Evillution, The Science of it All

Laws of Thermodynamics

Laws of Thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics doesn’t actually specify that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but instead that the total amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created nor destroyed (though it can be changed from one form to another). It was after nuclear physics told us that mass and energy are essentially equivalent – this is what Einstein meant when he wrote E= mc^2 – that we realized the 1st law of thermodynamics also applied to mass. Mass became another form of energy that had to be included in a thorough thermodynamic treatment of a system. (For a very important note on the difference between matter and mass, see here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/equivME/#2.1).
The first thing we have to do is determine what a “closed system” is. When we look at a physical situation and draw an imaginary circle around it, we’re defining a system. A refrigerator, for example, can be a thermodynamical system. But once we’ve specified that the system is closed, it means that everything inside the system at that moment – the total amount of energy, be it potential energy (mass can be thought of as a kind of potential energy) or kinetic energy or both – must stay at that same, constant level. If the amount goes up or down, either the system isn’t closed, or we’ve neglected to account for energy (for instance, heat) coming into the system or leaving the system. If we draw our imaginary circle around the universe, we can call the universe a closed system, but it means the total amount of energy in the universe has to remain the same – from its beginning until now.

You may be hesitant to believe that the total energy in the universe is constant because there appears to be so much of it, or because science seems to indicate that the universe is expanding. There are stars, planets, galaxies, globular clusters – everywhere, matter and energy seem to exist, and it’s constantly rushing off in all directions. But for starters, the expansion of the universe doesn’t have to take more energy – as the universe expands, the distances between stars or galaxies increases, and thus the gravitational energy between them decreases to compensate. And more importantly, thermodynamics doesn’t state what value the total energy should have. It could be a huge, but constant, number (this is what’s known as an “open” universe, where the amount of matter/energy in the universe exceeds a certain “cut-off” density: see http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/denpar.html). It could be, as most physicists now believe, zero (this is called a “flat” universe, where the matter density in the universe is equal to the cut-off density). It could be negative, even (a “closed” universe, where the amount of matter is less than the cut-off density). It could be anything, but whatever value it is now, it was at the very beginning! According to physics, all of the matter and energy in the universe now existed in some form at the Big Bang.

The conservation laws in thermodynamics, for example, proscribe certain outcomes. The first law tells us that energy is never created or destroyed. The second tells us that the entropy of a closed system will never decrease over time. Those who claim that such “proscriptive laws” do not constitute knowledge because they are based on past but not future experience will not get far if they try to use their skepticism to justify funding for research on, say, perpetual motion machines.

So the UNIVERSE is a closed system, unless you are one of those who believes in multi-verses (strictly lame-brained theories) or that the universe is not infinite (many interesting thoughts and unbalanced equations to prove it).  If the universe is not a closed system, then you have to account somehow someway for the addition of mass or energy to it, so that there is no entropy.  If you have the intelligence to dream up all these wild ideas and try to prove it with unsubstantiated concepts (fuzzy matter, black matter, white matter, wormholes, etc) then I have to ask a simple question-Isn’t easier to believe in God as the Creator of all things?

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