Skeptics of biological evolution often claim that evolution requires a decrease in entropy, giving rise to a conflict with the second law of thermodynamics. This argument is fallacious because it neglects the large increase in entropy provided by sunlight striking the Earth. A recent article provided a quantitative assessment of the entropies involved and showed explicitly that there is no conflict. That article rests on an unjustified assumption about the amount of entropy reduction involved in evolution. I present a refinement of the argument that does not rely on this assumption.
American Journal of Physics
- Pub Date:
- October 2009
- Statistical physics thermodynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems;
- Physics - Popular Physics;
- Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution
- Accepted for publication in American Journal of Physics