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Equilibrium universe - The world's winding down

07 Feb, 201401:00

Don't you hate it when your coffee goes cold before you have time to drink it? The next time this happens, instead of grumbling, perhaps you should congratulate yourself on conducting an experiment in thermodynamics that has implications for the origin of the universe.

The second law of thermodynamics says that, in the absence of an outside interference, the energy inside a system will tend towards its most probable distribution. So, the heat from the coffee will dissipate and will eventually be the same temperature as its surroundings, a condition known as "thermal equilibrium".

But the universe is a very non-equilibrium place. The stars are very hot but elsewhere it's very cold and, just like our cup of coffee, as we go further back in time we'd expect a universe further from equilibrium and thus more structured. So cold cups of coffee are bad news for atheism because they point to a highly organized universe with a definitive beginning, creation.

Get the word out!

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