TOPEKA, KSThe second law of thermodynamics, a fundamental scientific principle stating that entropy increases over time as organized forms decay into greater states of randomness, has come under fire from conservative Christian groups, who are demanding that the law be repealed.
|Above: Conservative Christians protest the second law of thermodynamics on the steps of the Kansas Capitol.|
"What do these scientists want us teaching our children? That the universe will continue to expand until it reaches eventual heat death?" asked Christian Coalition president Ralph Reed, speaking at a rally protesting a recent Kansas Board Of Education decision upholding the law. "That's hardly an optimistic view of a world the Lord created for mankind. The American people are sending a strong message here: We don't like the implications of this law, and we will not rest until it has been reversed in the courts."
The controversial law of nature, which asserts that matter continually breaks down as disorder increases and heat is lost, has long been decried by Christian fundamentalists as running counter to their religion's doctrine of Divine grace and eternal salvation.
"Why can't disorder decrease over time instead of everything decaying?" asked Jim Muldoon of Emporia, KS. "Is that too much to ask? This is our children's future we're talking about."
"I wouldn't want my child growing up in a world headed for total heat death and dissolution into a vacuum," said Kansas state senator Will Blanchard (R-Hutchinson). "No decent parent would want that."
Calling the second law of thermodynamics "a deeply disturbing scientific principle that threatens our children's understanding of God's universe as a benevolent and loving place," Blanchard is spearheading a nationwide grassroots campaign to have the law removed from high-school physics textbooks. The plan has already met with significant support in the state legislatures of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi.
|Above: Christian Coalition president Ralph Reed holds a textbook he claims is being used to teach physics in schools.|
"My daughter's schoolbooks tell her that we live in a world ruled by disorder," said Knox Heflin, one of several dozen fundamentalists who spoke out against the teaching of the law at a Statesboro (GA) School Board hearing. "That's a direct contradiction of what it says in the Bible, about how everything is going to get better, and we'll all live happily up in heaven after the End Times."
"The only 'heat death' Jesus ever mentioned is the one that sinners will suffer for all eternity in the Lake of Fire," said Indianola (MS) School Board president Bernice McCallum. "Now more than ever, we need to hear what the Bible has to say about our public schools' physical-science curricula."
Leading physicists contend that, as the foundation of much of our current scientific understanding, a reversal of the second law of thermodynamics would have massive ramifications on the future of both our nation and the universe itself.
"Were the second law to be repealed, random particles would collect and organize themselves instead of dissipating, which could affect such basic processes as combustion, digestion, evaporation, convectionthat sort of thing," Columbia University superstring theorist Dr. Brian Greene said. "There wouldn't be much sunlight, either, because all stars, including our sun, would be collecting photons from surrounding space instead of emitting solar radiation. Oh, and the universe would begin to contract rather than expand, which could possibly turn back the flow of time itself, sending our cosmos spiraling inward toward a reverse Big Bang, a sort of 'Big Crunch,' if you will."
"In light of all this," Greene continued, "I would sincerely hope that our nation's legislators think long and hard before making any decisions to amend or repeal this law."
Despite such warnings, the grassroots movement to eliminate the second law of thermodynamics appears to be gathering strength.
"This is America," said Duane Collins, a Gatlinburg, TN, distillery operator and father of five. "And in this country, we have the God-given right to change laws we don't think are Christian. We are united in our demands that the second law of thermodynamics be repealed, and our voice will be heard no matter what. That's just a plain fact, and nothing anybody says can ever change it."