DNA: Evidence of Intelligent Design or Byproduct of Evolution? (cont.)
By Jim Elvidge
Violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics?
Intelligent Design advocates trot out the Second Law of Thermodynamics and state that the fact that simple molecules can't self-replicate without violating that Law proves Intelligent Design. But it doesn't really. The Second Law is the idea that the total disorder of a system, e.g. the universe, always increases. Or that heat always flows from hot to cold. It's why coffee always gets cold, why money seems to dissipate at a casino, why time flows forward, why Murphy had a law, and why cats and dogs don't tend to clean up the house. However, the law applies to the whole system, including many instances of increased disorder weighed against the fewer instances of increased order. In other words, while there are distinct probabilities of isolated cases of increasing order, those probabilities are outweighed by the cases of decreasing order. It is not unlike the wave function distribution of quantum mechanical states. There is a finite probability that electrons will pass through normally impenetrable boundaries. In fact, this tunneling effect is what enables some semiconductors to perform their functions, so we know that the effect is real. However, in the majority of cases, the particle will be stopped by the barrier, just as in the majority of cases of a closed system, entropy will increase. In summary, disorder tends to increase, but that doesn't mean that there can't be isolated examples of increased order in the universe. That seems to leave the door open to the possibility that one such example might be the creation of self-replicating molecules.
Another point of contention in this “origin of life” debate relates to the nature of information, such as DNA. Meyer’s case is weak if he is making a blanket assertion that information can only come from intelligence. I could argue that, given a long enough period of time, if you leave a typewriter outdoors, hailstones will ultimately hit the keys in an order that creates recognizable poetry. So the question boils down to this - was there enough time and proper conditions for evolutionary processes to create the self-replicating DNA molecule from non-self replicating molecules necessary for creating the mechanism for life?