Here are not one but four quotes of the day from an older (1933) book by the late British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 -1944)
who was famous for (amongst other things) in being asked the question, "`Professor Eddington, you must be one of the three persons [including Einstein] in the world who understand general relativity'" `modestly' (but possibly truthfully) replying, "On the contrary, I am trying to think who the third person is!'" (Eisenstaedt, J., "The Curious History of Relativity," Princeton UP, 2006)!
In the first quote Eddington says that for entropy (~disorder) in the entire universe to decrease "would involve something much worse than a violation of an ordinary law of Nature, namely, an improbable coincidence" and that "the second law of thermodynamics" ["The law that entropy always increases" in the entire universe] holds ... the supreme position among the laws of Nature"(my emphasis):
"The practical measure of the random element which can increase in the universe but can never decrease is called entropy. Measuring by entropy is the same as measuring by the chance explained in the last paragraph, only the unmanageably large numbers are transformed (by a simple formula) into a more convenient scale of reckoning. Entropy continually increases. We can, by isolating parts of the world and postulating rather idealised conditions in our problems, arrest the increase, but we cannot turn it into a decrease. That would involve something much worse than a violation of an ordinary law of Nature, namely, an improbable coincidence. The law that entropy always increases-the second law of thermodynamics-holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations-then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation-well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation." (Eddington, A.S., "The Nature of the Physical World," , The Gifford Lectures 1927, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1933, reprint, pp.74-75. Emphasis original).
Having debated the SLoT with evolutionists for over a decade (1994-2005), I do maintain that evolution does "involve ... a violation of an ordinary law of Nature, namely, an improbable coincidence" at the origin of life (for starters)! See `tagline' quote by Christian philosopher and ID theorist Del Ratzsch, that the YEC argument (which as an OEC I nevertheless agree with) that, "Simply throwing raw energy into a system generally does not produce increased order but destroys some of the order already there. So the view is that special conditions-codes, conversion mechanisms and the like-are needed before growths in order can occur even in open systems. That raises the question, How do these codes and conversion mechanisms themselves arise?"
The second quote by Eddington, that "Some things never happen in the physical world ... because they are too improbable" (his emphasis) agrees with Émile Borel's, "single law of chance ... Phenomena with very small probabilities do not occur ... A phenomenon with a probability of 10-50 will therefore never occur, or at least never be observed" (Borel, É., "Probabilities and Life," Dover: New York , 1962, pp.1,28):
"Primary and Secondary Law. I have called the laws controlling the behaviour of single individuals `primary laws', implying that the second law of thermodynamics, although a recognised law of Nature, is in some sense a secondary law. This distinction can now be placed on a regular footing. Some things never happen in the physical world because they are impossible; others because they are too improbable. The laws which forbid the first are the primary laws; the laws which forbid the second are the secondary laws. It has been the conviction of nearly all physicists that at the root of everything there is a complete scheme of primary law governing the career of every particle or constituent of the world with an iron determinism. This primary scheme is all-sufficing, for, since it fixes the history of every constituent of the world, it fixes the whole world-history. But for all its completeness primary law does not answer every question about Nature which we might reasonably wish to put. Can a universe evolve backwards, i.e. develop in the opposite way to our own system? Primary law, being indifferent to a time-direction, replies, `Yes, it is not impossible'. Secondary law replies, `No, it is too improbable'." (Eddington, Ibid., pp.75-76. Emphasis original).
Which means that materialists' appeal to chance to explain the origin of life, e.g. George Wald's:
"... since the origin of life belongs in the category of at-least-once phenomena, time is on its side. However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once ... The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. ... Time is in fact the hero of the plot. Given so much time, the `impossible' becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles" (Wald, G., "The Origin of Life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.47-48)
fails to explain the chance origin of even one small gene of 200 base pairs, because as Fred Hoyle pointed out:
"... with a chance 1/4 of choosing each of the correct base pairs at random, the probability of discovering a segment of 200 specific base pairs is 4-200, which is equal to 10-120." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.102-103)!
Eddington by his "the difficulty of an infinite past is appalling. It is inconceivable that we are the heirs of an infinite time of preparation; it is not less inconceivable that there was once a moment with no moment preceding it":
"But the nightmare of infinity still arises in regard to time. The world is closed in its space dimensions like a sphere, but it is open at both ends in the time dimension. There is a bending round by which East ultimately becomes West, but no bending by which Before ultimately becomes After. I am not sure that I am logical but I cannot feel the difficulty of an infinite future time very seriously. The difficulty about A.D. ∞ will not happen until we reach A.D. ∞ , and presumably in order to reach A.D. ∞ the difficulty must first have been surmounted. It should also be noted that according to the second law of thermodynamics the whole universe will reach thermodynamical equilibrium at a not infinitely remote date in the future. Time's arrow will then be lost altogether and the whole conception of progress towards a future fades away. But the difficulty of an infinite past is appalling. It is inconceivable that we are the heirs of an infinite time of preparation; it is not less inconceivable that there was once a moment with no moment preceding it." (Eddington, Ibid., p.83).
supports "The Kalām cosmological argument," revived by Christian philosopher-apologist William Lane Craig, which includes a premise that: "1. An actual infinite cannot exist; 2. A beginningless series of events is an actual infinite; 3. Therefore, the universe cannot have existed infinitely in the past, as that would be a beginningless series of events." That is, since matter/energy cannot have always existed from an infinite past, either the Universe popped into existence from absolutely nothing (which is even more inconceivable than an infinite past); or it was brought into being by a First Cause (which by definition is God) who is outside the Universe of matter/energy and time/space.
Eddington's third quote acknowledges that there is yet "another overwhelming difficulty lying between us and the infinite past" namely that since there is an inexorable "running-down of the universe" then "somewhere between the beginning of time and the present day we must place the winding up of the universe" which "is admittedly the antithesis of chance. ... something which could not occur fortuitously" and is therefore "scientific proof of the intervention of the Creator at a time not infinitely remote from to-day" (my emphasis)!:
"This dilemma of the beginning of time would worry us more were it not shut out by another overwhelming difficulty lying between us and the infinite past. We have been studying the running-down of the universe; if our views are right, somewhere between the beginning of time and the present day we must place the winding up of the universe. Travelling backwards into the past we find a world with more and more organisation. If there is no barrier to stop us earlier we must reach a moment when the energy of the world was wholly organised with none of the random element in it. It is impossible to go back any further under the present system of natural law. I do not think the phrase `wholly organised' begs the question. The organisation we are concerned with is exactly definable, and there is a limit at which it becomes perfect. There is not an infinite series of states of higher and still higher organisation; nor, I think, is the limit one which is ultimately approached more and more slowly. Complete organisation does not tend to be more immune from loss than incomplete organisation. There is no doubt that the scheme of physics as it has stood for the last three-quarters of a century postulates a date at which either the entities of the universe were created in a state of high organisation, or preexisting entities were endowed with that organisation which they have been squandering ever since. Moreover, this organisation is admittedly the antithesis of chance. It is something which could not occur fortuitously. This has long been used as an argument against a too aggressive materialism. It has been quoted as scientific proof of the intervention of the Creator at a time not infinitely remote from to-day. But I am not advocating that we draw any hasty conclusions from it. Scientists and theologians alike must regard as somewhat crude the naive theological doctrine which (suitably, disguised) is at present to be found in every textbook of thermodynamics, namely that some billions of years ago God wound up the material universe and has left it to chance ever since. This should be regarded as the working-hypothesis of thermodynamics rather than its declaration of faith. It is one of those conclusions from which we can see no logical escape-only it suffers from the drawback that it is incredible. As a scientist I simply do not believe that the present order of things started off with a bang; unscientifically I feel equally unwilling to accept the implied discontinuity in the divine nature. But I can make no suggestion to evade the deadlock." (Eddington, Ibid., pp.84-85).
As for the "various theories of rejuvenescence," i.e. "a never-ending cycle of rebirth of matter and worlds" and those who "wish ... for a universe which can continue indefinitely in activity must lead a crusade against the second law of thermodynamics" and Eddington could "see no way in which an attack on the second law of thermodynamics could possibly succeed" (my emphasis):
"Turning again to the other end of time, there is one school of thought which finds very repugnant the idea of a wearing out of the world. This school is attracted by various theories of rejuvenescence. Its mascot is the Phoenix. Stars grow cold and die out. May not two dead stars collide, and be turned by the energy of the shock into fiery vapour from which a new sun-with planets and with life-is born.? This theory very prevalent in the last century is no longer contemplated seriously by astronomers. There is evidence that the present stars at any rate are products of one evolutionary process which swept across primordial matter and caused it to aggregate; they were not formed individually by haphazard collisions having no particular time connection with one another. But the Phoenix complex is still active. Matter, we believe, is gradually destroyed and its energy set free in radiation. Is there no counter-process by which radiation collects in space, evolves into electrons and protons, and begins star-building all over again? This is pure speculation and there is not much to be said on one side or the other as to its truth. But I would mildly criticise the mental outlook which wishes it to be true. However much we eliminate the minor extravagances of Nature, we do not by these theories stop the inexorable running-down of the world by loss of organisation and increase of the random element. Whoever wishes for a universe which can continue indefinitely in activity must lead a crusade against the second law of thermodynamics; the possibility of re-formation of matter from radiation is not crucial and we can await conclusions with some indifference. At present we can see no way in which an attack on the second law of thermodynamics could possibly succeed, and I confess that personally I have no great desire that it should succeed in averting the final running-down of the universe. I am no Phoenix worshipper. This is a topic on which science is silent, and all that one can say is prejudice. But since prejudice in favour of a never-ending cycle of rebirth of matter and worlds is often vocal, I may perhaps give voice to the opposite prejudice. I would feel more content that the universe should accomplish some great scheme of evolution and, having achieved whatever may be achieved, lapse back into chaotic changelessness, than that its purpose should be banalised by continual repetition. I am an Evolutionist, not a Multiplicationist. It seems rather stupid to keep doing the same thing over and over again." (Eddington, Ibid., pp.85-86).
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biol).
"Perhaps the most prevalent of the misconstruals of creationism involves the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There are several ways of stating the Second Law, but for present purposes the following intuitive characterizations will be adequate. In a system that neither loses nor gains energy from outside of itself (a closed system), although the total amount of energy within the system remains constant, the proportion of that energy which is no longer usable within the system (measured as entropy) tends to increase over time. An equivalent formulation is that in a closed system there is over time a spontaneous tendency toward erosion of a specified type of order within the system. Creationists nearly unanimously claim that this Second Law poses a nasty problem for evolution. Unfortunately, exactly what creationists have in mind here is widely misunderstood. Creationists are at least partly at fault for that confusion. One reason is that as noted earlier ... most popular creationists use the term evolution ambiguously-sometimes to refer to the cosmic evolutionary worldview (or model) and sometimes to refer to the Darwinian biological theory. Although a coherent position can be extracted from some of the major creationists (such as Morris, Gish, Wysong and Kofahl), this ambiguity has rendered some parts of their writings monumentally unclear. One has to read extremely carefully in order to see which evolution is being referred to, and some critics of creationism either have simply not noticed the ambiguity or perhaps have misjudged which meaning specific creationists have had in mind in specific passages. And critics are not the only people who have sometimes been bamboozled. Other creationists who take their cues from those above have also sometimes missed some of the key distinctions and have advanced exactly the original misconstrued arguments that critics have wrongly attributed to major creationists. In a word or two, we have a four-alarm mess here. But let's see if we can clear up at least some of it. First, when claiming that the Second Law flatly precludes evolution, major creationists almost invariably have in mind evolution in the overall cosmic, `evolution model' sense. The clues to that meaning are the almost invariable use (especially in Morris's writings) of phrases like philosophy of evolution or cosmic or universal or on a cosmic scale. The universe as a whole system is taken to be a closed system (classically), and according to the creationist definition of evolution model, that model is unavoidably committed to an internally generated overall increase in cosmic order, since on that view reality is supposed to be self-developed and self-governing. What Morris and others mean to be claiming is that any such view according to which the entire cosmos is itself in a process of increasing overall order is in violation of the Second Law. Critics of creationism almost without exception take this initial creationist claim to be about purely biological evolution on the earth and respond that the Second Law applies only to closed systems, whereas the earth, receiving energy from the sun, is thermodynamically open. But since the system actually in question here is the entire universe, which is the `prime example' of a closed system, the response that the Second Law only applies to closed systems is beside the point creationists mean to be making in this case. That is not to say that the creationist argument is ultimately correct here, but only that if it is defective the problem is not the one initially proposed. When discussion turns to evolution in the more restricted sense-biological evolution on the earth-then obviously it is highly relevant to point out that the earth is not a closed system and that thus the Second Law by itself does not directly preclude evolution. But Morris, Gish, Wysong and others admit that, and have for decades, although not always in a terribly clear manner. How does that admission emerge? Morris, for instance, claims in numerous of his writings that a system being open is not alone enough to cause a reversal of disorder or a decrease in entropy. There are, Morris claims, some additional requirements that must be met before that can happen For instance, the flow of energy coming into the system must be adequate, and there must be some already-existing `code' and `conversion mechanism' by which the incoming energy can be harnessed, turned into some form that is useful and usable in the system, and then properly directed and productively incorporated into the system experiencing increasing order. These additional requirements are not requirements of the Second Law itself but are requirements that Morris thinks we have good empirical grounds for accepting. Simply throwing raw energy into a system generally does not produce increased order but destroys some of the order already there. So the view is that special conditions-codes, conversion mechanisms and the like-are needed before growths in order can occur even in open systems. That raises the question, How do these codes and conversion mechanisms themselves arise? Some creationists may hold that the Second Law itself flatly precludes such codes and mechanisms arsing naturally. Others take the odds against the codes and mechanisms being generated naturally to be massively overwhelming. But Morris says that the natural development of such codes and mechanisms may, for all he knows, be possible, although it is unlikely. So although the Second Law does impose some conditions, and although other empirical experience seems to impose some additional constraints, at least in principle, according to Morris, all of those conditions and constraints can perhaps be met: `It is conceivable, although extremely unlikely, that evolutionists may eventually formulate a plausible code and mechanism to explain how both entropy and evolution could co-exist.' [Morris, H.M., "King of Creation," 1980, p.117] `This objection does not preclude the possibility of evolution.' [Morris, H.M., "The Troubled Waters of Evolution," 1974, p.101] `It may of course be possible to harmonize evolution and entropy.' [Morris, 1974, p.99] `This of course does not preclude temporary increases of order in specific open systems.' [Morris, H.M., "The Biblical Basis for Modern Science," 1984, p.207; Morris, H.M., "Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science," 1970, p.127]. Morris says similar things elsewhere-from at least 1966 on. [Morris, H.M., "Studies in the Bible and Science," 1966, p.146; Morris, 1984, p.207; Morris, 1980, p.114; Morris, H.M., "Does Entropy Contradict Evolution?," Impact, 141, March 1985]. So what, then, is the problem? A major one, according to Morris, concerns the required codes and mechanisms: `No one yet has any evidence that any such things exist at all.' [Morris, H.M., "Creation and the Modern Christian," 1985, pp.155-56]. `Neither of these has yet been discovered.' [Morris, H.M., "The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth," 1972, p.20]. `So far, evolutionists have no answer.' [Morris, 1974, p.100]. `[The special conditions are] not available to evolution as far as all evidence goes.' [Morris, H.M., "Science and the Bible," 1986, p.60]. Notice the invariable qualifications: `yet,' `so far' and so on. And what that all means, according to Morris, is that `the necessary `law' of evolution, if it exists, still remains to be discovered and evolutionists must in the meantime continue to exercise faith in their model in spite of entropy.' [Morris, 1974, p.101]. Those last five quotes, incidentally, come from four different books written from 1972 to 1986, hardly an obscure brief departure from Morris's usual views-and this same sort of view is found in Gish, Wysong, Pearcey, Bird, and Kofahl and Segraves, from 1976 to the present." (Ratzsch, D.L., "The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1996, pp.91-93)