Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

Entropy and evolution

A favorite argument of many creationists who don't believe in evolution is that evolution would violate the second law of thermodynamics: the death and decay of a living thing releases heat (as when a compost heap gets hot) and lessens the amount of energy available for doing useful work, while the reverse process, the emergence of life from nonliving matter, would require a decrease in entropy. Their argument is faulty, since the second law only applies to closed systems, and the earth is not a closed system. The earth is continuously receiving energy from the sun.

Last Update: 2009-06-21