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Discussion 2 to Meditation 797
It may just be poorly written

by: Will Petillo

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I am not sure the article contradicts itself; it may just be poorly written in that it confuses "energy" with "usable energy." While the former cannot be "used up" according to the 1st law of thermodynamics, the latter can as a result of the 2nd law.

Energy can exist in several states, including potential, kinetic, and heat. In chemical and other reactions, potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as matter moves from a more stable to a less stable state. Kinetic energy then converts to heat energy as a result of friction. Heat energy then dissipates into space. All of these reactions are basically one-way. There are cases where one can, for example, use kinetic energy to create potential energy (e.g. by turning a generator), but such actions always convert more energy down the chain then up it. Right now, the universe is converting large amounts of energy into more stable and/or dissipated forms. The burning of the Sun is one source of such conversion and makes our lives possible. Eventually, however, all of its usable energy will be dissipated and the Sun will burn out. The same future is in store for all other stars as all existing forms of potential energy gradually convert into heat energy. The result would seem to be a universal heat death in which no further reactions can take place.

Thus, the wording of Mr. Marcellino's argument can be modified without changing the underlying idea. Given the universal validity of the two laws of Thermodynamics, the assumption that there is a finite amount of usable energy in the universe, the assumption that time is linear, and the observation that energy is being converted into more stable forms, it follows that the universe as we know it has both a beginning and an end.

I would say that Mr. Marcellino's failure is in calling his argument a ?proof,? rather than simply offering God did it as one theory among an unknown number of other theories. Why there is something instead of nothing is certainly an open and persistent question and one potential solution is to attribute the existence of the universe to the design of an entity that is fundamentally inexplicable. Some people find this answer satisfying, others do not. But for it to be anything even close to a proof, Mr. Marcellino would have to eliminate all possible alternative explanations, including but not limited to:

  1. The laws of Thermodynamics do not apply to all situations. Perhaps, in special cases, entropy can be increased (e.g. through a ?Big Crush? scenario, interaction with parallel universes, etc.).
  2. There is an infinite amount of energy in the universe, there always has been, and there always will be.
  3. Time is circular, in which case the words beginning and end have no meaning in reference to time.
  4. Some other explanation no one has thought of yet.