Volume 10, Number 1

Walters Replies to Patterson

Tracy Walters

In my reading of creationist expositions of the conflicts between Thermodynamics and Evolution, I have often seen what seem to be imprecise and unnecessarily confusing analogies used in supports of their arguments. In the last two issues of Origins Research I have attempted to present more clearly the argument from Thermodynamics because it appears to me that the problems that are raised have not been answered by evolutionists.

In restating this argument, I have used a line of reasoning that has seemed clear to the creationists and non-creationists technical people that it has been presented to. These points were quickly grasped, and nothing of the confusion that surrounds John Patterson's reading of the arguments seems to have surfaced. I can't help but wonder if the current disagreements are more a result of John Patterson's anti-creationist bias than from any misunderstanding of my own.

Energy Conversion

Apparently, Patterson's bias is the reason why he is more concerned with challenging examples and making accusations than with actually confronting the issues. This misdirected concern is evident in Patterson's first "fact." In context, the original point I made was that energy exists in different forms, and that conversion from one form to another is not always possible. I am completely at a loss to understand why Patterson is so reluctant to acknowledge this fact.

Instead, Patterson attacks the examples put forth and then proceeds to confuse the issue. He then offers a counter-example which, ironically, fails to negate the original example. The reason is that the energy arriving from the sun is generally referred to as radiant energy, not thermal energy. It exists as electromagnetic waves, while thermal energy is generally connected with atomic motion.

Admittedly, the exact wording of my original example was misleading, but in context the example was of little importance in comparison to the point being made -- namely, that it is not always possible to convert energy from one particular form to another. This is the third time that the point has been made, yet Patterson still refuses to acknowledge its validity.

Ficks' Law

Patterson's misdirection is also clearly evident in his second "fact." In context, my point here was merely that a definition of the Second Law can begin with any number of physical phenomena. That mass doesn't diffuse against a concentration gradient is just a statement of Ficks' Law of diffusion. Although there may be specific cases where the Law doesn't hold, because another phenomenon is operating simultaneously, Ficks' Law can be used as a basis for defining the Second Law.

Red Herrings?

In looking at Patterson's third "fact," I find rather humorous his assertion that "the Thermodynamics argument is but a creationist concoction due to untenable religious beliefs" (paraphrased). Many of my arguments were first made apparent to me by non-creationists, some of whom were my instructors. For this reason, Patterson's confident assertions fail to persuade. Furthermore, Patterson's reference to Franzen and later, Cramer, is difficult to comprehend. Instead of restating his "open system" response and thus making it obvious to all that he has not answered my points about the open system, he makes reference to two papers that essentially say the same thing. But unless the reader has access to these references, they will not realize this. Thus Patterson gives the appearance of answering, but has in fact done nothing of the kind.

Microbes in a Warm Aquarium

The information issue continues to be a point of disagreement. I would like to make three brief points about Patterson's response. First, Patterson introduces ten microbes into an aquarium. If information can be generated in closed systems, why the need to introduce information (microbes) into it? Second, as the microbe population grows, does the information in the microbes gene pool really increase? Has any new or novel feature for which there was previously no information been produced? I think the answer is no. Third, Patterson's contention that information increases in closed systems is more an argument against information theorists and thermodynamicists (like Tribus) than with me. They are the ones saying it.

Classical, Statistical and Informational

Lastly, Patterson's bias again reveals itself in his fifth "fact." If Patterson would have taken the time to check my reference to the statement, "each of which can be shown to be equivalent to others," he might have understood that I was referring to the equivalence of the definitions of the laws, not the equivalence of the disciplines based on those laws. That classical, statistical and informational thermodynamics are all equivalent to each other was not suggested or implied in any way, and John Patterson's misdirected response once again shows that he is more interested in arguing about examples and side issues than he is is dealing with the problems.

In conclusion, Patterson asks for explicit statements about evolution's violations. I have already done this in the last two issues of Origins Research. It is difficult to go much further than this when Patterson is ignoring the main points. If Patterson is truly interested in dealing with the real problems, which have already been explicitly laid out, perhaps he should sit down and reread the last two issues of Origins Research with a less biased point of view.

Copyright © 1997 Tracy Walters. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
File Date: 3.13.97