Evolutionists claim that [biological] organization is the result of cumulative progress made through… random changes… However… mutations to the DNA of a cell, should destroy order, not increase it.
So I'll conclude this criticism of the American Journal of Physics 2008 article titled Entropy and Evolution repeating Stout's observation that evolutionists thing information entropy can be converted to thermodynamic entropy; and far more significant, his reminder that Entropy is NOT a manifestation of thermodynamics, but vice versa.
So, how do evolutionists… get around the problem of information entropy? … They treat entropy as an independent entity which can be transferred between its different forms. Thus a decrease in entropy associated with a fuel source is equated to the organization present in an information-driven system such as a [living] cell. In other words, thermodynamic entropy is assumed to be convertible into information entropy. … Entropy related to heat engines has nothing to do with entropy related to… an information sequence.
And so laughsoutloud and Johnny, please remember: Entropy is NOT a manifestation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
It is not.
The reverse is true.
The 2nd law is a manifestation of entropy.