Bertalanfy, Intelligent Design, and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

I posted this on my Advanced Family Theory discussion board a couple weeks ago. There were no replies:

According to Metaframeworks (p. 30) (which I’m loving, by the way), one of the ways which Bertalanffy distinguished organic from mechanical systems is that organic systems violate Newton’s 2nd law of thermodynamics. That is, we and the larger systems we are part of grow increasingly complex, even though Newton predicted only increasing disorder according to the rules of thermodynamics.

This “evidence of negentropy” is one of the major planks of the “intelligent design” argument for a creator being logically deducible by the presence of organic systems. Unfortunately for ID-ers and Bertalanffy, life does not violate Newton’s 2nd law because even though organisms and other phenotypes are highly and increasingly complex, our living and doing create disorder much more efficiently than nonliving systems. That is, it’s more accurate to say that Newton’s 2nd law drives the complexity of life than to say that life violates that law.

If you are as excited as I am by this idea, check out Dorion Sagan’s Into the Cool: Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life.

[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, as “A Very Nerdy Note about Bertalanfy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics,” on November 21, 2010.]

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