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# 2nd law of thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is the study of the conversion of heat energy into other forms of energy.  In our lesson on thermodynamics we learned the three laws of thermodynamics. They are not always obvious or intuitive: without careful study it is easy to misunderstand their implications.

In particular, many people have misconceptions about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. One common question is “Does the Big Bang theory violate the second law of thermodynamics?”; click the link for a discussion on that topic.

Another question which often arises is “Does evolution violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?” We’ll address that question here, with a discussion from Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution, © 1995-1997 Mark Isaak
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#thermo

### are just a few examples of order coming from disorder in nature; none require an intelligent program to achieve that order. In any nontrivial system with lots of energy flowing through it, you are almost certain to find order arising somewhere in the system. If order from disorder is supposed to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, why is it ubiquitous in nature? ________________________________________________

The Essential Link Between Life and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

The overall direction of change in the universe is from less probable (more organized) states to more probable (less organized) states. Life does not “oppose” this but rather makes use of it. The “downhill” movement can be used to raise things “uphill” (just as water flowing downhill through a water wheel can be used to raise a weight). There is, however, always a net loss of organization in the process.

For life on earth, the dissipation of energy from the sun is the downhill movement. Photosynthesis creates “uphill” molecules which in turn can be used in cellular respiration to create additional “uphill” molecules from which, in turn, all of the “uphill” organization of life and culture derive.

All of biological and human organization represents a state of improbability very much less than that of the concentration of energy in the sun, and one which would quickly dissipate if the sun ceased shining (or there was some disturbance in the chain of water wheels which link the sun to biological and cultural organization).

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### Q: Why doesn’t life and evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics? Don’t living things reverse entropy?

Posted on March 24, 2013 by The Physicist

### Slideshare on the 2nd law of thermodynamics:

Energy, Entrophy, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and how it relates to the Environment