Editor’s Note: First published in St. Louis MetroVoice 3, no. 9 (September 1993).
Perhaps the reason so many people continue to reject the notion of evolution is that it seems contrary to ordinary experience. Things left to chance just don’t get done. Random changes in anything simply do not produce higher levels of organization and complexity. Rather, all complex machines and devices with which we are familiar are the result of intelligent design and manufacture. Random changes can only destroy them.
Nonetheless, the essential claim of evolution is that random change and natural selection do make simple things spontaneously transform into more complex things without recourse to intelligent purpose or design. The famous evolutionist Julian Huxley has defined evolution as a “directional and essentially irreversible process occurring in time, which in its course gives rise to an increase of variety and an increasingly high level of organization in its products.” In his book Evolution in Action, he says that nowhere in the process of evolution “is there any trace of purpose, or even of prospective significance.” Huxley says that evolution is driven solely by “blind physical forces” engaged in what he calls a great “chaotic jazz dance of particles and radiations.”
The essential claim of evolution is that random change and natural selection do make simple things spontaneously transform into more complex things without recourse to intelligent purpose or design.
Incredibly, Huxley concludes that evolution is a process in which “the only over-all tendency we have so far been able to detect is that summarized by the second law of thermodynamics—the tendency to run down.” Now think about this—one of the most highly respected spokesman for evolution tells us that evolution produces an increasingly high level of organization in things by means of a chance process whose only overall tendency is to cause things to break down!
The whole notion that random change over a long period of time can transform simple systems into ever more complex systems runs precisely contrary to one of the most fundamental laws of nature— the second law of thermodynamics. The Second Law states that with time, everything in the universe tends to undergo progressive degradation. With the passing of time, things do not naturally increase in order and integrated complexity—they decrease. Think of what spontaneous change over a thousand years will do to an automobile, or your own body. Scientists tell us that with enough time, this natural degradation process will lead to the “heat death” of the whole universe when virtually everything in nature will run down to the point that even molecular motion will cease!
Evolutionists have tried to get around this formidable obstacle by arguing that the Second Law only applies to closed systems that do not receive energy from the outside. The earth, they remind us, is an open system that receives energy from the sun. Evolutionists believe that as long as energy flows into such a system, simple things will just naturally transform into more complex things. They believe that the immense complexity we see in all the living things here on earth has occurred at the expense of our sun. While the sun is burning up, and thus decreasing its free energy and complexity in accordance with the Second Law, the sun’s energy promotes a local increase in complexity here on earth.
To illustrate how all this is supposed to work, evolutionists often give simple examples such as the earth’s water cycle. The Second Law predicts that in a closed system, water will naturally flow downhill and will not flow uphill. But the earth, being an open system, receives energy from the sun. This can, in effect, make water flow “uphill.” Specifically, the sun’s energy can evaporate water that has accumulated on the earth, causing water vapor to rise up again into the atmosphere. Having made a small investment in fact, evolutionists hope to gain a wholesale return by huge extrapolation. They would have us believe that just as a little energy from the sun can cause water to evaporate and go “uphill,” so a lot of energy impacting on the earth over 4.5 billion years can cause a mixture of the gases methane and ammonia to transform into people.
The evolutionist cannot get around the Second Law, as it applies to evolution, with such trivial examples. All observed cases in which complex things are derived from less complex things demand an already existing machine that is at least as complex as that which it produces. While this machine requires energy to do its work, energy by itself is not enough. Energy and raw materials, for example, are used in an automobile factory to make complex automobiles, but nothing would come of these resources were it not for the even more complex machines, designs, and intelligent workers associated with the factory.
Like factories, living animals and their cells are comprised of extraordinarily complex machines that use energy and raw material in the form of food to do work, produce complex products, and even make identical copies of themselves. The food that sustains life is ultimately a product of living green plants. Such plants use energy from the sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugar and starch. This process, known as photosynthesis, involves still other complex machines called chloroplasts in the cells of green plants.
It is important to emphasize that all the different kinds of energy-consuming machinery in living cells are not the chance products of mere energy and raw material, but are constructed according to extraordinarily complex and precise “blueprints” in the genes of each cell. Copies of these “blueprints” are read and implemented by still other complex machines in the cell, called ribosomes. When all of this genetic information and machinery is present and working properly, in say an acorn, it has everything it needs to use sunlight and simple raw material to grow into an oak tree. But if the same sunlight shines on a dead oak tree, it will eventually break it down into dust.
Creationists are convinced then that there is a law against the theory of evolution—the second law of thermodynamics.
Creationists are convinced then that there is a law against the theory of evolution—the second law of thermodynamics. Evolutionists, on the other hand, continue to reject the idea that thermodynamics is in any way incompatible with evolutionary theory. They insist that creationists simply don’t understand thermodynamics. But the great physical scientist Lord Kelvin, who was the very founder of the second law of thermodynamics, was a Bible-believing Christian and a creationist! Kelvin, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, was convinced that the science of dynamics was incompatible with evolution. In one of his published lectures, Kelvin said:
I need scarcely say that the beginning and maintenance of life on earth is absolutely and infinitely beyond the range of all sound speculation in dynamical science. The only contribution of dynamics to theoretical biology is absolute negation of automatic commencement or automatic maintenance of life.
The Bible tells us that “every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything” (Hebrews 3:4). It requires less faith to believe this eminently reasonable statement about the origin of complex things as revealed in the sure Word of God than it does to believe in the unreasonable speculations of men.