Thursday, March 9, 2017

One Chaotic Bird

One Chaotic Bird

      The article reviewed here is “DOES THE HOATZIN REPRESENT "BIOLOGICAL THERMODYNAMICS?””. The basic purpose of this paper is use the 2nd law of thermodynamics in order to disprove evolution. It attempts to through the example of the Hoatzin. The second law of thermodynamics states that "the entropy of the entire universe, as an isolated system, will always increase over time". Simply restated, everything will decay and become disordered. This article has many inaccuracies in it’s understanding of this law. This fact is made clear with their examples of entropy, “DISORDER, DECAYS, GROWS OLD, LOSES GENETIC INFORMATION, ETC.”. I believe that their confusion lies with the fact that this law is speaking in a cosmic scale. While looking at things on the scale of evolution, “loses genetic information” does not occurring during the time frame we are able to study. While entropy must increase, it does not have a perfect relationship with time, it fluctuate. Lose of entropy is possible at this scale. If I were to arrange m&ms on a counter, I would be decreasing the entropy of the m&ms, however, I am not breaking a fundamental law of the universe.
        The basis of the argument put forth relays on this concept this law and its application to evolution. Hoatzin are a species of bird that that have maintained the claws that were present in their ancestors. It is than asserted in the paper that, since the bird still has “A "VESTIGE" OF PREVIOUSLY MORE COMPLEX” organism, it is thermodynamically impossible for this “devolution” to occur. While the author of this article seems to grasp the extreme basics of evolution, the fundamental ideas are missing. Survival of those best suited to reproduce, this means that traits such as claws are able to emerge and disappear. Even though a certain attribute may be considered advantageous, it is not subjected to increase to overall intelligence or fitness of an animal unless it gives them a reproductive advantage. Even if the change may be able to give a species an advantage, the appearance of a trait comes from the randomness of DNA mutations.

        While their overall statement contains many theories and facts of science, almost every aspect of the ideas put forth are either poorly understood or misconstrued entirely. The base of scientific thought that the author attempted to create is faulted to the point of collapse. While I do respect that actual established theory were attempted to be used, it was contorted and butchered to the point that it only serves to confuse or tick any reader who is unversed in these theories.

    Article
http://omniology.com/Hoatzin.html
    Information of Thermodynamics
https://chem.libretexts.org/Core/Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry/Thermodynamics/Laws_of_Thermodynamics/Second_Law_of_Thermodynamics
     Picture
http://cdn.discoverwildlife.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/623px_wide/main/iStock_000064593013_Medium_Gaardman_623_1.jpg

Posted by Logan Lassin (2)

7 comments:

  1. The information the author provided shows that they have no basic understanding of evolution. The term "devolution" is not even a thing and doesn't make sense because organisms are adapted to their environment. There is no such thing as perfect design and evolution does not lead to a perfect species. The fact that the author uses thermodynamics to explain his reasonings is confusing so it could easily trick readers into thinking it's true.

    Posted by Sierra Tyrol

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree with your logic, evolution is not a path towards the "simplest" or "perfect" organism, it is the creation of deviations within an organism were the one most suited to survive and reproduce will. Using the laws of thermodynamics in this situation, while being connected vaguely to the idea of randomness, is not applicable in this situation. Including it only serves to confuse the reader by linking these ideas together.

      Posted by Logan Lassin (2)

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  2. Seems like when the term devolution is used here, it means going from something more complex to less complex. The thing is, I wouldn't term that devolution. Animals can evolve traits over and over again as well as lose them over and over again. It really just depends on the living conditions that they're currently in, which can constantly be altered by many other things. I agree with Sierra, the author shows he has no basic understanding of evolution.

    Posted by Natalie Nou

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  3. I have never before seen thermodynamics used as a case against evolution. Those reading the article, who have little knowledge of evolution, can easily be tricked into believing that its contents are true. The second law of thermodynamics is not debatable, while evolution does not hold such a concrete status universally. But, the overall claim in efforts to discredit evolution was not well supported.

    Posted by Leah DeLorenzo

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  4. Simply loss of genetic information could not be hard evidence against evolution. Along side with comparing this idea of genetic information loss with thermodynamics is completely absurd. We can look at this in the context of adaptation in which a species could potentially adapt to new environments but result in a loss of genetic information. I wonder if one can argue this article by referral to loss or change of human anatomy (organs becoming not as relevant, no functional use of certain human bones) as an example against evolution. The argument presented was very weak and I believe not able to be compared with the law of thermodynamics.

    Posted by Andrew Do (Group A)

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    Replies
    1. I had not thought of the link between loss of complexity (or what the author would attribute to loss of DNA) to vestigial organs of appendages. However in these cases the DNA is not always lost. It is somewhat understandable that the author of the article would make the mistake of connecting "loss of functionality" to "loss of info" to a loss in thermodynamic stability. Also, adaption could also lead to in increase on complexity. All of which lends itself to the nature of evolution, it all is attributed to random occurrences, whether it be a loss or gain in complexity.

      Posted by Logan Lassin (2)

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