From an email to Stense:
…All of which brings me to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Yes, yes, I know I texted you over a week ago, promising that I would email you to explain how I'd finally worked out why I find the Second Law of Thermodynamics so comforting, but I've been too busy celebrating my discovery:
I was walking through Liverpool the other week, when I saw some of those ranting religious nutters you occasionally see trying to convert passers-by to their cause by acting like total dickheads in public. There were three of them on this occasion, and one of them was holding up a banner which read:
THE INFIDEL AND THE LIAR WILL BURN IN THE ETERNAL FIRE
Now, as a bearded infidel (and occasional barefaced liar), I suppose I should have felt worried or even threatened by this assertion. But then I had a Road-to-Damascus-type revelation, and I realised that everything was going to be all right:
The Laws of Thermodynamics are, perhaps, the most fundamental laws of physics. They underpin so much other stuff, and have been tested to such an extent, that it is inconceivable that they could suddenly turn out to be wrong. Einstein might eventually turn out to have been wrong (as, to a limited extent, did Newton before him); heresy of heresies, Darwin might one day turn out to be wrong (although, clearly, he won't); but the Laws of Thermodynamics are totally safe. And here's the nub of it:
The very concept of an eternal fire is completely at odds with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: you can't have things that burn forever; everything eventually wears out until (ultimately) we reach the heat-death of the universe. So there is NO SODDING WAY I'm going to burn in any so-called eternal fire!
You see, I told you the Second Law of Thermodynamics was comforting.