Science

The Entropy Argument

I’m an atheist, but there was a time many years ago when I got into a long-running, online argument with a forum of fellow atheists. I was trying to prove by argument that even if there isn’t a God, life can be eternal. Big mistake on my part. Nothing can be proven by argument.

I finally gave up on those bastards. And they laughed me off as another casualty to their impeccable logic and rational thought.

They were engineers and self-proclaimed scientists, and apparently possessed some knowledge of physics. And their main argument against eternal life utilized several concepts of physics, involving entropy and the first two laws of thermodynamics.

If you want to risk permanently crossed eyes, or falling into a forever slumber, you can google these subjects and try to figure them out. That’s what I did, and with help from my eye doctor and sleep therapist, I managed to survive the research and emerge mostly unscathed.

I want to emphasize, though, that In spite of all my study, I don’t possess great confidence in my grasp of these concepts. And they’re kind of controversial, as different physicists seem to have different opinions about it. But here’s the best explanation I can come up with, as to why we can’t live forever (according to those damned atheists):

Entropy of our cosmos basically means that over time, the energy of our universe is slipping into equilibrium. As our universe expands, temperatures within the universe are equalizing. The theory posits that eventually there will be an even temperature spread throughout the universe, preventing any transfer of energy from taking place between any one point and any other point. Energy will be immobilized and unable to produce any activity. Nothing will be able to move. Everything will be dead.

Entropy is slowly killing our universe.

This wiki article, on the Heat Death of the Universe, can help explain it better, if you’re willing to risk crossed-eyes and coma.

Have you ever watched your kids bouncing off the walls, with energy in the early evening? And have you observed that as the evening wears on, they make less and less rational sense, and move more and more slowly? That’s kind of like entropy. By the time beddy-bye arrives, they’ve become comatose and you have to carry them to their blankets.

That’s where entropy is taking our universe.

The atheists I argued with cited entropy as proof that there can be no life after death. They pointed out that the nature of energy is to decay into random chaos until it loses all ability to function. And so they claimed that since life is energy, all life in this universe must eventually come to an eternal end.

They made a good point, in my view, because our long-running argument eventually died from entropy.

But I learned from this argument. And what I learned is that it’s a mistake to equate life with energy. I make the assumption that life is eternal. It’s an assumption, I admit, but I prefer assuming that life is eternal, than assuming the depressing alternative. But because of entropy, I can’t keep assuming life is eternal if I also assume that life is energy.

The entropy argument helped me realize that life cannot be assumed to be energy, if life is assumed to be eternal. So life has to be something different. Life can command and control energy when it occupies a physical body, and this can lead us to confuse life with energy. But if life is eternal, it cannot be energy.

Scientists have never discovered what life exactly is. They’ve never developed an unequivocal definition of life. So it would be inaccurate to say that science has proven that life is energy. That was the flaw in the argument of those atheists, and if only my lame brain had figured that out at the time, I would have really showed them a thing or two.

Once again, my esprit de l’escalier let me down.

Scientists have never discovered where life comes from or where it goes to. In fact, nobody really knows the answer to that question, although there are plenty of religions willing to supply an answer.

I don’t know either. I’ve defined life as change, in several of my books, which you can find in my Free Bookstore. But that’s a philosophical definition. As far as a biological definition for the soul that dwells within living creatures such as you and me, I’m as stumped as the scientists.

But with regard to a biological definition, I can say with all the hope in my heart and all the power of assumption that I can muster, that one thing is absolutely, positively, most probably true:

Life is not energy.

Categories: Science

114 replies »

  1. The problem with any scientific argument,with any subject, is that it is based of facts. Therein is the issue, because unless we are arrogant enough to believe that we know everything there is to know about everything, then we have to accept there are “facts” still awaiting discovery.
    In terms of our evolution time, it was not long ago that our world was a circular disc supported by a bunch of elephants. That was eventually disproved when it was determined that it was ludicrous. Elephants could not support the world, and what would they be standing on anyway? Science of the times determined that although we were obviously a circular disc, it was floating in some unknown medium. Of course it was later determined that our world was in fact spherical, with everything orbiting around it. We know that was later scientifically replaced with the Sun being central and everything went around that. Of course that was later corrected due to other planets being discovered with weird orbits … and so science progresses.
    Science has discovered so much, and should be applauded accordingly … but do they know everything about everything?????? (Uncontrollable laughter in background).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. thanks for this background on entropy. I guess one thing I would question is the analogy with the kids falling off to sleep. If that’s where it ended, then fine. But don’t most of them wake up the next morning, and start all over again?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To have a debate about something with no knowable facts is kind of pointless.

    Someone speaking from a mindset of science, trying to apply scientific logic and principles to something completely unknown and without facts, is just as silly as someone using superstition or religion to explain a volcano.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Ooh you know how I “love” to debate, but there are times I get drawn in.
    I will try to sum my feelings up in a simple way.
    If you were to believe in God would you not expect him to be wiser and more powerful than you? For why have a God if his power is limited like ours? Sooo in spite of science not being able to prove that we can have eternal life, who is to say that an all-powerful God couldn’t do the impossible and make eternal life possible??
    Logic can be good in many ways but sometimes it really gets in the way, for there doesn’t need to be a logical reason behind everything. Thats where faith comes in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, I don’t believe in God, except that I do. I think that if there is a God, then this being is unlike anything we’ve ever imagined, or can imagine. Therefore, God does not, and cannot exist, in terms of our ability to imagine what God is.

      But I agree with you about faith, when it comes to eternal life. I find it much more comforting to assume that we live forever, than to assume the alternative. Neither possibility can be proven, so I just go ahead with my faith, even if that might mean I’m living in a fool’s paradise.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I can imagine flying through a black hole and into another place … but that’s just my imagination, so I have no problem with imagining a deity. Of course I cannot produce the details, but I can still imagine that somewhere there is a life form that is far more developed than ours, and I can imagine that life form would have a leader, and so I can imagine that leader’s name has been translated into different sounds by the various religious beliefs around our world. I guess the end result is that we should not dismiss anything just because we cannot imagine it, but rather lean towards those who can imagine?

        Liked by 2 people

        • I have no problem with those who imagine God, or heaven, or anything else. I think it’s wonderful and essential. But I do have a problem with those who try to pressure or force us to accept what they imagine to be true, and only what they imagine to be true.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I too belief that there is life (in some form,) after death however, it is simply a belief. I have talked with others about this and the usual explanation is that while the body dies, the soul is free to go to the “next life”. My natural response to that is “So what is the soul?” This triggers a lot of responses which usually cover our senses, intuition etc., The issue I have with that is that so much of who we are (perhaps all we are) is usually attributed to upbringing, parental standards and perspectives, life experiences … generally all those things that develop our perspective on the world the more we experience it. We, like other animals, are also tuned into body language, and probably more so than we think.So if we take away all the aspects of our being which are from outside influences, and if we acknowledge that we read body language (consciously or otherwise), then my question “What exactly is the soul?” is still open to discussion! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve been thing about your comment:

            “But I do have a problem with those who try to pressure or force us to accept what they imagine to be true, and only what they imagine to be true.”

            You are absolutely correct, and they must logically be absolutely wrong, because there are a number of religions around the world that are “the way, the truth and the light”. They cannot all be right. They all worship a higher power; many have a saviour, and many have the great flood documented. From what little I know about other religions, it does seem to suggest they are all worshipping the same “higher power”, albeit using different names for it!
            I remember hearing a claim that everybody is going to Hell according to the various religions. This is based on the claim that if you do not adopt their faith … you are going to Hell. Given that nobody can adopt all the faiths, then logically we are all doomed. See you in Doomsville perhaps? 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, we are all doomed, except for those few lucky ones who happened to stumble upon the right religion.

              It’s completely ridiculous. But what is even more ridiculous, to me, is how many people fall for it, and truly believe they belong to the only right religion. Barnum was right when he said that there’s a sucker born every minute.

              Like

  5. You can find what I think in my very first post here:
    luminousaether.wordpress[DOT]com/2014/07/18/the-joy-of-disbelief/
    (replace the “[DOT]”)

    I’ve also written about Boltzmann (“Statistical Mechanics”, aka: “Entropy”). Google, “Boltzmann brain”. Seriously.

    Science and engineering are purely descriptive endeavors. They can tell you how something will work within the parameters allowed by the universe… not ultimately why. There’s simply a point at which all reductionism fails. So deriving “atheism” by arguing from the perspective is ultimately no less based in some faith in an unknowable.

    Personally, I just don’t find either much explanatory power or use for religion in my own life. But I had a surprisingly well-adjusted friend in college for whom God was on auto-dial. Alas, whenever I pick up the phone, it’s just someone who wants my bank account or credit card information.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Boltzman Brain, solipsism, cogito, and all that ilk gets very hypothetical, and plumblessly deep. It’s too much for my puny brain to comprehend. I just figure that some things are impossible to know.

      So when it comes to the issue of life after death, I make the assumption that there really is such a thing. But I also recognize that this is just an assumption, and not necessarily true. I find the alternative assumption, that life does not continue after death of the physical body, to be very depressing. So for the sake of my mental health, I assume that life is eternal.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Certainly, there are things that are just fundamentally unknowable.

    How we fill in the gaps is a personal choice. A great deal of my writing in here has been on just that topic, and it’s the underlying meaning to “luminous aether”:
    luminousaether.wordpress[DOT]com/2015/08/13/placeholders/
    (replace the “[DOT]”)
    The ferry mentioned was the “Kim Nirvana B”, one of three that traveled between Ormoc City in Lete, and the Pilar Port (a shallow water dock) at Ponson Island. One of the ferries was down for repairs, so the other two were being heavily loaded.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is why I discourage my husband from his continuous debate of almost everything for who never wanted to listen to begin with. I like your way of being an atheist. I’m not though, but I’m not religious either. I prefer to say I’m spiritual. I believe that god lives inside all of us, it got no specific form, not some one almighty creator of humanity. And if there’s no life after death then I will feel that living is pointless. But because I know (for myself) that there is life after death, I can enjoy living now no matter now, no matter how tragic this stupid life sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard it said that religion is for those who want to avoid Hell, but spirituality is for those who’ve already been there.

      I’m interested in how you know for yourself that there is life after death. Have you had one of those Near Death Experiences (NDEs)? I’m fascinated with NDEs.

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  8. Life to me IS energy, no energy no life.
    The sun emits photons, packets of energy, electromagnetic radiation that drives and supports life here on our planet.
    Eternal IMHO can only be in the form of the atoms that make up biological life, They endure and possibly through cosmic evolution become the material to make up a new universe and perpetuate other forms of life or life similar to ours.
    So to me individuals are lost and those particles are sent back out into the universe to recycle. Ultimately it is for ‘our’ universe to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting theory, though I find it depressing. I prefer to assume that my individual self will survive the breakup of the body, and the loss of my body’s energy. It’s an assumption only, with no evidence to support it. But I’m much happier making this assumption, than making the assumption you propose.

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      • Sorry if this un-evidenced theory is depressing but again, the universe is not a place where life is a given in fact quite the opposite… it is in it’s vastness cold and violent and owes no dues to homo sapiens.
        With that said, we humans exist and self realised to know the difference, an incredible feat if you ask me.
        It is why we need to respect this wonderful planet and it’s fellow travellers, the uniqueness of life.
        We are one of possibly many ways the universe gets to know itself if you like but that’s a purely anthropomorphic description.
        Getting to know how it works is a joy and far from depressing to me.
        Culture wise humans are depressing, bashing each other with ideologies and high tech killing contests. What a waste. Centuries of pacifying and civilising ourselves and still we undervalue the very thing that sustains us, earth.

        Liked by 1 person

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