I am not a creationist but agree with Granville Sewell that the "compensation" argument (local decreases in entropy are compensated by larger increases elsewhere) does not work and therefore the only reasonable alternative to intelligent design is invalidity of the second law of thermodynamics:
Granville Sewell, On "compensating" entropy decreases, PHYSICS ESSAYS 30, 1 (2017): "The idea that "entropy" is a single quantity which measures disorder of all types is widely believed. Of course, you can define a quantity, which I will call "thermal" entropy, which measures randomness (uniformness) in the temperature distribution, and show that in an isolated system this thermal entropy can only increase, as heat diffuses and the temperature distribution becomes more and more uniform. And you can similarly define an "X-entropy" which measures randomness in the distribution of any other diffusing component X and show, using the same equations, that in an isolated system this X-entropy also can only increase as the component X diffuses and the distribution of X becomes more and more uniform. But the idea that there is a total entropy which measures randomness of all types is a myth, and is the source of much confusion." http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/sewell ... sewell.pdf
Granville Sewell: "In the video "Why Evolution is Different," above, I make the simple point that to not believe in intelligent design, you have to believe that the four fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone (the gravitational, electromagnetic, and strong and weak nuclear forces) could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into encyclopedias and science texts and computers and airplanes and Apple iPhones. I show that this belief runs contrary to the more general statements of the second law of thermodynamics, even if the Earth is an open system." https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/from- ... ple-steps/
Granville Sewell: "The development of civilizations on a barren planet would seem to be a spectacular violation of these more general statements of the second law." https://evolutionnews.org/2016/03/the_common_sens/
Philip Ball's suggestions seem to go in the same direction:
Philip Ball: "Patterns, regularities and order appear spontaneously in the universe over an immense range of scales in space and time. Not only does such organization seem to challenge the universal thermodynamic tendency towards an inexorable increase in entropy and disorder, but these patterns often share similar forms and features in systems that seem to have no relation to one another. It has become increasingly clear that there are organizing processes in nature that operate according to very general principles, insensitive to (or at best merely fine-tuned by) the details of a particular system." https://www.ongrowthandform.org/events/ ... -and-form/
The only second-law-violating device that I can imagine "on a barren planet" is water placed in an electric field, obviously able to produce work at the expense of heat absorbed from the surroundings (no other source of energy is conceivable):
"The Formation of the Floating Water Bridge including electric breakdowns"
https://www.wetsus.nl/home/wetsus-news/ ... novation/1
"The water movement is bidirectional, i.e., it simultaneously flows in both directions..."
"In his 1824 book, Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, the 28-year-old French engineer Sadi Carnot worked out a formula for how efficiently steam engines can convert heat - now known to be a random, diffuse kind of energy - into work, an orderly kind of energy that might push a piston or turn a wheel. To Carnot's surprise, he discovered that a perfect engine's efficiency depends only on the difference in temperature between the engine's heat source (typically a fire) and its heat sink (typically the outside air). Work is a byproduct, Carnot realized, of heat naturally passing to a colder body from a warmer one. Carnot died of cholera eight years later, before he could see his efficiency formula develop over the 19th century into the theory of thermodynamics..." https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-quan ... n-20170502
Implicit in Carnot's writings is a qualitative but still clear and unambiguous formulation of the second law of thermodynamics:
"A cold body is necessary"
That is, heat cannot be cyclically converted into work unless some temperature gradient is present - a hot body, source of heat, and a cold body, receiver of heat, must be available. The problem is that in 1824 Carnot deduced "A cold body is necessary" from a postulate that eventually turned out to be false:
Carnot's (false) postulate: Heat is an indestructible substance (caloric) that cannot be converted into work by the heat engine.
Unpublished notes written in the period 1824-1832 reveal that, after realizing that his postulate was false, Carnot found "A cold body is necessary" implausible:
Sadi Carnot, REFLECTIONS ON THE MOTIVE POWER OF HEAT, p. 225: "Heat is simply motive power, or rather motion which has changed form. It is a movement among the particles of bodies. Wherever there is destruction of motive power there is, at the same time, production of heat in quantity exactly proportional to the quantity of motive power destroyed. Reciprocally, wherever there is destruction of heat, there is production of motive power." p. 222: "Could a motion (that of radiating heat) produce matter (caloric)? No, undoubtedly; it can only produce a motion. Heat is then the result of a motion. Then it is plain that it could be produced by the consumption of motive power, and that it could produce this power. All the other phenomena - composition and decomposition of bodies, passage to the gaseous state, specific heat, equilibrium of heat, its more or less easy transmission, its constancy in experiments with the calorimeter - could be explained by this hypothesis. But it would be DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN WHY, IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MOTIVE POWER BY HEAT, A COLD BODY IS NECESSARY; why, in consuming the heat of a warm body, motion cannot be produced." http://www.nd.edu/~powers/ame.20231/carnot1897.pdf
Generally, a cold body is not necessary, that is, the second law of thermodynamics is false. The cold body is only TECHNOLOGICALLY necessary as it makes heat engines fast-working. Heat engines working under isothermal conditions (in the absence of a cold body) are commonplace but are too slow and impuissant to be of any technological importance. Except, perhaps, for the case where water is placed in an electric field - the non-conservative force (pressure) that emerges between the cathode and the anode, able to convert ambient heat into work, seems to be quite vigorous:
"However, in experiments in which a capacitor is submerged in a dielectric liquid the force per unit area exerted by one plate on another is observed to decrease... [...] This apparent paradox can be explained by taking into account the difference in liquid pressure in the field filled space between the plates and the field free region outside the capacitor." http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/j ... ode46.html
"Liquid Dielectric Capacitor" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6KAH1JpdPg
"The Formation of the Floating Water Bridge including electric breakdowns" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17UD1goTFhQ