Given the degree of disbelief in the theory of evolution by the wider public, scientists need to develop a collection of clear explanations and metaphors that demonstrate the working of the theory and the flaws in antievolutionist arguments. This paper presents tools of this sort for countering the anti-evolutionist claim that evolutionary mechanisms are inconsistent with the second law of thermodynamics. Images are provided to replace the traditional misunderstanding of the law, i.e., “everything always gets more disordered over time,” with a more clear sense of the way in which entropy tends to increase allowing a thermally isolated system access to a greater number of microstates. Accessible explanations are also provided for the ways in which individual organisms are able to minimize entropy and the advantages this conveys.
This is the publisher's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Gimbel, S. and Schreiber, A. (2010) Evolution and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Effectively Communicating to Non-Technicians. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 3(1):99-106. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12052-009-0195-3