Thursday, April 15, 2004

Julian Simon

In Ultimate Resource II, Julian Simon argues against the doomsayers that claim that everything will go from bad to worse. The ultimate expression of this gloomy vision, he says, is the second law of thermodynamics - which he argues against, by saying (approx. quote): "Where have they seen this? If we look around us, we will discover that things have, on the contrary, evolved from the smallest micro-organism to life as it is now. What second law? What we know of the world should show the opposite of entropy."

This is a classical example of reaching the right conclusion for the wrong reasons. There's no such thing as evolution. However, there is one thing that, each day, overcomes the second law: intelligence. Intelligence is the only known way of defeating entropy - of getting something more complex than what we put in.