To the editor:
In his March 23 article about the billboard on Interstate 35 and 151st Street, Dave Ranney reported about entropy arguments against evolution as given on a Web site and by David Penny. As Penny explained, "In nature nothing goes from order to order; it goes from order to disorder."
Since the general public may not know what "entropy" means in scientific terms, let's look at another form of the entropy statement: Heat flows from hot to cold. This is an everyday experience which anyone can verify. Yet everyone is familiar with a system in which heat does flow from cold to hot. It is called a "refrigerator."
What the Web site and Penny failed to mention in their argument is that the second law of thermodynamics applies to the universe as a whole. The reason the refrigerator is possible is because work is done by the motor to extract the heat, so the decrease in entropy inside the refrigerator (colder) is more than compensated for by the increase in entropy outside the refrigerator (hotter). This is why one cannot cool a room by opening the refrigerator door. Spontaneous order does occur in nature because of the temperature gradients set up by the sun which allows work to be done. Just ask the people in New Orleans and look at the organized structure of Katrina as a counterexample to the Penny "explanation" quoted above.
Kenneth S. Schmitz,
Kansas City, Mo.