Message from a physicist

From R.Z. His letter criticising Dr Carl Wieland’s thermodynamics article, presumably Evolution, Creation & Thermodynamics, is printed below. Point-by-point responses by Ph.D. physical chemist Dr Jonathan Sarfati are interspersed as per normal e-mail fashion. Ellipses (…) signal that a mid-sentence comment follows, not an omission.

I am not sure how I happened on your information page …

Divine providence?

… but as a physisist I feel I must clear up a fatal misunderstanding that Mr. Carl Weiland [sic] wrote in his article.

That’s Dr Carl Wieland, thanx.

I have no wish to undermine the spiritual message that your fine ministry has to offer, I simply want to help you understand a flaw in your physics.

The second law of thermodynamics does indeed state that all systems are headed towards disorder. …

This is not so — the equation of entropy with disorder is close but rather simplistic. The formation of crystals at low temperatures shows that the system of the liquid solution or melt will become ordered, albeit at the expense of the greater entropy increase of the surroundings.

… but this does not mean that order does not proceed in only one direction. If you light a match, the chemicals inside causes a endothermic reaction until the fuel is consumed.

Actually, the reaction is EXOthermic, the opposite of what you state, i.e. it gives out heat.

There is no way to reverse this process. It is impossable, ‘even for God’ to pull the heat released from the match from the air and reassemble the match .

Depends on what God you believe in. The God of the Bible can even raise people from the dead and create the entire universe! But it hardly seems relevant to the article in question, anyway.

There is no mechanism for recovering dissipated heat. It does not matter if you somehow were able to store all of the heat increase and reintroduce it as enthalpy for a reverse chemical reaction, the chemicals are not the issue.

Why enthalpy (=U + PV)?

Heat once used has been changed into a wave function of a harmonic oscillator, …

Since my speciality for my Ph.D. thesis and the incorporated published papers was vibrational spectroscopy, I'm extremely familiar with harmonic oscillator wavefunctions. It appears to me that the same is not true of you. I can promise you that the heat would not be a harmonic oscillator wavefunction; rather the superposition of many normal modes (I had to analyze spectra to determine them), and with considerable anharmonic terms in the potential functions.

… ‘called space-time,’ …

Now that is news to me.

… it is no longer available for use as its position in time has changed relative to you the observer ‘I.E. the match lighter.’

I’m sure I could put this heat to excellent use, e.g. to heat a thermocouple and use the current to power a light bulb. In my own field, I was able to observe light photons precisely from the energy of transition from a higher quantum vibrational state to a lower one (actually photons with the energy of the incident photons plus the energy of the vibrational quantum, in the anti-Stokes lines of the Raman spectrum).

This is why Carl Wieland is mistaken in his anaylisis.

I actually still haven't seen this alleged mistake from anything you have written.

Sorry but if you want to talk about physics, you must at least understand it.

Quite so, and if you like I could (as respectfully as possible under the circumstances) recommend a few text books for you to study so you may do so.

R. Z.


Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.

Published: 6 February 2006