ElShamah Ministries: Defending the Christian Worldview and Creationism
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ElShamah Ministries: Defending the Christian Worldview and Creationism

Otangelo Grasso: This is my personal virtual library, where i collect information, which leads in my view to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation of the origin of the physical Universe, life, and biodiversity

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Thermodynamics, and the origin of life

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1Thermodynamics, and the origin of life Empty Thermodynamics, and the origin of life Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:00 am



Thermodynamics, and the origin of life


Claim: Complex Self-replicating Systems Evolved from Simple Molecules.  During a period of chemical evolution, simple organic molecules condensed to form more complex molecules or combined end-to-end as polymers of repeating units. In a condensation reaction, the elements of water are lost. The rate of condensation of simple compounds to form a stable polymer must therefore be greater than the rate of hydrolysis (splitting by adding the elements of water. In the prebiotic environment, minerals such as clays may have catalyzed polymerization reactions and sequestered the reaction products from water. The size and composition of prebiotic macromolecules would have been limited by the availability of small molecular starting materials, the efficiency with which they could be joined, and their resistance to degradation. 1

Living organisms, which take up nutrients, release waste products, and generate work and heat, are open systems and therefore can never be at equilibrium. They continuously ingest high-enthalpy, low-entropy nutrients, which they convert to low-enthalpy, high-entropy waste products. The free energy released in this process powers the cellular activities that produce the high degree of organization characteristic of life. If this process is interrupted, the system ultimately reaches equilibrium, which for living things is synonymous with death.

Answer: Intelligent design literature has sufficiently explained, that a mind is necessary to produce a language and based on it, complex, specified or instructional information or blueprints, which can be used to make specific purposeful artifacts,  or in case of life, a creator had to store the  information contained in DNA to make life ( See the excellent books of Werner Gitt, In the beginning, was information, and Signature in the Cell, Stephen C. Meyer )

There is, however, another aspect: In order to produce a system producing information, there must be an energy input to move from a disordered to an ordered state.  

Let me explain:

If someone just imagines the sentence

" Please make a cube, the size of 4" x 4" x 5", using teak wood, 0,5" thick "

in his mind and wants to communicate it to someone else in order to make it, the instructional sentence has to be written down, for example on a piece of paper which the counterpart can read and understand. Let's suppose there are just random letters on the floor. The sentence quoted above uses about 50 letters, so these, the right ones, had to be lying around, ready to be picked up. Maybe not all extant alphabetic letters are used, so only the needed ones have to be selected. The right letters, one by one, would have to be chosen, be picked from the floor, and lined up in the right order and sequence. Once done, someone else could read and understand the sentence. But for this to happen, someone has to a) select the letters on the floor, b) pick them up, and c) put them in the right place and the right order. Energy and work is required to perform this action. In the case of humans, the contraction of muscles requires oxygenic respiration in mitochondria and the consumption of energy in the form of ATP on a molecular level of muscle cells.  

So establishing the flow of information depends not only on hardware and software, ( an information storage device, and the stored instructional blueprint  ),  but also on the transfer of energy to perform the exchange from a disordered state ( random letters on the floor ) to a ordered state - an informational sentence ( the ordered sequence of letters, correctly lined up that form the phrase ).

The same occurs in living organisms. Energy input in the form of ATP is required to produce information-rich, organized structures such as proteins and nucleic acids. An essential Origin of Life research problem is not only the availability of the basic building blocks of life on a prebiotic earth but how could they have been brought and concentrated to one construction site, where they would all have been available at the same time, and then put into the right order to create information, according to the secular narrative, first through the formation of RNA polymers, which in sequence, began self replication.

The emergence of concentrated suites of just the right mix thus remains a central puzzle in origin-of-life research.

That is not a trivial task, but science has no compelling hypothesis how that could have occurred. Fred Hoyles Tornado sweeping through a Junkyard, unjustly dismissed by naturalists, is a good analogy. In the engineering lab of Boeing, the formation of a blueprint to make 747's would hardly emerge by random forces of ink and paper or self-forming computer-aided design, but by the precise order of writing down information by the guiding hand of highly skilled, trained and intelligent engineers, that would store the instructional information that is transmitted to the factory  to the workers to make the airplanes.  

On early earth, the basic chemical elements would have, somehow, to be transformed, non enzymatically, without the aid of molecular machines that would speed up the process, into the essential molecules of life, namely amino acids, sugars, fatty acids, and nucleotides. Biological Cells use highly complex assembly lines to make these essential basic molecules.  ( In our analogy, the letters for the informational sentences have to be formed from raw materials )  Life uses ultracomplex metabolic pathways, and a myriad of enzymes, but these pathways were non-existent on early earth. To perform just ONE of seven reactions to make pyrimidines, one of the two types of bases to make RNA and DNA nucleotides, enzyme expert Dr Richard Wolfenden, of the University of North Carolina, showed in 1998 that the reaction performed by OMP decarboxylase enzymes, is ‘“absolutely essential” in creating the building blocks of DNA and RNA, would take 78 million years in water’, but was speeded up 10^18 times by that enzyme. ( it is the fastest enzyme known ) If by some unknown event, prebiotic mechanisms would have produced the intermediate product, Orotidine 5'-monophosphate, until nonenzymatic reactions would have transformed it into uridine monophosphate, the last product in the pathway, after 78mio years,  the molecule would have disintegrated long ago by ultraviolet light and other environmental factors.  

Synthesis of Pyrimidines

Science cannot explain how the basic essential molecules emerged prebiotically, and the proposals are fantasies at best and range from panspermia to hydrothermal vents, and so on. None of the attempted explanations are compelling, or conclusive.

But let us suppose, even that these essential molecules would be all there, in the right concentration, at one site, ready to be assembled into informational biomolecules. If there were no energy to arrange them together, no deal. The energy would have to be channeled to the right place, but a sweeping tornado would cause only chaos.

Eugene Koonin brings it straight to the point:
" A succession of exceedingly unlikely steps is essential for the origin of life, from the synthesis and accumulation of nucleotides to the origin of translation; through the multiplication of probabilities, these make the final outcome seem almost like a miracle. The difficulties remain formidable. For all the effort, we do not currently have coherent and plausible models for the path from simple organic molecules to the first life forms. Most damningly, the powerful mechanisms of biological evolution were not available for all the stages preceding the emergence of replicator systems. Given all these major difficulties, it appears prudent to seriously consider radical alternatives for the origin of life. Notwithstanding relevant theoretical models and suggestive experimental results, we currently do not have a credible solution to these problems and do not even see with any clarity a path to such a solution.  "

and so Bill Faint
" Life in any form is a very serious enigma and conundrum. It does something, whatever the biochemical pathway, machinery, enzymes etc. are involved, that should not and honestly could not ever "get off the ground". It SPONTANEOUSLY recruits Gibbs free energy from its environment so as to reduce its own entropy. That is tantamount to a rock continuously recruiting the wand to roll it up the hill, or a rusty nail "figuring out" how to spontaneously rust and add layers of galvanizing zinc on itself to fight corrosion. Unintelligent simple chemicals can't self-organize into instructions for building solar farms (photosystems 1 and 2), hydroelectric dams (ATP synthase), propulsion (motor proteins) , self repair (p53 tumor suppressor proteins) or self-destruct (caspases) in the event that these instructions become too damaged by the way the universe USUALLY operates. Abiogenesis is not an issue that scientists simply need more time to figure out but a fundamental problem with materialism ".

Thermodynamics, and the origin of life XAPqolX

Thermodynamics, and the origin of life OcCSNlk

1. Fundamentals of biochemistry, D.Voet, page 18

Last edited by Admin on Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total


2Thermodynamics, and the origin of life Empty Re: Thermodynamics, and the origin of life Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:07 am



OP #11) Imprimaturs of Our Triune God Seen in Science: Why do orderly snowflakes spontaneously form from randomly moving water molecules? Why do flowers sprout from plant seeds, and ducks develop from duck eggs? The “second law of thermodynamics” is but one of 3-laws of thermodynamics that can collectively predict whither any reaction can occur spontaneously or not. Yes, here it is again, the imprimatur of our triune God; we see it everywhere on a fundamental level in science.

The greatest scientist America has ever produced Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839-1903, Congregationalist) was the first to recognize that there are 3-laws of thermodynamics. The first law: energy changes form and moves from place to place but the total amount does not change. The second law: the disorderliness “the entropy” (S) of the universe is continually increasing. The third law: the entropy (S) of a perfect crystal, at absolute zero degrees Kelvin (T), is exactly equal to zero (S=0).

Gibbs was the first to develop an equation, now named in his honor, that can predict whither any process is spontaneous or not. If ΔG (the change in Gibbs free energy) is negative (–) the reaction is spontaneous; if ΔG is positive (+) the reaction is not spontaneous; if ΔG is zero (0) the reaction is at equilibrium (where the forward reaction rate is equal to the reverse reaction rate). There it is again, the three possible outcomes of any reaction in the universe: [spontaneous, not spontaneous, or equilibrium] (–,+,0); again, we see the imprimatur of our triune God everywhere on a fundamental level in science. ΔH, the change in enthalpy (H) is the change in energy at constant pressure, another form of the first law of thermodynamics.

Gibbs, J. Willard. The Scientific Papers of J. Willard Gibbs – Volume One Thermodynamics. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press, 1993.




Thermodynamics and science predictions


It is often praised, how science-based on methodological naturalism serves to make accurate predictions. Let's imagine that we would be aliens, being part of a super-intelligent civilization. visiting early earth four billion years ago with a spaceship. We would find a hostile environment, no life, just spewing volcanoes etc.

We would leave, returning to our own planet, run a computer simulation, and make a prediction of how the earth would look like, 4 billion years later, and trying to simulate the effects that the four known forces of physics would have on every atom and every subatomic particle on our planet.

If we ran such a simulation out to the present day, would it predict that the basic forces of Nature would reorganize the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers with supersonic jets parked on deck, and computers connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards?

If we graphically displayed the positions of the atoms at the end of the simulation, would we find that cars and trucks had formed, or that supercomputers had arisen? Certainly, we would not, and adding sunlight to the model would not help much.

The argument of thermodynamics was popular and often used by creationists, over a decade ago, but has gone a little bit abandoned in more recent Facebook times. The standard answers by atheists were that the earth is not closed, but an open thermodynamic system, receiving constantly energy through sunlight, which could decrease rather than increase entropy, so the argument is moot.

The Earth is an open system, it receives energy from the sun and entropy can decrease in an open system, as long as it is ‘‘compensated’’ somehow by a comparable or greater increase outside the system.

Isaac Asimov replied through an article at the Smithsonian journal:
You can argue, of course, that the phenomenon of life may be an exception [to the second law]. Life on earth has steadily grown more complex, more versatile, more elaborate, more orderly, over the billions of years of the planet’s existence. From no life at all, living molecules were developed, then living cells, then living conglomerates of cells, worms, vertebrates, mammals, finally Man. And in Man is a three-pound brain which, as far as we know, is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe. How could the human brain develop out of the primeval slime? How could that vast increase in order (and therefore that vast decrease in entropy) have taken place?

Asimov concludes that the second law is not really violated, because: Remove the sun, and the human brain would not have developed . . . . And in the billions of years that it took for the
human brain to develop, the increase in entropy that took place in the sun was far greater; far, far greater than the decrease that is represented by the evolution required to develop the human brain.

Similarly, Peter Urone, in College Physics, wrote:
Some people misuse the second law of thermodynamics, stated in terms of entropy, to say that the existence and
evolution of life violate the law and thus require divine intervention. . . . It is true that the evolution of life from inert
matter to its present forms represents a large decrease in entropy for living systems. But it is always possible for the
entropy of one part of the universe to decrease, provided the total change in entropy of the universe increases.

The Theism VS Atheism debate is ALL about probability.

The reason natural forces can turn a computer or a spaceship into rubble and not vice versa is the probability: of all the possible
arrangements atoms could take, only a very small percentage could add, subtract, multiply and divide real numbers, or fly
astronauts to the moon and back safely.

If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is
open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.

The claim that the second law does not apply to open systems was invented in an attempt to avoid the evident implications and logical inference of a creator.

The missing ingredient is information.

Norbert Weiner - MIT Mathematician - Father of Cybernetics

"Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day."

Life is permeated by codified information. Not only genetic but mostly, epigenetic information. Complex blueprints, which direct how the most complex high-tech factory complex of the universe, biological cells, have to be built, and how to error check and repair themselves all along the production process of higher molecular machines, how to generate energy in the form of ATP molecules, how to import the basic, life-essential elements, purify them, use them to build the basic building blocks of life like RNA, DNA, amino acids, carbohydrates, and fatty acids, how to create a homeostatic ambiance permitting information exchange and signaling networks to operate, how to react to ecological cues, how to develop, and how to respond to nutritional demands. And it had all to be pre-programmed and set up in advance for life to kick off - without evolution.

This coincides with the REMARKABLE, awe -, well, actually the God-inspired beginning of the Gospel of John:

1 In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Science and religion are not at war, but actually complimentary. One informs the other, and vice-versa. They are the same coin, one side showing the face, and the other side the numbers. Both point to God. A God that does not hide himself, but made himself known to us. John continues in verse 14:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

What a remarkable revelation !! Praise the Lord.

What is remarkable as well about the above text is that it was essentially formatted as a scientific paper.

The article, ‘‘A Second Look at the Second Law,’’ by Dr. Granville Sewell, Professor of Mathematics at University of Texas at El Paso, was submitted on October 21, 2010 to the Journal of Applied Mathematics Letters. Dr. Sewell’s article was peer-reviewed and accepted for publication on January 19, 2011.

On March 2, 2011, the Editor-in-Chief of Applied Mathematics Letters, Dr. Ervin Rodin, decided to withdraw the article without consultation with the author, not because of any errors or technical problems found by the reviewers or editors, but because the Editor-in-Chief subsequently concluded that the content was more philosophical than mathematical and, as such, not appropriate for a technical mathematics journal such as Applied Mathematics Letters.

Truth is, the REAL problem was that it was Intelligent Design-friendly. Then , afterwards:

Applied Mathematics Letters, which agreed to apologize to Intelligent Design-friendly Texas professor Granville Sewell and have its publisher, Elsevier, pay $10,000 in legal fees, has posted the text of its apology


The Journal of Applied Mathematics Letters and its Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Rodin, provide their sincere and heartfelt apologies to Dr. Sewell for any inconvenience or embarrassment that may have been caused by their unilateral withdrawal of his article, and wish Dr. Sewell the best in the future and welcome Dr. Sewell’s submission of future articles for possible publication.

Dr. Sewell’s article as accepted by Applied Mathematics Letters can be viewed at:

Take proteins.
The natural tendency of proteins is to fall apart; for proteins to be synthesized, the reaction must be driven up the thermodynamic hill, away from equilibrium. The same is true of other biochemical processes: the transport of nutrients against a concentration gradient, the generation of physical force or electrical potentials, even the accurate transmittal of genetic information, all represent work in the thermodynamic sense. They can take place only because of cells couple the work function to a source of energy. This, in fact, is how energy is defined: it is the capacity to do work. Bioenergetics revolves around the sources of biological energy and the mechanisms by which energy is coupled to useful work



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