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.

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