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Re: [OriginsTalk] misunderstanding the 2LT

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  • David Bowman
    ... Note that Matthew didn t mention whether or not an outside input was present. He just stated that the tendency was universal. If it was truly universal
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 1, 2003
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      Regarding Jeremy's comments:
      >
      >>There's been a few misguided attempts lately at showing supposed "order
      >>from disorder" or similar things to be evidence consistent with natural
      >>evolution. A few examples:
      >
      >You have misunderstood what those comments were about. Those
      >examples did not refer to evolution at all (although it *does* happen
      >to be the case that evolution is consistent with natural law)
      >and they were not "misguided attempts" to show "order from disorder".
      >Rather they were real actual counterexamples that demonstrate that the
      >specific claims that Matthew Brown made were incorrect when he made a
      >series of demonstrably false claims--such things as:
      >
      >originally from Matthew:
      >>We all know that there is a universal tendency
      >>for all systems of matter/energy to tend to rundown.
      >
      >Jem interjects:
      >There isn't? Which systems, without outside input tend to run "up"??

      Note that Matthew didn't mention whether or not an "outside input" was
      present. He just stated that the tendency was universal. If it was
      truly universal it would be true under all circumstances whether or not
      an outside input existed. My counterexamples showed some things whose
      tendency is to run "up" which contradicted Matthew's unqualified claim.
      Also there is the problem that the direction of "up" or "down" is
      undefined in such claims. Thus depending on just what is meant *by*
      "up" and "down" the tendency in any particular case may or may not agree
      with Matthew's claim. How do you decide what "up" means in general?

      >and
      >
      >originally from Matthew:
      >>It is common knowledge that all systems,
      >>even open ones, without some preprogrammed mechanism or intelligent
      >>action automatically tend from order to disorder,
      >
      >Jem interjects:
      >Again, which ones, without outside input, or preprogrammed mechanisms,
      >tend toward order? I'm not seeing any problems with Matthew's statements
      >here, Dave.

      Again, Matthew didn't say anything about "without outside input", nor did
      he say what he meant *by* "order" & "disorder". It's quite possible, for
      instance, for a system to run "down" in some sense such that "down" is in
      the direction of increasing "order" as defined in some sense. In general
      the concepts of "preprogrammed mechanism" & "intelligent action" are
      foreign to the laws of nature and natural processes as such *don't care*
      whether such things are present or not. The introduction of the
      concepts of "preprogrammed mechanisms" and "intelligent action" are only
      brought to the table of physics by creationists--not physicists. These
      concepts have nothing to do with physical law one way or the other. In
      general there are lots of examples of things becoming more "ordered", in
      some sense, with time, even without "outside input" or without
      "outside mechanisms" etc.

      >and
      >
      >originally from Matthew:
      >>This is why heat flows from hot to cold
      >>and why all life gets old and dies.
      >
      >Jem interjects:
      >And Again, heat flows from hot to cold unless energy is input to force
      >it the other way. Matthew was referring to natural tendencies. Which
      >living things don't die?

      Note that Matthew didn't say anything about any "energy is input to
      force it the other way". He just said that heat flows from hot to
      cold. I just gave an example of heat flowing from cold to hot. Just
      because my example did have an outside source of energy that did
      macrowork on the system from the outside is neither here nor there in
      refuting Matthew's *unqualified* claims of a universal tendency.

      As far as living things that don't "get old and die" I gave the example
      of organisms that reproduce by fission. These organisms are ageless
      in the sense that they do not go from a juvenile form to an adult form
      that eventually perishes. When they reproduce neither of the split
      halves is the older "parent" nor the younger "offspring". They don't
      ever die unless the environment happens to become so hostile to them
      that it kills them.

      >Dave:
      >etc. Providing counterexamples to these claims is not saying anything
      >about evolution one way or the other. Nor is it misguided (unless
      >maybe Matthew can't understand them or something).
      >
      >Jem replies:
      >But for all living things to have organized themselves and increased in
      >complexity over time requires a tendency toward order and complexity
      >without any intelligent input, which is counter to everything observed in
      >nature. So trying to state counter examples to this natural tendency is
      >saying a great deal about evolution.

      It is *not* "counter to everything observed in nature". Living things
      *are* connected to their environment so they *do* get an "outside input"
      of energy. They have no problem tending to get more 'ordered' and
      organized. As Dave O. stated a simple acorn seeds the development and
      organization of a whole Oak tree. While a human zygote seeds the
      development and organization of an adult human with a very complicated
      brain. The tendency of such living things to grow up *is* a tendency
      toward more "order" and "complexity" (suitably defined). It happens
      naturally without any "intelligent input".

      >>Dave B. wrote:
      >>Except when it doesn't. Heat in my refrigerator flows from the colder
      >>interior to the warmer kitchen as well as from the warmer kitchen to
      >>the colder interior. Which way it's going at any particular time
      >>depends on the precise interior temperature and the thermostat
      >>setting.
      >
      >> ...
      >
      >>First, to Dave B.
      >>I sure hope you know that there are no violations of the 2LT going on in
      >>your refrigerator.
      >
      >Dave:
      >Duh. How could you think otherwise?
      >
      >Jem replies:
      >I didn't think you thought otherwise, that's why I said "I sure hope you
      >know.." I know that you know that your refrigerator doesn't violate the 2LT,
      >but you presented it as an example of heat flowing from cold to warm, which,
      >without design and energy input would violate the 2LT.

      The concept of "design" has *nothing* to do with the 2nd law one way or
      the other (creationist 'physics' aside)! Refrigeration processes can
      happen spontaneously in nature without preexisting mechanism or design.
      Hurricanes do it. Before a hurricane develops or passes by some region
      of the tropical ocean it can happen that the warm ocean water is
      somewhat cooler than the even warmer air temperature in the lower
      atmosphere directly above it. As the surface evaporation feeds the
      hurricane its energy the ocean surface temperature drops as heat is
      transferred to the initially warmer atmosphere via the latent heat of
      evaporation. (I happen to recall seeing an impressive satellite IR
      photo of a region of the ocean surface behind the path of a hurricane.
      The previous path the storm took across the ocean was clearly visible
      because of the trail of cooler surface water it left behind.)

      >If we're discussing
      >materialistic evolution, then you must reject intelligence and design input
      >for it to have happened, which would be disorder tending toward order without
      >design and directed energy input.

      Concepts of "design and directed energy input" do not appear in the laws
      of nature one way or the other. It happens that evolution, like a host
      of other natural processes, and especially biological ones, has no
      problem with allowing for the development of further organization,
      complexity, order, etc. This "design and directed energy input" stuff
      is an invention by the creationists that nature doesn't kow tow to.

      >Sunlight is not directed unless the
      >organism receiving it is already set up to use it.

      Not directed? Doesn't light travel in straight lines in your universe?

      >Sunlight doesn't do much
      >good for organic material unless that material is alive and has mechanisms in
      >place to utilize sunlight.

      So? Is there a point here? What does it mean for organic material to
      experience "good"? Sunlight can both help or harm various organisms
      depending on both the circumstances and the organism.

      >>It's a pretty simple thermodynamic principle at work
      >>there. It takes much more input energy to pull the heat out of your
      >>refrigerator than the amount of energy that is removed (check your
      >>electric bill).
      >
      >This is not true. I don't know what kind of badly inefficient
      >refrigerator you have, but mine removes *more* heat from its interior
      >than the amount of electrical work the power grid does on it (when it
      >is running). The theoretical maximum coefficient of performance for a
      >refrigerator removing heat at -15 deg C and discharging it at 20 deg C
      >is about 7.4. Thus the theoretical maximum amount of heat removed is
      >about 7.4 times the amount of electrical energy required to operate it.
      >Of course in real life real refrigerators don't have their coefficient
      >of performance anywhere near the theoretical maximum. But any semi-
      >decent one would have a coefficient of performance of about 2 or better.
      >
      >Jem:
      >So you mean to tell me that your refrigerator gets more energy output than
      >you put into it?

      Yes I do. The energy discharged as waste heat in the back of my
      refrigerator by the condenser coils is over twice the amount of energy
      it received from the electric utility. In fact, it's impossible for
      the amount of energy discharged to ever be as low as the input energy
      from the utility and still have any kind of refrigerator at all.

      >Wow, you've got what's called a 'perpetual motion
      >machine' on your hands there Dave,

      No, I don't. I think you need to go back and reread your basic thermo
      textbook.

      >you'll be rich once you start making
      >more of them and selling them to the rest of us. I'll buy one.

      There's a sucker born every minute. [P.T. Barnum]

      >Nice
      >dodge of the issue by using different terms. A refrigerator's c.o.p. is
      >not the same as its efficiency.

      True. That's why the concept of efficiency doesn't apply to
      refrigerators. It is the COP that counts. A COP has no problem being
      over unity. An efficiency does have such a problem.

      >The theoretical maximum efficiency for
      >any heat engine is the Carnot cycle, and CANNOT be 100% (or 1) or more.

      True. But apparently you don't realize that the efficiency of heat
      engines has nothing to do with the performance of refrigerators.

      ...
      >Jem:
      >I'll grant you here that the phrasing of my statement wasn't quite as it
      >should have been. Since I referred to "the energy that is removed," you
      >were correct in applying c.o.p., but that's not the issue at hand. Sorry
      >if I diverted you the wrong way. I suspect that you know what Matthew and
      >I are getting at, but are trying to dodge the real issue. Maybe not...just
      >thinking aloud.

      Actually, no, I don't have the foggiest idea what either you or Matthew
      were getting at. I fail to see what the direction of heat flow has to
      do with anything related to evolution.

      >>You can't get work for free.
      >
      >Dave:
      >That depends. (Sometimes we can't help it or even have to pay to
      >prevent it.)
      >
      >Jem:
      >That depends on what "pay" you're talking about.

      Ah. You are beginning to get it. It is not wise in the context of
      scientific discussions to go around making blanket unqualified
      assertions using un/illdefined colloquial terminology. When you go
      around doing this there is an excellent probability that such assertions
      are incorrect.

      >Even the work that you
      >have to pay to prevent has some increase of entropy associated with it.

      So?

      >In case you were unable to tell, I was not referring to money when I
      >said "free."

      I wasn't *necessarily* referring to it either.

      >>So even in your
      >>refrigerator's case, heat is not moving from the cold interior to the
      >>warm exterior by itself - it takes work, along with *design.* Heat will
      >>move from the warm kitchen to the cold interior of your refrigerator all
      >>by itself, however, which is why you have a thermostat, and have to keep
      >>it plugged in.

      It happens to be true that my refrigerator is a human-designed device.
      But whether some system is designed or not is irrelevant to the
      applicability of the laws of nature to it, and the laws themselves to not
      refer to the concept.

      >Dave:
      >Of course Matthew didn't say anything about whether or not some
      >externally applied work would be required to cause a heat flow from cold
      >to hot. He just said "This is why heat flows from hot to cold" and
      >didn't stipulate that he was forbidding all processes that utilized an
      >external source of energy.
      >
      >Jem:
      >No, Matthew didn't say anything about externally applied work, and I
      >suspect that was his point. You cannot make heat flow from cold to hot
      >without work.

      Actually, you can. I just gave the example of evaporative latent heating.
      What you *can't* do is to have a system that *operates in a cycle* that
      has the only net effect on its environment of transferring heat from
      cold to hot during the course of a cycle.

      >hot to cold I believe that he assumed you would understand that he
      >meant without externally applied work (correct me if I'm wrong, Matt).
      >He was making the case that in nature, things tend to roll downhill,

      except when they don't.

      >heat
      >tends to flow from hot to cold,

      except when they don't.

      >things tend to go from order to disorder,

      except when they don't.

      >all of these unless some external intelligence and work is applied.
      >This bears directly on the theory of materialistic evolution.

      The laws of physics do not refer to the concept of intelligence. The
      presence or absence of intelligence in a physical situation has no
      bearing on actual dynamics of the situation.

      >>This whole "life is not a closed system" thing is silly too. The only
      >>real way that it is an open system is energy from the sun,
      >
      >Dave:
      >This is not true. The Earth is an open system because it is in contact
      >with the rest of the universe external to itself. The Earth receives
      >high temperature (5760 K) energy from the Sun and *discharges* to space
      >energy in all directions at an average temperature of about 288 K. If
      >the Earth *only* kept receiving energy from the Sun without discharging
      >any of it to the *rest* of space the temperature of the Earth would
      >continue to climb unchecked until it was comparable to the temperature
      >of the Sun's photosphere (at which point it would radiate directly
      >back to the Sun energy at the same rate it receives it). Of course
      >there are significant practical limitations preventing any such
      >perfect greenhouse effect apparatus for the Earth. There is just no
      >way to prevent the higher temperature (288 K) Earth from radiating to
      >the colder (3 K) deep space.
      >
      >Jem:
      >Right, the Earth takes in energy from the sun, and then gives off some
      >of that same energy, which is perfectly consistent with what I said.

      No, it is not. You ignored the energy discharge from the earth as a
      relevant aspect of the earth's openness. You stated that the "only
      real way" the earth was a relevantly open system was with respect to
      the energy input from the Sun. I corrected this incorrect claim.

      >I'm especially impressed by your last sentence there, "There is just no
      >way to prevent the higher temperature...Earth form radiating to the
      >colder...deep space. Isn't this the same thing that Matthew said? Heat
      >goes from warm to cold. Heat goes from warm to cold.

      In this case, and many others, it is the case that heat flows from hot
      to cold. And in this case there is no technologically realizable
      modification of that situation which will reverse the heat flow. But it
      doesn't always *have* to be that way in general. It depends on the
      precise situation at hand as to which way heat will flow. Admittedly
      there are *far* more examples of heat flowing from hot to cold than from
      cold to hot, but it only takes one counterexample to demonstrate the
      incorrectness of such a blanket unqualified claim that heat always flows
      from hot to cold.

      >It's always been
      >that way and always will be, unless you provide directed, purposeful work
      >to the system.

      Purposeful? What do the laws of physics care about the concept of
      purpose? It seems we have more 'creationist physics' here.

      >Dave:
      >Needless to say, the fact that the Sun occupies about 1/185000 of the
      >solid angle of our celestial sphere at a temperature of 5760 K
      >while the rest of our celestial sphere is mostly deep space at a
      >temperature of around 2.7 K means that the Earth's surroundings are not
      >anywhere near at a single fixed temperature. This huge mismatch in
      >the temperature of the different parts of our surroundings is
      >responsible for an enforced continuing far-from-equilibrium situation
      >that supports a huge variety of dissipative structures (many of which
      >can be *quite* complicated) that can and do develop in the Earth's near
      >surface regions. These dissipative structures include everything from
      >ocean currents and hurricanes to the photosynthetic processes in oak
      >tree leaves. The only dissipative structures in our near surface
      >environment that are not due to this mismatch in external thermal
      >environmental conditions are those associated with the heat flow of the
      >earth's interior heat to the outside. Dissipative structures that
      >develop from volcanoes, earthquakes, and other processes involved with
      >plate tectonics are supported by this other enforced disequilibrium
      >between the earth's interior and its exterior. So thing's like the
      >metabolisms of the extremophiles in black smokers and Yellowstone
      >geysers are supported by this other inside-outside disequilibrium and
      >not the one involving the Sun.
      >
      >Jem:
      >Your point with all of that? Just because the earth is not at equilibrium
      >(thank God for that), doesn't mean that things can tend from disorder to
      >order on their own, or that heat will tend to flow from cold to warm.

      So? The whole point was to demonstrate that since the disequilibrium
      *is* maintained from the outside, the processes in the near surface
      environment of the earth happen to *not* be "on their own" and they have
      no trouble organizing themselves into a wide variety of complicated and
      organized entities. The kind of biological organization that happens
      over geological time in evolutionary processes is perfectly consistent
      with the environmental constraints the Earth's near surface regions
      find themselves in. Prigogine got a Nobel prize for demonstrating how
      systems can spontaneously organize themselves into (sometimes
      complicated) macroscopic dissipative structures when the system is held
      under far-from-equilibrium conditions by external constraints that
      enforce a sufficiently strong gradient of some intensive property such
      as temperature (as in the earth/Sun/space system), or pressure, or
      chemical potentials, or some combinations of such things.

      > All
      >of the cases you've just mentioned, ocean currents, hurricanes, etc. are
      >systems that are seeking an equilibrium, they are not complex, ordered
      >systems. They may involve very complicated physics and many, many
      >variables, but they are not complex informationally, like DNA.

      Actually if they involve very complicated physics because they require
      "many, many variables" to describe, then they precisely *are*
      "complex informationally" by the definition of complexity used in
      information theory.

      >>which doesn't
      >>help at all. Pure energy is destructive (consistent with the 2LT) not
      >>constructive.
      >
      >What, pray tell, is "pure energy"? I didn't know energy came in
      >different levels of purity. What is 'impure' energy diluted with?
      >
      >Jem:
      >Perhaps you'd understand me better if I phrased it as "undirected"
      >energy.

      Ok, what is directed energy? Sunlight follows *direct* straight line
      rays from the sun.

      >My point being that you can apply energy in many ways. Most
      >things are destroyed by sunlight unless they're already very complex
      >systems like oak trees, that can utilize that energy in constructive
      >ways.

      So?

      >>Energy itself only helps when all of the ordered
      >>information is already in place.
      >
      >What is ordered information, and why do you think energy would care
      >one way or the other if it is "in place" (whatever that means) before
      >it could "help" (whatever "help" means here)? Do you have any idea
      >about what you are talking about? If so, please explain it very
      >carefully.
      >
      >Jem:
      >Order: A condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the
      >separate elements of a group.
      >Information: a message received and understood that reduces the recipient's
      >uncertainty
      >Energy doesn't care, it's only energy. The system cares as it can only
      >utilize energy if it's complex enough to "know" how to use that energy. I
      >assume that you realize that an oak tree is a very complex system, not
      >just some random jumble of organic material.

      I *do* realize that an oak tree is a complex system and that it is
      *more* complex than the acorn it grew from. Also a random jumble of
      anything is *also* a complex system if precisely that particular random
      jumble out of all the other ones is to be specifically uniquely
      characterized.

      >If you left plain, organic
      >material out in the sun, would it grow into something more complex? No,
      >it would not, it would be slowly destroyed. The energy, by itself does
      >nothing, and the oak tree, by itself does nothing. In order for an oak
      >to grow and produce, it must have all of the complex mechanisms that oak
      >trees are known to have, and it must receive energy from the sun, along
      >with water and nutrients from the soil.

      That's nice.

      >>Come on guys, this really is simple.
      >
      >Dave:
      >You only think so.
      >
      >Jem:
      >I'm not having trouble with it, are you? Is everyone else having any
      >trouble understanding the concepts involved here?

      I didn't say I was having trouble with it. I disputed your contention
      that the relevant science is simple. From what I've seen of your
      scientific characterizations, your understanding of the thermodynamics
      of refrigerators, your blanket statements, your lay definitions of
      info-theoretic concepts, and your insistence at inserting the concept
      of "design" into the laws of nature it lead me to believe that you
      actually may be having trouble with the concepts involved here.

      >>Evolution cannot happen on the
      >>scale that you're promoting it, no matter what some group of scientists
      >>tell you about a bunch of bones in the ground.
      >
      >So you say. Your unsupported declarations have no value, however.
      >
      >Jem:
      >So you say. Show me that my declaration has no value, otherwise your
      >statement is an unsupported declaration of no value.

      Well, evolution is a scientific theory, and as such it is a matter of
      science. In science we do not decide whether or not some particular
      process is possible or impossible by making unsupported declarations
      of impossibility all the while intentionally ignoring the observed
      evidence. What you are doing not only has no part of the scientific
      method, it is antithetical to it.

      >>All we observe is things
      >>going downhill and getting worse, it's the way of things, whether you
      >>like it or not.
      >
      >Excuse me. Didn't you see all the counterexamples? How can you say
      >this? Now you are saying the same silly things Matthew was saying that
      >provoked all our responses.
      >
      >Jem:
      >Excuse me, I've seen no examples that show things getting "better," more
      >complex, or more ordered without some intelligent outside input.

      Yes you did. Either that or you refused to look at the examples.

      >Which
      >things were it again that show heat going from cold to warm areas and
      >have balls rolling uphill without externally applied work?

      Well, there is evaporation from a cooler liquid to a warmer gas. The
      way *any* object (such as a ball) goes "uphill", i.e. increases its
      potential energy without externally applied work is by it decreasing
      its kinetic energy. So as it ascends it does so by slowing down in its
      ascent. Maybe you know that the Moon is gradually going uphill against
      the Earth's gravitational potential well as it recedes in its orbit by
      about 3.8 cm/yr.

      >Things roll
      >down,

      except when they don't

      >heat goes from warm spaces to cold spaces

      except when they don't.

      >gasses diffuse to seek
      >equilibrium,

      except when they don't, such as when a cloud of interstellar gas
      collapses under its own gravitational weight to form a star system.

      >things just don't go the other way, unless you apply work to
      >them.

      It depends.

      >Are you actually having trouble grasping the concept?

      Oh, I think I can grasp more physics concepts than most people. I'm not
      too sure about you, though.

      >>Creation was perfect
      >
      >Since when, and what makes you say such an unsupported statement?
      >
      >Jem:
      >Well, for one:
      >
      >God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good
      >[Genesis 1:31a NASB]

      Since when is the designation 'very good' supposed to be interpreted as
      perfection. Don't you think if 'perfect' was the concept intended it
      would have maybe said 'perfect' rather than 'very good'?

      >I assume that God's definition of "very good" is a lot better than ours,

      Why would you assume God has a different definitions for words than we
      do. Don't you think that would make communication difficult?

      >but of course, you put no stock in scripture.

      Oh? Since when? You are quite mistaken about this my friend. I just
      try not do it the injustice of interpreting it naively and ignorantly.

      >>and we blew it.
      >
      >How is this consistent with the perfection you just claimed? Maybe we
      >aren't part of the creation? Hmm?
      >
      >Jem:
      >God made us with freewill, otherwise love and obedience are meaningless.
      >We took that freewill and chose to disobey Him.

      I agree.

      >But, once again, this
      >means nothing to you.

      Wrong again.

      >>Now it's getting
      >>worse and worse until Christ returns and restores it all to perfection.
      >
      >What, precisely, is "getting worse and worse"? Have you somehow mixed
      >up the prevailing moral social climate with physics, or what?
      >
      >Jem:
      >Species are going extinct not multiplying.

      Some speciations are occurring. But I suspect that at the present time
      the extinction rate exceeds the speciation rate though.

      >The entire universe (to the
      >best of our knowledge) is seeking equilibrium (called "heat death),
      >which I wouldn't call "better" than our present condition.

      As I already explained, only *part* of the universe is in any reasonable
      sense approaching heat death. That part happens to be the part made of
      particles with positive mass. But the vast majority of the particles
      in the universe (i.e. the CMB photons) already *are* in equilibrium,
      (i.e. heat death) and have been so since a very early stage in the
      history of the universe. There's an excellent chance the human species
      will not survive long enough so that the prospect of ultimate heat death
      of the matter in the universe will be of any practical concern to any of
      them. So you equate the concept of approach to equilibrium with badness,
      i.e. "worse and worse", and disequilibrium with goodness, i.e. "better"?
      Personally, I'm kind of glad that thermodynamics works the way it does
      *as is* in our universe. If it didn't I expect the universe would be an
      unimaginable hostile place.

      >I for one,
      >am happy to be in our present state of lower entropy.

      Me too.

      >Harmful mutations,
      >diseases, etc. are increasing, not decreasing.

      So much for things only going extinct and not diversifying.

      >Can you provide
      >counterexamples? Which systems are improving and seeking lower entropy?

      Physical systems don't "seek" anything. They just do what they do.
      As far as "improving" goes the concept requires some prior metric of
      quality or value so that one can tell if improvement has taken place or
      not. In physics quality/value/worth, etc. are foreign concepts. They
      are more at home in such areas as philosophy, economics, engineering,
      and ethics.

      >Plus, as you mention, morals are constantly decreasing. It's the way of
      >everything. Downhill, not uphill.

      Not *everything*. You seem to be overdoing the blanket declarations
      again.

      >>Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,
      >>walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his
      >>coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they
      >>were from the beginning of the creation. ....
      > ^^^^^^^^
      >So the scoffers seem to be some sort of creationists, I see :-). What
      >does this Scripture passage about those who ridicule the idea that
      >Christ will return have to do with anything scientific?
      >
      >Jem:
      >Sarcasm aside, the scoffers are those who claim that things just continue
      >along their natural paths without divine intervention (i.e.
      >uniformitarianism).

      This is a typical creationist misinterpretation of Scripture. The
      passage has nothing to do with the scientific concept of
      uniformitarianism. What it is dealing with are those who scoff at the
      prospect of Christ returning because of it having not happened yet for
      a very long time.

      >I assume you fit into the category of those described
      >above,

      Wrong again.

      >who do not believe that Christ will return? I pray that you are
      >not, but I can only guess based on what I've seen here.

      Huh? Based on what you see here? How, pray tell, can you divine my
      religious inclinations from a discussion of science? The only thing
      you can be reasonably sure of concerning my religious beliefs (from
      just my writings concerning science) is that I'm not an obscurantist
      fundamentalist who thinks he can tell God how to run His universe based
      on an unworkable a priori misinterpretation of Scripture because of a
      presumption that that particular interpretation of Scripture is so
      infallible and holy that it has replaced God himself as the real
      object of his faith.

      What is it about so many fundamentalists that leads them to think they
      can judge the condition of the souls of others based on their scientific
      writings? Whatever it is, it is not a gift of spiritual discernment.

      >Convenient
      >clipping out of the part about the scoffers deliberately forgetting that
      >by God's word the heavens and earth exist, and were destroyed by water.
      >I'm not claiming that this verse is any kind of scientific proof of
      >anything, only that this prediction from almost 2000 years ago was awfully
      >accurate. You were predicted almost 2000 years ago Dave! But it's OK,

      Actually, I was known from the foundation of the world.

      >God still loves you and will accept you into His family, if you'll only
      >accept Him.

      I appreciate your concern even if you don't know how to properly divide
      the word of truth. However, I believe I already am accepted into His
      family, and have accepted Him.

      Take care.

      >Dave Bowman
      >
      >God Bless,
      >
      >Jeremy
      ><}}><

      Dave Bowman
    • Jeremy Dasen
      Hello Dave, I don t have the time to respond to all of what you wrote, but I ll try to pick out what I see as the more important statements and respond to
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 4, 2003
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        Hello Dave,

        I don't have the time to respond to all of what you wrote, but I'll try to
        pick out what I see as the more important statements and respond to them.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: David Bowman [mailto:David_Bowman@...]
        Sent: Saturday, February 01, 2003 4:08 AM
        To: OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [OriginsTalk] misunderstanding the 2LT

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        Note that Matthew didn't mention whether or not an "outside input" was
        present. He just stated that the tendency was universal. If it was
        truly universal it would be true under all circumstances whether or not
        an outside input existed. My counterexamples showed some things whose
        tendency is to run "up" which contradicted Matthew's unqualified claim.
        Also there is the problem that the direction of "up" or "down" is
        undefined in such claims. Thus depending on just what is meant *by*
        "up" and "down" the tendency in any particular case may or may not agree
        with Matthew's claim. How do you decide what "up" means in general?


        Jem:
        Matthew didn't mention anything about "outside input," but I think it was
        implied in his statements, otherwise, his statements would have no use in
        his arguments (I don't suppose you think they had much use anyway). You can
        play all day with definitions of "up" and "down" to suit your purposes, but
        I think you know what Matt and I mean by "down."

        Dave:
        Again, Matthew didn't say anything about "without outside input", nor did
        he say what he meant *by* "order" & "disorder". It's quite possible, for
        instance, for a system to run "down" in some sense such that "down" is in
        the direction of increasing "order" as defined in some sense. In general
        the concepts of "preprogrammed mechanism" & "intelligent action" are
        foreign to the laws of nature and natural processes as such *don't care*
        whether such things are present or not. The introduction of the
        concepts of "preprogrammed mechanisms" and "intelligent action" are only
        brought to the table of physics by creationists--not physicists. These
        concepts have nothing to do with physical law one way or the other. In
        general there are lots of examples of things becoming more "ordered", in
        some sense, with time, even without "outside input" or without
        "outside mechanisms" etc.

        Jem:
        More distraction with definitions. The laws of nature are our descriptions
        of the universe around us. These "laws" originated with God and are
        described by man. How can these laws exist outside of intelligence? You
        say nature doesn't "care" about whether preprogrammed mechanisms are present
        or not. Of course nature doesn't have human emotions, so no, it doesn't
        "care," but if those preprogrammed mechanisms were absent (e.g. no
        information in the acorn) nature would be a whole lot different (i.e. no oak
        trees).

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        As far as living things that don't "get old and die" I gave the example
        of organisms that reproduce by fission. These organisms are ageless
        in the sense that they do not go from a juvenile form to an adult form
        that eventually perishes. When they reproduce neither of the split
        halves is the older "parent" nor the younger "offspring". They don't
        ever die unless the environment happens to become so hostile to them
        that it kills them.

        Jem:
        So these organisms are eternal? You mention that even these organisms do
        die. The universe is a hostile place where everything dies. Systems run
        "down" (obvious definition), not "up." Things die rather than continue on
        forever. We shall live on forever, either with God, or without Him. And,
        God tells us that His word is forever:

        The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands
        forever. [Isaiah 40:8 NASB]

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        While a human zygote seeds the
        development and organization of an adult human with a very complicated
        brain. The tendency of such living things to grow up *is* a tendency
        toward more "order" and "complexity" (suitably defined). It happens
        naturally without any "intelligent input".

        Jem:
        Yes, but ALL of the information required for a human to develop inside its
        mother's womb is present at conception. This does not qualify for order and
        complexity happening without input. As a reverend, you must accept that God
        had input at least somewhere along the way (otherwise, what in the world are
        you a reverend for?) I think that you would agree that you and I are
        intelligent (at least I'm sure you'd agree that you are intelligent). How
        did intelligence come about without intelligence? Doesn't fly with me. You
        actually believe that all of the intelligence and specific complexity of the
        human brain is merely the result of natural processes?? Of course, you
        could play with your definition of "intelligence" and work out some answer
        here.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        The concept of "design" has *nothing* to do with the 2nd law one way or
        the other (creationist 'physics' aside)! <<snip>>

        Jem:
        But, I would argue that the 2nd Law is simply a universal law of all of
        nature applied to one area (thermodynamics), so in a sense, the 2nd Law does
        apply to design issues.

        <<snip>>

        Jem, previously:
        >Sunlight is not directed unless the
        >organism receiving it is already set up to use it.

        Dave:
        Not directed? Doesn't light travel in straight lines in your universe?

        Jem:
        You're playing with definitions here again. What does light traveling in
        straight lines (which it doesn't always do, btw) have to do with purposeful
        application of energy (the implied definition of "directed" in my
        statement)?

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        I think you need to go back and reread your basic thermo
        textbook.

        Jem:
        Got it right here, Dave.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        But apparently you don't realize that the efficiency of heat
        engines has nothing to do with the performance of refrigerators.

        Jem:
        A "heat engine" running in reverse is called a "refrigerator." Let me quote
        my thermo textbook: "Since the Carnot heat engine cycle is reversible, every
        process could be reversed, in which case it would become a refrigerator."
        If a refrigerator was truly returning more energy than it consumed, why
        couldn't it use the energy that it was giving off to power itself? Because
        this would be a perpetual motion machine that cannot exist. I understand
        the c.o.p. of a refrigerator, but my point is that no machine can truly
        return more energy than it costs to run that machine.

        Dave:
        It is not wise in the context of
        scientific discussions to go around making blanket unqualified
        assertions using un/illdefined colloquial terminology. When you go
        around doing this there is an excellent probability that such assertions
        are incorrect.

        Jem:
        Some things are implied and it is assumed that the recipient will understand
        basic concepts. Of course, blanket statements aren't always true, but
        sometimes, in the name of efficiency, simple statements are made with the
        understanding that the details are understood. When Matt says that heat
        flows from warm to cool, I'm sure he knows the exception of refrigerators.
        He was stating a general natural tendency.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        So? The whole point was to demonstrate that since the disequilibrium
        *is* maintained from the outside, the processes in the near surface
        environment of the earth happen to *not* be "on their own" and they have
        no trouble organizing themselves into a wide variety of complicated and
        organized entities. The kind of biological organization that happens
        over geological time in evolutionary processes is perfectly consistent
        with the environmental constraints the Earth's near surface regions
        find themselves in. Prigogine got a Nobel prize for demonstrating how
        systems can spontaneously organize themselves into (sometimes
        complicated) macroscopic dissipative structures when the system is held
        under far-from-equilibrium conditions by external constraints that
        enforce a sufficiently strong gradient of some intensive property such
        as temperature (as in the earth/Sun/space system), or pressure, or
        chemical potentials, or some combinations of such things.

        Jem:
        I hope Prigongine is happy with the Nobel prize, but just "order" even if
        complicated, is not the same as the specificity of organization that we find
        in living systems. DNA has very specific layouts with very specific orders.
        Just any order doesn't cut it. I could drop a bunch of scrabble pieces into
        a pile, and perhaps by chance, some of them would form a word or two. Even
        though these words would count as order, and even as information, you still
        haven't explained where the letters and the language to read those words
        came from. DNA is nothing without the mechanisms to "read" it and utilize
        its information.

        Dave:
        Actually if they involve very complicated physics because they require
        "many, many variables" to describe, then they precisely *are*
        "complex informationally" by the definition of complexity used in
        information theory.

        Jem:
        Complex, but not specific. They do not contain "information" as defined by
        information scientists. True information needs to have a sender, receiver,
        and a desired result. Of course, a hurricane, or tornado cannot possible
        desire any result, as they are not living, conscious entities.

        Dave:
        Ok, what is directed energy? Sunlight follows *direct* straight line
        rays from the sun.

        Jem:
        You're ignoring your own advice, Dave. Sunlight doesn't *always* follow
        direct straight line rays from the sun. It tends to, but gravity does bend
        light. To quote you: "It is not wise in the context of scientific
        discussions to go around making blanket unqualified assertions." Depends on
        how you want to define that word "direct," doesn't it? As I have used the
        word "directed," I was intending to convey the meaning of purpose, not
        direction. Again, I think that you know that, but are just trying to be
        difficult in your attempt to make me look less intelligent than yourself (as
        a creationists, I just couldn't be intelligent, could I?)

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        I *do* realize that an oak tree is a complex system and that it is
        *more* complex than the acorn it grew from. Also a random jumble of
        anything is *also* a complex system if precisely that particular random
        jumble out of all the other ones is to be specifically uniquely
        characterized.

        Jem:
        The oak is the realization of the information already present in the acorn.
        It's much larger and more complicated, but there's no new information there.
        Acorns are "programmed" to yield oak trees. Oak trees do not just grow
        themselves randomly from any old seed in the ground, they require the
        information from an acorn.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        I disputed your contention
        that the relevant science is simple. From what I've seen of your
        scientific characterizations, your understanding of the thermodynamics
        of refrigerators, your blanket statements, your lay definitions of
        info-theoretic concepts, and your insistence at inserting the concept
        of "design" into the laws of nature it lead me to believe that you
        actually may be having trouble with the concepts involved here.

        Jem:
        By the same token, from what I've seen of your insistence on refusing the
        possibility of "design" in nature, you seem to me to be having trouble with
        the simple concepts involved throughout nature and scriptures:

        For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly
        seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power
        and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [Romans 1:20, KJV]

        I do not read this as saying that things made themselves and that God is
        only powerful enough to just give nature a nudge in the right direction.
        Perhaps as a priest, you have a different take on this?

        Dave:
        Well, evolution is a scientific theory, and as such it is a matter of
        science. In science we do not decide whether or not some particular
        process is possible or impossible by making unsupported declarations
        of impossibility all the while intentionally ignoring the observed
        evidence. What you are doing not only has no part of the scientific
        method, it is antithetical to it.

        Jem:
        Well, I want no part in any science that excludes my Creator from its
        conclusions. I'm content in my knowledge of God as creator and maintainer
        of the universe, just like His word says:

        For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth,
        visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
        authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is
        before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [Colossians 1:16-17
        NASB]

        Jem, previously:
        >gasses diffuse to seek
        >equilibrium,

        Dave:
        except when they don't, such as when a cloud of interstellar gas
        collapses under its own gravitational weight to form a star system.

        Jem:
        This is still seeking an equilibrium. Gravity is acting as a force stronger
        than the forces of diffusion. Unless you want to present this as an
        exception to known natural laws.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        Since when is the designation 'very good' supposed to be interpreted as
        perfection. Don't you think if 'perfect' was the concept intended it
        would have maybe said 'perfect' rather than 'very good'?

        Jem:
        Let's follow this bit of logic: You would agree that God is perfect, would
        you not? Would you? The direct creations of His hand then should not be
        flawed, should they? By God's own observation, they are "very good." God,
        being perfect in every way cannot/will not be in the presence of any
        imperfection, so when He says "good," I take that to mean perfect. I would
        reference this against Psalm 53 where we are told that there is none among
        the children of men that does "good."

        There is no one who does good, not even one. [Psalm 53:3b NASB]

        Now certainly, there are men who do "good" according to worldly standards,
        but according to God's standards, there is not even one. Apparently, God
        has a different standard for "good" than we do. Likewise, "very good" to
        God would be an awful lot better than our "very good."

        I take this to mean that His original creation was without flaw. Of course,
        as a die hard evolutionist, you must accept death, carnivory, disease, etc.
        as a part of God's original creation. I don't. I still think that

        <<snip>>

        Jem, previously:
        >but of course, you put no stock in scripture.

        Oh? Since when? You are quite mistaken about this my friend. I just
        try not do it the injustice of interpreting it naively and ignorantly.

        Jem:
        Sorry Dave, I forgot about your profession. I was merely observing that you
        seem to argue against the plain meaning of scriptures at every opportunity.
        It's interesting to me that the most fierce opposition to creationists comes
        from within the church. Creationism is simply taking the word of God for
        what it says, without reading any of man's "wisdom" into it.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        Some speciations are occurring. But I suspect that at the present time
        the extinction rate exceeds the speciation rate though.

        Jem:
        How convenient.

        <<snip>>

        Jem, previously:
        >Harmful mutations,
        >diseases, etc. are increasing, not decreasing.

        Dave:
        So much for things only going extinct and not diversifying.

        Jem:
        What does an increase in harmful mutations have to do with diversifying?
        Notice that I specified "harmful" mutations in my original statement, which
        would tend toward extinction in the long run, not diversification.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        This is a typical creationist misinterpretation of Scripture. The
        passage has nothing to do with the scientific concept of
        uniformitarianism. What it is dealing with are those who scoff at the
        prospect of Christ returning because of it having not happened yet for
        a very long time.

        Jem:
        Yes, it does refer to those who scoff at the prospect of His return, but it
        fits awfully well with those who scoff at the prospect of the flood and
        creation as well.

        Dave:
        Huh? Based on what you see here? How, pray tell, can you divine my
        religious inclinations from a discussion of science? The only thing
        you can be reasonably sure of concerning my religious beliefs (from
        just my writings concerning science) is that I'm not an obscurantist
        fundamentalist who thinks he can tell God how to run His universe based
        on an unworkable a priori misinterpretation of Scripture because of a
        presumption that that particular interpretation of Scripture is so
        infallible and holy that it has replaced God himself as the real
        object of his faith.

        Jem:
        I cannot know your heart towards God, even if you directly tell me what it
        is. No man can know the heart, only God can. I just observe that you are
        very hostile toward the plain meanings of God's word on this board. Do you,
        like Dave O., take scripture to merely be the writings of ancient men? The
        bible repeatedly refers to itself as the word of God. Of course, Christ is
        *The* Word (logos) of God. I absolutely do not elevate the ink on paper of
        my bible over God Himself, but as His very words, I place great interest in
        what they say to me.

        Dave:
        What is it about so many fundamentalists that leads them to think they
        can judge the condition of the souls of others based on their scientific
        writings? Whatever it is, it is not a gift of spiritual discernment.

        Jem:
        I'll take it as a compliment that you call me a fundamentalist. I will not
        compromise the word of God for human wisdom. I do not judge the condition
        of anyone's soul based on their scientific writings, and I think it is wrong
        to do so. You may notice that in my statements, I said that I pray that you
        are not among those who do not believe that Christ will return. Personally,
        I believe that it is a consistent and uncompromising position to accept God
        at His word regarding creation, flood, etc. I do not believe that anyone
        has lost salvation if they accept long ages or evolution, but I find it
        inconsistent, and a first step towards rejecting the saving work of Christ.

        <<snip>>

        Dave:
        Actually, I was known from the foundation of the world.

        Jem:
        Yes, we all were. I am confused how you accept this without any
        "scientific" evidence, yet reject so much else of what God tells us.

        Dave:
        I appreciate your concern even if you don't know how to properly divide
        the word of truth. However, I believe I already am accepted into His
        family, and have accepted Him.

        Jem:
        Good. If so, then you are my brother in Christ's body and we shall spend
        eternity together with Him.

        God Bless,

        Jeremy
        <}}><
      • Dave Oldridge
        On 4 Feb 2003 at 9:50, Jeremy Dasen wrote: [snip] ... Actually, Genesis more or less tells us that God commanded the earth and the sea and THEY brought forth
        Message 3 of 15 , Feb 4, 2003
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          On 4 Feb 2003 at 9:50, Jeremy Dasen wrote:

          [snip]

          > Jem:
          > By the same token, from what I've seen of your insistence on refusing
          > the possibility of "design" in nature, you seem to me to be having
          > trouble with the simple concepts involved throughout nature and
          > scriptures:
          >
          > For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
          > clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his
          > eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [Romans
          > 1:20, KJV]
          >
          > I do not read this as saying that things made themselves and that God
          > is only powerful enough to just give nature a nudge in the right
          > direction. Perhaps as a priest, you have a different take on this?

          Actually, Genesis more or less tells us that God commanded the earth
          and the sea and THEY brought forth life in all its different forms.
          I don't reject the idea that it's all designed. What I reject is the
          idea that you can see the designer, when He clearly set out to hide
          His hand.

          > Dave:
          > Well, evolution is a scientific theory, and as such it is a matter of
          > science. In science we do not decide whether or not some particular
          > process is possible or impossible by making unsupported declarations
          > of impossibility all the while intentionally ignoring the observed
          > evidence. What you are doing not only has no part of the scientific
          > method, it is antithetical to it.
          >
          > Jem:
          > Well, I want no part in any science that excludes my Creator from its
          > conclusions. I'm content in my knowledge of God as creator and
          > maintainer of the universe, just like His word says:

          Yet you don't rail against the Godless gravitationalists who
          "exclude" God from the process of making the planets go in their
          orbits.

          > For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth,
          > visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
          > authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He
          > is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [Colossians
          > 1:16-17 NASB]
          >
          > Jem, previously:
          > >gasses diffuse to seek
          > >equilibrium,
          >
          > Dave:
          > except when they don't, such as when a cloud of interstellar gas
          > collapses under its own gravitational weight to form a star system.
          >
          > Jem:
          > This is still seeking an equilibrium. Gravity is acting as a force
          > stronger than the forces of diffusion. Unless you want to present
          > this as an exception to known natural laws.
          >
          > <<snip>>
          >
          > Dave:
          > Since when is the designation 'very good' supposed to be interpreted
          > as perfection. Don't you think if 'perfect' was the concept intended
          > it would have maybe said 'perfect' rather than 'very good'?
          >
          > Jem:
          > Let's follow this bit of logic: You would agree that God is perfect,
          > would you not? Would you? The direct creations of His hand then
          > should not be flawed, should they? By God's own observation, they are
          > "very good." God, being perfect in every way cannot/will not be in
          > the presence of any imperfection, so when He says "good," I take that
          > to mean perfect. I would reference this against Psalm 53 where we are
          > told that there is none among the children of men that does "good."
          >
          > There is no one who does good, not even one. [Psalm 53:3b NASB]
          >
          > Now certainly, there are men who do "good" according to worldly
          > standards, but according to God's standards, there is not even one.
          > Apparently, God has a different standard for "good" than we do.
          > Likewise, "very good" to God would be an awful lot better than our
          > "very good."
          >
          > I take this to mean that His original creation was without flaw. Of
          > course, as a die hard evolutionist, you must accept death, carnivory,
          > disease, etc. as a part of God's original creation. I don't. I still
          > think that
          >
          > <<snip>>
          >
          > Jem, previously:
          > >but of course, you put no stock in scripture.
          >
          > Oh? Since when? You are quite mistaken about this my friend. I just
          > try not do it the injustice of interpreting it naively and ignorantly.
          >
          > Jem:
          > Sorry Dave, I forgot about your profession. I was merely observing
          > that you seem to argue against the plain meaning of scriptures at
          > every opportunity. It's interesting to me that the most fierce
          > opposition to creationists comes from within the church. Creationism
          > is simply taking the word of God for what it says, without reading any
          > of man's "wisdom" into it.

          It's taking Genesis for what you BELIEVE it is saying while ignoring
          any possible figurative intent.

          > <<snip>>
          >
          > Dave:
          > Some speciations are occurring. But I suspect that at the present
          > time the extinction rate exceeds the speciation rate though.
          >
          > Jem:
          > How convenient.
          >
          > <<snip>>
          >
          > Jem, previously:
          > >Harmful mutations,
          > >diseases, etc. are increasing, not decreasing.
          >
          > Dave:
          > So much for things only going extinct and not diversifying.
          >
          > Jem:
          > What does an increase in harmful mutations have to do with
          > diversifying? Notice that I specified "harmful" mutations in my
          > original statement, which would tend toward extinction in the long
          > run, not diversification.
          >
          > <<snip>>
          >
          > Dave:
          > This is a typical creationist misinterpretation of Scripture. The
          > passage has nothing to do with the scientific concept of
          > uniformitarianism. What it is dealing with are those who scoff at the
          > prospect of Christ returning because of it having not happened yet for
          > a very long time.
          >
          > Jem:
          > Yes, it does refer to those who scoff at the prospect of His return,
          > but it fits awfully well with those who scoff at the prospect of the
          > flood and creation as well.
          >
          > Dave:
          > Huh? Based on what you see here? How, pray tell, can you divine my
          > religious inclinations from a discussion of science? The only thing
          > you can be reasonably sure of concerning my religious beliefs (from
          > just my writings concerning science) is that I'm not an obscurantist
          > fundamentalist who thinks he can tell God how to run His universe
          > based on an unworkable a priori misinterpretation of Scripture because
          > of a presumption that that particular interpretation of Scripture is
          > so infallible and holy that it has replaced God himself as the real
          > object of his faith.
          >
          > Jem:
          > I cannot know your heart towards God, even if you directly tell me
          > what it is. No man can know the heart, only God can. I just observe
          > that you are very hostile toward the plain meanings of God's word on
          > this board. Do you, like Dave O., take scripture to merely be the
          > writings of ancient men? The bible repeatedly refers to itself as the
          > word of God. Of course, Christ is *The* Word (logos) of God. I
          > absolutely do not elevate the ink on paper of my bible over God
          > Himself, but as His very words, I place great interest in what they
          > say to me.

          There are several problems here. Scripture is not "merely" the
          writings of ancient men. The Church has examined these particular
          writings and given them the distinction of being sacred, rather than
          secular. But the Bible does not refer to itself at all. There is no
          included table of contents. Those are supplied by latter-day
          publishers, not by the original authors. It REVEALS the Word to us,
          but it is not, in and of itself, that word.

          That is to say, the Bible contains many of the words uttered from
          time to time by God, but not all of them. And it contains many
          incidental words that, while inspired by God are not necessarily even
          infallible.

          Dave Oldridge
          ICQ 1800667
        • David Bowman
          ... Then you are a better reader of Matthew s mind than I am. ... True, they have no value at all--except possibly as an illustration of specious reasoning
          Message 4 of 15 , Feb 5, 2003
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            Regarding Jeremy's comments:

            >Jem:
            >Matthew didn't mention anything about "outside input," but I think it was
            >implied in his statements,

            Then you are a better reader of Matthew's mind than I am.

            >otherwise, his statements would have no use in
            >his arguments (I don't suppose you think they had much use anyway).

            True, they have no value at all--except possibly as an illustration of
            specious reasoning that might dupe the ignorant.

            >You can
            >play all day with definitions of "up" and "down" to suit your purposes, but
            >I think you know what Matt and I mean by "down."

            Not really. I doubt that both you and Matt know what you mean by them
            either. But I suspect that you may have some tautological notion in
            mind that begs the question about the direction of thermodynamic
            processes, but I can't tell for sure.
            ...

            >Jem:
            >More distraction with definitions.

            Defining one's terms is not distraction. It is essential for reasoned
            communication. A refusal to do impedes clear communication, is often a
            sign of faulty reasoning, and can mask ignorance hypocritically
            pretending to be knowledge.

            >The laws of nature are our descriptions
            >of the universe around us.

            OK so far.

            >These "laws" originated with God and are
            >described by man.

            I like to think this is true. I also think it is most likely that
            God's actions are consistent with those laws (part of his faithful
            consistency and immutability don't you know) with very rare exceptions.
            There doesn't seem to be any evidence that He has violated them in the
            wholesale manner that is required for YEC scenarios to be played out.

            >How can these laws exist outside of intelligence?

            Nobody said that they do. These laws of physics are abstractions and as
            such form a *description* of how the universe works. As such
            abstractions they live in the minds that understand them. But this is
            completely *different* than saying that physical law makes any kind of
            *explicit reference* to such mental concepts as 'intelligence',
            'purpose', 'design' etc.

            >You
            >say nature doesn't "care" about whether preprogrammed mechanisms are present
            >or not. Of course nature doesn't have human emotions, so no, it doesn't
            >"care," but if those preprogrammed mechanisms were absent (e.g. no
            >information in the acorn) nature would be a whole lot different (i.e. no oak
            >trees).

            Certainly the subsequent development (if any) of an acorn depends on the
            sequences of the bases found in its genome. But this is always a
            property of *any* physical situation. The future behavior of a system
            depends on the initial conditions. Part of the relevant initial
            conditions for oak tree development is a particular ensemble of
            genetic sequences in its genome. In any event, it has nothing to do
            with whether or not how some external mind apprehends the particular
            pattern as a sequence. Oak trees existed before people and they can
            grow in a forest without their particular patterns of their genetic
            bases being known by minds. I don't know for certain, but I doubt that
            oak trees have been fully sequenced anyway to this very day. Acorns and
            oak trees do what they do because of their initial state and the state
            of their environment as they do it. No reference to any 'preprogramed
            mechanisms' or 'intelligence' are made in the laws of chemistry and
            physics that describe that behavior.

            >>Dave:
            >>As far as living things that don't "get old and die" I gave the example
            >>of organisms that reproduce by fission. These organisms are ageless
            >>in the sense that they do not go from a juvenile form to an adult form
            >>that eventually perishes. When they reproduce neither of the split
            >>halves is the older "parent" nor the younger "offspring". They don't
            >>ever die unless the environment happens to become so hostile to them
            >>that it kills them.
            >
            >Jem:
            >So these organisms are eternal?

            Who said anything about 'eternal'? The counterexample was in reference
            to the claim that organisms necessarily "get old and die". The subject
            concerned the aging and subsequent death by aging of organisms. If
            Matthew had wanted to discuss the cases where the environment goes out
            and kills the organisms, I expect he would have said so.

            >You mention that even these organisms do
            >die.

            I said they were sometimes killed. The only time they all are
            simultaneously killed is when a particular species of them goes
            extinct. If any of them are still with us, they have not *all* been
            killed by their environment.

            >The universe is a hostile place where everything dies.

            Parts are hostile, and parts are nurturing. It depends on the
            specific situation.

            >Systems run
            >"down" (obvious definition), not "up."

            A meaningless statement until "up" and "down" are defined. If they are
            defined tautologically so that the statement is necessarily true, then
            the statement is *still* meaningless. If they are defined with some
            external independent definitions, then the statement is false in
            general.

            >Things die rather than continue on
            >forever. We shall live on forever, either with God, or without Him. And,
            >God tells us that His word is forever:
            >
            >The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands
            >forever. [Isaiah 40:8 NASB]

            That's nice. I doubt that the author of 2nd Isaiah was trying to
            explain thermodynamics or biology in the use of the metaphor when
            contrasting it with the durability of God's word.
            ...

            >Jem:
            >Yes, but ALL of the information required for a human to develop inside its
            >mother's womb is present at conception.

            A suitably configured zygote and appropriate intrauterine conditions
            are certainly necessary to grow a human. But *all* physical processes
            require the conditions necessary to bring them about. Other conditions
            result in *other* subsequent processes and other behaviors. There is
            nothing qualitatively different about how biology works from how
            chemistry or physics works in this regard. The biological examples are
            just more sensitive to some of the precise details of the necessary
            conditions. This *still* doesn't mean that the relevant laws of
            nature make any reference to concepts such as "intelligence", or
            "design" or "preprogrammed mechanisms", etc.

            >This does not qualify for order and
            >complexity happening without input.

            Notice how convenient it is to leave such notions as 'order' and 'input'
            undefined. You can stretch them to mean whatever you want as you go
            along. Before we were discussing energy input to a process from an
            external environmental source. But now the subject has somehow changed
            to the precise patterns of nucleotide sequences in a genome as an
            initial condition prior to a subsequent process of development. Both of
            these wildly different things in your world constitute 'input'.
            Needless to say, your claims notwithstanding, are not any part of the
            formulation of any law of nature as recognized by actual science. For
            creationists to invent their own 'creationist laws of nature' using
            undefined concepts in them will not cause them to convince any
            scientifically knowledgeable person of their arguments. At best such
            specious arguments can dupe only the ignorant.

            >As a reverend,

            Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not a reverend. The only ordination
            I've undergone is as a deacon.

            >you must accept that God
            >had input at least somewhere along the way

            Actually, I believe that God not only created it all and endowed it with
            all its natural laws, but that He also continues to uphold that creation
            keeping all of it in existence, and causes those laws to continue to be
            followed. But this is neither here nor there when discussing scientific
            matters. Scientific matters don't make reference to God at all. His
            presence behind the scenes keeping it all together is a matter of
            religious faith, *not* science. Science deals only with the explicit
            phenomena of nature, not with the metaphysics or theology that deals
            with the possible behind-the-scenes actions of the supernatural. IOW,
            science deals with just God's handiwork not the God whose 'hands' do
            the underlying 'working'. Because science is *separate* from theology
            and because it deals only with the phenomenological level of observed
            reality, that means that science can be done by *anyone* of sufficient
            aptitude regardless of their personal religious or irreligious beliefs.
            Science never goes behind the level of the phenomenology to deal with
            more ultimate underlying questions pertaining to metaphysics and
            theology so it doesn't make any difference one way or the other as far
            as how the methodology of how scientists actually practice their craft.

            If you want any sort of answer to any kind of ultimate question you
            need to consult elsewhere than science which *only* deals with proximate
            causes--not ultimate ones.

            >(otherwise, what in the world are
            >you a reverend for?)

            Who said anything about me being a reverend?

            >I think that you would agree that you and I are
            >intelligent (at least I'm sure you'd agree that you are intelligent). How
            >did intelligence come about without intelligence?

            Who said anything about intelligence coming about without intelligence?
            I happen to think the laws of nature are sublimely intelligently
            designed, but this belief has no scientific basis. It is my *religious*
            opinion on the matter. Science is *not* religion--contrary to the
            claims of the creationists who seem to be constitutionally incapable of
            distinguishing the two. But it is true, though, that the scientific
            description of how creatures developed whose behavior is so complicated
            and subtle that it can be characterized as intelligent does, indeed, not
            refer to any explicit intelligent causation. But just because the
            scientific description doesn't concern itself with such a thing that does
            *not* mean that no intelligence is involved. If and when external
            supernatural intelligence is involved in some matter, science will just
            not detect it because it is not equipped to do so. Science *can't*
            answer all questions. It can only address the behavior of the physical
            universe in terms of physical proximate causes only.

            >Doesn't fly with me. You
            >actually believe that all of the intelligence and specific complexity of the
            >human brain is merely the result of natural processes??

            Well, as wonderful as the process is of the physical development of a
            human from a zygote is, I see no steps that require supernatural
            miracles to accomplish.

            >Of course, you
            >could play with your definition of "intelligence" and work out some answer
            >here.

            Actually, I'm not certain how to carefully define 'intelligence'.
            Fortunately I don't need to define it to do physics because physics
            doesn't concern itself with the concept.

            >>Dave:
            >>The concept of "design" has *nothing* to do with the 2nd law one way or
            >>the other (creationist 'physics' aside)! <<snip>>
            >
            >Jem:
            >But, I would argue that the 2nd Law is simply a universal law of all of
            >nature applied to one area (thermodynamics), so in a sense, the 2nd Law does
            >apply to design issues.

            Huh? The 2nd law *is* universal in that it works everywhere in the
            universe at all times and all situations where its hypotheses hold.
            But it is not universal in the sense that it can be extended willy-nilly
            as some sort of metaphor to apply to situations where its precise physical
            hypotheses do not hold.

            Speaking of extending the 2nd law & its universality, I probably ought
            to mention a common but (carefully defined) extension of the 2nd law to
            certain situations involving an open system. Strictly speaking the
            2nd law applies to isolated systems. But such a stricture tends to make
            the law quite limited in applicability because of a shortage of actually
            isolated systems to apply it to. The way the 2nd law is dealt with in
            an open system is as like this:

            Suppose we have a macroscopic physical system whose internal parts
            interact with not only each other but with some (relevant) parts of its
            environment as well. (Technically speaking, these internal and relevant
            external 'parts' are actually considered to be actual microscopic
            dynamical degrees of freedom.) This means that the system is open to
            influences from those relevant parts of the environment and also those
            external relevant parts can be influenced by what goes on in the system.
            Now as time goes on the *sum* of the (thermodynamic) entropy of the
            system itself and the entropy of those relevant external parts is a
            nondecreasing function of time assuming that those external parts
            themselves do not interact in any relevant way with the rest of the
            surroundings of the system. Since the 2nd law only concerns the
            trend in the sum of the system's entropy and the entropy of the
            relevant part of the environment it is perfectly possible that the
            system's entropy could decrease with time as long as the entropy of
            the relevant environment increases with time by at least as great an
            amount so that the sum is still nondecreasing.

            Since this extended situation assumes that the relevant part of the
            environment interacts with the system but does not appreciably
            interact with the rest of the environment this means that this
            situation is effectively one of an effectively isolated new 'system'
            where the new system includes both the original system and the
            relevant part of the environment that interacts significantly with
            the parts of the original system. Effectively we just redraw the
            boundaries defining our system so as to include the part of the
            environment that significantly interacts with the original system.
            This trick will work only as long as the new extended system itself
            is effectively isolated from *its* environment. If this is not the
            case we need to further extend the boundaries of our system until
            it *is* effectively isolated from the rest of the universe.

            We can go backwards in this boundary redefinition process also.
            Suppose we already have an effectively isolated system whose
            total entropy is nondecreasing with time. Now let's partition
            this system into two subsystems that are interacting with each
            other. In this case the sum of the entropies of the two subsystems
            is nondecreasing, but the entropy of either of them *may* decrease
            as long as the entropy of the other one increases by at least as
            much.

            As a trivial example of this situation suppose we have a system
            composed of two objects at two different temperatures which are brought
            into thermal contact but which when together are themselves effectively
            isolated from the rest of the universe. In this case the initially
            hotter object will have its entropy *decrease* with time. The entropy
            of the initially cooler object will increase by more than the amount by
            which the entropy of the hotter one decreased. The sum of their two
            entropies will increase as they come toward a common intermediate
            temperature in mutual equilibrium. Thus, whenever *any* object is
            cooled by another object (everything else being equal or
            inconsequential) that object has its entropy *decrease* with time. No
            intelligence, no prior preprogrammed mechanism, no design, and no
            external energy input is required. It just happens on its own.

            >Jem, previously:
            >>>Sunlight is not directed unless the
            >>>organism receiving it is already set up to use it.
            >>
            >>Dave:
            >>Not directed? Doesn't light travel in straight lines in your universe?
            >
            >Jem:
            >You're playing with definitions here again.

            No, I'm not. I'm trying to fathom what the heck you are talking about.

            >What does light traveling in
            >straight lines (which it doesn't always do, btw) have to do with purposeful
            >application of energy (the implied definition of "directed" in my
            >statement)?

            I don't know. You mentioned energy that was or wasn't "directed" (as an
            alternative to your previous appellation of "pure" and "impure" energy)
            and gave an example of sunlight not being directed energy. I have no
            idea what you are talking about. Now you are talking about "purposeful
            application" of energy. How on earth is a physical system receiving
            energy supposed to know if the energy it receives is "purposeful" or not
            so it can respond differently in each case? What *are* you talking
            about? 'Creationist physics' sure seems to be a weird subject.
            Whatever you are talking about it can have precious little to do with
            any actual physics though.

            ...
            >Jem:
            >A "heat engine" running in reverse is called a "refrigerator."

            There is no such thing as a heat engine running in reverse. Heat
            engines operate as irreversible processes. And you accused me of
            perpetual motion machines? It is true that the nonrealizable
            idealization of a heat engine that is reversible (e.g. a Carnot engine)
            has the theoretically maximal efficiency and can be conceptually
            reversed to act as an ideal nonrealizable refrigerator which also has
            the maximal theoretical coefficient of performance when operated between
            its two thermal reservoirs. But the coefficient of performance of this
            ideal refrigerator is *not* the efficiency of the corresponding ideal
            heat engine. Sheesh!

            >Let me quote
            >my thermo textbook: "Since the Carnot heat engine cycle is reversible, every
            >process could be reversed, in which case it would become a refrigerator."

            So what? This is irrelevant for anything we have discussed. This
            reversed refrigerator would have a coefficient of performance equal to
            the theoretical maximum which *still* withdraws much more energy from
            its low temperature reservoir, and discharges much more energy to the
            high temperature reservoir than the external work done on it to operate
            it as it cycles. If anything, invoking this example only makes your
            case only worse because of its extremal nature.

            >If a refrigerator was truly returning more energy than it consumed, why
            >couldn't it use the energy that it was giving off to power itself?

            Sheesh! The energy it discharges goes into the high temperature
            reservoir as heat, i.e. the air in the kitchen, not back to the
            electrical grid as electrical work.

            >Because
            >this would be a perpetual motion machine that cannot exist.

            No, it would not. It would just be an ordinary refrigerator.

            >I understand
            >the c.o.p. of a refrigerator, but my point is that no machine can truly
            >return more energy than it costs to run that machine.

            No refrigerator returns any energy to its source of energy that did
            the work on it to operate it. Instead, it discharges heat to the high
            temperature reservoir and withdraws heat from the low temperature
            reservoir. IOW, heat flows from the low temperature reservoir to the
            high temperature reservoir, and the energy from the work that was done
            on the refrigerator (from the power source) to operate it for each cycle
            is *also* discharged to the high temperature reservoir. Thus more
            energy (as heat) leaves the refrigerator to its high temperature
            reservoir than it extracts from its low temperature one.

            >>Dave:
            >>It is not wise in the context of
            >>scientific discussions to go around making blanket unqualified
            >>assertions using un/illdefined colloquial terminology. When you go
            >>around doing this there is an excellent probability that such assertions
            >>are incorrect.
            >
            >Jem:
            >Some things are implied and it is assumed that the recipient will understand
            >basic concepts. Of course, blanket statements aren't always true, but
            >sometimes, in the name of efficiency, simple statements are made with the
            >understanding that the details are understood. When Matt says that heat
            >flows from warm to cool, I'm sure he knows the exception of refrigerators.
            >He was stating a general natural tendency.

            If it really was a *general* natural tendency then refrigerators would
            be impossible. What it is is just an incorrect claim caused by making a
            blanket statement. A much better statement would be that heat tends to
            flow from hot to cold in most instances, but sometimes situations arise
            where heat tends to flow from cold to hot. But in any case, even the
            correct statement has nothing to do with anything regarding the
            possibility of evolution based on thermodynamic considerations.
            ...

            >Jem:
            >I hope Prigongine is happy with the Nobel prize, but just "order" even if
            >complicated, is not the same as the specificity of organization that we find
            >in living systems.

            I referred to dissipative structures as being self-organizing. A system
            maintained far-from-equilibrium by external constraints facilitates
            the spontaneous appearance of dissipative structures that *organize*
            themselves. 'Order' wasn't my word; it was Matthew's. (I merely
            carefully defined the term 'order' in a post responding to Doug Wilder.)

            >DNA has very specific layouts with very specific orders.
            >Just any order doesn't cut it.

            So? Only very few combinations of lottery numbers wins the lottery, too.
            For some reason eventually the lottery money is always claimed with a
            winning ticket in spite of this.

            >I could drop a bunch of scrabble pieces into
            >a pile, and perhaps by chance, some of them would form a word or two. Even
            >though these words would count as order, and even as information, you still
            >haven't explained where the letters and the language to read those words
            >came from.

            So? What does any of this have to do with anything relevant to the
            topic under discussion, i.e. thermodynamics & its 2nd law. (Even
            information theory also doesn't concern itself with language & meaning
            either.)

            >DNA is nothing without the mechanisms to "read" it and utilize
            >its information.

            That's nice.

            >Dave:
            >>Actually if they involve very complicated physics because they require
            >>"many, many variables" to describe, then they precisely *are*
            >>"complex informationally" by the definition of complexity used in
            >>information theory.
            >
            >Jem:
            >Complex, but not specific. They do not contain "information" as defined by
            >information scientists.

            Oh yeah? How would you know? I suggest you go back and look at
            the information-theoretic definition of complex. What is specific is
            the particular complex system at hand.

            >True information needs to have a sender, receiver,
            >and a desired result.

            Not at all. You are confusing information with communication.
            Information only requires a set of symbols embody it. Communication
            theory has nothing to do with thermodynamics. The only resemblance is
            that Shannon's entropy measure (like all entropy measures) in
            communication theory has a superficial formula for it which is similar
            in form to the Gibbs formula for thermodynamic entropy. The only reason
            for this resemblance is that both kinds of entropy happen to be
            entropies in the generic sense of probability theory. They have nothing
            to do with each other because thermodynamics is not concerned with
            messages of any kind, but is instead concerned with the distribution of
            physical miocrostates of a system, whereas communication theory is
            concerned with the transmission of messages with fidelity and the
            probabilities of their transmission, but is not concerned with any
            microstates. Both fields concern completely different topics, define
            completely different probability distributions, and have nothing to do
            with each other.

            >Of course, a hurricane, or tornado cannot possible
            >desire any result, as they are not living, conscious entities.

            So what? They aren't attempting any communication. But they *still*
            are self-organized and complicated entities that form without any kind
            of input of intelligence or programmed mechanisms.

            >Dave:
            >>Ok, what is directed energy? Sunlight follows *direct* straight line
            >>rays from the sun.
            >
            >Jem:
            >You're ignoring your own advice, Dave. Sunlight doesn't *always* follow
            >direct straight line rays from the sun. It tends to, but gravity does bend
            >light. To quote you: "It is not wise in the context of scientific
            >discussions to go around making blanket unqualified assertions."

            I'm correct on both counts here. It's true that gravity bends the
            path of light in *space* in a typical generic situation. But in the
            particular case of the light moving radially outward from the sun there
            is *no such bending*. The sun's gravity does *not* bend these rays in
            space. If we were discussing light rays that just grazed by the sun
            (instead of radially directed paths) its path *in space* would be bent
            by about 1.75 arcsec.

            Also, the path of light in *space-time* would not be bent *at all* for
            any gravitational field configuration or any light travel direction.
            This is because light travels on (null) *geodesics* in spacetime and
            geodesics are paths defined by the process of parallel transport and
            have no local intrinsic curvature anywhere along them, and they
            represent the straight lines of the intrinsically gravitationally
            curved 4-d spacetime manifold.

            >Depends on
            >how you want to define that word "direct," doesn't it?

            I'm not the one who used the term (in connection with sunlight energy)
            without defining it. I'm just trying to guess what you mean by it.

            >As I have used the
            >word "directed," I was intending to convey the meaning of purpose

            What does "purpose" have to do with physics? Why should physical
            systems care about the "purpose" of the energy they receive?

            >not
            >direction. Again, I think that you know that, but are just trying to be
            >difficult in your attempt to make me look less intelligent than yourself (as
            >a creationists, I just couldn't be intelligent, could I?)

            I'm just trying to get you to explain *precisely* what you are talking
            about, because it is quite apparent to me that it seems to have nothing
            to do with any actual physics. But I could be wrong, so I want you to
            explain yourself *carefully* so it can be determined whether or not
            there is anything to your claims that might be hiding in your use of
            such seemingly nonphysical concepts.

            ...
            >Jem:
            >The oak is the realization of the information already present in the acorn.
            >It's much larger and more complicated, but there's no new information there.
            >Acorns are "programmed" to yield oak trees. Oak trees do not just grow
            >themselves randomly from any old seed in the ground, they require the
            >information from an acorn.

            So what? The outcome of nearly every process in nature depends to some
            extent or another on what its initial conditions are. This has
            *nothing* to do with thermodynamics per se. Rather it has to do with
            the fact that the laws of dynamics are based on differential equations
            (sometimes even contingent stochastic ones).

            >Dave:
            >>I disputed your contention
            >>that the relevant science is simple. From what I've seen of your
            >>scientific characterizations, your understanding of the thermodynamics
            >>of refrigerators, your blanket statements, your lay definitions of
            >>info-theoretic concepts, and your insistence at inserting the concept
            >>of "design" into the laws of nature it lead me to believe that you
            >>actually may be having trouble with the concepts involved here.
            >
            >Jem:
            >By the same token, from what I've seen of your insistence on refusing the
            >possibility of "design" in nature,

            Since when did I ever refuse the possibility of design in nature? What
            I contended is that the physical laws of nature do not refer to the
            concept of design, and that concept is foreign to any physical
            (scientific) description of a natural process. This is *not* the same
            as denying the existence of design in nature. It is denying the
            existence of the concept of design in our physical scientific
            descriptions of nature because design is simply not a physical concept.
            just because a scientific physical description doesn't contain some
            concept by the nature of just what a scientific physical description
            happens to be, that does not mean that that concept is actually absent
            from nature. It is only absent from our scientific understanding of
            nature. Scientific descriptions and understandings of things don't
            claim to be exhaustive of all reality. Now it is possible that an
            atheist naturalist might believe that science gives a complete
            description of all reality, but that person's opinion on the matter
            cannot be derived from science itself. It is an extrascientific
            metaphysical or religious claim whose basis of support or lack thereof
            is not derived from science itself.

            >you seem to me to be having trouble with
            >the simple concepts involved throughout nature and scriptures:

            I don't think so. Which simple concepts? But I've been wrong before.

            >For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly
            >seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power
            >and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [Romans 1:20, KJV]
            >
            >I do not read this as saying that things made themselves and that God is
            >only powerful enough to just give nature a nudge in the right direction.

            Neither do I. Just because the natural world suggests some things
            about God's power doesn't mean that scientific descriptions of that
            natural world are supposed to make explicit reference to the God who
            made and upholds it.

            >Perhaps as a priest, you have a different take on this?

            I'm not a priest (except in the protestant sense of the priesthood of
            the believer). It appears that you have the wrong Dave here.

            >Dave:
            >>Well, evolution is a scientific theory, and as such it is a matter of
            >>science. In science we do not decide whether or not some particular
            >>process is possible or impossible by making unsupported declarations
            >>of impossibility all the while intentionally ignoring the observed
            >>evidence. What you are doing not only has no part of the scientific
            >>method, it is antithetical to it.
            >
            >Jem:
            >Well, I want no part in any science that excludes my Creator from its
            >conclusions.

            Suit yourself. Does this mean that you need explicit references to
            God in all the areas of your life? Do you want no part of, say,
            traffic laws? Do you want no part of buying groceries at the store?
            What's so bad about scientific descriptions not referring to God?
            If there is one thing that the Bible teaches us about God, other than
            His deep love for his creatures, it is that he is *invisible*. Being
            invisible there is not supposed to be explicit references to Him in
            scientific understanding of visible things operating in terms of
            proximate visible causes.

            >I'm content in my knowledge of God as creator and maintainer
            >of the universe, just like His word says:

            Suit yourself. It seems to me that you might be missing out on some of
            the glories that God's creation has been endowed with by keeping your
            head in the sand concerning scientific understandings of natural
            phenomena though. Don't forget that we are to love God with our whole
            *mind* as well as with other aspects of our nature.

            >For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth,
            >visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
            >authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is
            >before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [Colossians 1:16-17
            >NASB]

            I believe that this is true. It's just is not relevant to science.

            >Jem, previously:
            >>>gasses diffuse to seek
            >>>equilibrium,
            >
            >Dave:
            >>except when they don't, such as when a cloud of interstellar gas
            >>collapses under its own gravitational weight to form a star system.
            >
            >Jem:
            >This is still seeking an equilibrium.

            That depends on just what you mean by the notion of "seeking
            equilibrium". Typically the presence of gravitational interactions
            prevents the establishment of a stable equilibrium because systems
            dominated by gravitation often tend to violate LeChatelier's principle.
            The 2nd law is still satisfied in the large, but local conditions often
            are driven away from a former (near) equilibrium. This is related to
            the fact that gravitational interactions are incompatible with an
            extensive thermodynamic limit for a macroscopic system. This is why a
            uniform temperature gas cloud can collapse to a star system with
            wildly different temperatures and densities in its various parts. (Even
            such things as nearly structureless as black holes are thermodynamically
            unstable because they effectively have a negative heat capacity.

            >are Gravity is acting as a force stronger
            >than the forces of diffusion.

            So in this case the gas is *not* *diffusing* "to seek equilibrium"
            contrary to your claim above.

            >Unless you want to present this as an
            >exception to known natural laws.

            Why would I want that? It is indeed a weird case for those ideas
            about the approach to equilibrium is conditioned by exclusively
            terrestrial processes, but is certainly does not violate natural laws.
            But it does violate your claim about gaseous *diffusion* towards
            equilibrium.

            >Dave:
            >>Since when is the designation 'very good' supposed to be interpreted as
            >>perfection. Don't you think if 'perfect' was the concept intended it
            >>would have maybe said 'perfect' rather than 'very good'?
            >
            >Jem:
            >Let's follow this bit of logic: You would agree that God is perfect, would
            >you not? Would you?

            OK.

            >The direct creations of His hand then should not be
            >flawed, should they? By God's own observation, they are "very good."

            OK.

            >God,
            >being perfect in every way cannot/will not be in the presence of any
            >imperfection,

            Whoa. Huh? I'm not perfect. He's present to me. What's this about
            God not tolerating imperfection?

            What even makes you think that the very concept of a "perfect" physical
            creation is even compatible with a creation that has been given the gift
            of freedom to certain aspects of it, such as to our free wills? It is
            not clear to me that a perfect universe is compatible with freedom. I
            think the creation may have to be imperfect if it is to be able to
            contain the likes of us. Groucho Marx said that he didn't care to
            belong to any club that would accept him as a member. It is
            conceivable that imperfection is the price paid for having a universe
            that we can live in and be the free beings that God has so
            graciously allowed us to be. I think it appears to me that God values
            freedom in His creatures (& some of the rest of creation) as a greater
            good than the down side of having some imperfection built into it to
            accommodate that freedom.

            >so when He says "good," I take that to mean perfect.

            Then that is a non sequitur on your part.

            >I would
            >reference this against Psalm 53 where we are told that there is none among
            >the children of men that does "good."
            >
            >There is no one who does good, not even one. [Psalm 53:3b NASB]

            So much for a perfect creation.

            >Now certainly, there are men who do "good" according to worldly standards,
            >but according to God's standards, there is not even one. Apparently, God
            >has a different standard for "good" than we do. Likewise, "very good" to
            >God would be an awful lot better than our "very good."
            >
            >I take this to mean that His original creation was without flaw.

            How do you know that the writer of Genesis meant by the phrase "very
            good"? Did God whisper this interpretation into your ear personally, or
            what?

            >Of course,
            >as a die hard evolutionist, you must accept death, carnivory, disease, etc.
            >as a part of God's original creation.

            So I'm a die hard evolutionist now, am I? How would you know? I never
            told you how strong my views are toward evolution, now have I?

            >I don't. I still think that
            >
            ><<snip>>
            >
            >Jem, previously:
            >>>but of course, you put no stock in scripture.
            >
            >>Oh? Since when? You are quite mistaken about this my friend. I just
            >>try not do it the injustice of interpreting it naively and ignorantly.
            >
            >Jem:
            >Sorry Dave, I forgot about your profession.

            My profession? I'm a college professor who teaches physics. What does
            *that* have to do with my approach to scripture?

            >I was merely observing that you
            >seem to argue against the plain meaning of scriptures at every opportunity.

            Since when? You are confusing arguing against silly creationist claims
            with arguing against scripture. Although sometimes the scriptures
            themselves indicate that portions of them are not to be understood
            literalistically and that a figurative interpretation is what is
            intended. Other times a naive literalistic interpretation contradicts
            what God tells us in nature, so that also suggests that such an
            interpretation needs to be modified. For instance, before the
            renaissance most people in the church interpreted the references in the
            Bible about the earth being unmovable as indicating that the Bible
            taught us that the earth did not rotate since that *is* the plain
            meaning of those passages. For some reason most current fundamentalists
            have somehow gotten over the fixed earth verses by interpreting them
            figuratively, but they are still stuck on the creation, the Garden of
            Eden, & Noah's flood passages as requiring a literalistic
            interpretation in spite of the physical evidence against it. This
            strikes me as inconsistent. It seems to me that if one is to adopt the
            literal-plain-meaning-is-correct stance then all the current
            fundamentalists ought to be flat-earth geocentrists. Of course some
            fundamentalists are such, but most other fundamentalists consider those
            that are as crackpots. I guess you can understand my attitude toward
            the idea of a Biblically taught YECism by your own attitude toward the
            biblical immovable-earth doctrine.

            >It's interesting to me that the most fierce opposition to creationists comes
            >from within the church.

            The reason for the opposition is simply that, for the most part, the
            actions of the YEC creationists (esp. the leaders among them) reflect
            very badly on the church and on Christianity. Theirs is a poor
            witness for the cause of Christ and it brings serious harm to His
            church in multiple ways. The fact that their science is all screwy is
            by itself the least of the problems.

            >Creationism is simply taking the word of God for
            >what it says, without reading any of man's "wisdom" into it.

            That's a crock.

            ...
            >Jem, previously:
            >>>Harmful mutations,
            >>>diseases, etc. are increasing, not decreasing.
            >
            >Dave:
            >>So much for things only going extinct and not diversifying.
            >
            >Jem:
            >What does an increase in harmful mutations have to do with diversifying?

            Any kind of mutation will cause an increase in variation as long as
            it is not *so* harmful to an organism that it is not survivable.
            Increasing new diseases and the evolution of their resistance to
            previous treatments illustrate an *increase* is biological diversity.
            Every year there are more strains of various disease organisms. This is
            the opposite of their extinction.

            >Notice that I specified "harmful" mutations in my original statement, which
            >would tend toward extinction in the long run, not diversification.

            No it doesn't. If a mutation is not immediately lethal it often tends
            to become fixed in a population at some low level even if it is somewhat
            harmful. If a mutation is *so* harmful that it outright kills the
            organism possessing it before that organism has a chance to reproduce,
            then that is equivalent to that *particular* organism having never been
            born. All the *other* non-mutant offspring in the population of that
            generation still tend to continue on as if that mutation had never
            appeared in the first place in that one hapless individual. The only
            way that a harmful mutation would cause extinction is if by some miracle
            all the offspring in a population for some generation each acquired a
            lethal mutation simultaneously. I hope I don't need to tell you how
            unlikely *that* is. The usual reason for extinction is some change in
            the environment of a population, not a harmful genetic mutation that
            might happen to appear.

            >Dave:
            >>This is a typical creationist misinterpretation of Scripture. The
            >>passage has nothing to do with the scientific concept of
            >>uniformitarianism. What it is dealing with are those who scoff at the
            >>prospect of Christ returning because of it having not happened yet for
            >>a very long time.
            >
            >Jem:
            >Yes, it does refer to those who scoff at the prospect of His return, but it
            >fits awfully well with those who scoff at the prospect of the flood and
            >creation as well.

            The reference to the flood is an *illustration*. The passage predicts
            scoffers who will ridicule the idea that Christ will return because
            there have been no signs of it happening for a very long time. The
            analogy is to those who in the Noah story did not expect a flood
            to come and wash them and their former world away until it suddenly
            happened. The point is that catastrophic events can and do happen with
            little or no warning, and just because there have been no indications
            so far concerning his immanent return that doesn't mean it won't ever
            happen. The passage echoes Jesus teaching on the matter where he also
            alluded to Noah's flood as taking people who were unprepared and weren't
            watching for his return. He also illustrated the situation with
            allusions to a thief who robbed the strong man's possessions when he
            wasn't expecting it, and to five foolish and five wise virgins waiting
            for a bridegroom. None of this means that the virgins, the thief, nor
            the strong man are to be taken literally. Similarly, neither does the
            allusion to Noah's flood have to be taken literally.

            ...
            >Jem:
            >I cannot know your heart towards God, even if you directly tell me what it
            >is. No man can know the heart, only God can. I just observe that you are
            >very hostile toward the plain meanings of God's word on this board.

            No. I'm not hostile to a plain naive reading of scripture. I think it
            is mistaken in the case of early Genesis, but I'm not hostile to it.
            What *does* get me upset are other aspects of the antics of YEC
            creationists that demonstrate a less than Christian behavior.

            >Do you,
            >like Dave O., take scripture to merely be the writings of ancient men?

            I doubt that Dave O. would agree with this characterization. I know
            I don't. They *are* the writings of ancient men, but they are not
            *merely* so.

            >The
            >bible repeatedly refers to itself as the word of God. Of course, Christ is
            >*The* Word (logos) of God. I absolutely do not elevate the ink on paper of
            >my bible over God Himself, but as His very words, I place great interest in
            >what they say to me.

            But how dearly do you hold to your particular "plain" interpretation of
            those words?

            >Dave:
            >>What is it about so many fundamentalists that leads them to think they
            >>can judge the condition of the souls of others based on their scientific
            >>writings? Whatever it is, it is not a gift of spiritual discernment.
            >
            >Jem:
            >I'll take it as a compliment that you call me a fundamentalist.

            That figures.

            >I will not
            >compromise the word of God for human wisdom.

            What if your interpretation of what you think of as the word is itself
            human wisdom? Is your interpretation infallible? What I've often
            noticed is that fundamentalists have a tendency to equate their
            interpretation of the scriptures with the word of God itself and don't
            even recognize that they even *have* an interpretation of the scripture.
            They are presumptive enough to think they already know God's intent on
            all matters of not only faith and practice, but of science and history,
            too--all by merely reading the Bible in the most naive manner possible.

            >I do not judge the condition
            >of anyone's soul based on their scientific writings, and I think it is wrong
            >to do so. You may notice that in my statements, I said that I pray that you
            >are not among those who do not believe that Christ will return.

            I also noticed the following groundless accusations and assumptions:

            >but of course, you put no stock in scripture.

            >We took that freewill and chose to disobey Him. But, once again, this
            >means nothing to you.

            >Sarcasm aside, the scoffers are those who claim that things just continue
            >along their natural paths without divine intervention (i.e.
            >uniformitarianism). I assume you fit into the category of those described
            >above, who do not believe that Christ will return? I pray that you are
            >not, but I can only guess based on what I've seen here.

            >You were predicted almost 2000 years ago Dave! But it's OK,
            >God still loves you and will accept you into His family, if you'll only
            >accept Him.

            For some reason these things tell me that you thought you knew my
            religious outlook and my spiritual state.

            >Personally,
            >I believe that it is a consistent and uncompromising position to accept God
            >at His word regarding creation, flood, etc. I do not believe that anyone
            >has lost salvation if they accept long ages or evolution, but I find it
            >inconsistent, and a first step towards rejecting the saving work of Christ.

            >Dave:
            >>Actually, I was known from the foundation of the world.
            >
            ><<snip>>
            >
            >Jem:
            >Yes, we all were. I am confused how you accept this without any
            >"scientific" evidence, yet reject so much else of what God tells us.

            It's a religious claim. Religious claims don't have to be supported
            by scientific evidence. They have other means of support. But
            scientific claims *do* have to be supported by scientific evidence.
            Why is it that fundamentalists have such a hard time distinguishing
            science and scientific matters from religion and religious matters?

            I don't believe that I do "reject what God tells us". I think you
            believe that God tells us some things that I believe he does not. It
            seems that your presumption is that you already automatically clearly
            know what God tells us on nearly every matter. This strikes me as a
            lot of Chutzpa.

            Dave Bowman
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