Life: Transcending Nature's Laws

Much is made of naturalism being a necessary basis for science.  Indeed, we are told that science cannot exists with any other basis.  Curiously, life seems to transcend some basic principles or laws of the natural world.  It defies the second law of thermodynamics, which is, briefly stated, that the level of disorder (entropy) in any given system will tend to increase until a state of equilibrium is reached.  However, in the reproducing of life, the level of entropy radically decreases during development.  Next, is the law of conservation of information.  William Dembski recently published a book chapter on this subject.(1) Again, stated simply, information can be neither created nor destroyed.  However, Darwnists view evolutionary processes as having the ability to 1) create information and 2) defy the second law of thermodynamics (although they try to state that evolution is consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics).

So, it is in this sense that life can very minimally be considered to be beyond natural (i.e., supernatural).  It is beyond natural in that it transcends laws of nature and what can be accomplished by natural forces alone.  Therefore, this argues powerfully for a supernatural (beyond natural law) origin of life.

(1). “Life’s Conservation Law: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information”

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13 Responses

  1. Life does not defy the second law of thermodynamics, for reasons that should be quite obvious for anyone who understands what the second law does and does not entail.

  2. Actually, it does defy 2LOT. Making the appeal that life is an open system doesn’t fly for anyone who applies some thought to the matter.

    Name another open system that can be held up as analogous to life (i.e., it experiences a similar level of a drop in entropy), and one that is not designed or produced by life (for obvious reasons).

  3. Shrink,

    As I read the comments here, your comment from another post came to mind:

    What strikes me is that when you confront Darwinists about their imaginary scenarios they complain that it is only in the popular press (or blogs) where this occurs. This is despite the fact that popular press items often include interviews with the authors of studies and direct quotes. They go on to claim that you have to read the original scientific research that is purported to be ‘empirical.’ They further claim that only they have wide ranging knowledge of the subject because they read the original source articles. Just don’t press them for details though, they would claim you wouldn’t understand it anyway.

    This quote, in particular, rings like a struck gong:

    Just don’t press them for details though, they would claim you wouldn’t understand it anyway.

    When I was a child, one of the kids in the neighborhood was a recognized (by adults and children alike), professional LIAR! When he would be caught in a lie (or speaking of something he really knew little about nor understood) he would claim, “The reason you don’t believe me is because you don’t know what I’m talking about (“understand”).

    Kind of like a used car salesman or scam (pyramid scheme, etc) artist: they’re trying to sell us something that really doesn’t exist, and they want us to buy into it whether they can produce the “goods” or not! They know “there’s a sucker born every minute,” so they keep on selling (indoctrinating) until those around them(the weak and spiritually lazy) buy the “goods!”

    Just an observation.

  4. I agree DB. I know also that there are some things that I don’t understand out of lack of knowledge. For example, I don’t understand how to perform neurosurgery. On the other hand, I know that neurosurgery is a fruitful endeavor, and I can garner that from the popular press and from people who have benefited from it.

    Not so with evolutionary science. What they really seem interesting in selling is a worldview. I’m not interested in buying what they are selling. And yes, there seems to be a childish quality about the sales methods of many Darwinists.

  5. Yes, exactly! A neurosurgeon wouldn’t expect me to know the technical details, but the positive results of neurosurgery are evident to me because of its service to mankind.

    This, of course, is the exact opposite of Darwinism, with the only results on humanity that I have ever seen being horrible atrocities and dehumanization. In other words, “Hey, you religious freak, your great Xs great uncle was a puke-eatin’ chimp, but we, since 1960 or so (the supposed end of eugenics), still expect you, even though we all may still be mutating, to act in a moral and ethical way (whatever that is, since we don’t yet know how it works)!” As per usual!

    Is it our fault if they’re (Darwinians) arguments and data are not convincing? Nope! If you are selling something (in reality, forcing it down someone’s throat and without consent: public education, for instance), then the onus is on you to know your product and be able to convince others, whether they are experts or not, of its value to them. If you can’t get this done in 150 years, then either you’re a lousy salesman or your product simply SUCKS!!!

  6. Name another open system that can be held up as analogous to life (i.e., it experiences a similar level of a drop in entropy), and one that is not designed or produced by life (for obvious reasons).

    If we accept that entropy can be understood in terms of randomness — the less randomness in a system, the less entropy it has — then what about the the Red Spot on Jupiter?

    Now, let’s not get carried away here — I’m quite willing to agree that “life” can be defined in terms of a unique set of thermodynamic properties. (In fact, I get much more mileage out of that approach than I do from thinking about life in terms of replication.)

    So I would not want to play a game where you narrow your definition of “name another system that is analogous to life” to such a point that only life can count. The difficulty, of course, is to conceptualize the uniqueness of life without insisting that life must transcend physico-chemical laws. (There’s an analogy here with rationality — the difficulty that of conceptualizing the uniqueness of rational animals without insisting that rational animals must transcend biological functions and imperatives.)

    NB: notice the “must” above. I don’t have much problem with those who have religious motivations for wanting to thinking of life as transcending physics, or of rationality as transcending life. My problem is with those who think that there is no philosophical coherent, legitimate option other than thinking in terms of transcendence, and so a commitment to the supernatural is, in some sense, a philosophical requirement. If you think that, then you’re accusing the non-theist of being fundamentally irrational — i.e. of being someone who is not even worthy of engaging in dialogue.

  7. If you can’t get this done in 150 years, then either you’re a lousy salesman or your product simply SUCKS!!!

    DB’s best line ever!

  8. Carl,

    I suppose I should have been a bit clearer. I’m not saying that it cannot be that life can be reduced to chemico-physical processes, but that the way these processes operate are at odds with what we see in the rest of the natural world. In other words, because of the unique design of life (perhaps law of life?), certain natural laws seem to not apply (or only apply in a way that a guiding intelligence can achieve). Now when we see this elsewhere, it points to knowledge and design. You may want to really think about what I mean by supernatural, and by that I simple mean beyond natural (no hocus pocus required). I would happily apply the same definition to the designs of humans, which are generally composed of a unique infusion of information, function, and thermodynamic processes that would never naturally occur without a guiding intelligence. In that sense, these things can be considered to be “supernatural” or beyond what natural law can accomplish on its own.

    For example, although there are natural laws governing the action of electromagnetic radiation, electricity, and so forth, these laws can never (on their own) work with other natural forces that can alter the shape of matter to form a microwave oven. Thus, a microwave oven can be considered beyond natural, as some have probably suspected. 😉

  9. If “NB” means me (DB), then I am not speaking of “religious motivations (nor do I subscribe),” since I hold to no religion of man, which is, like Darwinism, just another lame attempt to either encapsulate the creator (The Lord) into what man desires Him to be or do away with Him.

    I don’t expect any unbelieving person (the not “called” in this age) to buy into or understand what I mean by this (nor can or will they), since they don’t have the “wide ranging knowledge of the subject (discernment through the Spirit),” and therefore, they can’t read, with spiritual discernment, the “original source articles (scriptures)” with understanding. To these folks, it’s all just superstitious religion (metaphysics), and I DISCERN, or understand, that! It’s alright!

    Here’s what I’m talking about:

    My problem is with those who think that there is no philosophical coherent, legitimate option other than thinking in terms of transcendence, and so a commitment to the supernatural is, in some sense, a philosophical requirement.

    Yes, there is no other “legitimate option!” This comment simply shows the lacking in spiritual discernment that exists among those who don’t believe. The very fact that the emphasis, first of all, is on “those who think…” only, as opposed to those who believe, is a real sign of lacking in spiritual understanding.

    If this (the Lord and His truth) is what I believe to be truth and reality, then I’ve moved past the “thinking” about or considering the contrary views (there’s an opportunity for a wise-_ss atheist remark if I’ve ever heard one: how PI and “intolerant” of me…ppppffffttt!!) and into His knowing, as I am “fully known.” Therefore, politically correct and “tolerant” open-ended (without resolution), postmodern, “intellectual” meanderings mean little or nothing to me. So yes, I guess I do find this reasoning to be “irrational,” in a spiritual sense, but, as I said, I can’t hold you accountable, since you are not equipped to be spiritually rational.

    Your statement to the Shrink,

    So I would not want to play a game where you narrow your definition of “name another system that is analogous to life” to such a point that only life can count.

    Unless, of course, it’s “WELL BORN LIFE,” Right? Sorry, it was your “that only life can count” thing that made me ask this. You know, like the religionists’ “The devil made me do it” thing?

  10. Here is a much better way to explain what I was trying to say! I should have thought of this first!

    Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

    “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
    AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
    ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

    For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

    But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2: 6-16)

  11. “NB” is a writer’s shorthand that means “nota bene,” or “please note.” It has nothing to do with you, DB.

  12. Sorry!

  13. It should be noted: if one simply stipulates that “nature” just means “law-governed physico-chemical regularities”, then of course “life” will seem to be ‘supernatural’. But this is a cheap victory, purchased simply by semantic slight-of-hand.

    What you really need, it seems to me, is an account of why open thermodynamic systems — especially the class of such systems called ‘far-from-equilibrium systems’ — contain a mere potential for life which either

    1) cannot be actualized in the absence of some guiding intelligence;

    2) is astonishingly unlikely to be actualized in the absence of some guiding intelligence.

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