Sunday, 27 September 2015

Lessons From The Dordogne - Order From Chaos

One of the sacred dogmas of creationism is that it needs a creator to get order from chaos and complexity from simplicity. Like so much else with creationism though, the sacred dogma is contradicted by the readily observable evidence.

Take this photograph for example. It is of the river Dordogne as it runs alongside the lovely village of La Roque-Gageac. Note especially the little pits in the surface caused by little vortices produced as the water flows past the end of the wooden jetty and over the rocks in the shallows.

Another view of the same river about 30 minutes earlier shows up-wellings, counter-currents and little rills - in fact they are how we know the water is flowing. The Dordogne, like all other rivers is not an amorphous, structureless mass of flowing water molecules.

Yet the only force acting on the chaotic flow of the individual water molecules is gravity. There is no magic involved; no magic creator making these structures and producing a degree of transient order from chaos. Order emerges quite naturally from chaos because it is subject to the universal force of gravity.

This is the same force that, according to Stephen Hawking, created the Universe in the first place. It is certainly the force that created galaxies, suns and planets out of the chaos of elementary particles in the young universe. It is the force that collapsed dying stars to produce the heavier elements from which planets and everything in and on them are made.

And an analogous force acting on variation in living things - natural selection - produced the order of organised cells and the order of different species arranged in a hierarchy showing closeness of relationship and the degrees of distance from a common ancestor.

So the order and complexity of species fitted to survive and reproduce is produced by a single, directional force, just as the order in the Universe was and just as the visible structure in the flowing waters of the Dordogne is.

Yet, despite the visible evidence to the contrary; despite all the science and underpinning mathematics, and despite the sheer common sense that order is an emergent property of chaos in the presence of an attractive force, creationists must wave aside all this in order to cling to a dogma for no other reason than that they don’t feel important enough unless they can pretend to be the special friend of the creator of the Universe who made it all for them.

How very sad that so much effort goes into indoctrinating these unfortunate people to think they are so unworthy and worthless that the only way out is this degree of self-deception and delusion.


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