Creation Seminar in Northern California

This came our way recently from Pastor Donald Jordan, and we have put it on the Lutheran Calendar available on this website. To publicize confessional Lutheran events around the country, add a RSS feed to your blog and put “http://feeds.feedburner.com/BJScalendar” as the URL; a feed will appear on your sidebar just like the Lutheran Calendar near the bottom of this church website.


Creation and Christian Life

 


Pat Roy, Speaker

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
9:00 Matins,   9:30-3:00 Presentations
Laymen and pastors invited

Sponsored by the Holy Cross Conference, a Confessional study group of pastors in Northern California.

 

Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church
1355 Hawthorne Ave
Chico, CA, (530) 342-6085   www.redeemerchico.org

Why Does it Matter? – The case for the importance of the creation message, the evil fruits of evolution, and how they’ve crept into our culture and church.

The Age of the Earth – A Biblical and Scientific Case for the young earth. Why the Scriptures demand a young earth — and the implications of accepting millions of years and a scientific look at the age of the earth.

The Worldwide Flood – The historic case for the origin of old-earth ideas, and how that has driven many Christians to a local flood.  The evidence for the flood — including dinosaur graveyards.

The Human Genome – An in-depth look at the human genome, and how it defies evolution.  . How it is contrary to what we actually know about the genome.

Creation Evangelism – This presentation is a great “book-end” to “Why Does it Matter?”. We start by hearing why creation is important. Knowing all the scientific facts is great, but using it to change lives is the real goal.

Dinosaurs and the Bible, The Days of Creation, The Wonder of it All

Pat Roy is a speaker with a message about creation and the Christian life.  A committed creationist, Pat worked for the Institute for Creation Research for over 12 years.  Pat’s clear translation of the proofs of creation has thrilled people of all ages for many years.

Pat and his family live in Paradise, CA.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Creation Seminar in Northern California — 136 Comments

  1. Alferd :
    @mbw #96
    mbw – with all respect, I think the inspired Word of God is better used to lead us to a deeper understanding of our relationship with the incarnate Word of God than as a text book in pseudo-science.

    Alferd, I did not use any pseudo-science. My questions and assertions are quite simple.

  2. @SG #99

    > However, I am curious though to know what is the basis for your belief that some physical properties of matter are bad and how they are identified from good ones.

    SG, I believe you said something above about failure to observe the commandments as evidence of corruption in a human.

    I would point you to something more basic as proof: death.

    Decay, disintegration, descent into disorder and chaos are analogous in inanimate matter. They are not good.

    If you were going to live forever in a physical body (Christian doctrine), would you rather live in a house that is going to rot and wear out, or one that cannot?

    In such an eternal existence, is the rotting house a ‘good’ thing?

  3. #4 Kitty :
    @mbw #96
    You’ll have to let us know how many times he mentions the sacraments.

    Kitty, that’s a really interesting comment. Ken Ham seems to go out of his way to stick to his subject matter while proclaiming salvation only in Christ and an inerrant Scripture. He seems quite respectful of Lutherans.

    I said someplace else that it would have been nice to get everything I need in life from Lutherans … are you able to do that?

    Speaking of which, the best mind ‘we’ have on this is Menton, who has also been on KFUO often. One time I was speaking with his pastor (NOT LCMS) about something, and that pastor shamed me for the liberalism in the MO synod.

    What ya gonna do?

    What’s your actual complaint about Ken Ham?

  4. @SG #99

    SG, here’s one statement of the MO synod position on creation. It significantly postdates (1932) Maxwell and most of the science that’s giving you problems. Its official status is unclear to me now, but I’m safe in saying lots of confessional Lutherans still consider it official. Argue with it if you like.

    Of Creation
    We teach that God has created heaven and earth, and that in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Holy Scriptures, especially Gen. 1 and 2, namely, by His almighty creative word, and in six days. We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture. In our days it is denied or limited by those who assert, ostensibly in deference to science, that the world came into existence through a process of evolution; that is, that it has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself. Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We accept God’s own record with full confidence and confess with Luther’s Catechism: I believe that God has made me and all creatures.

  5. mbw-
    Pithy I’m not, though I’m not sure which item I posted that lost you. Here is my attempt at pith:

    I don’t see a theological basis for claiming that entropy or any other property as being ‘bad’. You may not perceive entropy with your senses but it is inseparable from properties of matter that you can, specifically pressure, temperature and volume (via Maxwell relations).

    You make a scientific error by implying (stating?) that matter can exist without containing entropy and a category error by equating entropy with decay. I’ve tried to explain why in several different ways, such as my lemonade example, apparently without success.

    I have left the door open to you to explain why you are not also making a theological error and asked what was the basis for your belief that entropy and possibly other properties of matter were ‘bad’ or how you could tell it was a cursed property instead of a good one. Is this argument advanced by some creation science advocate like Ken Ham whom you refer to above?

    I’ve read the Brief Statement before and I am aware of its status in the LCMS. It is not relevant to anything I’ve written here. I’ve not been writing about evolution or 6 day creation, but about thermodynamic properties of matter.

    As promised above, I did let my pastors know about this thread and my comments here so that if they have time to wade through this lengthy thread they can let me know if I have made any heretical statements and correct me. I’m using a pseudonym in this thread only because most people here do, because I never planned to get into an extended discussion on the topic, especially because earlier I made references to things that have happened in churches I’ve belonged to and do not want to betray confidences, and because blog comments taken out of the flow of the conversation can be highly misleading so I’d prefer to avoid being quoted out of context on controversial topics like this by people who do happen to know me, whether in church or the classroom.

    I sincerely would like to know the origin of your ideas about entropy. Otherwise, I will admit to being unable to teach thermodynamics by blog post and terminate the attempts to do so. I have enjoyed the exchange of posts with you but as we’ve reached a dead end I’ll stop here.

    Alas, I have again failed at an attempt to be pithy – a talent most professors are not endowed with and one in which I am sorely lacking. Sorry!

  6. mbw :

    Alferd :
    @mbw #96
    mbw – with all respect, I think the inspired Word of God is better used to lead us to a deeper understanding of our relationship with the incarnate Word of God than as a text book in pseudo-science.

    Alferd, I did not use any pseudo-science. My questions and assertions are quite simple.

    My comment was a critique of Ken Ham’s message.

  7. @SG #107

    SG – I just want you to consider the fact (received by faith, from hearing and knowing the revealed Word) that the curse (and the Redemption!) applies to all creation, not just human souls. So far you have ignored this, my main point.

    Every creationist I’ve ever heard is careful to make the point that the Bible is not primarily a science book. However, unless we in a more or less gnostic fashion separate the physical creation from the spiritual world, the Scriptures make physical and even scientific assertions. I’d tie this to the credit many of us (including you?) give to Christians during what I would call the real age of science (which we’re not in now, but that’s another matter!).

    The physical and spiritual worlds are not the same, but the physical is not to be deprecated per se. This is urgently true in all of Christendom, and brought forth most clearly in Lutheran theology – most importantly in our Christology and our understanding of the Sacraments.

  8. #4 Kitty :
    @mbw #96
    You’ll have to let us know how many times he mentions the sacraments.

    Kitty, some of your theories relating sacramental Reality to other things are – – – novel! but I am not sure they are orthodox.

    I imagine Ken’s position on them is at least taught by some recognized school.

  9. mbw :
    @SG #107
    SG – I just want you to consider the fact (received by faith, from hearing and knowing the revealed Word) that the curse (and the Redemption!) applies to all creation, not just human souls. So far you have ignored this, my main point.

    mbw, I’ve not ignored it, I’ve been trying to address it from several different angles, and in light of your comment I have obviously have been failing. I don’t deny that all of creation is cursed by original sin.

    Here’s my pithy question: What is the theological basis for believing that entropy is a cursed property of matter and did not exist prior to the Fall (if I’ve understood you correctly)?

    I’d really like to know if that is just your opinion or if you have read or heard that from some creationist speaker/writer as I am interested in understanding the theological argument for this idea.

  10. @SG #111

    Hi SG. I did try to redirect from entropy per se, but I acknowledged that you had a right to hold me to any mentions of it. I can make the same points without reference to entropy, and probably should. But colloquially at least (and this could be a problem) it is quite often invoked as a reference to the universe running down. Evolutionists point to local ‘ectropies’ but even they still (unless in a fit of godless spirituality) acknowledge an overall and inescapable path to disorder. Oh, also in an act of faith, they invoke not only ‘the’ big bang but endless cycles of them. Of course, if this is science at all, it’s theoretical science. Conclusions there are highly dependent on presuppositions.

    I would just say – if entropy is associated in any way with a trend towards disorder, and if it implies not only flow of time but (at least asymptotically) an end of things, then nothing eternal will have it.

  11. @SG #111

    If we get as far as wondering what a physical universe would be like without entropy, I understand one response would be to throw up our hands and say that we can’t do anything with that. But I am not sure that there exists no credible work on this.

    Is it ok for theoretical physicists to work on anything as long as it’s not driven by one’s belief in what one sees as scientific implications of Scripture?

    I will answer my own question. It is NOT ok in the scientific, uh, community, to do that!

    One more comment on the Community. Mass delusions and misbeliefs on important things are as much the norm as the exception in human history. The western world is still under the delusion that a baby is not a human a few weeks, days or seconds before it is born, but it is a human after. You can name the ‘scientific’ mass-delusions through history better than I can. It takes a lot of courage and faith to challenge what everybody knows.

    There would be more credible work on all of th

  12. Occam’s razor: There’s no *need* for an old earth. All the protestations to the contrary, all teh arguments about the distance of stars, geology, tree rings, and so forth (and radioactive decay, and so on and so on) do not *demand* an old earth unless *there is no God* (and it still doesn’t work, even with billions and billions of years) thus, the plainest sense of Genesis 1 stands. It’s not necessary to say “24-hour” days. But it *is* necessary to say days that consist of “evening” and “morning”. And 6 of them.

    To argue for anything even *looking* like evolution and its need for billions of years is to argue evolution against itself–it is a philosophical oxymoron. The whole point of the *need* for an old earth 8began* as the necessity of an old earth *for evolution*, using Occam’s razor, *to remove* God from the calculations.

    Could God have used a process that “appears” to people to follow evolution and took billions of years? Sure. But “what *could* God do?” is always a useless question.

  13. Alferd :
    @mbw #96
    mbw – with all respect, I think the inspired Word of God is better used to lead us to a deeper understanding of our relationship with the incarnate Word of God than as a text book in pseudo-science.

    Alferd, the Bible is certainly primarily concerned with our salvation. Reality is messy though, and it does say things about history and the physical creation.

    Some speak of how they think the language in the beginning of Genesis is targeted to some kind of simple culture and so it cannot have any literal elements. This is kind of funny. Do we see Adam as some kind of primitive guy? God Himself taught Adam everything Adam knew. Even after death was put in him, Adam lived over 900 years (or are those some kind of figurative or poetic years? Not very poetic …). Do we really think that the intellect and culture of Adam and Eve were primitive? Amazing.

    Primitive people and cultures are much further down the road of degeneration than Adam was. There’s no comparison. We can hardly imagine his health, strength, intellect and abilities before the curse, and even (likely) after it, since it’s clear that he was a lot more robust than we are, just from how long he lived.

  14. mbw :
    @SG #111

    I would just say – if entropy is associated in any way with a trend towards disorder, and if it implies not only flow of time but (at least asymptotically) an end of things, then nothing eternal will have it.

    Hi mbw, I was going to drop this, but I just by coincidence I just got back from a symphony concert where the theme was creation and evolution (started with Haydn, wound up with a 21st century piece imagining continental drift, which I actually liked more than Haydn’s creation, to my surprise actually). So its still on my mind and I’m not sleepy yet, so I’ll try again though I’m not getting anywhere.

    The third law of thermodynamics states that the lowest entropy state is a perfect crystal at absolute zero. Anything else has finite entropy and is thus “disordered”. A human being is especially disordered relative to pure crystals of the matter of which they are comprised. In fact, a living human generates more entropy than a dead one (since a live human maintains a temperature difference with the surroundings and a dead one doesn’t, and entropy is fundamentally associated with temperature differences as I had described somewhere upstream).

    So you simply shouldn’t t keep talking about disorder in matter as some kind of moral failing or sign of a fallen universe. A symphony is disordered relative to a single plucked harp string, but would you therefore claim that a symphony is bad because the wave forms it generates or more disordered than a single vibrating string? Perfectly ordered matter is a cold crystal, not a warm human being.

    Regarding eternal things, entropy can be generated indefinitely without end as long as energy is put into the system. You are correct that the universe is not self-sustaining without God. As long as He inputs energy into the universe He can keep on creating entropy indefinitely, world without end.

    The problem is that there is a colloquial view of entropy as something messy or decayed (about the 3rd definition listed in dictionaries I checked) and you are thinking of it in that way. But this thread has been about science and so it is important to use the term entropy in its proper scientific sense. You concede that at points, but then jump back to using it in a colloquial fashion.

  15. mbw :
    @SG #111

    If we get as far as wondering what a physical universe would be like without entropy, I understand one response would be to throw up our hands and say that we can’t do anything with that. But I am not sure that there exists no credible work on this.

    Entropy is related in a simple fashion to volume, temperature and pressure by a Maxwell relation as noted above. Entropy is a manifestation of temperature which is a manifestation of thermal kinetic energy of molecues (random molecular motions). It makes no more sense to talk about a world without entropy that a world without temperature. Actually, it makes arguably less sense since entropy is the tangible property and temperature the intangible property.

    And actually, we need to bring the first law into discussions of fates of systems, since they don’t tend to maximum entropy but toward minimum free energy (free energy is another thermodynamic variable that combines enthalpy from the first law with entropy from the second law.) This subject is among the most difficult concepts studied in the university (though not too difficult to apply, physical scientists and engineers do routinely) and there’s no point in attempting to formulate a pithy explanation for a blog comment.

    Well I’m sleepy now and need to get to bed!

  16. Hey everybody,

    This post is filled with folks trying to make the Word of God fit science. We allow that sort of free discourse on this site but for the record the readers of this string need to realize the foolishness of doing so.

    We do not try to make God’s word fit our fallen human reason. We submit our fallen human reason to God’s word.

    The Scriptures are clear. The common sense reading of Genesis 1-3 is that God created the world in six twenty four hour days. Adam and Eve, the crowning achievement of the creation, sinned and lost their ability to trust God inherently. God then cursed the universe. Since then, the Bible records feable attempt after feable attempt of man trying to be God (the Tower of Babel being foremost) or to rise to Him. Instead, God came to us and has redeemed us. Because we have been brought back to God by the love He has given us in Christ we trust His Word even when it is counter to our reason.

    It is fine to use our minds to seek to understand what God has revealed but trying to make what God has revealed fit our human reason is foolishness.

    Psychology tells us man is good. Psychology is wrong.

    Philosophy tells us words are meaningless apart from the relative matrix of the mind. Philosophy is wrong.

    Humanistic geology tells us that earth was “created” through some multi-million year natural process. Humanistic geology is wrong.

    The love of Christ compels us Christians to accept His Word even when it contradicts human reason.

    We will allow you “reasonable” types to keep posting your feable efforts to rise to God but please know that it is a foolish enterprise. God has come to us in His mercy through the Word made flesh and the Word made flesh has blessed us with the Holy Spirit who has given us Holy Scripture.

    God is God and we are not. It tickles my brain and even makes me happy when creation science discovers empirical facts that support the literal six day creation but that is a mere tickling. It is not the basis of my faith. It is icing on the cake of the clear and life-giving Scriptures, founded on the Word made flesh.

    TR

  17. @SG #117

    >So you simply shouldn’t t keep talking about disorder in matter as some kind of moral failing or sign of a fallen universe. A symphony is disordered relative to a single plucked harp string, but would you therefore claim that a symphony is bad because the wave forms it generates or more disordered than a single vibrating string? Perfectly ordered matter is a cold crystal, not a warm human being.

    I trust that you are not consciously ignoring the difference between high information content and random noise.

  18. @Pastor Tim Rossow #119

    Thank you Pastor. I am trying to submit my knowledge to the Word. At times am sure that I err. Your description of the benefits of tidbits from the creationists is right on. In every era there will be lying wonders that will mislead many. We will always be fools in the eyes of the world.

  19. mbw :
    @SG #117

    I trust that you are not consciously ignoring the difference between high information content and random noise.

    No, of course not. I was going to make that statement, but left it out in an effort to be terse. It’s just that a single note is a lower entropy state than a complex set of notes even if they are organized. My point was, however, that while complexity is a higher entropy state, ergo entrooy can be beautiful, and not a sign of disorder, hence returning to my simple point that the scientific concept of entropy should not be connected with the theological concepts of curse, death and decay.

  20. SG :

    mbw :
    @SG #117
    I trust that you are not consciously ignoring the difference between high information content and random noise.

    No, of course not. I was going to make that statement, but left it out in an effort to be terse. It’s just that a single note is a lower entropy state than a complex set of notes even if they are organized. My point was, however, that while complexity is a higher entropy state, ergo entrooy can be beautiful, and not a sign of disorder, hence returning to my simple point that the scientific concept of entropy should not be connected with the theological concepts of curse, death and decay.

    But, are you saying that a group of instruments randomly picked, struck and blown could easily have the same entropy as the same group of instruments, each with its own part, playing a complex but “musical sounding” piece?

  21. @mbw #123

    > while complexity is a higher entropy state, ergo entropy can be beautiful, and not a sign of disorder

    I think we are talking about three things here:
    – useful energy or information
    – randomness or energy that cannot be harnessed
    – nothingness

    All of these are highly relevant to spirituality and theories of origins and ends.
    Unidimensionally equating information with randomness is what evolution depends on.
    Defining nothingness as order strikes me as rather Eastern.

  22. Pastor Tim Rossow :
    Hey everybody,
    This post is filled with folks trying to make the Word of God fit science. We allow that sort of free discourse on this site but for the record the readers of this string need to realize the foolishness of doing so.

    Pastor Rossow-
    I agree fully with you that it is foolish to try to fit the Word of God to science. In my exchanges with mbw, I have been trying to do the opposite: to decouple what I view as a faulty and unnecessary link between science and the Bible. So I don’t know to whom your comment is directed, but as the bulk of the ‘science’ comments in the latter half of this comment thread this post have been mine, I can’t help but think that I am one of the “reasonable” people you are referring to that you believe are trying to conform the Word of God to science, while I don’t think I am. I know that I have not been very successful in communicating my ideas to him, and so it is probably true that I’ve not conveyed them clearly to you either. Thus could you let me know where I have made a statement that puts me in the category of people named in your first sentence quoted above?

    My specific concern is about the linkage of entropy, an easily measured property or matter, and decay as a sign of the Curse of the Fall that mbw has made. This linkage strikes me as neither scientifically ‘reasonable’ nor theologically necessary (or important).

    So the core question I’ve had is whether the idea that entropy is a result of God’s curse of matter was simply mbw’s personal opinion, or if that is something taught by the creationist speakers identified in this thread. If this is a teaching of creation science, what is the rationale for it?

    Secondarily, I was wondering if you had read my quote from James Clerk Maxwell in #100, and if so, whether you had any disagreement with it? I stumbled across this quote, but found that it fairly well encapsulates my view on this subject, so if I need correction, I am open to it (I have directed my own pastors to my writing on this thread, as noted at #107, but they are dealing with more important issues right now so although they read BJS on occasion I don’t know that they will have time to get to this in the near future).

    Tangentially, I think it is interesting that 2 of the 3 top physicists of all time – Newton, Maxwell and Einstein – were devout Christian men, and the third (Einstein) famously expressed his belief that a creator of some kind must exist.

    Thanks for your time,
    SG

  23. mbw :

    SG :

    mbw :
    @SG #117
    I trust that you are not consciously ignoring the difference between high information content and random noise.

    But, are you saying that a group of instruments randomly picked, struck and blown could easily have the same entropy as the same group of instruments, each with its own part, playing a complex but “musical sounding” piece?

    Again, no. Entropy in the statistical mechanical formulation which we are using now, is associated with the number of possible states. There are a greater number of ways that symphonic instruments can be used randomly to make noise, than there are to perform Haydn’s “Creation” which I heard performed last night. Hence noise is a higher entropy state than Haydn’s “Creation”. However, Haydn’s “Creation” uses many different notes and thus creates sounds of higher entropy than a when the orchestra is tuning to the single note A. Personally, I would not sit through two hours of listening to an orchestra playing “A” even though it is lower entropy than whatever other piece they plan to perform after completing their tuning.

    Hope that makes sense.

  24. mbw :
    @mbw #123
    > while complexity is a higher entropy state, ergo entropy can be beautiful, and not a sign of disorder
    I think we are talking about three things here:
    – useful energy or information
    – randomness or energy that cannot be harnessed
    – nothingness
    All of these are highly relevant to spirituality and theories of origins and ends.
    Unidimensionally equating information with randomness is what evolution depends on.
    Defining nothingness as order strikes me as rather Eastern.

    First, again, I should clarify that order in the same set of materials is a lower entropy state than a random mixture of the same materials. But even an organized multicomponent system is higher entropy than a set of those pure components unmixed. So that is what I meant with my statement of complexity being higher entropy – the rest of the sentence was not clearly written either. Sorry.

    Usefulness of energy and information are certainly different manifestations of the second law. I don’t know where the ‘nothingness’ statement comes from. They might be relevant to discussions of origins and ends, but they strike me as things that falls into the realm of pious speculation, like the perpetual virginity of Mary. Anyway, this is not something I’m all that interested in.

    My points on this topic are much narrower: simply that entropy is a property of matter and it is not theologically required to link this to the Curse.

    I need to get on with work today, so I do need to let this line of discussion drop now. I keep saying this and yet keep returning, but by this point I’ve either made or not made whatever points I’m able to make on this subject in this forum. Pr. Rossow also seems to agree.

  25. @SG #126

    I did not ask if it was _possible_ to for the instruments in our discussion to be in a higher entropy state than when playing the most complex (yet “musical”) music.

    Let me clarify my question. You are saying that both the ensemble playing a complex but musical piece – and the randomly stimulated instruments – have higher entropy than the instruments just sitting there. Right?

    Regarding number of possible states: when information is sufficiently compressed, it is essentially indistinguishable from random combinations of symbols from the same set, yet the number of states is (approaches) the same.

  26. SG,

    Not necessarily you.

    The layman’s definition of entropy is “things are falling apart” and in that sense it does fit the Biblical cosmology. I guess your point is that such a definition is not subtle enough.

    If I get time I will check your reference. It looks helpful.

    TR

  27. @SG #127

    Hi SG. I could have misunderstood you. I’ll try to wait quite a while before posting again. I accept that you have much more knowledge about entropy than I do.

    I would like to state only this: that we should not rule out the idea that physics itself changed at the curse, and will be changed again in the new creation.

    And let me also suggest the concern that if we categorically rule that out, we are at least flirting with materialism.

    I would claim that two reasons this matters are:
    – for the sake of dealing with scientific challenges to our faith (those clearly exist)
    – for the sake of theoretical science (though you may laugh at this)

  28. Pr Rossow-

    That is good to know. I took your note as an appropriate pastoral caution to the unwary that just because something is posted in the BJS comments, it is not necessarily endorsed by the moderators as orthodox. I did hope that you and mbw recognize that I’m on your theological side and am trying to be helpful and not a troll. Glad to see that at 129 and 130 you have both recognized this.

    Your comment is precisely the distinction I have been trying to get at. “Entropy” does have a layman’s definition as meaning disorder generally, but this is the 3rd definition in the dictionaries I checked, the first is the scientific one. So entropy is a term with a precise scientific meaning as derived from the second law. In a discussion about scientific principles I think we need to be careful that we use the scientific meaning and not the colloquial meaning.

    I did not check the original reference cited for the Maxwell quote, but the source seemed credible – a paper from a seminar series on faith and science at MIT written by the head (at the time) of the nuclear engineering department of MIT (a leading expert on nuclear fusion and an adult convert to Anglicanism, though apparently a theistic evolutionist according another paper I found at his web page where I got the Maxwell bio).
    SG

  29. mbw :
    @SG #126
    Let me clarify my question. You are saying that both the ensemble playing a complex but musical piece – and the randomly stimulated instruments – have higher entropy than the instruments just sitting there. Right?
    Regarding number of possible states: when information is sufficiently compressed, it is essentially indistinguishable from random combinations of symbols from the same set, yet the number of states is (approaches) the same.

    mbw, a key principle in solving thermodynamic problems is to precisely define the system of interest. I was referring specifically to sound waves (air vibrations) and you seem to be referring to the physical instruments, or possibly to the musicians as well as the instruments. The answers differ depending upon the system of interest (the biggest difference being that musicians provide an energy source; without this, the instruments cause no air vibrations).

    I think the argument we want to make is that Adam and Eve listened to Haydn’s Creation as performed by the New York Philharmonic under Haydn’s direction, and in our fallen world we are listening to it as played by my son’s junior high orchestra conducted by the tennis coach/band teacher. It is nominally the same thing, but the junior high version is corrupted and imperfect and not what played the way Haydn envisioned when he wrote it, although it still has echoes of what it was meant to be, and it can still be distinguished from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion even if played by beginning musicians and with an incomplete and unbalanced ensemble (e.g., it is not the sound the instruments make when thrown off the roof of a building or played by monkeys). Clearly the junior high orchestra’s version has greater entropy than the NY Philharmonic’c version, however you define the thermodynamic system.

    Information theory is complex and is rooted in statistical thermodynamics, though it follows from the second law in the same was as it does in classical thermodynamics. It is very difficult to sort out a flaw in a step by step thermodynamic argument, so I won’t start down that path wit you. However, it is not necessary to evaluate each step to draw the correct final conclusion. You only need to look at the beginning state and the end state for a closed system, or the inputs and the outputs for an open system. This is why the US patent office validly rejects patent applications on perpetual motion machines without examining the patent or the data (to the everlasting frustration of the inventors, google that some time). So I just wouldn’t pursue this line of thinking, and stick to the simplest ones (at least for me): e.g. heat flows from hot to cold and never the other way (the original way entropy was identified).
    SG

  30. mbw #130,
    Well I do teach the subject at the university level, so I’m glad it at least like I know what I’m talking about (even though I’ve made a couple errors in the conversation along the way, hopefully all corrected) – so thanks. But while I like to study Lutheran theological books and articles, I am not trained in theology, so I accept that I may not have the theological implications always right.

    I can accept in principle that the laws of physics changed upon the fall, and we discussed that a few days ago in this thread. I backed away from it though, after more thought, in that a world without entropy is not a world we would recognize – and I think the Bible indicates that the Garden of Eden was at least something like the world we have today. Could God have created a world without entropy? I don’t see why not, but such a world would not be recognizable to us. He could also have created a world without gravity, but then I can’t really imagine what such a world would be like.

    I’m not laughing at you. Entropy is not an easy concept to grasp, even though it not difficult to make calculations using it. I don’t have too much trouble teaching students how to make necessary calculations using entropy, but if I gave them an essay question “Explain why entropy is a tangible property of matter in one paragraph to a classmate in majoring in the liberal arts without using any calculus,” they would not do so well. I’m not doing so well myself. The best I can do is to say that entropy is theoretically derived and calculated from things that you can perceive with your senses, such as volume, temperature and pressure.

  31. @SG #125

    > So the core question I’ve had is whether the idea that entropy is a result of God’s curse of matter was simply mbw’s personal opinion, or if that is something taught by the creationist speakers identified in this thread. If this is a teaching of creation science, what is the rationale for it?

    Since you’ve asked me this a couple of times and I have not answered it, I will break my self-imposed moratorium and try to answer it.

    In Lutheran catechesis as an adult (I’m not sure I remember what I thought before that) I learned that God created all that there is, including time. This ‘all’ includes physics. He created it out of nothing, and He created it in steps. If we could reason with words like ‘before’ and ‘after’ on this, we’d say that before creation there was no heaven and earth, and no such thing as ‘time’ as we know it. The words are not so easy to deal with, and don’t give a lot of detail. But they are what we have.

    As a side comment, when I believed firmly that He created everything out of nothing, it came to me that any back-dating of things in time would be most interesting and challenging ‘during’ such singular events as the creation of time, space, energy, heaven and earth.

    The next step was a few years later. I do not claim originality on this, but I have no recollection of being taught this: that there was no reason physics was not cursed along with the rest of creation, when Adam fell. [with profound implications on our ability to extrapolate physical science ‘behind’ that historical event] I then began to take it as a given that physics (the material universe) is indeed cursed, though not obliterated. Physical science’s historic path of discovering order in apparent chaos, only to discover a new layer of chaos, seemed analogous to the fact that death is programmed into all living things, yet they still live a while, enjoy life somewhat, and so on. I did not question my belief that it is absolutely fine to make such analogies, because living and nonliving matter were both created by my Friend, Jesus, who speaks in terms a child can understand. The simplest way of putting it appeals to me.

    The final step is then easy. When He makes everything new, physics will be fixed to its original, or a better, state of affairs.

    Does it say all of this in the Bible? Only if you take the statements in their strongest sense. It is a Lutheran principle to give all glory to God, no matter what reasons says. Our teaching against synergism and against Calvinism certainly relies on mysteries. Even in the spiritual realm our teaching relies on the bare statements of Scripture. Arguing from greater to lesser (if I may do this without the taint of gnosticism) I am ready to stand on bare statements of Scripture in matters of physics. It is also a Scriptural and Lutheran position that not all Scripture is literal; however this subject is covered very well by Lutheran scholars and our view is that the Genesis account is literal and I think we always try the literal approach first unless that generates a contradiction with other Scripture.

  32. @SG #133

    > I can accept in principle that the laws of physics changed upon the fall, and we discussed that a few days ago in this thread.

    Thank you. It might be very hard, but if we could roll back to there and leave entropy out, I think it might create some positive possibilities for discussion.

    > I backed away from it though, after more thought, in that a world without entropy is not a world we would recognize

    I will try not to say anything more about entropy for at least 24 hours. But a body and soul without sin is going to be something we’ve never seen either. Even when the sinless Jesus, God and man, walked the earth, He in His body suffered from our sin. In our glorified bodies, somehow we trust that we will be recognizable, but we do not understand how. Greater to lesser, again: the physics of paradise could be different from what we see now, and yet still be recognizable, and still work (better!).

  33. @SG #117

    > Regarding eternal things, entropy can be generated indefinitely without end as long as energy is put into the system. You are correct that the universe is not self-sustaining without God. As long as He inputs energy into the universe He can keep on creating entropy indefinitely, world without end.

    SG – are you saying that, according to commonly accepted theories of physics, the physical universe will last forever as-is? I did not think so.

    Or are you saying that in a physical universe that would last forever, God could allow entropy to continue to exist but would just start counteracting it exogenously?

    Or are you saying something else?

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