What do the Laws of Thermodynamics actually say?
OK, the First Law of Thermodynamics is about the conservation of energy. Matter is not mentioned.
It relates the amount of 'work' done by a defined system, eg an engine, as measured by a measured force on an external object moving that object through a measured distance (for linear motion), or a measured torque rotating a shaft by a measured amount, for rotational motion, to the net quantity of heat added to the system, as by burning fuel, and any change in internal energy, such as the energy contained in the matter in the system, which can typically be determined by changes in temperature of that material.
It says nothing about the creation or destruction of matter.
Einstein's famous equation says that changes in the amount of internal energy of system will produce a change in the measured mass of the system, ie how much force is required to accelerate the system by a given amount. There is no creation or destruction of matter involved here.
Studies in Particle Physics show that sub-atomic particles can be converted entirely into an equivalent amount of energy and vice-versa. Quantum Theory further complicates the issue by allowing for fluctuations in the energy level in 'empty space' to allow the momentary 'creation' of pairs of 'virtual' particle/anti-particle pairs which in an extremely short time mutually annihilate back to energy. There appears to be at least some evidence for this.
So any simple statement that matter can neither be created or destroyed is not a 'Law' of modern physics, the reality is much more complicated.
Even if we insist on conservation of the total amount of matter-energy, the net matter-energy total of the known universe may in fact be zero, since gravitational energy is treated as a negative quantity. In this argument, the hot fireball of the Big Bang contained an enormous amount of energy as heat offset by an equivalent amount of negative gravitational energy. In the ultimate state of an extremely dispersed universe of cold matter, the gravitational energy is now numerically near zero (and still negative), as is the heat energy of the matter, still summing to zero. Otherwise we have to ascribe an enormous amount of positive gravitational energy to a universe of particles so widely dispersed that their gravitational interaction is negligible.
If we combine this scenario with quantum fluctuations, there is nothing in Physics which precludes in any fundamental sense a particularly large quantum fluctuation in some possible eternal 'metaverse' crossing some threshold and becoming the Big Bang. Of course there are many unresolved issues here, and it is a very active area of speculation in physics and cosmology.
The point is that appeals to the First Law of Thermodynamics are completely out of place here. It just doesn't apply.
I'll tackle the other laws in later posts.
Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality
"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris
The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me
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