Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The entropy of the soul?

One of the standard pseudo-scientific arguments against evolution is that order can not come from chaos.  Well - of course this is not true as I described in a post a few months ago, Order from Chaos.  It is indeed true that the entropy of a closed system like the entire universe increases whenever any process occurs, but the entropy of an open system like the earth, which receives all its energy from the Sun, can rise or fall by 'exporting' its entropy.

But just for the moment let us set that aside and evaluate the argument that entropy forbids the production of order from chaos.  Inspired by a post from one of my more outspoken friends, Rosa Rubicondior, in What is Life, I wondered about the entropy of the soul and left a comment to that effect.

You neglected to mention the moment when the soul is injected into certain special life-forms, and whether the soul increases or decreases entropy.

I would argue that the introduction of a soul would decrease entropy so much more than the simpler soul-less forms of life, giving their bodies a non-random purpose in life, that all the creationist arguments about entropy become nonsense.

(Oh no - they were nonsense already! Entropy only increases in closed systems and the earth is not closed because the sun supplies the energy that is needed to reverse entropy locally.) 

 Any comments from you creationists and pseudo-physicists out there?

Small note - thanks to this site for the image


Hilary said...

The very first thing that comes to mind is that were the Big Bang 'Theory'(or rather someone's rather peculiar and strange idea)true then we should not be here at all. There are so many inconsistencies to this theory and so many contradictions and so many acknowledged unknowns that why it exists as a respected theory at all is totally beyond me. The more I study it the more I discover how rediculous an idea it is. The prob for what you say here is that no matter whether the Earth is an open system or not still ultimately depends on the beginnings of things, and as there is no beginning yet consistent without a Grand Designer involved at the outset, then all your 'Earth is an open system' does is to confirm even more the existence of a Designer who has carefully and wonderfully ensured that light itself is a food for life and amazing that the visible part of the e-m spectrum can penetrate our atmosphere in order that life can exist here :)

Derby Sceptic said...

@Hilary: If using the first cause argument, of which many christians are so fond - where is the first cause of the your Grand Designer?

Plasma Engineer said...

@Hilary I assume you acknowledge that the universe is expanding. As such, at one point it must have been a lot smaller than it is now - even ignoring inflation. Extrapolating back further it must have been smaller ... and smaller ... and smaller.

Most of us would tend to believe (at the moment) that we could extrapolate that back to something very small and energetic.

However, some of you decide on the basis of one bronze-age science book that everything began just 6000 years ago, so the big bang was too much of an extrapolation of the available data.

Tell us more about the visible spectrum. As I see it, life evolved to make best use of the part of the spectrum that was there during the days and it survived the nights by hiding. The ones who did it best survived best. Nothing suggests that it was put there just for us.

Hilary said...

First; The idea that the Universe began at some point is not at all in any way necessarily 'The Big Bang idea' there are many many other models that actually fit the observations of red shift etc fat more effectively and easily and these models tend to be creationist models.

Second: Extrapolation is used by the atheist world when and if it suits their purposes. No scientist in their right mind would assume that because our Moon is dissappearing away from us at aprox one inch per year that this means that at some point back in time, the Moon was sitting on the earth until some unknown law of physics which is unlike any law that we observe or know today, somehow inexplicably pushed it out into an orbit which gradually over many years turned into the orbit that it has today around Earth. Yet this is the sort of extremely dodgy science, (if indeed it can really be called that) that the idea of the Big Bang is based on. Every scientist knows in reality the Big Bang idea is verging on collapse - scuse the pun - but for the sake of Joe Public and that further attempts to explain the beginning of the Universe only introduces ever more rediculous ideas, the BB continues to be promoted as a kind of religion. It is the golden calf of science.

Light is life giving. How you choose to see it and the amazing fact that it is able to permeate Earth's atmosphere is your own interpretation. I would say that to deny a creative mind behind all creation is an unreasonable choice.

Anyway, if we are all only products of some sort of random happening, then any thoughts that you think cannot ever be taken seriously by your own argumnent as they are and must be a product of randomness in a sea of random possibilities :)

Hilary said...

Third line down, first paragraph, for 'fat' read 'far' :)

Also to D.S I as a created person and in the same way as the clay cannot attempt to understand how the potter came to be there, neither do I attempt to explain or understand how God who made me, came to be there or to comprehend that He has always been there. How can I - living within the confines of time and space, understand in any sort of totallity, the creative Person who created both time and space. I am content with this state of being. I have no need of a first cause for God.

However, the world of atheism does in fact attempt to declare as understandable and gettatable the first cause of the Universe without a creative Person/ Grand designer being involved. So in fact it is the atheistic world who, ultimately, propose a first cause for the existence for the Universe without a Grand Designer and so far have failed miserably. All that has been declared in a false sense of triumph is that the Universe just began, a long time ago, in an unknown way, obeying laws which are unknown to us, and which defy all known laws of physics and in fact all known laws of all known observed science, and that there is no explanation, no understood reason for the Universe coming into being...etc etc etc...and this is declared as a suitable alternative explanation to 'In the beginning God...' Ummmmm :)

Derby Sceptic said...

If you refer to your background in astronomy I am sure you will come across the current thinking on the moon, namely that it was formed by the impact of a large (Mars sized) object with the proto Earth and material ejected formed the Moon.
This is therefore not a suitable analogy for the growth of the universe.

As an aside, what would god's purpose be in creating in such a way that it is slowly moving away - this has potential impact upon the Earth in the long term given it's influence on tides?

Derby Sceptic said...

If you have no need for a first cause for god, is there any need for god as the first cause of the universe?

I find it interesting that you feel no need to understand how god came to be there - you simply accept it as fact. I on the other hand do try to understand how the universe in which I live came to be - I accept that science hasn't produced all the answers and I doubt that it will in my lifetime, but at least they are being looked for.

To use an extreme analogy, if the taxman sent you a letter with a large demand for unpaid tax you would surely want an explanantion of the figure and would not simply accept it on the basis that the taxman must be right as he knows all about tax.

Hilary said...

Hi D.S well first of all that theory of the Moon has absolutely no evidence for it whatsoever and there have been at least two theories before that have been taught as 'fact' in all the school/science books that were contemporary with the same theories.

Second, your parallel about the tax man and unpaid debt is actually a lot more pertinent to the Gospel and to the debt of sin that each and every person has and which can only be dealt with by the Crucifixion.

I see no parallel with the tax debt and the beginning of the Universe as the tax man is asking us to pay for something that we may or may not owe, so yes I think it is well worth while making very sure that we know him/her to be asking for the right amount, indeed this year I am hoping the IR will be paying me haha, but as regards the beginning of the Universe, yes I believe that God created it, as I see no reason not to, and have every reason to believe this to be the truth of the matter. I also have every reason to believe that God is good and has created me, and acts towards me as a parent acts towards their child but in such a way as to have only my best interests at heart, so I have no reason to distrust that, and as such I have no reason to need to know where God came from. Why would I need to know that and why should I presume to know that?

Why all the distrust?

Kenny Wyland said...


You said, "How can I - living within the confines of time and space, understand in any sort of totality, the creative Person who created both time and space?"

The inherent flaw in this logic is that before you even begin to ask the question of understanding your Creator, you have already defined your Creator as being outside of your understanding. If you don't, and can't, understand your Creator and therefore have decided not to even try to think about it... then how did you even know He was living outside of the confines of time and space?

That's my problem with this kind of thinking. When attempting to understand your own beliefs, you use your own beliefs to convince yourself that you cannot understand your own beliefs.

It's rather mind-boggling.

Anonymous said...

An interesting idea crossed my mind. If souls reincarnate bearing karma from past lives, then soul is by itself an entropical being. That is because humans have free will. So in our physical universe entropy decreases but the entropy of a soul itself increases.