In days long gone, the second law of thermodynamics (which predated the first law) was regarded as perhaps the most perfect and unassailable law in physics. It was even supposed to have philosophical import: It has been hailed for providing a proof of the existence of God (who started the universe off in a state of low entropy, from which it is constantly degenerating); conversely, it has been rejected as being incompatible with dialectical materialism and the perfectibility of the human condition.

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