The Misconception About Open Systems Ilya Prigogine and the Myth of the "Self-Organization of Matter" The Difference Between Organized and Ordered Systems
Self Organization: A Materialist Dogma












 The Misconception About Open Systems

Some proponents of evolution have recourse to an argument that the second law of thermodynamics holds true only for "closed systems," and that "open systems" are beyond the scope of this law. This claim goes no further than being an attempt by some evolutionists to distort scientific facts that invalidate their theory. In fact, a large number of scientists openly state that this claim is invalid, and violates thermodynamics. One of these is the Harvard scientist John Ross, who also holds evolutionist views. He explains that these unrealistic claims contain an important scientific error in the following remarks in Chemical and Engineering News:

...there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems. ...there is somehow associated with the field of far-from-equilibrium phenomena the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.369

An "open system" is a thermodynamic system in which energy and matter flow in and out. Evolutionists hold that the world is an open system: that it is constantly exposed to an energy flow from the sun, that the law of entropy does not apply to the world as a whole, and that ordered, complex living beings can be generated from disordered, simple, and inanimate structures.

However, there is an obvious distortion here. The fact that a system has an energy inflow is not enough to make that system ordered. Specific mechanisms are needed to make the energy functional. For instance, a car needs an engine, a transmission system, and related control mechanisms to convert the energy in petrol to work. Without such an energy conversion system, the car will not be able to use the energy stored in petrol.

The same thing applies in the case of life as well. It is true that life derives its energy from the sun. However, solar energy can only be converted into chemical energy by the incredibly complex energy conversion systems in living things (such as photosynthesis in plants and the digestive systems of humans and animals). No living thing can live without such energy conversion systems. Without an energy conversion system, the sun is nothing but a source of destructive energy that burns, parches, or melts.

As can be seen, a thermodynamic system without an energy conversion mechanism of some sort is not advantageous for evolution, be it open or closed. No one asserts that such complex and conscious mechanisms could have existed in nature under the conditions of the primeval earth. Indeed, the real problem confronting evolutionists is the question of how complex energy-converting mechanisms such as photosynthesis in plants, which cannot be duplicated even with modern technology, could have come into being on their own.

The influx of solar energy into the world would be unable to bring about order on its own. Moreover, no matter how high the temperature may become, amino acids resist forming bonds in ordered sequences. Energy by itself is incapable of making amino acids form the much more complex molecules of proteins, or of making proteins form the much more complex and organized structures of cell organelles.

369 John Ross, Chemical and Engineering News, 27 July, 1980, p. 40. (emphasis added)