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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Darwin is Dead - Part Two

I admit it, this cold/virus thing is kicking my butt! I take anti-biotics, I begin feeling better, they run out, I get sick again. I am now treating this with the addition of a great deal of cayenne pepper in just about everything in addition to medication. By the time I am done with work it is hard to want to make a post at all. Fortunately for me, this is the blog carnival and so I will post the second group of entries!

First, a double entry of sorts from Jonathan Sarfati. The first of his two essays touches upon the T-Rex (MOR 1125) in a way.

Ostrich eggs break dino-to-bird theory

by Jonathan Sarfati

22 August 2002
Subsequently published in
Creation 25(1):34–35, December 2002 – February 2003.

While it’s widely treated as fact that birds evolved from dinosaurs, Genesis is perfectly clear that dinosaurs—land animals—were created one day after the birds. And a minority of evolutionists still resist the dino-to-bird theory on scientific grounds (see Did birds really evolve from dinosaurs?).

The leader of the evolutionary objections for many years has been Dr Alan Feduccia, professor and former head of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the author of the encyclopedic The Origin and Evolution of Birds (1999). He has pointed out many anomalies, e.g. the allegedly birdlike dinosaurs are ‘dated’ 25–80 million years after the oldest true bird they are supposed to have evolved into. And the theropods had curved, serrated teeth while the ‘oldest’ birds such as Archaeopteryx had straight, unserrated peg-like teeth. He explains the superficial similarities between birds and dinosaurs as convergent evolution, i.e. where different groups evolve similar structures because of a similar lifestyle, in this case walking upright on two hind legs. Creationists would explain this as evidence of a common designer who designed similar structures for similar purposes.

Feduccia published a significant paper in Science1 showing that ‘birds lack the embryonic thumb that dinosaurs had, suggesting that it is “almost impossible” for the species to be closely related.’2 We reported on this and other current discoveries in Dino-Bird Evolution Falls Flat! (1998).3

Now Feduccia and a new Ph.D. graduate, Julie Nowicki, have refined the embryological study and published their findings in the leading German biological journal Naturwissenschaften.4 They opened a number of ostrich eggs to examine the embryos at various stages of development. Most studies had concentrated on embryos in the second half of development, when most of the structures are fully formed and merely need to grow. But Feduccia and Nowicki found that the main skeletal features in ostriches, supposedly ‘primitive’ birds, develop between days 8 and 15 of the 42 days in the egg.

The research conclusively showed that only digits two, three and four (corresponding to our index, middle and ring fingers) develop in birds. This contrasts with dinosaur hands that developed from digits one, two and three. Feduccia pointed out:

‘This creates a new problem for those who insist that dinosaurs were ancestors of modern birds. How can a bird hand, for example, with digits two, three and four evolve from a dinosaur hand that has only digits one, two and three? That would be almost impossible.’4

If the birds evolved from dinosaurs, then one would expect common genes. These in turn would code for a common development in the embryo. But this is not so here, hence Feduccia is right to argue against the dinosaur-to-bird theory. However, a common designer is a coherent explanation for the fact that similar structures (in this case, three-fingered hands) are programmed to develop in totally different ways.
Frog and human digit development

Diagram showing the difference in developmental patterns of frog and human digits.
Left: In humans, programmed cell death (apoptosis) divides the ridge into five regions that then develop into digits (fingers and toes) [after Sadler, T.W., ed., Langman’s Medical Embryology, 7th Ed., Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, pp. 154–157, 1995].
Right: In frogs, the digits grow outwards from buds as cells divide [after Tyler, M.J., Australian Frogs: a natural history, Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia, p. 80, 1999].

This is not the only example where superficially homologous structures actually develop in totally different ways. One of the most commonly argued proofs of evolution is the pentadactyl limb pattern, i.e. the five-digit limbs found in amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. However, they develop in a completely different manner in amphibians and the other groups. To illustrate, the human embryo develops a thickening on the limb tip called the AER (apical ectodermal ridge), then programmed cell death (apoptosis) divides the AER into five regions that then develop into digits (fingers and toes). By contrast, in frogs, the digits grow outwards from buds as cells divide (see diagram, right).

This difference is even more striking than that discovered by Feduccia which he published in prestigious journals and which he (correctly) used as evidence against the dino-to-bird theory. So, logically, this huge difference in limb formation should likewise be regarded as evidence against a common ancestor for humans and amphibians. In other words, as evidence against the entire evolutionary ‘big picture’.

Wider application: We have often noted that discoveries that supposedly support evolution are trumpeted throughout the world’s media; but when they are refuted, even by evolutionists, they are rarely given the same prominence. A notorious example was the alleged life in the Martian meteorite, now almost universally discredited as being of non-biological origin. Similarly, there was almost no publicity of this research by a leading paleo-ornithologist undermining the dino-to-bird dogma, in contrast to claims in National Geographic that dino-to-bird evolution was conclusively proven by the new fossil ‘Archaeoraptor’. But this turned out to be a fraudulent ‘Piltdown Bird’.

We hope readers of Creation magazine and this web site will fill this gap by spreading the true information as widely as possible.

Click to read the footnotes and also the second article, Vestigial digits?

The Trouble with Guanine

The second contribution is actually the first entry received for this edition of the Carnival.

Dr. Azo Mazur
Fellow of the reDiscovery Institute

Reprinted from The reDiscovery Institute Proceedings, 2005

Scientists in the Design Movement have no doubt that the original optimal designs of life have been degraded. We believe that degradation of original designs has led to infectious disease, birth defects, cancer, and aging. Disease is not evidence of an unintelligent or malevolent designer. Disease is evidence that the original optimal designs have degenerated over time.

My esteemed colleague Stephen C. Meyer has noted that there is direct genetic evidence (i.e., scientific evidence) that one deadly disease (the plague) arose from evolutionary processes that altered an original design. He has proposed a specific pathway of degradation of an optimal design. He makes a compelling argument that one of the most important goals of current design scientists must be to infer flawless aboriginal designs and to determine the mechanisms and effects of subsequent decay.

Here we take up Mr. Meyer's challenges. We identify the single biggest mistake in all of biology. That mistake is Guanine. And what a mistake it is!

Guanine (G), along with adenine (A), thymine (T) and cytosine (C), are the four bases of DNA, which is used in all biological systems (except some viruses) to encode genetic information. The stability and integrity of genetic information are of critical importance to all living systems.

Incredibly, Guanine is chemically unstable. Guanine, in the oxidizing environment of a cell converts to 8-oxoGuanine. Guanine is so unstable that 100,000 Guanines convert to 8-oxoGuanines in an average mammalian cell each day (1). Cells have elaborate and multilayered systems to repair 8-oxoGuanine (2) in their attempts to maintain genetic integrity. Even so, 8-oxoGuanine causes spontaneous mutation, cancer and aging (3,4).

Guanine is the most glaring and transcendental result of degeneration of the original optimal design. Gaunine has invaded biological systems, and is currently found to have assumed a variety of functions. It is a component of DNA and RNA. It is involved in cell signaling and metabolism. Guanine is everywhere.

Is it conceivable that an intelligent and beneficent designer would use Guanine to encode genetic information in man, made in God's own image? Would you store important tax information in wax imprints? No, because wax is not stable. Duh! When it melts, important information is lost. Darwinists propose that Guanine was incorporated into living systems by a random, heartless and amoral process of evolution. Design Scientists believe Gaunine arose via degeneration of an optimal design. But here there is common ground. All agree that an Intelligent Designer would not use Guanine in the genetic code.

Gaunine leads surely and inexorably to 8-oxoGuanine, which in turn causes cancer and aging. We can say with certainty that there was no Guanine in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had C, A and T, but not G in their DNA. This conclusion is consistent with the expectations of many theologians who think, based on their understanding of Judeo-Christian doctrine and scripture, that the physical world was optimally designed but should show evidence of subsequent decay. Mr. Meyer suggests that we should deduce the noble aboriginal design. We have done so. It is The G-less Genome. We will expand on the concept of the G-less Genome in future publications.

Go here to read the entire article with footnotes included.

The following entry is from someone who, despite the name of his blog, probably does not enjoy living life in a bubble....this is a good thing, knowing some of our commenters, who take great delight in popping such bubbles if possible. Bill, you are on!

The Real "Missing Link": Evolution "Theory" vs. Scientific "Law"

Earlier this month, I saw an article in Time Magazine about how fish crept on land. To qualify my perspective, you should know that I am a Christian and believe that God created the world. You should also know that I have an open mind and will freely admit to evolution when I see irrefutable evidence of one species becoming an entirely new species. With our expertise in genetic engineering, I am SHOCKED that we haven't been able to demonstrate this phenomena with even the smallest organism.

When evaluating new claims about finding a "missing link" in the "Theory" of Evolution, I am reminded of a quote by Abraham Maslow:

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail. [Some] choose to work as best they can with important problems rather than restricting themselves to doing only that which they can do elegantly with the techniques already available." Abraham Maslow, The Psychology of Science (Harper and Row, New York), 1966

Of course, since the people interested in new fossil discoveries are Paleontologists, it's not surprising that every new fossil fits into the "Theory" of Evolution. What's interesting to me is that popular science uses the cafeteria method when pushing forward theories. For example, did you know that Darwin also believed that man was actually the more "evolved" form of the species?

Man's Superiority

In Descent of man Darwin wrote: "The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman - whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands" (Chapter 19, 1871 edition Darwin, Descent of Man - Chapter 19 - Secondary Sexual Characters of Man)

Of course, from my limited experience on the planet, life seems to exhibit the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics quite frequently; whereas, I have yet to see evidence that even a single cell organism has evolved (been transformed from one species to another). Of course, I have not been alive for millions of years.

2nd Law of Thermodynamics

I admit that I wasn't paying close attention in my Science classes, but I do remember that "Laws" supersede "Theories". It seems at best illogical that something would naturally go from something simple to something complex. In fact, most things that I see "break down" not build up over time. Think about it, once anything is created, it begins to decay. There is an interesting article that explores how this law might apply to this interesting debate.

I am, of course, fascinated by this discussion and hope that it doesn't "devolve" into name-calling, which it usually does (isn't that interesting). What's amazing to me is the order that God created things in Genesis. Isn't it neat how closely this order lines up with the "order" that Paleontologists are discovering these fossils? This part of the Bible was even written before we had all of these sophisticated measuring devices that tell us how old something is.

Here is the entire post on Bill's blog.

Now I can rest a bit, trying to get over this illness so I can wrestle with commenters again! Cheers!


radar said...

I allow all posts that are not profane. It is up to the reader to determine whether tongue is in cheek or not. I wanted to share a paragraph from the re-Discovery Institute website:

The reDiscovery Institute maintains a slick web page, and tirelessly promotes archaic religious dogma elegantly dressed in modern scientific terminology, to school boards, museums, theaters, juries, and editorial pages across America. We support and maintain the Intelligent Design Hall of Fame. The reDiscovery Institute urges adherence to John Phillipson's Ice Pick Gambit: "Until we gain total control, keep the old testament part of our agenda quiet because it frightens normal people." The reDiscovery Institute is backed by members, a board, and an ultra-conservative, ultra-rich, California savings and loan heir who believes that the American democracy should be replaced with biblical theocracy.

George Soros???? *wink*

Anonymous said...

Talkorigins has an article by PZ Myers (haven't ever seen anything by him there before) in response to Sarfati's ostrich eggs/frog digits piece.

Re: the froggy feet, PZ points out that
" . . . it’s all nonsense. It’s a blatant denial of basic information you’ll find in any developmental biology textbook.
We’ve got a pretty good handle on the outline of limb development in multiple tetrapod lineages now, and they all use the same tools. Contrary to Sarfati’s implication, they all have apical ectodermal ridges (with some rare exceptions in a few highly derived, direct-developing frogs) and zones of polarizing activity, they all use the same set of molecules, including FGF-4 and FGF-8 and the same Hox genes and retinoic acid and BMPs. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that limb development is dazzlingly well conserved.

This matches everything (granted, not a lot!) that I've seen on the subject, but the very best part comes next:

"It is true that frogs have less apoptosis [programmed cell death] between their digits than we do, but that’s because they have webbed feet."

You sometimes get the same thing happening with humans (syndactyly, who are then born with webbed digits.

Anyway, I hope you feel better.

-Dan S.

WomanHonorThyself said...

God created things in Genesis. Isn't it neat how closely this order lines up with the "order" that Paleontologists are discovering these sure is Radar..and quite telling too!...amazing research dude!..:)

Anonymous said...

"We have often noted that discoveries that supposedly support evolution are trumpeted throughout the world’s media; but when they are refuted, even by evolutionists, they are rarely given the same prominence."

Has this 'evil lib- I mean, evolutionist, media meme been common in antievolutionary rhetoric, or is it something new? I don't read enough of it to know . . .
Anyway, this is an issue that cuts across not just all of science reporting, but pretty much all of reporting. The popular media will glom onto some headline-producing, revenue-increasing finding, strip away all the expressed uncertainty, hestitation, qualifiers, little wrinkles, etc., and blare it to the world. If it turns out to be misinterpreted, or a tenative conclusion overturned by later research, a teeny tiny follow up may be printed somewhere in the depths of the paper or rmagazine. Unless, of course, the new finding can be sensationalized as well, in which case the process repeats, with no indication of how the original coverage was so wrong, or any hint that the new finding comes with any doubt . . .

See, for example, fiber, cholesterol, fat, etc.

Look at actual scientific papers! They're full of hedging and hemming and hawwing, and all those little words - seems, may - that Radar doesn't like. This is because discovery, in this complex world, is an inherently uncertain process. However, it's not very sensational - in fact, it's a little boring. What makes a better headline: 'Unusual structures in Martian rock may be signs of simple life, but perhaps not,' or 'LIFE FOUND ON MARS ROCK!!'?

The maybe-but-not-Martian-microbes story is a good example, I think. The scientific community's reaction was, more or less, oh wow! . . . but wait, we better make sure this is for real, there are other (natural) ways these structures may have been produced (as, sadly, seems to have been the case).

Sarfati may imagine that this is a case of 'evolutionist media bias' (why, I'm not sure, since creationists could tell themselves that God put bacteria on Mars, or even that they came from Earth) but let's get real - it was a story about alien! Extraterrestrial life! Little green men - even if they were very little, probably not green, and definitely not men (or even Devo). And, of course, in the end, not life. Oh well.

"Similarly, there was almost no publicity of this research by a leading paleo-ornithologist undermining the dino-to-bird dogma, in contrast to claims in National Geographic that dino-to-bird evolution was conclusively proven by the new fossil ‘Archaeoraptor’."

"[D]ogma," ha! Talk about the pot calling the kettle stoned. But as we've seen in the comments here previously, National Geographic - a glossy, profusely illustrated geography-focused popular magazine which includes a zip code of the month feature - while fun, is not perhaps the best source for scientific research (if you're going for nontechnical, Science News is pretty good in terms of print, and online sources like ScienceDaily or Eurekalert are pretty neat). They have a habit of jumping the gun, and in one case their decision to publicize a spectacular and recently discovered Mayan site (with enough details to determine its location) resulted in it being pillaged.

In the case of archaeoraptor, this tendency mixed unfortunately with what looks like a bit of scientist publicity seeking. To make a long story short, " A Chinese farmer had created the archaeoraptor fossil by gluing two [genuine] fossils together, one of which was a Microraptor." The scientists studying it had planned to publish an article in one of the leading scientific journals, followed by a National Geographic piece. However, their article was rejected, and National Geographic - unable, it's said, to pull the article in time (it gets, perhaps, a little murky here) lumbered on into the iceberg of fraud alone, unencumbered by peer-reviewed research.

"From the beginning many paleontologists, including those most familiar with the fossil, had their doubts about the fossil’s credibility. It came from Liaoning Province, China, where farmers or businessmen excavating fossils are known for their creative tendencies of piecing together fossils of supposed missing parts or carving features in for aesthetic purposes . . .

“Our suspicion was raised initially because of the visible break between the skeleton,” Currie says. The ramrod straight tail and the rest of the body seem disconnected when viewed with the naked eye. In July, CT scans of the fossil done by Tim Rowe of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at the University of Texas in Austin confirmed bones were missing between the tail and the pelvis."

The researchers - Currie, Czerkas, and Xu - originally believed that the composite was a single fossil, but fairly rapidly came to have doubts (it sounds like they may not have shared these doubts with National Geographic?).

The Geotimes article linked in the quote above (from March 2000) includes a comment that “This one slipped by for reasons parallel to the Piltdown hoax,” Paul Sereno said . . . “It looked like a fossil human, and was undetected, because it was in the form scientists were expecting to find.”

This claim - that initially they didn't look quite as closely as they should have, since the fossil confirmed their expectations - isn't unreasonable. However, we should note some very important differences between Piltdown and archyrap.
* Unlike Piltdown, Archaeoraptor lasted about four months - not four decades.
*Unlike Piltdown, the original researchers played a major role in uncovering the hoax.
* Unlike Piltdown, here modern technology (CAT scans) helped reveal the hoax (Piltdown would have come unraveled much faster had the technology of the day not been so primitive).
* Unlike Piltdown, Archeoraptor was made of genuinely important fossils - a species of small feathered dinosaur, and an early bird - unknown prior to their appearance as Archaeoraptor.

On one hand, you can see people being very people-ish - the American researchers, at least, looking for attention, and, possibly, letting their expectations tilt their judgement a little bit, initially; National Geographic going after a flashy story - Missing Link Found!! (If I remember correctly - and I might not be, have to check - National Geographic also jumped on the Protoavis bandwagon - the fossil, 75 million years older than poor Archaeopteryx, that has been claimed to be the remains of a much more modern-looking bird - another great headline! General opinion seems to be that the bones are so damaged and jumbled that it's hard to tell what exactly Protoavis was. Not a hoax, but perhaps overly hopeful, until more specimens are found). All this attention seeking behavior is what made the incident somewhat of an embarrassment, rather than a footnote.

But if you look past the media spotlight, past the attention-grabbing antics, what you see is science actually working. That's what Sarfati doesn't want you to do.

Note, also, that in a fairly short piece Sarfati tosses out a number of things at the reader. Bird digits! Frog hands! Archaeoraptor hoax! It goes by very quickly, leaving the impression that evolution is full not of holes (almost any big scientific idea is) but stupid, obvious mistakes - all hole, pretty much.

I've been putting up links and comments countering this, but notice something - it takes up a lot more space, and tends to be fairly complex, especially if one is actually explaining in convincing detail, rather than simply asserting, 'no, that's not true either.' Sarfati can just toss out a few sentences about frog hands, with one or two difficult terms. In order to replace this claim with actual science, PZ has to drone on about " apical ectodermal ridges . . zones of polarizing activity . . FGF-4 and FGF-8 . . .Hox genes and retinoic acid and BMPs" . . . huh? What what we talking about again? (And PZ's giving a somewhat simplified account). The bit in that link (see my comment above) about digit development is enough to make your head hurt.

It's a slightly more sedate version of the famous Gish Gallup debating tactic (which is very much on display with other antievolutionists). Sarfati is counting on two things: 1) his audience won't know enough science to catch his misrepresentations, 2) most attempts at refuting even some of what he writes with actual science are going to be so complicated and unwieldy to be effectively useless in convincing his audience.
Short version:
1)bird digits: modern science (using techniques, ideas, and discoveries unimaginable in the days when the first specimens of archaeopteryx were being found in rock mined to use in a primitive art-printing process) suggests that birds and dinosaurs actual do share the same same digits
2)froggy fingers: Sarfati is just misrepresenting actual science here, including leaving out the little fact that frog hands have less digit-shaping cell death because they have webbed feet!
3) Evolutionist media bias: If you trust flashy media reporting - over slower but actually expert research - you have only yourself to blame. Sarfati's obsesion with National Geographic's breathless reporting, or the headlines in some daily newspapers, rather than the actual conclusions by real scientists one or two months later (and he has to admit that these sort of overeaching claims picked up and amplified by the media are in fact refuted "by evolutionists") says a lot about his priorities.

"Similarly, there was almost no publicity of this research by a leading paleo-ornithologist undermining the dino-to-bird dogma."

I don't know how much (or little) publicity Feduccia had (frankly, the details are so mindnumbing it's pretty hard to get a good pop story about it, and there isn't much chance for stunning speculative reconstructions), but if you do a search for "Storrs Olson bird debate" - Olson being one of the most outspoken critics in the Archeoraptor silliness, and perhaps one of the few researchers in the area besides Feduccia here to think that dino->bird = bollocks (it's rather the minority opinion at this point)- pops up in news article after news article
basically exclaiming 'poppycock! nonsense'.

Although many of them may be variants of a single wire story - I'll leave that to somebody else.

But anyway, let's let Feduccia have the last word:
""Creationists are going to distort whatever arguments come up, and they've put me in company with luminaries like Stephen Jay Gould, so it doesn't bother me a bit. Archaeopteryx is half reptile and half bird any way you cut the deck, and so it is a Rosetta stone for evolution, whether it is related to dinosaurs or not. These creationists are confusing an argument about minor details of evolution with the indisputable fact of evolution: Animals and plants have been changing. . . "

-Dan S.

steller said...

You guys believe this religious stuff for one simple reason: almost all of you were brainwashed washing into it when you were little kids. You can get a little kid to believe in Santa, to be a neo nazi, a racist, etc. You didn't choose your religion based on an indepth comparison of information, making rationale choices about which was best. A good example of this is that for most of you, your faith is the most important thing in your life, but have really investigated this faith, it's origins, it's history? If so, how did it compare to your analysis of other religions? After all, if your faith is so important, certainly you investigated at least all the major faiths of the world, didn't you? Oh, I forgot, you didn't do any of this, you were simply brainwashed when you were kids, and you are desperately clinging to your beliefs in invisible lords and angels, like a kid who doesn't want to stop believing in Santa. Look, I am not a liberal who hates the religious right. I am a conservative on most issues. I am with you guys on all issues except for faith. If you take a step back and really, really think about it, your beliefs are irrational, created in a time of such profound ignorance that our society simply doesn't understand.

Anonymous said...

The fools! They will never understand. Who cares about all this "science"? All this "rationality"? What matters is who's going to Heaven and who's going to H-E-double-toothpicks.

There is one and only one truth: The literal truth of the Bible. Believe that, believe every word as literally true, and you, like me, will go to Heaven, where we will not only take pleasure in singing the praises of God but also witnessing every sadistic torment visited eternally on those who disagree with us even in the smallest detail.

Remember that God is a Jealous God, a God of War, a God who must, above all, be feared. Every time they think instead of pray, every time they question instead of submit totally to the authority which God has set above them, they forge the chains which will bind you forever in Satan's ghastly realm!

creeper said...

The previous comment here is devastatingly accurate, most importantly as it cuts to Radar's massive Achilles heel: it points out Radar's consistent inability to consolidate his faith with other realms of the human experience. Science would be the first and most important one, but I've yet to be convinced he's even on the level as far as theology itself goes. But anon.

dorkafork said...

I admit that I wasn't paying close attention in my Science classes, but I do remember that "Laws" supersede "Theories".

You weren't, and they don't. No scientist would say a "Law" supercedes a "Theory". In fact, Einstein's Theories of Relativity supercede Newton's Laws of Motion.

The linked article gets the 2nd Law horribly wrong. The type of system (closed or open) is essential to what happens to the entropy. The article tries to argue that because (in one case!) heat from the Sun breaks down a dead plant, that means that we can just ignore the key prerequisite to one of the Laws of physics. That is moronic. When you are dealing with an open system, the 2nd Law no longer holds. Entropy may increase, or it may decrease, but you cannot use the 2nd Law to describe it. (I recommend this and this for reading material.)

This is elementary stuff. The difference between theory and law and an understanding of the 2nd Law is high school level material, and creationists consistently get it utterly wrong.

radar said...

No, dork, YOU get it wrong. A law is greater than a theory unless the law is later disproven/altered.

Hypothesis-Theory-Law is the way it works. Oh, and the guy who proposed the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics disagrees with you. Who do you think I am going to believe??? If this is elementary stuff, then you must still be in preschool.

Anonymous said...

Oh really? So a law is greater than a theory except when it isn't? That's brilliant.

"...the guy who proposed the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics disagrees with you."

What the hell are you talking about?

The entropy of an isolated system not at equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value.

"The two principal laws of thermodynamics apply only to closed systems."

"The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that "in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state."

Here are other versions that say the same thing in different words.

You can find descriptions of theories in the scientific sense here and here, even though I know you won't, just like you didn't read the previous links I left.

I hope someday you choose to actually study science. Because this is basic stuff.

dorkafork said...

I don't know why I bothered trying to show you the difference between theory and law. They're both terms used by scientists to describe how the world works, and you obviously don't care what scientists think.

radar said...

dorkafork said...

I don't know why I bothered trying to show you the difference between theory and law. They're both terms used by scientists to describe how the world works, and you obviously don't care what scientists think.

Dorkafork, I don't know what your profession is but I hope to high heaven you are not a science teacher! You are trying to teach me about law versus theory and don't know what you are talking about????

ahem...we begin with an hypothesis , an idea that one supposes may be true. If it is tested and the tests support the hypothesis and are repeatable, then we consider it a theory . If the testing yields the same results consistently and peer reviews agree, then the theory is declared to be a law .

Laws (Newtonian physics, for instance) can later be disproven. But it is a mistake to say that a theory is greater than a law. A theory is on the way to becoming a law if it proves out.

As to the second law of Thermodynamics, those of you who love to assert that it doesn't apply to evolution because *yawn* "the earth is an open system" fail to grasp two main points.

1) The second law - Timothy Wallace says, "To define our terms, in Classical Thermodynamics the term “entropy” is the measure of the amount of energy unavailable for work in a physical system. Left to itself over time, any such system will end with less available energy (i.e., a higher measure of, or increase in, entropy) than when it started, according to the 2nd law. In this classic form, the 2nd law applies specifically to probability of distribution with regard to heat and energy relationships of physical systems, and as such, the entropy involved may be described specifically as thermal entropy.

Similarly, the “generalized 2nd law” applies the same entropy principle to information systems in such a way that, left to itself over time, the information conveyed by an information-communicating system will end more distorted and less complete than when it began (again, a higher measure of, or increase in, entropy—in this case informational entropy), and likewise, applied to Statistics, left to itself over time, the order or regularity of a system will be less than when it began (and again, a higher measure of, or increase in, entropy—in this case statistical entropy).

The vital point to be grasped here is that the presence of a system (whether organizational or mechanical) hardly guarantees continuous enhancement, but more realistically is subject to continual degradation, if it is not kept to the pre-determined standard defined in its original design. Evolutionistic thinking often ignores this principle, despite the fact that it is a profoundly and empirically established scientific fact."

Isaac Asimov said, "Another way of stating the second law then is: ‘The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!’ Viewed that way, we can see the second law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the second law is all about."

Dr John Ross says, "...there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems ... there is somehow associated with the field of far-from equilibrium phenomena the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself."

So, dorkafork? Quit perpetuating the error, will ya'?

dorkafork said...

No, it's not. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena. A theory does not become a law. I gave you specific examples of some of the best known work in science that are contrary to your definition. The National Academy of Sciences describes a scientific theory as "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." Like how Newton's theory of gravity incorporates Kepler's laws. The National Center for Science Education also has a description of a scientific theory. You are simply delusional if you think otherwise.

I do grasp those two points on the 2nd Law, they only hold if it is a closed system. There is no way I can make this clearer. It only holds absolutely for closed systems. It only describes closed systems with any certainty. Evolution no more violates the 2nd law than a seed does when it grows into a tree. The 2nd Law can be used in an open system, but if entropy decreases in an open system, that cannot be described as a violation of the laws of physics. Not to mention the fact that entropy can even decrease temporarily in a closed system.

I hope you're not serious, that this was meant as a joke. I thought you were just ignorant before, now I see you're retarded. So long, and may God have mercy on your soul.

radar said...

dork, "A theory does not become a law"

Now THAT is an ignorant statement. I quoted three men with doctorates and you think they don't know what they are talking about. So long, indeed!

Lifewish said...

Regards theory/law, I think you're both right. "Law" used to be used as a term for "theory that's quite definitely true". However, in recent years it has more or less been deprecated, which is why we still speak of the theory of relativity not the law of relativity.

Thus, saying that laws are better than theories isn't universally true.

Now, chemistry is foundational to biochemistry, which is fundamental to biology, which is fundamental to evolutionary biology, so a strong chemical theory such as thermodynamics would tend to supersede even a strong biological model* such as evolution if there were a conflict.

Fortunately, there isn't. The second law of thermodynamics just says that the work you get out of a system is always less than the work you put into it. So if you wire a lightbulb up to a battery, you can only get so much light out before the battery dies. Even if you wire the battery up to a solar cell, recycling some of the energy, you'll still eventually run out of power.

Of course, as we all know, if you instead stick the solar cell out in the daylight, rather than in a room where the only light is from the bulb, your battery can carry on supplying rich, juicy volts indefinitely. That's roughly the situation we're in with planet Earth, but substitute "chlorophyll" for "solar cells".

If that weren't the way things worked, we'd have far greater problems than simply lack of evolution - babies wouldn't mature into adults, crops would wither in the fields, and the Earth would be plunged into eternal darkness.

Oh, and every time people say that the 2LoT means that disorder always increases, God kills a mathematician. Remember, folks, that's only one of many ways that entropy can vary. Won't you please think of the mathematicians???

* A model is, broadly speaking, a collection of theories or hypotheses