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Evolution Questions

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Postby ERS » Mon Dec 27, 2004 9:01 pm

that makes two of us then on chaos theory!
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Postby brownpanda » Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:50 pm

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You mentioned the organization of cooling liquid...which is still in line with the 2LTD.


Well, actually, it isn't really. The fact that the liquid organises itself goes against the very concept of entropy, or at least, so it seems to me.

As I said, I'm not really that clear of everthing myself, so when it comes to explaining, I may not be the best person to win you over, so to speak.

Personally, when I think about it, chaos theory does seem to explain a lot and still makes sense to me.
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Postby biostudent84 » Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:03 pm

You forget that entropy is usually paired with enthalpy. While it is true, that the natural order of things is trying to make the universe more entropic, it is also trying to make the universe less enthalpic. Self organization of molecules is simply those particles arranging themselves so that they are in a more stable position, by being less entropic.

Water, our most common substance here on earth, is MUCH more entropic in its gaseous form. However, it is most commonly found in its liquid form. Why? Because there is less energy in liquified water than there is in gaseous water.

Enthalpy and Entropy are directions on a two way street. Molecules try and maneuver into states where BOTH are moderately low. To completely appease one would be to completely offend the other. Compromise between the two are essential for overall stability.
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Postby mith » Thu Jan 20, 2005 8:37 pm

I think the Second Law is an overall trend not a constant rule. Suppose you have a box of balls of different colors. If you shake the box the chances are it will get more chaotic, but there is a thin sliver of chance that they actually arrange themselves by colors.
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Postby RobJim » Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:09 pm

How would you explain the nature of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics in relation to evolution? It states that in a closed loop system a reaction cannot increase in order or energy... The closed loop system obviously would have to include the sun as everything on this planet relies on sunlight to keep the energy flow going. The Theory of Evolution seems to contradict that law. How would you explain this?"

Well, it would be helpful if you were explicit in how you thought the TOE violated the 2nd Law.

If you are comparing, say, a human being with a hypothesized single celled ancestor of that human, the system you have to look at is immense. It includes every organism in the evolutionary chain; the food each one ate, and the waste each one produced; the heat given off by the organism; the gasses breathed in and breathed back out, etc.

The short answer is probably that any entropy that seems to be "missing" is actually present in the form of body heat, dung, urine, exhaled breath, and other waste products.
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Re: Evolution Questions

Postby thank.darwin » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:50 am

ERS wrote:Evolution is a topic everybody hears about (good, bad and everything in between), and it is fun to think about so why not!

How would you explain the nature of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics in relation to evolution? It states that in a closed loop system a reaction cannot increase in order or energy... The closed loop system obviously would have to include the sun as everything on this planet relies on sunlight to keep the energy flow going. The Theory of Evolution seems to contradict that law. How would you explain this?

Thanks for any input!

ERS


Well the 2nd law of thermodynamics says that energy always goes down hill towards entropy- Organisms on this plant stay together because they have a large energy source (the sun) - when we die our energy is released because we no longer have a way to keep it all together?
No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
-Albert Einstein
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Postby MMGW » Sun May 29, 2005 2:04 pm

When considering whether evolution of a human from a single celled ancestor violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, it's helpful to think about fetal development. Ask yourself why the development of an adult human body from a single cell doesn't violate the 2nd law. Why would the evolution of humans from single celled ancestors over 3 billion years violate the 2nd law when the development of a human from a single cell in a few months does not?

Several comments:

1). Remember that the second law doesn't forbid a local decrease in entropy. So, consdering life on earth as a system and comparing entropy now to the entropy for the "life-on-earth" system 3 billion years ago misses the point. The "life-on-earth" systems gets energy from the sun and from the earth itself, and this must be taken into account. Just as the development of a human body in fetal develpment is "allowed" by the second law because the fetus is not a closed system, the evolution of life on earth doesn't violate the 2nd law for the same reason.

2) The 2nd law has nothing to do with information. Unfortunately, the term "entropy" has been used in the field of information theory, but it has a somewhat different meaning and it doesn't apply to the 2nd law.

3) The 2nd law of thermodynamics relates to entropy not disorder. The 2nd law is a mathematical law that expresses the relationship between energy and work. Entropy, however, is not "disorder." For example, in some chemical reactions, a number of simpler molecules combine spontaneously (i.e. without adding any energy to the system) into more complex molecules. This is "allowed" by the 2nd law because these reactions release heat. In these reactions, ENTROPY increases but, DISORDER decreases. Thermodynamic entropy increases even though the system is becoming more complex and more orderly. The point? Simply, the point is that entropy and disorder are two different things and they should not be confused. (Although they are confused almost constantly, even by scientists.)
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Postby clarence » Tue May 31, 2005 3:18 pm

ERS wrote:How would you explain the nature of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics in relation to evolution? It states that in a closed loop system a reaction cannot increase in order or energy... The closed loop system obviously would have to include the sun as everything on this planet relies on sunlight to keep the energy flow going. The Theory of Evolution seems to contradict that law. How would you explain this?

Thanks for any input!

ERS


I think ERS's argument for the incompatibility of evolution and the second law of thermodynamics can be put this way, or in a more similar form:

P1 The second law of thermodynamics "states that in a closed loop system a reaction cannot increase in order or energy".
P2 The universe is a closed system.
P3 Evolution is the development of order from disorder.
C Therefore, evolution and the second law of thermodynamics are contradictory.

In my opinion, the first two premises of ERS's argument are misinformed, in regards to the accurate nature of thermodynamics.

In response to premise 1:

The exact form of the second law of thermodynamics says, "No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body." (Atkins 1984, The Second Law). In exact form the law is not related to evolution. When the second law is phrased in another equivalent way, confusion arises. It is most often rephrased as "The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease." Entropy is an indication of unusable energy and often, BUT NOT ALWAYS, corresponds to intuitive notions of disorder or randomness. In fact, the mathematically quantifiable concept of entropy can not be equated to the common-sense notion of "disorder" in any meaningful way. Statistical mechanics, the application of statistics to the field of mechanics concerning the motion of particles or objects when subjected to a force, and by extension thermodynamics, has exactly nothing to say about the kind of order we think about intuitively in everyday life. Thermodynamics is not explainable in terms of qualitative metaphors, only by mathematical equations such as S = k ln W, Boltzmann's entropy equation.

In response to premise 2:

The maximum entropy of a closed system of fixed volume is constant, but because the universe is expanding, its maximum entropy is ever increasing, giving ever more room for "order" to form. (Stenger 1995, The Unconscious Quantum). Absolutely closed systems do not even exist even under ideal laboratory conditions. It can also be said that the idea of isolated systems is an abstraction for pedagogical purposes

To sum up:

Life is irrelevant to the 2nd law; disorder and entropy are not the same; order from disorder is common in living and nonliving systems. Seeds sprouting into flowering plants, eggs developing into chicks, snowflakes with their six-sided crystalline symmetry forming spontaneously from randomly moving water vapor molecules and salts with precise planes of crystalline symmetry forming spontaneously are a few examples of order coming from disorder in nature. (The mechanisms by which these processes occur are explained by earlier posts.)
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Postby Alberts » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:55 pm

Entropy theory is an extremely wrong theory. The 2nd law of thermodynamics is a great and correct theory. Keep in mind that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is not the same thing as entropy theory.
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