Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 18 – Long Road Home


For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary

Jessie is filled with excitement when Bonnie gives her “Dusty,” the tan Appaloosa. But when Bonnie, Jessie, Martha, and Katie take the one thousand-mile, all-girls’ road trip to get the horse back home, everything seems to go wrong! (Taken from here.)

Topics in this episode:

  • Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLT)
  • Scientific Law vs. Scientific Theory
  • Overcoming SLT
  • ‘Random’ Evolution
  • Open and Closed Systems
  • A ‘Plan’ Needed to Reverse SLT

The Study Guide for episode 18 can be found here: jp_vol2_study_guide_epi18

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Vision Forum Ministries.  Through these CDs, VF hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

So, here is episode 18 –  ‘Long Road Home′.

Topics in this episode

Issues

Second Law of Thermodynamics

The Story: At a Creation Seminar, Dr Park explains about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. He reminds the audience that a scientific law is something in nature that we always observe to be true. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that everything wears out or runs down. If things are left alone, they will always go from order to disorder. Things will eventually run out of energy. This can be observed everywhere, from the smallest molecule to our solar system; things are slowly winding down. (3:28-4:17)

The Facts: Not quite so simple, Dr Park.

Thermodynamics is the study of energy conversion between heat and mechanical work.

The Study Guide says that “thermo” means heat and “dynamics” means power. This is not quite correct. In physics, mechanical work is the amount of energy transferred by a force acting through a distance.  In physics, power is the rate at which work is performed or energy is converted.

I see no mention of ‘heat’ in Dr Park’s explanation.

There are four Laws of Thermodynamics.

Second Law of Thermodynamics on wikipedia.

I searched long and hard for a site that would explain Thermodynamics in a way that would be easy to understand and not make my eyes glaze over.  I think I may have found one: http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/mod_tech/node78.html

This article states that the SLT can be stated in three different ways.
\fbox{\parbox{4.5in}{\vspace*{7pt} {\bf 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:} \begin{enume... ...Every isolated system becomes disordered in time. \end{enumerate}\vspace*{7pt}}}

Before you get too excited about the third statement, note that it refers to isolated systems.  More on this later.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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Scientific Law vs. Scientific Theory

The Story: Dr Park explains to Ralph Holmes at the Creation Seminar that the second law of thermodynamics (SLT) and evolution are in complete conflict with each other. SLT says that things are getting worse – that complex things are becoming simple – but evolution says that simple things are becoming more complex. If you have an established law in science and it is the complete opposite of a theory, they cannot both be true – one has to lose out. In this case, since the SLT is true, the theory of evolution must be wrong.  (6:40-7:25)

The Facts: Dr Park has explained SLT in such a way so as to make it easy to dismiss evolution.  However, his explanations of both SLT and evolution are too simplistic and not entirely accurate.

SLT does not say that complex things are becoming simple.  It says that heat cannot spontaneously flow from a colder location to a hotter location. Here is some more information on that.

Also, the principle of ‘disorder’ as it pertains to SLT only happens in isolated systems.  This page explains this better.

Evolution does not say that simple things are becoming more complex. Evolution simply means descent with modification.

Dr Park gives the impression that a scientific law holds more weight than a scientific theory. If there are conflicts, the ‘theory’ must give way to the ‘law’.  This is not accurate.

Here is an article I thought explained the difference between a Scientific Law and a Scientific Theory in a simple way.  A quote from that article:

The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law describes a single action, whereas a theory explains an entire group of related phenomena. And, whereas a law is a postulate that forms the foundation of the scientific method, a theory is the end result of that same process. [emphasis added]

Here is a short and succinct answer to the question “How is a scientific law different from a scientific theory?”

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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Overcoming the Second Law of Thermodynamics

The Story: Martha Brenan explains that the SLT can temporarily be overcome if energy is invested, for example when we turn old newspapers into new writing paper, or when we turn scrap metal into new cars.  But this is only temporary because the new things begin to age right away.  As soon as we quit investing energy the Second Law takes over and things begin to deteriorate.  There is no way to overcome SLT.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics makes Evolution impossible (there’s that word again!) because Evolution says that a single-celled organism slowly evolved and became a human being.  (11:00-12:22)

The Facts: Bad, bad examples, Martha!

Being a Scientific Law, the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be expressed with a mathematical equation.  Thermodynamics does not deal with situations requiring human thought and effort in order to create order from disorder. Thermodynamics is limited by the equations and mathematics of thermodynamics. If it can’t be expressed mathematically, it isn’t thermodynamics!  (Taken from here.)

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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‘Random’ Evolution

The Story: Jessie says that the world is so beautiful that she wonders how anyone could believe that it just randomly evolved.  Bonnie agrees and says that this planet is so well-designed, it could only have been made by a loving Creator. (14:16-14:27)

The Facts: Once again, Evolution is NOT a random process.

I am guessing that this statement MUST be mentioned at least once per episode.

Bonnie is making a teleological argument.  I am frankly very surprised to hear this kind of statement from a college science major.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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Open and Closed Systems

The Story: Martha explains that evolutionists try to get around SLT by saying that it only works in a closed system.  A closed system is one where no new energy could get in.  Remembering that evolutionists say that energy can temporarily reverse SLT, a closed system would mean that no new energy could get in to reverse the Second Law. (14:27-15:03)

The Facts: Martha’s explanation is not quite right.

In thermodynamics, there are basically three systems:

  1. An isolated system cannot exchange any of heat, work, or matter with the surroundings.
  2. A closed system can exchange heat and work (for example, energy), but not matter.
  3. An open system can exchange all of heat, work and matter.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is only applicable in isolated systems (not ‘closed’ like Martha says).

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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A ‘Plan’ Needed to Reverse SLT

The Story: Martha and Bonnie explain to Jessie that since Earth is an open system, evolutionists say that maybe there is enough energy from space that SLT could be reversed, that simple things could actually become more complex.  However, to reverse SLT, you not only need energy, but you also need a plan on how to use that energy.  Lightning is energy.  But if lightning struck your room, there would be more disorder, not order.  So, in addition to energy, you also need an Intelligent Plan.

When evolutionists say that SLT doesn’t work in an open system, they are wrong.  Whether a system is open or not,  SLT always makes things deteriorate over time.  Things do not get better and better by themselves. (15:03-16:35)

The Facts: It is not evolutionists who say that SLT only works in an isolated system.  Thermodynamics is an area of physics.  It is physicists who say that the Second Law of Thermodynamics only works in an isolated system.  Take the issue up with them.  Don’t attribute it to evolutionists.

Here is yet another article about the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Here are some answers to the claim that an Intelligent Plan is needed.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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Conclusion

The Second Law of Thermodynamics was not properly explained.  I am not sure that young listeners would be able to understand it fully.  My worry is that the not-fully-informed listener will just come away with the conclusion that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a Law and the Theory of Evolution is ‘only’ a Theory and since they are in conflict with each other, the Law must be right, and therefore, the Theory must be wrong.

The adventure aspect involved the females on a long road trip and encountering road rage.  Tense and suspenseful at times, but it all ends well.  Of course.

Thermodynamics Law #2
Some road rage thrown in there, too
Design points to God
Evolution is “odd”
“Impossible” and “can’t be true!”

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Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Science, Vision Forum, Young Earth Creationism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You will still see creationists argue that evolution violates SLT on the assumption that Earth is a closed system, which is just a total eye-roller.

    It is also important to note that SLT does not state that there can be no localized decreases in entropy, even within a closed system. If you consider the Universe itself as a closed system, the continuing creation of such organized and energy-producing structures as stars is evidence that even though entropy on the whole is increasing that does not prohibit localized decreases in entropy and localized increases in order.

    “However, to reverse SLT, you not only need energy, but you also need a plan on how to use that energy. Lightning is energy. But if lightning struck your room, there would be more disorder, not order.”

    Does this mean if naturalists can come up with an example of order from the unplanned use of energy that we’ll be done with this argument? Hint: It’s *super* easy to come up with examples.

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