Andrew Sullivan deserves a lot of credit for posting dissenting views from readers on his blog. But sometimes he’d be better off not bothering. After posting a silly quote about complexity and the second law of thermodynamics, he posted a dissent from a reader that, remarkably, manages to be even sillier.
Among other things, the dissenter says that “more complex systems are more efficient in their use of energy.” It’s not even clear that that clause even means anything: “more efficient” at achieving what goal? In what sense is a cow “more efficient” than a bacterium?
There is also no sense in which “increasing complexity is built into the fabric of the universe.” Some patches of the Universe (e.g., our neighborhood) are quite complex, but the overwhelming majority is simple and boring.
Finally, the dissenter quotes Einstein as saying “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” To an excellent approximation, all quotations attributed to Einstein are apocryphal. If the quote sounds spiritual and woo-woo, while not actually meaning anything, the probability rises to virtually 100%. In this particular case, the earliest printed source seems to be The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spiritual Healing (2000). Enough said.