Cosmological Arguments and Thermodynamics

QUESTION: Cosmological Arguments and the Laws of Thermodynamics

ANSWER:

In the Laws of Thermodynamics, we have still more evidence for a transcendent origin of the cosmos. The First Law of Thermodynamics is often called the Law of Conservation of Energy. This law suggests that energy can be transferred from one system to another in many forms, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, as Albert Einstein observed when he offered his grand equation E=MC2. However, the total amount of energy available in the universe since it came into existence is constant.

Cosmological Arguments - Increased Entropy
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is commonly known as the Law of Increased Entropy. While the quantity of matter/energy remains the same (First Law), the quality of matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time. How so? Usable energy is inevitably used for productivity, growth, and repair. In the process, usable energy is converted into unusable energy. Thus, usable energy is irretrievably “lost” in the form of unusable energy.

"Entropy" is defined as a measure of unusable energy within a closed or isolated system (the universe for example). As usable energy decreases and unusable energy increases, "entropy" increases. Entropy is also a gauge of randomness or chaos within a closed system. As usable energy is irretrievably lost, disorganization, randomness and chaos increase.

Since the order in the universe was at its maximum at the beginning, and has been winding down into increasing disorder since then, the question “who organized it initially?” naturally arises. Another thing that we can deduce is that if the universe had existed eternally into the past, it would have long ago decayed into maximum entropy, or disorder. Since it has not, we know that the universe had a beginning.

NOTES

Compliments of Steve J. Williams. Rendered with permission from the book, The Skeptics’ Guide to Eternal Bliss (2nd ed), Steve J. Williams, Lulu Press, 2009. All rights reserved in the original.

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