I’ve largely been ignoring their stupid lately. But the sheer idiocy of a ID “mathematician” Granville Sewell takes the cake for this truly idiotic straw-man argument.
It starts with an interesting question though:
I speculated on what would happen if we constructed a gigantic computer model which starts with the initial conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago and tries to simulate the effects that the four known forces of physics (the gravitational and electromagnetic forces and the strong and weak nuclear forces) would have on every atom and every subatomic particle on our planet. If we ran such a simulation out to the present day, I asked, would it predict that the basic forces of Nature would reorganize the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers with supersonic jets parked on deck, and computers connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards?
Well, chances are no, that in simulation you would never get the same result due to the limitations of chaos theory and the dependence upon initial conditions which would lead to highly unpredictable results. But it’s kind of an interesting idea, even if Sewell is probably about the millionth to have it. He leaps off the cliffs of dumb, however, when he suggests the inability of such a program to predict life itself is some kind of argument for ID.
A friend read my article and said, computers have advanced a lot in the last seven years, I think we could actually try such a simulation on my new laptop now. So I wrote the program-in Fortran, naturally-and we tried it. It took several minutes, and at the end of the simulation we dumped the final coordinates of all the particles into a rather large data file, then
ran MATLAB to plot them. Some interesting things had happened, a few mountains and valleys and volcanos had formed, but no computers, no encyclopedias, and no cars or trucks. My friend said, let me see your program. After examining it, he exclaimed, no wonder, you treated the
Earth as a closed system, order can’t increase in a closed system. The Earth is an open system, you need to take into account the effect of the sun’s energy. So I modified the boundary conditions to simulate the effect of the entering solar radiation, and reran it. This time some more interesting things happened, but still no libraries or computers…
Now I realize this moron is trying to be tongue-in-cheek with this assertion, and as always his “friend” is the imaginary evilutionist who proposes arguments no one in his right mind would. He just proposes classic idiotic strawman after strawman. For one thing, the most powerful computers in the world can not predict the folding of a single protein, let alone every single atom in some moronic simulation of a planet. But that doesn’t mean that proteins aren’t operating according to physical laws, or that we can’t learn about their functions without first predicting their function according to some non-existent deterministic physics of atoms. Talk about an impossible expectation. He then goes on to completely misrepresent quantum mechanics, as well as using an idiotic quote to suggest that quantum mechanics is somehow indistinguishable from the supernatural (quite the opposite, as Einstein was concerned, it seemed to rule out the possibility of the supernatural). But even worse, this all boils down to Sewell proposing, yet again, the argument that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics.
Well, he said, of course the problem is you haven’t taken into account the one force in the universe which CAN violate the second law of thermodynamics and create order out of disorder–natural selection. You mean there is a fifth force–why didn’t you say so? Just give me the equations for this force and I will add it to my model. He said, I can’t give you the equations, because it isn’t actually a physical force, it doesn’t actually move particles. So what does it do, I asked? Well, you see, there are certain collections of atoms, called living things, which have incredibly complex structures, and are able to do remarkable things. It almost seems as if the second law doesn’t apply to them (until they “die”, then they do decompose into simpler components): they are able to duplicate themselves, and pass their complex structure on to their descendents perfectly generation after generation, even correcting genetic errors. He went on to talk about how genetic accidents and survival of the fittest produce even more complex collections of atoms, and how something called “intelligence” allows some of these collections of atoms to design computers and laser printers and the Internet. But when he finished, I still didn’t know how to incorporate natural selection–or intelligence–into my model, so I never did get the simulation to work. Maybe I just needed to use a better random number generator.
What an idiot. If one could actually conceive of such a model, separate equations would not be necessary for natural selection, because for the billionth time, evolution does not violate the second law. Worse, he seems to suggest that living things must be somehow constantly god-driven, as apparently we are immune to the second law until we die.
It’s hard to even sort out all the idiocy, innumeracy, poor-reasoning and straw men arguments in this essay. But I think it illustrates, again, the fundamental dishonesty of intelligent design creationists. For one, none of us would make such incredibly stupid arguments that Sewell attributes to his evilutionist “friend”. A computer simulation will never be sophisticated enough to model the whole planet and if it did, there is not some deterministic path that would replicate life as we know it. No one in their right mind thinks natural selection requires its own set of physics or is somehow inconsistent with the second law. And most embarrassing of all, Sewell fundamentally does not understand how entropy works, not even in living things apparently. Life is not inconsistent with increasing entropy, our cells expend huge amounts of energy – yes ultimately derived from the sun – to maintain their ordered state against the natural drift towards equilibrium. The stupid, it burns. And to think, to this day, these idiots can still propose that evolution, or living things themselves, are somehow a 2nd law violation, like every biologist and physicist in the world would ignore how life is inconsistent with a fundamental law of physics, is so incredibly intellectually dishonest I think this essay should stand as an example of why Intelligent Design can never be a science. Uncommon Descent suffers from such terrible crank magnetism they should be ashamed. Of course, they never could be ashamed because that would require insight into how terrible these arguments actually are. Instead, I think these twits actually think they’re being clever.
PS, I’d love to see MarkCC’s take on such obviously innumerate assertions that Sewell makes.