Entropy and Intelligent Design 2

If we break an example down into more detail, the importance of entropy in the creation/evolution debate becomes clear.

Suppose I have a two-volume, English edition of Tolstoy’s classic novel War and Peace, each book being 600 pages long for a total number of pages at 1,200.

These two books have the story of War and Peace accurately organized from start to finish using letters, words, spaces between words, punctation marks, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters all precisely arranged having no available allowance for alteration without degrading the story.

Applying the concept of entropy, the unaltered condition of this two-volume book set of War and Peace is in its macro-state of low entropy approaching zero, in terms of maintaining the informational quality of the storyline.

But if I take these two books and insert human agency, I can tear-out all of the 1,200 pages, cutting some of the pages up into smaller pieces containing paragraphs, sentences, and individual words, and cutting-off the bottoms of each full page removing the page numbers.

This would be a classic example of going from low entropy to high entropy…of changing the well-defined, fixed message of a literary work into the large number of possible combinations of information that are now nonsensical gibberish in comparison to the well-ordered storyline of the classic novel War and Peace.

By this action, I have in essence destroyed the literary brilliance of Tolstoy’s storytelling in its macro-state, into a micro-state pile of disorganized pieces of paper having comprehensible but meaningless expressions of information in the form of random letters, words, and paragraphs in English.

I can cut-up the book into a number of pieces, but I thereby lose the story.

But again, through human agency with some help by using another full copy of War and Peace, I could painstakingly put together the pieces of my cut-up version back into full pages in their original, fully restored state.

In cutting-up my copy of War and Peace, I destroyed the physically material pages of the two books, but not the information content of the story.

Information cannot be cut-up and disbursed like pieces of paper to produce positive entropy, but ideas can be split apart into smaller pieces for better analysis, so in this sense abstract information is susceptible to some form of entropy.

Positive entropy in the universe says that the paper and ink of books will eventually decompose over time.

We could attempt to preserve my copy of War and Peace by placing these two books inside a vacuum-sealed plastic box, or instead by printing new editions of War and Peace every 500 years or so, thus preserving the storyline into the future.

Or we could have some people memorize the entire storyline word-for-word, as is done in another classic book Fahrenheit 451 by H. G. Wells, and in its interesting and entertaining 1966 movie version.

The important point here is that the information that defines the force of gravity, the speed of light, the expansion rate of the universe, the balanced equilibrium between the predator/prey relationship of the giant Asian hornet and the Asian honeybee…that this abstract, non-material information is introduced into existence at their mature expressions without being susceptible to the randomly scattered degradation of entropy.

What is important here is that no materialistic worldview can plausibly account for the fine-tuned essence of gravity and an expanding universe at the first split-seconds of the Big Bang beginning of the universe, juxtaposed alongside a local sun that is slowing running out of fuel to heat and light our earth, and rubber tiles on our automobiles that run-out out of tread between 40-60 thousand miles of driving.

The numerical values in the equations in the laws of physics are balanced on a razor’s edge to enable carbon- based life to exist in this universe.

They are on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum-line of the lowest entropy in contrast to the large number of the rest of the natural world, all subject to the high entropy of cascading forward towards the heat death of maximum entropy…of reaching equilibrium between macro-states and micro-states running-out of disparate energies.

This brilliantly engineered, energy producing dichotomy between material phenomena in the natural world requires not just any mediocre intelligent designing agent, but an architect and engineer of remarkable acumen blending abstract information with physically material things playing-out over time.

The current mystery of both the presence and the absence of entropy occurring simultaneously in the natural world, is a discovery by human scientific investigation that points towards the deliberate design by an intelligent agent, and away from the serendipity of chance self-assembly.

I do not believe that matter and energy alone is conceivably capable of producing the reality of this energy-factory dichotomy between low entropy and high entropy inside stars.

If we want a functional force of gravity, functional light, functional expansion of the universe, and functional fundamental elements of the Periodic Table, then all of these fine-tuned numerical constants in the equations of the laws of physics, must have very low or near zero entropies throughout their durations from start to finish over the life of the universe…until energy reaches equilibrium and runs-out of fuel.

To maintain the information content of these phenomena in nature we need the “book” to remain intact (not cut-up into pieces by me or anyone/anything else) telling their complete storyline, exhibiting their fully mature, well-defined essence.

A paradox in modern physics today is that the high entropy of a Big Bang explosion producing a universe out of the lowest possible zero entropy of nothing previously material, cannot plausibly then produce phenomena having near-zero entropies like light, gravity, expansion, and atomic particles having well-defined and unchanging characteristics.

Only an intelligent designing agent is capable of composing a natural world storyline that contains these apparent paradoxes that manage to produce function that is mind-boggling in its precision and intent.

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

Inference to the Best Explanation…Revised

            In the essays The Giant Asian Hornet and Human Development and Evolution, I contend that the highly sophisticated defense strategy of the Asian honeybee against the giant Asian hornet could not plausibly be explained as being the product of an escalating arms-race of competing features incrementally achieved through small-steps over time.

I also contend that if human development occurred in small, gradually incremental steps beginning roughly four-million years ago, that we should then see milestone examples of intellectual progress to match physical development, leaving signs in history going back in time for hundreds of thousands of years or more. 

These arguments are called inferences to the best explanation.

These arguments are conceptual ideas that fall within what I call in this book skeletal explanatory frameworks, otherwise known as theoretical hypotheses.

These are intellectually philosophical ideas that are not themselves amenable to hard, bench-top verification through the research methodologies that produce measurable quantities such as size, length, velocity, or mass.

Skeletal explanatory frameworks cannot be measured using calipers, or weighed on a scale, or placed on a glass slide to be viewed under a microscope.

Ideas cannot be placed in a test tube or a glass beaker, with measured quantities of truth, integrity, and wisdom added to see if this mixture will produce a colored liquid, or generate solid precipitate particles that sink to the bottom of the test tube, or bubble-up to the top of the test tube or glass beaker and spill-out onto the laboratory table-top.

Ideas are not found in the Periodic Table of fundamental elements, and have no atomic structures that can be chemically mixed to produce other ideas as compounds.

Ideas are not researchable through quantum physics.

Inferences to the best explanation are provisional conclusions or theoretical concepts that are not the same thing as the sequential steps in a science research program, or even the raw data this research generates.

The sequential steps in any scientific investigation produces empirical facts that can then be arranged into skeletal explanatory frameworks using inferences to the best explanation.

The part of the scientific investigation that produces empirical facts is the series of sequential steps in the research protocol.

The part of the scientific investigation that produces an interim, provisional conclusion based upon a current understanding of these empirical facts is 100% intellectually philosophical.

The idea that the atheistic, philosophical worldview of scientific materialism is somehow organically connected to the methodology of sequential steps in scientific research programs, has to be one of the biggest misconceptions in human history.

Skeletal explanatory frameworks can be spun into differing narratives using the same set of facts, because this is the intrinsic nature of storytelling, whether in a court of law, in a political campaign, in a historical biography book, or for a teenager trying to come-up with a plausible excuse to their parents for why they stayed-out later than their 10 P.M. curfew.

But storylines that are variable explanations cannot themselves be considered the fixed, empirical data.

Facts based upon empirical data can be interpreted, but cannot easily be spun into alternate facts.  Facts are facts, and remain so despite our interpretations of them.

Darwin’s theory of extrapolating microevolution to macroevolution is a spin.

It is based upon empirical facts, but it is not itself an empirical fact. 

It is a skeletal explanatory framework, a narrative story that is a spin superimposed over the evidence.

Fiat creation by the God of the Bible is also a skeletal explanatory framework, a narrative story that is a spin, but which today increasingly has more explanatory power than the atheism of naturalistic materialism.   

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

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