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Mark Sturtevant
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Cecropia caterpillars and Hickory horned devil caterpillars. I raise these, and other species just for fun.
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2014-06-21
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Roemer: Hi again.
Well, good luck on trying to get a Physics paper retracted. It would be an interesting finding to show that evolution somehow <i>violates</i> thermodynamics, but the current is going the other way. I do not have the articles you cite, but it could well be that the quotes are out of context. Some resemble statements made to pose an initial problem which is then dealt with later in the article. Reminds me of Darwin and his famous line: “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances... could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. “
Or perhaps the issue for these authors was truly puzzling, and they were throwing down a kind of gauntlet for others to address. In any case the articles seem pretty old, and today there certainly is no heated debate out there about whether evolution, or any process, violates laws of physics.  So the views expressed in those articles are different from the clear consensus now. Science does progress that way, and it is upon the dissenters to show how a consensus is wrong. That is not done by getting papers retracted, but by showing how a new model is a better fit to the data.
If evolution, as an increase in order of matter, is a violation of thermodynamics then so must be embryonic development from egg to adult. Growing crystals would also be a violation. In all cases, the answers rest on the important point that none of these are closed systems in which chemistry goes to equilibrium.  They are instead open systems that draw energy and raw materials from their surroundings. In living systems one chemical reaction hands off its products to be reactants in another reaction, so they do not go to equilibrium.  Life is an amazing contrivance which seems to create order from disorder <i>as if</i> it makes a mockery of thermodynamics. But when one steps back and looks at the greater context, one sees instead that organisms (and evolving populations) are part of a larger system from which they draw energy and other resources.  The net trend is believed to be an increase in entropy.
Here are some articles and other material.
 
Lehninger, Albert (1993). Principles of Biochemistry, 2nd Ed. Worth Publishers.
Reviews that the "order" produced within cells as they grow and divide is more than compensated for by the "disorder" they create in their surroundings in the course of growth and division. "Living organisms preserve their internal order by taking from their surroundings free energy, in the form of nutrients or sunlight, and returning to their surroundings an equal amount of energy as heat and entropy."
 
Evolution as Entropy, by D.R. Brooks and E.O. Wiley.
 
Entropy, Disorder, and Life, by J. Pieper. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/thermo/entropy.html
This is aimed at creationists who think that evolution violates the laws. I do not consider you to be a creationist.  The Talk Origins site also has other articles about this subject area.
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