Biophysics Intelligent Design

The illusion of organizing energy

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The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states. The states of organization are those more improbable, then transformations spontaneously go towards non-organization, so to speak. Since evolution would be spontaneous organization, evolution disagrees with the 2nd law.

The tendency expressed in the 2nd law rules all physical phenomena and is clearly evident in our everyday life, where e.g. systems that were ok yesterday, today are ko, while systems that are ko, do not self repair and remain ko until an intelligent intervention. In short, things break down and do not self-repair, to greater reason they do not self-organize. All that can be related to the trend of the 2nd law.

Before this evidence an usual objection is that Earth is not a closed system because it receives radiant energy from the Sun, so the 2nd law doesn’t apply. Such energy — evolutionists say — would provide the organizing power for evolution. Here we will see in very simple terms as this is nothing but a naive illusion.

In my previous post I noted how, according to general systems theory, organization shows always two different aspects: power and control. Energy is related to the power that the system needs to work and control is related to all what pertains to the “intelligence” of the system, what governs both energy/matter and information in the system. Notice that control has even to organize the energy itself powering the system. If energy really had the organizing capability evolutionists believe, one would ask why systems theory does such distinction in the first place. (In philosophical terms, in a sense, the above distinction is related to the distinction between action and knowledge. Action without knowledge is only agitation and disorder. We will see below how power/energy without control is even destructive.)

All know what energy is. The capability to do a work. Mechanical work/energy is defined as a force producing a shift. A moving object has kinetic energy, due to its speed. Thermal energy is due to the disordered motions of the molecules making up matter. Electric energy is a flow of electrons. Chemical energy is sort of potential energy able to power chemical reactions. Radiant energy is carried by light and other electromagnetic radiation.

Energy can power the systems, but never can create the organized system in the first place. In short, energy is the fuel, not the engine. Example, in photosynthesis, used by plants to convert light energy into chemical energy, the light energy presupposes a photosynthesis system just in place. The light energy doesn’t create the photosynthesis system, like the photons don’t create the photovoltaic cell that outputs electric current.

In all definitions of “energy” there is nothing that could lead us to think that energy is able to transform improbable states into probable states. Consequently, energy cannot change the situation of the 2nd law: energy cannot create organization, which always implies highly improbable states. Indeed the opposite: per se uncontrolled energy is destructive. Example: an abandoned building is slowly but inexorably destroyed by the natural forces of the environment during some centuries. If we increases the energy by considering a flood, it can be destroyed in some days. With more energy, a tornado can destroy it in minutes. Finally with the energy of a bomb we can destroy the building in few seconds. More the energy, more the speed of destruction.

If we consider the physical principle of mass–energy equivalence we reach the same conclusion as above. Mass per se has nothing to do with real organization. Mass and matter are simply the initial support/substance on which an higher principle — intelligence/essence — must operate to obtain a final organized system.

In general we can say that what energy can do is to speed the processes/transformations. But since the transformations go towards the more probable states, uncontrolled energy, far from helping evolution, it could even worsen its problems, because accelerates the trend towards non-organization. The moral is that to invoke uncontrolled energy to revert the trend of the 2nd law is counterproductive for evolutionists.

An objection that evolutionists could rise is: energy can power and greatly speed the chemical reactions, so they can produce life. In these objection there are two problems.
(1) Usually chemical reactions go towards equilibrium, the more probable state, so they don’t overturn at all the 2nd law.
(2) In this context the alleged naturalistic origin of life stated by evolutionism is a non-sequitur. In the hierarchy of biological organization chemical reactions are at the lowest level. Between this level and the final organization of organisms there are countless layers of complexity, related to increasingly higher kinds of abstractness and formalism, which are unattainable by mere chemistry.

Another similar evolutionist objection is that in 1953 Miller and Urey conducted an experiment where some organic compounds such as amino acids were formed by providing thermal and electric energy to a mixture of methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water. Again no new organization here. The compounds obtained are exactly the probable transformations that the system was able to produce, under the same circumstances. In fact if one repeats the Miller/Urey experiment he gets again the same results. This shows that nothing improbable happens, rather something of very probable, almost certain. No violation of the 2nd law. Obviously also here there is an abyss between the Miller/Urey amino acids and the organization of life, also if we consider a single unicellular organism.

To sum up, the 2nd law in the context of statistical thermodynamics, provides a fundamental reason why naturalistic origin of life is impossible. To resort to energy doesn’t solve the problem, because energy is not a source of organization, rather the inverse: uncontrolled energy can cause destruction (= non-organization). Only intelligence is source of organization, and as such can explain the arise of life, the more organized thing in the cosmos.

298 Replies to “The illusion of organizing energy

  1. 1
    CHartsil says:

    “The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states. ”

    Wrong, it’s isolated systems not closed systems.

    “Before this evidence an usual objection is that Earth is not a closed system because it receives radiant energy from the Sun, so the 2nd law doesn’t apply. Such energy — evolutionists say — would provide the organizing power for evolution. Here we will see in very simple terms as this is nothing but a naive illusion.”

    Try living without anything that was either directly or indirectly produced by the sun. Not even the most ignorant or sleezily dishonest creationist can weasel around this one. The earth is neither isolated nor closed as a physical system. Period.

  2. 2
    Henry Crun says:

    Niwrad,

    Chartsil is right and you are hopelessly wrong on this. It’s been gone over a million times elsewhere. I’m surprised you even try to resurrect such a failed argument. You’d be well advised to drop it.

  3. 3
    timothya says:

    Niwrad introduces his/her post with this:

    The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states.

    The standard form of 2LoT allows for local reversals of the governing tendency, even in isolated systems.

    So why use the inaccurate phrase “any natural transformation goes” instead of the accurate “any natural transformation on average goes”?

    Could it be that the author’s formulation is intended to suggest that local reversals in isolated systems are impossible?

    This is demonstrably wrong, but it is the only interpretation that makes sense in the light of the rest of Niwrad’s argument.

  4. 4
    niwrad says:

    CHartsil #1

    What you wrote is irrelevant: “isolated/closed”…”Try living without anything that was either directly or indirectly produced by the sun”, nobody denies organisms use Sun’s energy as fuel. The problem is not that organized systems use such energy, the problem is that energy alone cannot create the systems.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As to how quickly energy was harnessed to produce work, , we now have evidence for photosynthetic life suddenly appearing on earth, as soon as water appeared on the earth, in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth.

    The Sudden Appearance Of Life On Earth (3.9 billion years ago) – video
    https://vimeo.com/92413648

    Isotopic Evidence For Life Immediately Following Late Bombardment – Graph
    http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/.....bitofc.jpg

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox (No prebiotic chemical signatures)- video (40:10 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UPvO2EkiLls#t=2410
    “We get that evidence from looking at carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis. And it tells us that in Earth’s oldest (sedimentary) rock, which dates at 3.80 billion years ago, we find an abundance for the carbon signature of living systems. Namely, that life prefers carbon 12. And so if you see a higher ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 that means that carbon has been processed by life. And it is that kind of evidence that tells us that life has been abundant on earth as far back as 3.80 billion years ago (when water was first present on earth).,,, And that same carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis tells us that planet earth, over it entire 4.5662 billion year history has never had prebiotics. Prebiotics would have a higher ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12. All the carbonaceous material, we see in the entire geological record of the earth, has the signature of being post-biotic not pre-biotic. Which means planet earth never had a primordial soup. And the origin of life on earth took place in a geological instant” (as soon as it was possible for life to exist on earth).
    – Hugh Ross – quote as stated in preceding video

    When Did Life on Earth Begin? Ask a Rock (3.85 bya)
    http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/293/

    When did oxygenic photosynthesis evolve? – Roger Buick – 2008
    Excerpt:,, U–Pb data from ca 3.8?Ga metasediments suggest that this metabolism could have arisen by the start of the geological record. Hence, the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became permanently oxygenated seems well supported.
    http://rstb.royalsocietypublis...../2731.long

    When Did Life First Appear on Earth? – Fazale Rana – December 2010
    Excerpt: The primary evidence for 3.8 billion-year-old life consists of carbonaceous deposits, such as graphite, found in rock formations in western Greenland. These deposits display an enrichment of the carbon-12 isotope. Other chemical signatures from these formations that have been interpreted as biological remnants include uranium/thorium fractionation and banded iron formations. Recently, a team from Australia argued that the dolomite in these formations also reflects biological activity, specifically that of sulfate-reducing bacteria.
    http://www.reasons.org/when-di.....pear-earth

    Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria – Apr. 23, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest known iron ores were deposited in the Precambrian period and are up to four billion years old (the Earth itself is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old). ,,,
    This research not only provides the first clear evidence that microorganisms were directly involved in the deposition of Earth’s oldest iron formations; it also indicates that large populations of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria were at work in the shallow areas of the ancient oceans, while deeper water still reached by the light (the photic zone) tended to be populated by anoxyenic or micro-aerophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria which formed the iron deposits.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....110750.htm

    Life’s history in iron – Nov. 7, 2014
    Excerpt: A new study examines how Earth’s oldest iron formations could have been formed before oxygenic photosynthesis played a role in oxidizing iron.,,,
    Microorganisms that photosynthesize in the absence of oxygen assimilate carbon by using iron oxide (Fe(II)) as an electron donor instead of water. While oxygenic photosynthesis produces oxygen in the atmosphere (in the form of dioxygen), anoxygenic photosynthesis adds an electron to Fe(II) to produce Fe(III).
    “In other words, they oxidize the iron,” explains Pecoits. “This finding is very important because it implies that this metabolism was already active back in the early Archean (ca. 3.8 Byr-ago).”
    http://phys.org/news/2014-11-l.....-iron.html

    Moreover photosynthesis is found to be widespread among different bacteria phyla with no clear evolutionary relationships between them:

    The Elaborate Nanoscale Machine Called Photosynthesis: No Vestige of a Beginning – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: “The ability to do photosynthesis is widely distributed throughout the bacterial domain in six different phyla, with no apparent pattern of evolution. Photosynthetic phyla include the cyanobacteria, proteobacteria (purple bacteria), green sulfur bacteria (GSB), firmicutes (heliobacteria), filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs, also often called the green nonsulfur bacteria), and acidobacteria (Raymond, 2008).”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....8048253561

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    The simplest photosynthetic life on earth is exceedingly complex, too complex to happen by accident even if the primeval oceans had been full of pre-biotic soup.

    Scientists unlock some key secrets of photosynthesis – July 2, 2012
    Excerpt: “The photosynthetic system of plants is nature’s most elaborate nanoscale biological machine,” said Lakshmi. “It converts light energy at unrivaled efficiency of more than 95 percent compared to 10 to 15 percent in the current man-made solar technologies.,, “Photosystem II is the engine of life,” Lakshmi said. “It performs one of the most energetically demanding reactions known to mankind, splitting water, with remarkable ease and efficiency.”,,, “Water is a very stable molecule and it takes four photons of light to split water,” she said. “This is a challenge for chemists and physicists around the world (to imitate) as the four-photon reaction has very stringent requirements.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-s.....hesis.html

    Femtosecond snapshots of photosynthetic water oxidation – July 9, 2014
    Excerpt: researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Working at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the world’s most powerful x-ray laser, the researchers were able to take detailed “snapshots” of the four photon-step cycle for water oxidation in photosystem II, a large protein complex in green plants. Photosystem II is the only known biological system able to harness sunlight for the oxidation of water into molecular oxygen.,,,
    “Knowing how this happens is important for understanding the design principles used in natural photosynthesis,” Yachandra says.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....140254.htm

    In what I find to be a very fascinating discovery, it is found that photosynthetic life, which is an absolutely vital link that all higher life on earth is dependent on for food, uses ‘non-local’ quantum mechanical principles to accomplish photosynthesis. Moreover, this is direct evidence that a non-local, beyond space-time mass-energy, cause must be responsible for ‘feeding’ all life on earth, since all higher life on earth is eventually completely dependent on this non-local ‘photosynthetic energy’ in which to live their lives on this earth:

    Non-Local Quantum Coherence In Photosynthesis – video with notes in description
    http://vimeo.com/30235178

    Uncovering Quantum Secret in Photosynthesis – June 20, 2013
    Excerpt: Photosynthetic organisms, such as plants and some bacteria, have mastered this process: In less than a couple of trillionths of a second, 95 percent of the sunlight they absorb is whisked away to drive the metabolic reactions that provide them with energy. The efficiency of photovoltaic cells currently on the market is around 20 percent.,,,
    Van Hulst and his group have evaluated the energy transport pathways of separate individual but chemically identical, antenna proteins, and have shown that each protein uses a distinct pathway. The most surprising discovery was that the transport paths within single proteins can vary over time due to changes in the environmental conditions, apparently adapting for optimal efficiency. “These results show that coherence, a genuine quantum effect of superposition of states, is responsible for maintaining high levels of transport efficiency in biological systems, even while they adapt their energy transport pathways due to environmental influences” says van Hulst.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142932.htm

    At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=1268s

    Moreover, there is actually a molecular machine, that surpasses man made machines in engineering parameters, that is integral to the photosynthetic process:

    Miniature Molecular Power Plant: ATP Synthase – January 2013 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI8m6o0gXDY

    ATP: The Perfect Energy Currency for the Cell – Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: In manufacturing terms, the ATP (Synthase) molecule is a machine with a level of organization on the order of a research microscope or a standard television (Darnell, Lodish, and Baltimore, 1996).
    http://www.trueorigin.org/atp.asp

    ATP Synthase, an Energy-Generating Rotary Motor Engine – Jonathan M. May 15, 2013
    Excerpt: ATP synthase has been described as “a splendid molecular machine,” and “one of the most beautiful” of “all enzymes” .,, “bona fide rotary dynamo machine”,,,
    If such a unique and brilliantly engineered nanomachine bears such a strong resemblance to the engineering of manmade hydroelectric generators, and yet so impressively outperforms the best human technology in terms of speed and efficiency, one is led unsurprisingly to the conclusion that such a machine itself is best explained by intelligent design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72101.html

    Your Motor/Generators Are 100% Efficient – October 2011
    Excerpt: ATP synthase astounds again. The molecular machine that generates almost all the ATP (molecular “energy pellets”) for all life was examined by Japanese scientists for its thermodynamic efficiency. By applying and measuring load on the top part that synthesizes ATP, they were able to determine that one cannot do better at getting work out of a motor,,, The article was edited by noted Harvard expert on the bacterial flagellum, Howard Berg.
    http://crev.info/content/11101.....generators

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Thermodynamic efficiency and mechanochemical coupling of F1-ATPase – 2011
    Excerpt: F1-ATPase is a nanosized biological energy transducer working as part of FoF1-ATP synthase. Its rotary machinery transduces energy between chemical free energy and mechanical work and plays a central role in the cellular energy transduction by synthesizing most ATP in virtually all organisms.,,
    Our results suggested a 100% free-energy transduction efficiency and a tight mechanochemical coupling of F1-ATPase.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....hort?rss=1
    See also:
    Davies et al., “Macromolecular organization of ATP synthase and complex I in whole mitochondria,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    and:
    Tamás Beke-Somfai, Per Lincoln, and Bengt Nordén, “Double-lock ratchet mechanism revealing the role of [alpha]SER-344 in F0F1 ATP synthase,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    There is a profound ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma with ATP surrounding the Origin Of Life problem for evolutionists:

    Evolutionist Has Another Honest Moment as “Thorny Questions Remain” – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: It’s a chicken and egg question. Scientists are in disagreement over what came first — replication, or metabolism. But there is a third part to the equation — and that is energy. … You need enzymes to make ATP and you need ATP to make enzymes. The question is: where did energy come from before either of these two things existed?
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....oment.html

    The 10 Step Glycolysis Pathway In ATP Production: An Overview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kn6BVGqKd8

    At the 14:00 minute mark of the following video, Chris Ashcraft, PhD – molecular biology, gives us an overview of the Citric Acid Cycle, which is, after the 10 step Glycolysis Pathway, also involved in ATP production:

    Evolution vs ATP Synthase – Chris Ashcraft – video – citric acid cycle at 14:00 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rUV4CSs0HzI#t=746

    The Citric Acid Cycle: An Overview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6vQKrRjQcQ

    The Citric Acid Cycle: The Reactions – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cXVleFtzeE

    The photosynthetic process is clearly a irreducible complex condition:

    “There is no question about photosynthesis being Irreducibly Complex. But it’s worse than that from an evolutionary perspective. There are 17 enzymes alone involved in the synthesis of chlorophyll. Are we to believe that all intermediates had selective value? Not when some of them form triplet states that have the same effect as free radicals like O2. In addition if chlorophyll evolved before antenna proteins, whose function is to bind chlorophyll, then chlorophyll would be toxic to cells. Yet the binding function explains the selective value of antenna proteins. Why would such proteins evolve prior to chlorophyll? and if they did not, how would cells survive chlorophyll until they did?” Uncommon Descent Blogger

    Evolutionary biology: Out of thin air John F. Allen & William Martin:
    The measure of the problem is here: “Oxygenetic photosynthesis involves about 100 proteins that are highly ordered within the photosynthetic membranes of the cell.”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....5610a.html

    Enzymes and protein complexes needed in photosynthesis – with graphs
    http://elshamah.heavenforum.or.....hesis#2527

    Of note: anoxygenic (without oxygen) photosynthesis is even more of a complex chemical pathway than oxygenic photosynthesis is:

    “Remarkably, the biosynthetic routes needed to make the key molecular component of anoxygenic photosynthesis are more complex than the pathways that produce the corresponding component required for the oxygenic form.”;
    Early Life Remains Complex By Fazale R. Rana (FACTS for FAITH Issue 7, 2001)

  8. 8
    niwrad says:

    timothya #3

    “in average”? Do systems break down “in average”? No. *All* systems crash. *Zero* systems self-repair or self-organize.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    Niw, quite an interesting perspective. KF

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    Closed systems aren’t isolated? What?

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    CHartsil, if you looked at the wider range of thermodynamics literature, you would see that there are different conventions. Engineers especially commonly use “closed systems” to denote what in recent decades physicists typically describe as “isolated.” And while as one coming from physics I prefer the isolated-closed-open distinctions, I have to respect that such is not universal . . . and I think engineers outnumber physicists. Similarly, U and E depending on context, denote internal energy; and of course H and S are another confusion point, with H as informational entropy also relevant. And there are different sign conventions on the 1st law, and more. Learn before jumping on dismissively, again. KF

    PS J, isolated blocks ANY flow across system boundary, closed allows energy but not matter, open allows both.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    Niw, I believe there are systems that to some degree are self-maintaining, e.g. living ones. Of course, that involves a very high degree of organised functionality that depends on large quantities of organised, stored information. KF

  13. 13
    niwrad says:

    kairosfocus

    Certainly. There are self-maintaining and self-repairing systems. But, as you rightly say, that implies a huge amount of organization frontloaded in the systems just from the start by design. Organisms do have such sophisticated capabilities because they are exquisitely designed. No organization is gratis.

  14. 14
    timothya says:

    Niwrad says:

    “in average”? Do systems break down “in average”? No. *All* systems crash. *Zero* systems self-repair or self-organize.

    I assume that in your language “in average” is equivalent to “on average”.

    So you are saying that no systems, isolated or open, ever show an increase in organisation, under any circumstances?

    Your claim that “all systems crash” suggests that this is your position. Have I understood you right?

  15. 15
    DNA_Jock says:

    The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states.

    As noted by others, this is wrong. You must insert an “on average” or “tends to”.

    The states of organization are those more improbable, then transformations spontaneously go towards non-organization, so to speak.

    Actually, the issue is that the states of organization are less numerous. So the tendency towards more evenly distributed energy is, err, statistical in nature. Hence the need to insert “on average”. ‘Organization’ is generally trumped by energy: the more energy, the more numerous states.

    Since evolution would be spontaneous organization, evolution disagrees with the 2nd law.

    You are playing fast and loose with geography.
    Do you admit that local decreases in entropy can occur?
    Do you recognize that these decreases can be arbitrarily large, if a larger increase occurs elsewhere? Or to put it another way, do you understand that “compensation” is a real, observed phenomenon?

    Before this evidence an usual objection is that Earth is not a closed isolated system because it receives radiant energy from the Sun, so the 2nd law doesn’t apply.

    I’ll admit that people often object that the earth receives energy from the sun, but that is in fact NOT the reason that entropy can decrease. The 2nd law always applies.
    Here’s a thought experiment to see if you understand the 2LoT:
    If the sun magically vanished tomorrow, in the following year would the entropy of the earth increase or decrease? Why?

  16. 16
    Levan says:

    What is about other Planets in Solar System? They also receive more or less “energy” but they did not create anything.
    Perhaps there is a problem with 2nd Law.
    What we behold in Universe is the creation of structures. If the model of Big Bang is true we must admit that from the chaotic soup of “nothing” we now have a modern beautiful Universe with galaxies, planets and the human brain.
    I laugh when the materialists try to reduce this complexity to fluctuations in Energy/Entropy balance

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Levan, duh, those other planets either receive too much energy or too little energy from the Sun. Jupiter created a big red spot and Saturn has its pretty rings, after all. 🙂 [sarcasm]

  18. 18
    niwrad says:

    Levan #16

    I laugh when the materialists try to reduce this complexity to fluctuations in Energy/Entropy balance

    Me too.

  19. 19
    timothya says:

    Levan commented thus:

    I laugh when the materialists try to reduce this complexity to fluctuations in Energy/Entropy balance

    Hang about. That is exactly what Niwrad is doing. Are you still laughing?

  20. 20
    niwrad says:

    timothya #19

    What are you saying? I am arguing exactly the opposite of materialists: organization cannot come from energy/matter alone.

  21. 21
    DNA_Jock says:

    “organization cannot come from energy/matter alone.”

    So Saturn’s rings must be designed?

    Really?

    h/t Joe…

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    organization shows always two different aspects: power and control

    I mentioned this on your previous OP … our opponents will be confused about the term ‘organization’ (@ 21 above).

    You’ve defined it, but I wonder if another term might be more effective – maybe something like ‘dynamic organization’.

    There’s a risk when coining a new term, as with FSCI, etc. it can have an isolating effect (e.g. to understand ID you have to learn a new vocabulary). But it’s also a risk to use terms that already have one understanding – in this case, ‘organization’ tends to mean just ‘ordered’ for many in the scientific community now.

    Sometimes an entirely new term is the best solution though.

  23. 23
    Box says:

    Undirected energy doesn’t explain organizational order. Who can dispute that? It’s simply GAME OVER. Materialism cannot offer us an organizing power – only destructive powers like the second law.

    The only “counter-arguments” offered are irrelevancies about semantics.

    Another excellent article by Niwrad!

  24. 24
    timothya says:

    Niwrad

    It is what you have already said that is demonstrably wrong.

    All physical systems, isolated or open, are capable of generating reversals of the tendency to entropy. All physical systems **tend** to disorder. On average. This much, no sensible person would dispute. But you insist on an extension of the idea:

    “No. *All* systems crash.”

    Really? All systems? How often does a proton crash because of your version of the 2LoT?

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    of related note:

    Visible light is incredibly fine-tuned for life to exist. Though visible light is only a tiny fraction of the total electromagnetic spectrum coming from the sun, it happens to be the “most permitted” portion of the sun’s spectrum allowed to filter through the our atmosphere. All the other bands of electromagnetic radiation, directly surrounding visible light, happen to be harmful to organic molecules, and are almost completely absorbed by the atmosphere. The tiny amount of harmful UV radiation, which is not visible light, allowed to filter through the atmosphere is needed to keep various populations of single cell bacteria from over-populating the world (Ross; reasons.org). The size of light’s wavelengths and the constraints on the size allowable for the protein molecules of organic life, also seem to be tailor-made for each other. This “tailor-made fit” allows photosynthesis, the miracle of sight, and many other things that are necessary for human life. These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions. Like water, visible light also appears to be of optimal biological utility (Denton; Nature’s Destiny).

    Fine Tuning Of Light to the Atmosphere, to Biological Life, and to Water – graphs
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....aGh4MmdnOQ

    Extreme Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery – video
    https://vimeo.com/114136732

    The ” just right ” relationship of the light spectrum and photosynthesis
    Excerpt: The American astronomer George Greenstein discusses this in The Symbiotic Universe, p 96:
    Chlorophyll is the molecule that accomplishes photosynthesis… The mechanism of photosynthesis is initiated by the absorption of sunlight by a chlorophyll molecule. But in order for this to occur, the light must be of the right color. Light of the wrong color won’t do the trick.
    A good analogy is that of a television set. In order for the set to receive a given channel it must be tuned to that channel; tune it differently and the reception will not occur. It is the same with photosynthesis, the Sun functioning as the transmitter in the analogy and the chlorophyll molecule as the receiving TV set. If the molecule and the Sun are not tuned to each other-tuned in the sense of colour- photosynthesis will not occur. As it turns out, the sun’s color is just right.
    One might think that a certain adaptation has been at work here: the adaptation of plant life to the properties of sunlight. After all, if the Sun were a different temperature could not some other molecule, tuned to absorb light of a different colour, take the place of chlorophyll? Remarkably enough the answer is no, for within broad limits all molecules absorb light of similar colours. The absorption of light is accomplished by the excitation of electrons in molecules to higher energy states, and (are) the same no matter what molecule you are discussing. Furthermore, light is composed of photons, packets of energy and photons of the wrong energy simply can not be absorbed… As things stand in reality, there is a good fit between the physics of stars and that of molecules. Failing this fit, however, life would have been impossible.
    The harmony between stellar and molecular physics that Greenstein refers to is a harmony too extraordinary ever to be explained by chance. There was only one chance in 10^25 of the Sun’s providing just the right kind of light necessary for us and that there should be molecules in our world that are capable of using that light. This perfect harmony is unquestionably proof of Intelligent Design.
    http://elshamah.heavenforum.or.....osynthesis

    William Bialek: More Perfect Than We Imagined – March 23, 2013
    Excerpt: photoreceptor cells that carpet the retinal tissue of the eye and respond to light, are not just good or great or phabulous at their job. They are not merely exceptionally impressive by the standards of biology, with whatever slop and wiggle room the animate category implies. Photoreceptors operate at the outermost boundary allowed by the laws of physics, which means they are as good as they can be, period. Each one is designed to detect and respond to single photons of light — the smallest possible packages in which light comes wrapped.
    “Light is quantized, and you can’t count half a photon,” said William Bialek, a professor of physics and integrative genomics at Princeton University. “This is as far as it goes.” …
    In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....an-we.html

    Michael Denton: Remarkable Coincidences in Photosynthesis – podcast
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201....._coin.html

    Fine Tuning Of Universal Constants, Particularly Light – Walter Bradley – video
    https://vimeo.com/114137127

  26. 26
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock: As noted by others, this is wrong. You must insert an “on average” or “tends to”.

    Okay, “on average” spaceships, libraries, computers and brains “tend to” not spontaneously self-assemble from a pile of rubble.
    Happy now?

  27. 27
    niwrad says:

    timothya

    All organized systems crash because the non-organization probable states are far numerous than the unique organization improbable state of functioning. Proton, from this perspective, cannot be compared to organized systems as those we are dealing with here, cells, organisms…

  28. 28
    timothya says:

    Niwrad

    You said “All systems crash” (see your comment at 8 above).

    Surely “all systems” include the atomic particles (protons, neutrons, electrons, which form a system). Yes? No?

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    organization shows always two different aspects: power and control

    There has to be control in an organized system. The order formed by protons, neutrons and electrons is not organization as it is defined here.

  30. 30
    timothya says:

    If anyone is interested, the best experimental estimate of the average decay rate of a proton to a neutron (the least energetic path) is somewhere between 1 in 10**30 and 1 in 10**31 years. In other words, somewhat longer than the best current estimate of the age of our current universe. Evidently not all systems crash. Evidence contradicts Niwrad’s claim.

  31. 31
    Levan says:

    DNA_Jock: “So Saturn’s rings must be designed?”

    Why not?
    If we think about the structuring process from the beginning of the Universe to now(chaos-particles-atoms-molecules-cell-organism-brain-technology-…/chaos-nebula-stars-systems-galaxies-clusters-…) we must suppose that there is a constructing power which creates it all.
    If you think that our beloved gravity made these rings then please explain what the gravity is and why it is here. And please don`t argue with Higgs etc. These theories explain “how” but not “why”

  32. 32
    niwrad says:

    timothya

    In statistical mechanics, when they speak of “systems”, speak of something with many atoms. The 2nd law applies to them. A sub-set of them is composed of organized systems (on which the law applies too). Your proton cannot be defined “system” in this sense, so it cannot be a counter-example against the ID argument from the 2nd law.

  33. 33
    Levan says:

    Joe: March 10, 2015 at 6:24 am

    “Levan, duh, those other planets either receive too much energy or too little energy from the Sun. Jupiter created a big red spot and Saturn has its pretty rings, after all. 🙂 [sarcasm]”

    Oh, yeah, I always forget the accident! The Earth is accidentally in Goldi lock zone and some elements accidentally met there and learned how to absorb the energy and accidentally created cells and organisms and once upon a time accidentally created the brain, don`t to mention the things made by accident on the way to us: limbs, ears, eyes, consciousness etc.
    The problem is not how much energy these planets receive, -you know that some organisms don`t need the solar energy at all,- but why do we have life here.

  34. 34
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box wrote:

    Okay, “on average” spaceships, libraries, computers and brains “tend to” not spontaneously self-assemble from a pile of rubble.
    Happy now?

    Well, I am rather amused, but you have avoided my point by changing the subject. Niwrad made a statement about 2LoT:

    The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states.

    Do you agree that this statement needs a qualifier in order to be true?

    And would you be willing to answer may question:

    If the sun magically vanished tomorrow, in the following year would the entropy of the earth increase or decrease? Why?

  35. 35
    Box says:

    Nice try Timothya.

    It would be my (desperate) attempt as well if I were arguing for your position. Like you I would know that it doesn’t make any sense, but there is simply nothing else – semantics and multiverse scenario’s aside.

  36. 36
    DNA_Jock says:

    Levan,

    So your position is that Saturn’s rings must be designed because we don’t have an answer to the question “why is gravity?”.

    ASSF !

  37. 37
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock,

    Undirected energy doesn’t explain organizational order. Materialism cannot offer us an organizing power – only destructive powers like the second law.

    Now, if you have a substantial counter-argument I suggest that you present it. I refuse to get side-tracked by your semantic distractions.

  38. 38
    Levan says:

    Yes Jock, I think that there is a creative power behind and only gravity, weak, strong and electro are not enough for all these. Perhaps all four forces are only the parts of something more powerful. I can only speculate about this force but the results are there.
    SatRings? Perhaps… We even don`t know how precisely they emerged. There are only vague conjectures how could it be possible.

  39. 39
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box wrote:

    DNA_Jock,
    Undirected energy doesn’t explain organizational order.

    I agree. But it doesn’t preclude it either.

    Materialism cannot offer us an organizing power – only destructive powers like the second law.
    Now, if you have a substantial counter-argument I suggest that you present it. I refuse to get side-tracked by your semantic games.

    If you have an argument that doesn’t rest on your inability to understand 2LoT, present it. I’m not the one playing semantic games, my dear.

    My “if the sun disappeared” question is merely an opportunity for you to demonstrate a basic understanding of the 2LoT. Without that, there can’t be much argument about what 2LoT implies.

  40. 40
    DNA_Jock says:

    Levan,

    Thank you for your honesty.

  41. 41
    Me_Think says:

    Every disorganized cloud of particles organizes into a flat disk, that’s why you have flat accretion disks, Saturn rings, solar system, dwarf planets, flat galaxies..all this is possible by force of angular momentum, which initially in the cloud of particles is undirected – every particle in the cloud moves every which way, but over time conservation of angular momentum and the need to reduce the potential energy creates a flat disk. So you have order from chaos created with initial undirected force.

  42. 42
    Levan says:

    DNA_Jock
    Thank you also!:)

  43. 43
    REC says:

    These discussions of entropy are prone to mistakes and sweeping generalizations. These have been pointed out so frequently, that it seems like UD is undertaking some effort to create a special definition of the second law for itself. I would encourage you to take a look at say, MITs free online courses in Thermodynamic.

    Here is a demo on self organization: Seal a solution of some protein in a vial. Entropy of the sealed system favors the folded (organized and functional) state of the protein. Now leave the vial outside on a hot day. Energy across the boundary (heat) yields the unfolded (denatured) form of the protein. Cool it back off, and the protein will spontaneously fold.

    In a second vial, I could seal some plant extract. It will produce ordered carbohydrates only with sunlight.

    So energy is both ordering and disordering? Is the second law so easily violated, or is your understanding of it wrong?
    Rethink them before declaring evolution dead.

  44. 44
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock,

    Box: Undirected energy doesn’t explain organizational order.

    DNA_Jock: I agree. But it doesn’t preclude it either.

    Okay, with the side note that obviously, in many cases it does; hurricanes, explosions and so forth (see OP). Anyway we seem to agree that undirected energy doesn’t cause organizational order. So how does materialism explain the organizational order that we witness on earth?

    Box: Materialism cannot offer us an organizing power – only destructive powers like the second law.
    Now, if you have a substantial counter-argument I suggest that you present it. I refuse to get side-tracked by your semantic games.

    DNA_Jock: If you have an argument that doesn’t rest on your inability to understand 2LoT, present it. I’m not the one playing semantic games.

    From this I gather that you are saying that the 2nd law is not a destructive power wrt to organization. Present your case.

    – – –
    Note that you are only responding to the second part of the argument of the OP (as I understand it):

    (1). materialism cannot explain organization.
    (2). moreover the second law is a destructive power wrt organization.

  45. 45
    Joe says:

    If someone could just demonstrate that blind and undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism from matter and energy ID would be falsified, along with all arguments from the 2LoT. However we know no one will ever do such a thing because it cannot be done.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    Entropy Explains Aging, Genetic Determinism Explains Longevity, and Undefined Terminology Explains Misunderstanding Both – 2007
    Excerpt: There is a huge body of knowledge supporting the belief that age changes are characterized by increasing entropy, which results in the random loss of molecular fidelity, and accumulates to slowly overwhelm maintenance systems [1–4].,,,
    http://www.plosgenetics.org/ar.....en.0030220

    Aging Process – 85 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A91Fwf_sMhk

    Rabbit decomposition time-lapse (higher resolution) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6sFP_7Vezg

    In regards to the whole dissolving into fragments at the moment of death, Talbott rightly asks:

    “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”
    Stephen L. Talbott

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    – moment of death – picture
    http://cdn-4.spiritscienceandm.....ardd-2.jpg

    In the following paper, Andy C. McIntosh, professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds, holds that non-material information is what is constraining the cell to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium. Moreover, Dr. McIntosh holds that regarding information as independent of energy and matter ‘resolves the thermodynamic issues and invokes the correct paradigm for understanding the vital area of thermodynamic/organisational interactions’.

    Information and Thermodynamics in Living Systems – Andy C. McIntosh – 2013
    Excerpt: ,,, information is in fact non-material and that the coded information systems (such as, but not restricted to the coding of DNA in all living systems) is not defined at all by the biochemistry or physics of the molecules used to store the data. Rather than matter and energy defining the information sitting on the polymers of life, this approach posits that the reverse is in fact the case. Information has its definition outside the matter and energy on which it sits, and furthermore constrains it to operate in a highly non-equilibrium thermodynamic environment. This proposal resolves the thermodynamic issues and invokes the correct paradigm for understanding the vital area of thermodynamic/organisational interactions, which despite the efforts from alternative paradigms has not given a satisfactory explanation of the way information in systems operates.,,,
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0008

    Here is a recent video by Dr. Giem, that gets the main points of Dr. McIntosh’s paper over very well for the lay person:

    Biological Information – Information and Thermodynamics in Living Systems 11-22-2014 by Paul Giem (A. McIntosh) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR_r6mFdwQM

    Dr. McIntosh’s contention that ‘non-material information’ must be constraining life to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium has been borne out empirically. Classical Information in the cell has now been physically measured and is shown to correlate to the thermodynamics of the cell:

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration (knowledge of a particle’s position) turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    As well, it is now found that ‘non-local’, beyond space-time matter-energy, Quantum entanglement/information ‘holds’ DNA (and proteins) together:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – short video
    https://vimeo.com/92405752

    Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint – 2010
    Excerpt: When the researchers analysed the DNA without its helical structure, they found that the electron clouds were not entangled. But when they incorporated DNA’s helical structure into the model, they saw that the electron clouds of each base pair became entangled with those of its neighbours. “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.
    http://neshealthblog.wordpress.....blueprint/

    The DNA Mystery: Scientists Stumped By “Telepathic” Abilities – Sept, 2009
    Scientists are reporting evidence that contrary to our current beliefs about what is possible, intact double-stranded DNA has the “amazing” ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. Somehow they are able to identify one another, and the tiny bits of genetic material tend to congregate with similar DNA. The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....ities.html

    Moreover, classical ‘digital’ information is found to be a subset of ‘non-local’ (i.e. beyond space and time) quantum entanglement/information by the following method:

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy. Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    ,,,And here is the evidence that quantum information is in fact ‘conserved’;,,,

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    The superiority of conserved quantum information over conserved classical information
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-551269

    Besides providing direct empirical falsification of neo-Darwinian claims as to the generation of information from a material basis, the implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’ quantum information in molecular biology on a massive scale is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious:

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

    Matthew 16:26
    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Kari Jobe – I Am Not Alone (Live)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA

  48. 48
    Eric Anderson says:

    Without commenting on Niwrad’s particular formulation or argument, I would simply point out that the “Earth is an open system” mantra is (i) little more than a rhetorical game, and (ii) utterly unhelpful in answering the question of how life could arise through purely natural processes on the early Earth.

    Again, I am not sure I would formulate the issue quite as has been formulated in the OP, but the basic issues raised deserve careful consideration and they have most certainly not been addressed and answered by abiogenesis proponents.

  49. 49
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: “Earth is an open system” mantra is (i) little more than a rhetorical game,

    No. It’s a valid response to questions about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: and (ii) utterly unhelpful in answering the question of how life could arise through purely natural processes on the early Earth.

    Having a source of energy is a necessary (due to the 2nd law), but not sufficient condition, for how life could arise through purely natural processes on the early Earth.

  50. 50
    Bob O'H says:

    nirwad @ 8 –

    timothya #3

    “in average”? Do systems break down “in average”? No. *All* systems crash. *Zero* systems self-repair or self-organize.

    So how come you’re alive? Were you spontaneously created in your present form? Have you never been injured?

  51. 51
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box wrote:

    Anyway we seem to agree that undirected energy doesn’t cause organizational order.

    No, I don’t agree. I did agree with your statement that

    Undirected energy doesn’t explain organizational order.

    I hope you can see the difference. Please try to be precise.

    Undirected energy plus chemistry can produce organizational order.

    From this I gather that you are saying that the 2nd law is not a destructive power wrt to organization. Present your case.

    Ok. The direction of all chemical reactions is determined by the 2LoT. All chemistry (including biochemistry) depends on the 2LoT, including those reactions that produce “organizational order”. Everything, even computer manufacture, depends on the 2LoT.

    Note that you are only responding to the second part of the argument of the OP (as I understand it):

    (1). materialism cannot explain organization.
    (2). moreover the second law is a destructive power wrt organization.

    As I understand the argument of the OP, it is that
    “energy cannot change the situation of the 2nd law: energy cannot create organization, which always implies highly improbable states.”
    So the premise is rather obviously wrong. Why, given the hopelessness of the premise, would I bother attacking the rather vague conclusion?

    I am happy to stipulate that in the long term the 2LoT will be fatal to all life. But in the short term, it is absolutely necessary.

    P.S. I note that, as expected, you have not answered any of my questions @34.

  52. 52
    Box says:

    Eric Anderson: Again, I am not sure I would formulate the issue quite as has been formulated in the OP, but the basic issues raised deserve careful consideration and they have most certainly not been addressed and answered by abiogenesis proponents.

    Absolutely.

    I for one would very much welcome your version of the argument. The absence of a organizational power, the destructive nature of the 2nd law, it’s all foundational to ID. Personally I hold that this topic cannot get enough attention.

  53. 53
    Box says:

    Box: Anyway we seem to agree that undirected energy doesn’t cause organizational order.

    DNA_Jock: No, I don’t agree.

    So you hold that undirected energy causes organizational order. This is a fundamental claim, all other matters that we have discussed pale in comparison. Can you elucidate?

  54. 54
    niwrad says:

    About energy as double-edge sword, consider e.g. that too much ultra-violet radiation from the Sun would destroy all life on Earth.

  55. 55
    DNA_Jock says:

    “Can you elucidate?”

    I can, and I have.

    Now, about my questions…

  56. 56
    franklin says:

    niwrad

    About energy as double-edge sword, consider e.g. that too much ultra-violet radiation from the Sun would destroy all life on Earth.

    How would an increase in UV light destroy deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities?

  57. 57
    niwrad says:

    Ok, to my knowledge UV rays pass through the water, but maybe this depends also on the frequencies and the depth of the water. Anyway this is a detail that doesn’t change much the message I wanted to send. If on the ground all life forms die, then macroevolution would have to remake all its work from the sea. 🙂

  58. 58
    CHartsil says:

    “If someone could just demonstrate that blind and undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism from matter and energy ID would be falsified”

    Argument from ignorance and burden shifting.

    By that logic, all you have to do is produce a model of design and evolution is falsified.

  59. 59
    eng says:

    @dna_jock
    If the sun magically vanished tomorrow, in the following year would the entropy of the earth increase or decrease? Why?

    It will increase.

    Place a boundary around the earth, let’s say at a height of 10km above the surface. No energy is allowed to cross this boundary, nothing gets in, nothing gets out.

    The heat from hot earth core will then distribute evenly to the earth crust and the atmosphere, which means that the temperature of the earth core will decrease from (let’s say) 6000 °C to 3000 °C and the temperature of the earth crust and the atmosphere will increase from 20 °C to 3000 °C.

    (These values are of course just guesses to illustrate my point. It will also take an infinite amount of time to reach that state)

    Whatever the actual temperatures will be, it is clear that there will be no temperature difference anywhere after some time. The system has reached its maximum entropy.

    The same is true if we place the boundary at a much larger distance, let’s say far outside the solar system. In this case the thermal energy of the earth’s core would radiate away and heat up the ice in the Oort cloud. I assume the total mass of the Oort cloud is much larger than the earth, if this is the case then the objects in the Oort cloud would heat up somewhat but the earth would cool down to the temperature of the Oort cloud objects. Again, the whole system has reached maximum entropy.

  60. 60
    Joe says:

    CHartsil:

    Argument from ignorance and burden shifting.

    Yes, yours is an argument from ignorance and all you can do is try to shift the burden.

    By that logic, all you have to do is produce a model of design and evolution is falsified.

    I see you are ignorant of science. To get to the design inference necessity and chance are eliminated FIRST. We would never get to the design inference if you and yours could support the claims of your position.

    See parsimony, Occam’s Razor and Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation.

  61. 61
    Collin says:

    Isn’t it lucky that the universe started out with a vast store of highly-ordered energy? I wonder why that was.

  62. 62
    groovamos says:

    ChartSil: Try living without anything that was either directly or indirectly produced by the sun.

    Boy could I use some help in teasing out meaning or logic from that mishmash. But I’ll try on my own. The sun creates ions, I think I could live without them, but could be mistaken. The sun creates radio frequency energy, I can live without that. The sun creates heavy elements which cannot be mined, so I can live without those. And actually almost all of the inert matter that I cannot live without did not come from the sun, and the oceans surely did not, nor the elements in biological material. So really can someone tell me with what contributor is challenging sleazy people? The sense and logic of the challenge escapes me, honestly. Not a creationist here nor sleazy as I have never been accused of either.

    Not even the most ignorant or sleezily (sic) dishonest creationist can weasel around this one.

    Wondering if the contributor often thinks of “ignorant or sleezily (sic) dishonest creationist(s)” or encounters them. Wondering how many contributor has met.

    Also wondering why it would take “weasel(ing) around” to weasel around previously noted mishmash, with which I think a puzzled weasel might not bother. Even as contributor seems to be proud of some kind of profundity there.

  63. 63
    Mapou says:

    Joe @60:

    I see you are ignorant of science. To get to the design inference necessity and chance are eliminated FIRST. We would never get to the design inference if you and yours could support the claims of your position.

    Well said. This is an important point that should be made frequently on UD.

  64. 64
    Zachriel says:

    dna_jock: If the sun magically vanished tomorrow, in the following year would the entropy of the earth increase or decrease? Why?

    eng: the whole system has reached maximum entropy

    The question isn’t the entropy of “the whole system”, but the entropy of the Earth, which will radiate its heat into the cold of space.

  65. 65
    DNA_Jock says:

    Zachriel,

    Yes. Although eng came up with an incorrect answer, he actually shows an understanding of basic thermodynamics that I have not seen previously in an ID-proponent, assuming, of course, that he is one.

    eng,

    In your second scenario — the Oort cloud one — (your first scenario is, I think you’ll agree, rather nonsensical), has the entropy of the earth increased or decreased?
    And as a follow-up question, what is it about the earth’s environment that allows such local decreases in entropy?

  66. 66
    Mung says:

    The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states.

    And how do we know it’s a natural transformation?

    Because it goes towards the more probable states.

  67. 67
    eng says:

    The original question did not have enough information therefore I had to make assumptions exactly what is included in this thought experiment and what is not. My answer is certainly correct in terms of the conditions I have described. You asked specifically about the earth, and not about the earth plus “cold of space”.

    Anyway, let’s consider a boundary at some distance of earth’s surface which now allows heat transfer. You want a heat transfer from the inside of the boundary to “the cold of space” and (here is another assumption of mine) no energy transfer from the outside of the boundary to the inside such as star light, microwave background radiation, meteorites and the like.

    The change of entropy for reversible processes is: dS = dQ / T, where S is the entropy, Q is the heat and T is the temperature. The change of heat is negative (heat is removed). Since no negative values for T are possible (T is expressed in degrees Kelvin), it follows that also dS will be negative in all possible cases.

    The change of entropy is negative, therefore the entropy of the earth will decrease.

    Again, this answer is valid only with respect of the conditions mentioned above. If we allow starlight to shine on our earth, it is possible that it will be heated so much over time that the entropy increases.

  68. 68
    Eric Anderson says:

    No. It’s a valid response to questions about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    No. It is a rhetorical game that does absolutely nothing to answer the issue being raised. The alleged thermodynamic “system” is whatever we define it as. We can define it as the Earth-Sun system if you like. There. Now it is closed. Or we can define it as the galaxy. Now it is good and closed. But it doesn’t make one iota of difference.

    Again, I would not necessarily approach the issue as some have, but the substantive questions being raised are about how energy is used, how it acts, what is required to make a functional physical system. Simply adding more energy doesn’t even address the point.

    So anyone saying “Well, the Earth is an open system,” not only is not providing an answer. They didn’t even understand the question.

    Having a source of energy is a necessary (due to the 2nd law), but not sufficient condition, for how life could arise through purely natural processes on the early Earth.

    Agreed. But again, having energy is not much of an issue. You can have all the energy you want — Sun, volcanic vents, tide pools, radioactive decay, wind and waves, deep sea vents, lightning strikes — pick any form you want, in any amount you want. Let the energy pour on in to your “open” system. Now how does life emerge?

    Having enough energy is not a problem. So the whole “open system” response is singularly unhelpful.

  69. 69
    niwrad says:

    In fact. Energy is not at all sufficient, to create organization. Note that, exactly as it happens in nature, in industry and all civilization fields, to create organization energy is not enough and intelligence is always necessary. Their relation is not symmetric, while intelligence uses and organizes energy, energy neither uses/organizes nor, to greater reason, produces intelligence.
    The 2nd law rules any system, the natural and the artificial.

  70. 70
    bornagain77 says:

    That the second law holds for biology and that natural selection cannot overcome the tendency towards decay in borne out empirically:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – May 2013
    Excerpt: It is almost universally acknowledged that beneficial mutations are rare compared to deleterious mutations [1–10].,, It appears that beneficial mutations may be too rare to actually allow the accurate measurement of how rare they are [11].
    1. Kibota T, Lynch M (1996) Estimate of the genomic mutation rate deleterious to overall fitness in E. coli . Nature 381:694–696.
    2. Charlesworth B, Charlesworth D (1998) Some evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutations. Genetica 103: 3–19.
    3. Elena S, et al (1998) Distribution of fitness effects caused by random insertion mutations in Escherichia coli. Genetica 102/103: 349–358.
    4. Gerrish P, Lenski R N (1998) The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population. Genetica 102/103:127–144.
    5. Crow J (2000) The origins, patterns, and implications of human spontaneous mutation. Nature Reviews 1:40–47.
    6. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    7. Imhof M, Schlotterer C (2001) Fitness effects of advantageous mutations in evolving Escherichia coli populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:1113–1117.
    8. Orr H (2003) The distribution of fitness effects among beneficial mutations. Genetics 163: 1519–1526.
    9. Keightley P, Lynch M (2003) Toward a realistic model of mutations affecting fitness. Evolution 57:683–685.
    10. Barrett R, et al (2006) The distribution of beneficial mutation effects under strong selection. Genetics 174:2071–2079.
    11. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

    Moreover, niwrad’s claim that energy cannot create organization happens to be the falsification threshold for ID:

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/9957206/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness_Scirus_Topic_Page_

    Thus if Darwinists want to claim that the tendency towards decay does not hold for biology and that natural selection can overcome the second law and create organization, then they are more than invited to try to falsify ID:

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    Finally, a Detailed, Stepwise Proposal for a Major Evolutionary Change? – Michael Behe – March 10, 2015
    Excerpt: I would say its (Nick Matzke’s 2004 proposal for the evolution of the flagellum) chief problem is that it’s terminally fuzzy, bases most of its speculation on sequence comparisons, and glides over difficulties that would have to be dealt with in nature.,,, That’s one reason I wrote The Edge of Evolution — to say that we no longer have to rely on our imaginations, that we have good evidence to show what Darwinian processes are capable of doing. When we look to see what they do when we are watching, we never see the sorts of progressive building of coherent systems that Darwinists imagine. Rather, we see tinkering around the edges with preexisting systems or degradation of complex systems to gain short-term advantage.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94271.html

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Of interest: the maximum source of entropic randomness in the universe is found to be where gravity is greatest,,,

    Evolution is a Fact, Just Like Gravity is a Fact! UhOh! – January 2010
    Excerpt: The results of this paper suggest gravity arises as an entropic force, once space and time themselves have emerged.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....fact-uhoh/

    Evolution is a Fact, Just Like Gravity is a Fact! UhOh! – January 2010
    Excerpt: The results of this paper suggest gravity arises as an entropic force, once space and time themselves have emerged.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....fact-uhoh/

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    It is also interesting to learn what would happen to a ‘hypothetical observer’ if they fell into a blackhole:

    Two very different ‘eternities’: Special Relativity, General Relativity, Heaven and Hell
    Excerpt: “Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.”
    Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit

    Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternity of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion!

    Moreover, as pointed out previously, entropy is the primary reason our temporal bodies grow old and die:

    Entropy Explains Aging, Genetic Determinism Explains Longevity, and Undefined Terminology Explains Misunderstanding Both – 2007
    Excerpt: There is a huge body of knowledge supporting the belief that age changes are characterized by increasing entropy, which results in the random loss of molecular fidelity, and accumulates to slowly overwhelm maintenance systems [1–4].,,,
    http://www.plosgenetics.org/ar.....en.0030220

    Entropy Explains Aging, Genetic Determinism Explains Longevity, and Undefined Terminology Explains Misunderstanding Both – 2007
    Excerpt: There is a huge body of knowledge supporting the belief that age changes are characterized by increasing entropy, which results in the random loss of molecular fidelity, and accumulates to slowly overwhelm maintenance systems [1–4].,,,
    http://www.plosgenetics.org/ar.....en.0030220

    Genetic Entropy – Down Not Up – Dr. John Sanford – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_edD5HOx6Q0

    Notes from Dr. John Sanford’s preceding video:

    *3 new mutations every time a cell divides in your body
    * Average cell of 15 year old has up to 6000 mutations
    *Average cell of 60 year old has 40,000 mutations
    Reproductive cells are ‘designed’ so that, early on in development, they are ‘set aside’ and thus they do not accumulate mutations as the rest of the cells of our bodies do. Regardless of this protective barrier against the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations still we find that,,,
    *60-175 mutations are passed on to each new generation.

    This following video brings the point personally home to each of us about the very destructive effects of entropy on our bodies:

    Aging Process – 80 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A91Fwf_sMhk

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    In light of this strong association between entropy and the death of our temporal, material, bodies, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:

    Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/19tGkwrdg6cu5mH-RmlKxHv5KPMOL49qEU8MLGL6ojHU/edit

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    Turin shroud – (Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHVUGK6UFK8

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Verse, Forensic examination of the Shroud, and Music:

    Acts 13:36-37
    “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

    Forensic evidence of the Shroud of Turin – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5QEsaNiMVc

    Detailed Forensic Evidence of The Shroud – video
    Excerpt: “it is definitely an anatomically and forensically correct depiction of a victim of a Roman crucifixion.”
    http://www.shroud-enigma.com/w.....ology.html

    Turin Shroud: a medical forensic study of its blood marks and image – G.Lavoie – May 2010
    Abstract – From extensive analytical studies of the Shroud of Turin we know that the image is not man-made, and from medical forensic studies of the blood marks we know that a crucified man was laid out on his back and wrapped in this cloth. But the question still remains as to what caused the shroud image. A forensic evaluation of the blood marks and a study of the effect of gravity on surface anatomy suggest that a natural event is not the most probable cause of shroud image formation.
    http://www.acheiropoietos.info.....oieWeb.pdf

    Empty (Empty Cross Empty Tomb) with Dan Haseltine Matt Hammitt
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F22MCCNU

  73. 73
    niwrad says:

    Thanks bornagain77 for the rich info you always provide to us.

    Strangely enough, while evolutionists resort to the organizing-energy-enters-closed-system escamotage, they usually don’t resort to the dual organizing-matter-enters-closed-system to counter the 2nd law. It is strange because in physics mass and energy are equivalent. If energy organizes why mass does not?

    Thanks to all commenters. It seems the spirit of the post was grasped very well… “on average” (finally I got it 🙂 ).

  74. 74
    DNA_Jock says:

    eng wrote:

    The original question did not have enough information therefore I had to make assumptions exactly what is included in this thought experiment and what is not. My answer is certainly correct in terms of the conditions I have described.

    A failure on your part to read the question, which was very simple and very specific.

    You asked specifically about the earth, and not about the earth plus “cold of space”.

    Precisely.

    You want a heat transfer from the inside of the boundary to “the cold of space” and (here is another assumption of mine) no energy transfer from the outside of the boundary to the inside such as star light, microwave background radiation, meteorites and the like.

    Wrong, no such assumption is required. My question gave a specific time-frame: “If the sun magically vanished tomorrow, in the following year would the entropy of the earth increase or decrease? Why?”

    If we allow starlight to shine on our earth, it is possible that it will be heated so much over time that the entropy increases.

    Failure to read the question.

    The change of entropy is negative, therefore the entropy of the earth will decrease.

    Correct. I will also give you partial credit for spotting the reason: the earth is surrounded by a heat-sink, the “cold of space”, therefore terrestrial decreases in entropy are possible under the 2LoT. The point being, the annihilation of the biosphere would be small potatoes, entropy-wise, compared with the massive heat flow, and it can safely be ignored in this context. These calculations have been done.

    Invoking 2LoT to dispute evolution (or growth…) betrays a failure to understand 2LoT. Furthermore, as Niwrad notes, “The 2nd law rules any system, the natural and the artificial”, so invoking intelligence to circumvent a perceived “problem” with 2LoT makes no sense whatsoever. Brains need fuel.

  75. 75
    Joe says:

    We do not need the 2LoT to dispute unguided evolution. The concept can’t be tested, offers no predictions nor entailments and is outside the realm of science. That is more than enough.

  76. 76
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock: If the sun magically vanished tomorrow, in the following year would the entropy of the earth increase or decrease? Why?

    What kind of entropy are you referring to?

  77. 77
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: It is a rhetorical game that does absolutely nothing to answer the issue being raised.

    The first paragraph of this thread concludes “Since evolution would be spontaneous organization, evolution disagrees with the 2nd law.” That is the issue being raised, and the claim is false.

    Eric Anderson: Having enough energy is not a problem.

    No, it’s not, which is why the argument about the 2nd law precluding life is fallacious.

  78. 78
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    You try to defend the indefensible. The issue is simple. You deny the evidence. Physics (hard science) states that in nature there is tendency towards disorganization. Evolution says that in bio-nature there was a giant process of countless processes all towards increasing organization.
    Don’t you see the problem?

  79. 79
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: The issue is simple.

    Yes, the original post made a demonstrably false statement.

    niwrad: Physics (hard science) states that in nature there is tendency towards disorganization.

    Thermodynamic disorder, not human notions of disorganization. ETA: Even then, thermodynamic disorder can decrease locally. The 2nd law of thermodynamics is proscriptive, not prescriptive.

  80. 80
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    “Thermodynamic disorder, not human notions of disorganization.”

    Disorder implies disorganization. Have you ever seen a disordered organization?

  81. 81
    harry says:

    Collin @61

    Isn’t it lucky that the universe started out with a vast store of highly-ordered energy? I wonder why that was.

    Yes. That is very interesting. Roger Penrose, British mathematician/physicist and friend of Stephen Hawking (they co-authored the book, The Nature of Space and Time), in his book, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, calculated the odds of the “Big Bang” producing by chance a universe so low in entropy that the emergence and development of life was even a possibility to be 1 in 10^10^123, which makes that happening mindlessly and accidentally a virtual impossibility.

    And that is only what it took for life to become a possibility, it didn’t make the emergence of life probable any more than the fact that all of the substances found in a laptop PC occur naturally make it probable that matter would accidentally assemble itself into one.

    Yet, since energy from the sun has been available for billions of years now, there should be self-assembled computers and all kinds of phenomena of equivalent functional complexity popping up all over the place by now. Instead, life seems to be the sole product of the creative power of sunlight. Hmmmm …. Do you suppose there is more to it than just energy from the sun? ;o)

  82. 82
    CHartsil says:

    >One single planet out of trillions supports life

    >Vast store of highly ordered energy

  83. 83
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Disorder implies disorganization.

    But the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t preclude local ordering.

    harry: Do you suppose there is more to {life} than just energy from the sun?

    Yes. Energy is a necessary (per the 2nd law of thermodynamics), but not sufficient, condition for life.

  84. 84
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    “But the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t preclude local ordering.”

    If here with “ordering” you mean e.g. formation of crystals or other patterns, then the 2nd law doesn’t preclude them indeed because, given their scenarios of formation, those patterns are exactly the more probable states in those contexts. However such ordering/patterns have nothing to do with organization, which always implies extremely improbable states.

  85. 85
    Joe says:

    Does the 2LoT prevent a car from spontaneously arising?

  86. 86
    niwrad says:

    Joe 85

    Obviously yes.

  87. 87
    CHartsil says:

    Joe, quit being retarded

  88. 88
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: If here with “ordering” you mean e.g. formation of crystals or other patterns, then the 2nd law doesn’t preclude them indeed because, given their scenarios of formation, those patterns are exactly the more probable states in those contexts.

    In other words, entropy can decrease locally and still be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Other examples include a rock cooling in the mist from a waterfall, a tornado, a blue sky.

  89. 89
    bFast says:

    Joe, “Does the 2LoT prevent a car from spontaneously arising?”
    CHartsil, “Joe, quit being retarded.”

    Joe’s “retarded” statement is what the naturalistic science community is asking us to buy into. The simplest known form of life is more complex than any car. I know, I know, it is conjectured to have precursors, but what were they? ‘Don’t know, don’t ask, that’s the job of OOL researchers not evolutionists.

  90. 90
    Box says:

    Zachriel:
    In other words, entropy can decrease locally and still be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Other examples include a rock cooling in the mist from a waterfall, a tornado, a blue sky.

    If those patterns are a descend into “the more probable states in those contexts”, as Niwrad stated in #84, how can they be examples of decreasing entropy?

  91. 91
    harry says:

    niwrad @ 84

    However such ordering/patterns have nothing to do with organization, which always implies extremely improbable states.

    Not only that, but organization consisting of an “extremely improbable state” in no way signifies that functionality is present or will follow from that. An improbable state will likely just “sit there” being improbable until the 2LoT moves it into a more probable state. Even more improbable is functional complexity, which occurs when a particular “extremely improbable state” is the one that was required to bring about the precise functionality being exhibited by that “extremely improbable state.” This provides a compelling indication that that state was the result of intentionality.

  92. 92
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box seeks clarification thus:

    What kind of entropy are you referring to?

    Feel free to combine informational entropy with thermodynamic entropy and take the sum (c.f. Landauer). Remember to measure informational entropy in nats, not shannons.

    It won’t change the answer.

    If you are somehow tempted to include X-entropy, resist the temptation. X-entropies do NOT obey 2LoT.

  93. 93
    niwrad says:

    Box @90

    “If those patterns are a descend into “the more probable states in those contexts”, as Niwrad stated in #84, how can they be examples of decreasing entropy?”

    Thanks, good question. There are many definitions of entropy. If we define sort of “statistical entropy” as something directly proportional to the probability of a state, then in the formation of those very probable patterns there is no decreasing entropy.

    Differently, if e.g. when it snows, beyond snow flakes, we get — say — a functioning mechanical watch entirely made of ice crystal, then we could say that such entropy is decreased (because the probability of that ice-watch state is extremely small).

  94. 94
    Zachriel says:

    Box: If those patterns are a descend into “the more probable states in those contexts”, as Niwrad stated in #84, how can they be examples of decreasing entropy?

    The term ‘disorder’ has a specific meaning in thermodynamics and refers to available microstates due to thermal fluctuations. A crystal generally has fewer available microstates than a non-crystal as the molecules are bound tightly in the crystal structure. If a rock cools, there are fewer available microstates because the molecules have less thermal energy. A substance at absolute zero is said to have zero thermal entropy because the molecules have no motion.

    Your notions of organization are dwarfed by the number of possible microstates. If you warm a mole of liquid water by 1 C°, you have thereby increased the available microstates by a factor of about 10^(10^22).

  95. 95
    Joe says:

    So nature can’t produce a car, nor even something as relatively simple as Stonehenge, yet we are supposed to believe it produced living organisms?

    Talk about retarded…

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, an energy importing entity is adding microstates, thereby augmenting forces such as diffusion and degrading reactions. Complex organised states dependent on highly endothermic molecules become less and less findable by blind forces; relative statistical weight of clusters of relevant microstates gets harder and harder as a search challenge . . . indeed that’s what the little story in the Clausius example that sets up 2LOT is telling us: what’s giving up energy and what is gaining it, where just the thermal blanket of our atmosphere makes Earth what, 15 K warmer than otherwise, and a no-sun scenario would be a lot colder still; though of course the usual line is hot formation and cooling off, late bombardment then voila in was it a 200 mn y window, cell based life — not thermodynamically very likely. Indeed, we don’t need to guess hard as to why life forms typically have a protected internal environment, starting with cell walls — to protect delicately balanced subsystems. While at it try, little Oxy, UV irradiation, significant Oxy, all sorts of probs with relevant reactions. Not to mention, what sort of early atmosphere is plausible, and more. KF

  97. 97
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: an energy importing entity is adding microstates, thereby augmenting forces such as diffusion and degrading reactions.

    And yet, after billions of years of importing energy, local regions of low entropy occur regularly on Earth, even absent life.

  98. 98
    Box says:

    Zachriel: And yet, after billions of years of importing energy, local regions of low entropy occur regularly on Earth, even absent life.

    Let’s not digress, folks! We should keep in mind that the low entropy that Zachriel keeps bringing up is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Niwrad #84: However such ordering/patterns have nothing to do with organization, which always implies extremely improbable states.

  99. 99
    Zachriel says:

    Box: We should keep in mind that the low entropy that Zachriel keeps bringing up is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Indeed, it is the very point. Here’s the first line of the original post:

    The 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics states that in a closed system any natural transformation goes towards the more probable states.

    The statement is false. While the overall entropy of a closed system will tend to increase, regional transformations may exhibit a decrease in entropy (and often do!).

  100. 100
    Box says:

    Zachriel: While the overall entropy of a closed system will tend to increase, regional transformations may exhibit a decrease in entropy (and often do!).

    Don’t you worry about it. It’s irrelevant to the argument, which focuses on organization.

  101. 101
    rhampton7 says:

    A quick reminder. According to Stephen Meyer:

    …the kind of “order” that is present in biological systems – which shouldn’t even be classified as “order” in the thermodynamic sense of the term. A better term is “specified complexity” or “functional informational complexity”. This is because there is a difference between meaningful or functional information and “order” in the thermodynamic understanding of order. Meyer pointed out to Charles Marshall, “You’re mixing up two different concepts there.”

  102. 102
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    While the overall entropy of a closed system will tend to increase, regional transformations may exhibit a decrease in entropy (and often do!).

    Do you believe that your local temporary small fluctuations of entropy could account for e.g. in snowing the production of an ice-watch as mine in 93? Sure not. In fact between your fluctuations and organization there is a discontinuity (as Box rightly said).

    By decreasing entropy we don’t get organization, like — say — by decreasing a rectangle we don’t get the project specifications of the Space Shuttle. Organization is not the limit which decreasing entropy tends to (as also harry says in other words in 91).

  103. 103
    Eric Anderson says:

    A Parable of the ‘Open Earth’

    The teacher explains to her young pupils that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics tends to drive things toward equilibrium. She also explains that living organisms are far-from-equilibrium systems and poses the following questions:

    How could a stable far-from-equilibrium system arise under purely natural conditions, in light of the 2nd Law? And what enables such a system to continue to exist over long periods, given the 2nd Law?

    From the back of the class Little Johnny excitedly raises his hand, “Oh, I know! I know! Pick me! Pick me!”

    The teacher calls on Johnny.

    “The Earth gets energy from the Sun!” he exclaims.

    An awkward pause ensues, as everyone else in the class realizes Johnny has completely misunderstood the question.

    Johnny presses on, adamant, “The Earth gets energy from the Sun! It gets energy from the Sun!”

    Firmly but politely breaking in, the teacher says, “Yes, Johnny, it does. Now go ahead and put your hand down.”

    Turning to the rest of class she asks, “Now, would anyone like to address the questions I posed?”

  104. 104
    keith s says:

    Eric,

    Here’s a better version of your parable:

    The teacher asks:
    “How could a stable far-from-equilibrium system arise under purely natural conditions, in light of the 2nd Law?”

    Johnny answers, “The 2nd law doesn’t forbid the arising of stable, far-from-equilibrium systems. If you doubt that such systems can arise, you’ll need to find a different reason. The 2nd law by itself doesn’t suffice.”

    The teacher asks:
    “And what enables such a system to continue to exist over long periods, given the 2nd Law?”

    Johnny answers:
    “Again, there is nothing about the 2nd law that forbids such systems from arising or continuing to exist. This should be obvious, given that we see such systems all around us. The 2nd law wouldn’t be a law at all if it were continually being violated.”

    He continues:
    “The 2nd law merely says that the overall entropy of isolated systems cannot decrease. Local entropy decreases are not forbidden by the 2nd law, provided that they are compensated for by entropy increases elsewhere.”

    An awkward silence ensues, as everyone in the class realizes that Johnny understands the 2nd law far better than his teacher.

  105. 105
    Eric Anderson says:

    Sorry, keith s, but like Johnny, you seem to have misunderstood the questions.

    The question is not whether such systems can exist. Obviously they can. So that comment is a red herring. The question is about their provenance — what is the best explanation for their existence — not whether they exist.

    Also, the idea that local entropy decreases are magically “compensated” for by increases somewhere else in the universe is irrelevant to the question at hand. In addition to being absurd. So the compensation argument is utterly unhelpful.

    Your first answer is closer to the mark. Namely, that the 2nd law in and of itself does not absolutely prohibit the formation of such systems. But it most certainly makes their original formation more unlikely under natural conditions.

    So if we want to assert how living systems came about by purely natural processes, what we are really arguing for is that some unbelievably lucky coincidence happened to overcome the normal trajectory of the 2nd Law — and not because the Earth is an “open system” [Note, that is what I was addressing]; nor because entropy is somehow magically compensated for by some entropy-compensating-machine that monitors entropy in the universe — but that life came about simply by dint of sheer luck. A fluke of nature. Something we never see happening around us today, but, hey, who knows? Maybe it could have happened at least once by chance?

    So you are quite right, the 2nd Law does not formally, as a matter of sheer possibility, prohibit the formation of a stable, complex, far-from-equilibrium living organism under purely natural conditions. But it sure makes it exceedingly unlikely. And it is an issue that deserves to be addressed, not dismissed with silly assertions that the Earth is an open system, or the decrease in entropy is compensated for (and, thus, the naive implication is, anything goes).

    Yes, we could repose our faith in some stroke of incredible luck. Some cosmic accident that, for a moment, held the 2nd Law at bay so that we could get our nascent living organism off the ground.

    Hey, after all, the limit of our imagination is the only thing holding us back. And we can always fall back on the Great Evolutionary Explanation:

    Stuff Happens

  106. 106
    eng says:

    Which object has more entropy – a fertilized egg or the chicken that hatches from it a few days later?

    Figuring out the thermodynamic entropy is trivial. I am not sure whether the development process is exothermic or endothermic (whether the egg gives off heat just as any other living thing, or whether it must be actively heated during the development process). It is also clear that the egg reacts with O2 and gives off CO2.

    I would rather like to know whether a chicken

    * has more or less “informational entropy” (see dna_jock’s comment #92),
    * is more or less “thermodynamically ordered”, has more or less “microstates” (see zachriel’s comment #94),
    * or has more or less “specified complexity” or “functional informational complexity” (see rkhampton7’s comment #101)

    than its fertilized egg.

  107. 107
    keith s says:

    Eric,

    The question is not whether such systems can exist. Obviously they can.

    Yet in your “parable” you had your teacher asking:

    And what enables such a system to continue to exist over long periods, given the 2nd Law?

    The 2nd law neither prohibits such systems from arising nor from continuing to exist.

    Again, this should be obvious. The 2nd Law wouldn’t be a law at all if systems were violating it right and left.

    …the 2nd law in and of itself does not absolutely prohibit the formation of such systems. But it most certainly makes their original formation more unlikely under natural conditions.

    No. The 2nd Law forbids violations of the 2nd Law, nothing more and nothing less. If you want to argue that the formation of such systems is improbable, fine — go to it. But it doesn’t violate the 2nd Law, and so your reasons will have to lie elsewhere.

    I repeat: the 2nd Law forbids violations of the 2nd Law — nothing more and nothing less.

    So if we want to assert how living systems came about by purely natural processes, what we are really arguing for is that some unbelievably lucky coincidence happened to overcome the normal trajectory of the 2nd Law…

    The 2nd Law doesn’t have a “normal trajectory”. It simply forbids violations.

    So you are quite right, the 2nd Law does not formally, as a matter of sheer possibility, prohibit the formation of a stable, complex, far-from-equilibrium living organism under purely natural conditions. But it sure makes it exceedingly unlikely.

    No, the 2nd Law merely prohibits violations of the 2nd Law. Any phenomenon that does not violate the 2nd Law is allowed by the 2nd Law. It might or might not be possible for some other reasons, but it is allowed by the 2nd Law.

    And it is an issue that deserves to be addressed, not dismissed with silly assertions that the Earth is an open system, or the decrease in entropy is compensated for (and, thus, the naive implication is, anything goes).

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that “anything goes” in an open system, though some IDers like to pretend that we do.

    Yes, we could repose our faith in some stroke of incredible luck. Some cosmic accident that, for a moment, held the 2nd Law at bay so that we could get our nascent living organism off the ground.

    Nothing about OOL violates the 2nd Law, so why would it need to be “held at bay”?

  108. 108
    keith s says:

    Eric,

    Do you believe that the 2nd Law is violated? If so, then where, when, and how does this happen?

  109. 109
    Me_Think says:

    I, for one, don’t see any sense in applying entropy to living systems.If the 10^14 cells in the human body are rearranged, I get an entropy of kxln(10^14!) = 1.38x10^-23 x (14ln[5] + 14ln[2])! = 8.27×10^12. It makes no sense.

  110. 110
    niwrad says:

    keith s

    Nobody says the 2nd law is violated. The claim is that unguided evolution *would violate* it, because *would imply* countless systems spontaneously going countless times towards organization, while the 2nd law says they spontaneously go in the opposite direction, towards disorganization.

    Nobody says living organisms violate the 2nd law. They arose by intelligent design (the 2nd law does not prohibit at all intelligent intervention in the systems). They live, use energy etc., only thanks to their designed organization (again the 2nd law does not prohibit at all designed organization).

    Nothing violates the 2nd law, never.

  111. 111
    Box says:

    Eric Anderson: (…) the 2nd Law does not formally, as a matter of sheer possibility, prohibit the formation of a stable, complex, far-from-equilibrium living organism under purely natural conditions.

    Niwrad, as I understand him, doesn’t agree with you. Yes, the 2nd law allows for local entropy decreases however this does NOT pertain to, what can be termed, “organizational entropy”.

    Niwrad #8: “in average”? Do systems break down “in average”? No. *All* systems crash. *Zero* systems self-repair or self-organize.

    IOW – under purely natural settings – local decrease in entropy allows for snow, gemstones and so forth, but it does not allow for the formation of spaceships, computers, libraries and the stunning organization that we see in life.

    It’s not a matter of degree. Organization is a different realm.
    Snow *Yes*. The sudden coming into existence of a horse in one’s room *Never*.

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    The egg is the program/plan and resources plus automated execution machinery, the chick three weeks later is the result. The chick is more organised than the raw materials in the egg and is far more functionally specific. The control program guides the development process, once the egg is properly incubated. KF

  113. 113
    Zachriel says:

    Box: It’s irrelevant to the argument, which focuses on organization.

    You should take that up with the original poster, which conflated organization with thermodynamic order.

    Box: By decreasing entropy we don’t get organization, like — say — by decreasing a rectangle we don’t get the project specifications of the Space Shuttle.

    You can’t organize anything, or disorganize anything, without an increase in overall thermodynamic entropy.

    Eric Anderson: The question is about their provenance — what is the best explanation for their existence — not whether they exist.

    That’s not correct. The question concerned the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: So you are quite right, the 2nd Law does not formally, as a matter of sheer possibility, prohibit the formation of a stable, complex, far-from-equilibrium living organism under purely natural conditions. But it sure makes it exceedingly unlikely.

    The 2nd law does not formally, as a matter of sheer possibility, prohibit the formation of stable highly ordered states, but it sure happens a lot.

    niwrad: The claim is that unguided evolution *would violate* it, because *would imply* countless systems spontaneously going countless times towards organization, while the 2nd law says they spontaneously go in the opposite direction, towards disorganization.

    Then tornadoes, crystals, and monsoons violate the the 2nd law as they do in the opposite direction, towards order.

    Box: Yes, the 2nd law allows for local entropy decreases however this does NOT pertain to, what can be termed, “organizational entropy”.

    The term ‘disorder’ has a specific meaning in thermodynamics and refers to available microstates due to thermal fluctuations.

    Box: IOW – under purely natural settings – local decrease in entropy allows for snow, gemstones and so forth, but it does not allow for the formation of spaceships, computers, libraries and the stunning organization that we see in life.

    That has nothing to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  114. 114
    Hangonasec says:

    eng @106

    I would rather like to know whether a chicken has

    […]

    than its fertilized egg.

    KF @112

    The egg is the program/plan and resources plus automated execution machinery, the chick three weeks later is the result. The chick is more organised than the raw materials in the egg and is far more functionally specific.[…]

    You can’t just separately count microstates in egg and chicken. The entire system, which includes the chick’s food, must be considered. The chicken is ‘more organised’ because its food is less organised – complex carbohydrates have become CO2 and water, with transfer of energy and some losses (hence, increasing entropy).

    Of course, one can pursue a regress towards the first-ever production of biosynthetic complex carbohydrate. But as we are talking of chickens and eggs …

  115. 115
    Hangonasec says:

    niwrad @110

    Nobody says the 2nd law is violated. The claim is that unguided evolution *would violate* it, because *would imply* countless systems spontaneously going countless times towards organization, while the 2nd law says they spontaneously go in the opposite direction, towards disorganization.

    A nitpicky point, but ‘evolution’, in the biological rather than chemical sense, implies replication. It is this that protects a system from degradation, by the production of multiple copies. They are not all guaranteed to degrade before being duplicated. As long as a population is maintained, it may collectively evade that which is individually destructive, by weight of numbers.

    Getting the first copy off the ground is not trivial, but once replication arises, it provides its own hedge against degradation, subject to energetic input to power that replicative process.

  116. 116
    Box says:

    Zachriel: The term ‘disorder’ has a specific meaning in thermodynamics and refers to available microstates due to thermal fluctuations.

    You keep bringing up your outdated narrow interpretation of the 2nd law which only considers heat. Others have a broader understanding of the 2nd law and base their arguments on that understanding. I suggest that either you accept that or withdraw yourself from the discussion. There is no point in participating while acting as if Niwrad, Eric Anderson and others are only talking about heat dispersion.

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    H, I stopped at the freshly hatched chick just out of the egg. But indeed, there is a highly informational organisation imposed on the food to make the new chick grow. And it needs more than an egg-ful of food now! KF

  118. 118
    Zachriel says:

    Box: You keep bringing up your outdated narrow interpretation of the 2nd law which only considers heat.

    The original post refers to the 2nd law of statistical thermodynamics. It’s the proper name of a specific physical law. If the reference was to some other 2nd law, then the reference needs to be corrected.

  119. 119
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel to me:

    Then tornadoes, crystals, and monsoons violate the the 2nd law as they do in the opposite direction, towards order.

    Obviously tornadoes, crystals, and monsoons do NOT violate the 2nd law because they represent exactly the probable states in those particular circumstances of wheater and nature, and the 2nd law, meant in its statistical sense, indeed says that systems go towards their probable states.

    You can call those phenomena “order” or “disorder”, but what is sure is that they are, — I repeat — in those boundary conditions, the probable states. In this discussion of statistical thermodynamics what matters more is probable or improbable states.

    I cannot speak for Box and Eric, then I leave to them the fun of answering Zachriel’s questions to them. 🙂

  120. 120
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Obviously tornadoes, crystals, and monsoons do NOT violate the 2nd law because they represent exactly the probable states in those particular circumstances of wheater and nature, and the 2nd law, meant in its statistical sense, indeed says that systems go towards their probable states.

    The entropy of crystals is much much lower than the same atoms not arranged in crystals. Entropy calculations dwarf your common notions of order.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, it has been repeatedly pointed out to you and ilk — over the years — that there is a valid informational view on thermodynamics and it lends fresh insights to the 2nd law. My always linked, App A, and Section A give some outline info. KF

  122. 122
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: it has been repeatedly pointed out to you and ilk — over the years — that there is a valid informational view on thermodynamics and it lends fresh insights to the 2nd law.

    Insights are wonderful, however, thermodynamic entropy is a measurable, extensive property. If your notions require you to argue that crystals have a comparatively high thermodynamic entropy rather than low thermodynamic entropy, then your notions are wrong.

  123. 123
    Hangonasec says:

    KF @117 H,

    I stopped at the freshly hatched chick just out of the egg. But indeed, there is a highly informational organisation imposed on the food to make the new chick grow. And it needs more than an egg-ful of food now! KF

    Nutrition, then. Nonetheless, the conversion of zygote into free-living multicellular organism involves an increase in entropy.

  124. 124
    Joe says:

    Unguided evolution cannot account for multicellular organisms…

  125. 125
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    Clearly, we are speaking of different entropies, and I even suspect that you use the magic word “entropy” as a smoke curtain to not acknowledge what really matters: do you realize or not that systems go towards probable states? That is all what matters here. But you don’t like this truth because it means that unguided evolution (extremely improbable, to say the least) is contra the 2nd law and therefore is only a dream in your mind.

  126. 126
    CHartsil says:

    “Unguided evolution cannot account for multicellular organisms”

    http://link.springer.com/artic.....6527528063

    http://www.pnas.org/content/109/5/1595

  127. 127
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ CHartsil- Neither of those articles support UNGUIDED evolution. And both are speculation.

    Strange that you will believe anything as long as you think it supports your position.

  128. 128
    CHartsil says:

    Joe, quit being retarded.

  129. 129
    Joe says:

    CHartsil, quit being an ignorant coward and a pathological liar.

  130. 130
    CHartsil says:

    Joe, quit being retar­ded.

  131. 131
    Joe says:

    CHartsil, enjoys being an ignorant coward and pathological liar.

  132. 132
    CHartsil says:

    Joe, quit b­eing­ retarded.

  133. 133
    Eric Anderson says:

    keith s @107:

    The 2nd law neither prohibits such systems from arising nor from continuing to exist.

    I certainly never said it did. What you are failing to appreciate, however, is that the 2nd Law drives systems in a certain direction. That direction is away from the stable far-from-equilibrium systems that we see in living organisms. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to ask: What allows such systems to exist, given the 2nd Law?

    Think of it this way: If we understand how gravity works, but also see an airplane flying, it is perfectly reasonable to ask: What allows the airplane to stay aloft, given the law of gravity?

    There is no suggestion that the law of gravity is broken or has been “violated.” Of course not. But neither can we just dismiss the question and with a rhetorical flick of the finger by saying, “Well, some things fly, so obviously the law of gravity doesn’t prevent things from flying. And so your question is bunk.”

    No, the question is perfectly reasonable. And if we take time to think through the implications and the engineering (rather than just dismissing the uncomfortable question) it points us back to how the system actually functions, how it takes energy and uses principles of chemistry and physics to perform a feat that, otherwise, we would not normally see.

    The 2nd Law forbids violations of the 2nd Law, nothing more and nothing less. If you want to argue that the formation of such systems is improbable, fine — go to it. But it doesn’t violate the 2nd Law, and so your reasons will have to lie elsewhere.

    I think we are largely in agreement on this point. As I’ve said, I would not necessarily approach the 2nd Law arguments the same way others might. However, the question about the formation of stable, far-from-equilibrium systems does relate to the 2nd Law and deserves an answer. The answer might be, as you hint at, some probability assessment.

    To put the shoe on the other foot, does the 2nd Law (or any other natural law) naturally lead to the formation of stable, far-from-equilibrium systems? Certainly not. So those who think such systems came about without any intelligent design or input are left to argue that it was some incredibly lucky accident, a cosmic draw of the lottery, a remarkable fluke. Not a particularly compelling explanation.

    I’ve never heard anyone claim that “anything goes” in an open system, though some IDers like to pretend that we do.

    Of course not. Because when it is stated clearly like I did, it is obvious that the idea is absurd. However, when couched in language about the Earth being an “open” system, or loss of entropy being magically “compensated” for elsewhere in the universe, it isn’t quite as clear to the listener what is being claimed.

    When the question on the table is how a stable, far-from-equilibrium system – a highly improbable arrangement of matter – could come about under purely natural processes, a response that “Well, yes, it is wildly improbable; but Earth is an open system,” is one of two things: (i) either it is a complete misunderstanding of the question and is an irrelevant answer; and/or (ii) it is an attempt to claim that receiving energy from the Sun somehow makes the utterly improbable probable – normally it wouldn’t happen, but, hey, when we get energy from the Sun, crazy things can happen, even life spontaneously arising. Maybe not “anything” goes, but unusual, crazy, wildly improbable things go.

  134. 134
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel, keith s (and everyone else), you might be interested in this quote from a paper that Nick Matzke referred us to a couple of years ago, from some researchers (Note: these are committed evolutionists on Nick’s side of the fence) looking into the origin of life:

    . . . living systems are far-from-equilibrium systems that must constantly tap into some external source of energy in order to maintain that far-from-equilibrium state. Failure to obtain a continuing supply of energy necessarily leads the animate system toward equilibrium—to death. Inanimate systems on the other hand, though not necessarily in an equilibrium state, do at all times tend toward that lower Gibbs energy state. Clearly, the thermodynamic pattern of behavior expressed by animate as opposed to inanimate systems is quite different and raises the question as to how, from a thermodynamic point of view, the emergence of energy-consuming, far-from-equilibrium systems would arise in the first place.

    The researchers thought they had come up with a solution (which turns out to be nonsense), but the point for the present discussion is that this is a live, open, well-understood issue in the origin of life research community.

    You can try (as Pross and his colleagues did) to come up with an answer to the question. But to argue that the 2nd Law can only be viewed in its classical and most narrow sense (Zachriel) or that the question is not relevant because the 2nd Law doesn’t fundamentally prohibit the existence of such systems (keith s), is not a fruitful avenue of discourse.

  135. 135
    Hangonasec says:

    Joe @124 – thanks, Joey One-Post.

  136. 136
    Box says:

    If I were an atheist I would opt for the multiverse (MWO). That solves the 2nd law problem:

    Koonin: From a slightly different perspective, the usual adage about the second law of thermodynamics being true in the statistical sense takes a literal meaning in an infinite universe: any violation of this law that is permitted by other conservation laws will happen – and on an infinite number of occasions. Thus, spontaneous emergence of complex systems that would have to be considered virtually impossible in a finite universe becomes not only possible but inevitable under MWO, even though the prior probabilities of the vast majority of histories to occur in a given O-region are vanishingly small.

    [ANYTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN HAPPENS IN A MULTIVERSE:]

    In this framework, the possibility that the breakthrough stage for the onset of biological evolution was a high-complexity state, i.e., that the core of the coupled system of translation-replication emerged by chance, cannot be dismissed, however unlikely (i.e., extremely rare in the multiverse).
    The MWO model not only permits but guarantees that, somewhere in the infinite multiverse – moreover, in every single infinite universe, – such a system would emerge.

    [THERE ARE INFINITE COPIES OF US:]

    There is, e.g., an infinite number of (macroscopically) exact copies of the earth with everything that exists on it, (…)

    [source] [my emphasis]

  137. 137
    keith s says:

    Eric,

    Like Granville Sewell, you keep asking the 2nd Law to do things it cannot do.

    The 2nd Law rules out violations of the 2nd Law — no more and no less. Things that violate the 2nd law are forbidden*. Things that don’t violate the 2nd law are allowed by the 2nd law — though they may be forbidden by other laws of nature.

    You quoted a paper:

    . . . living systems are far-from-equilibrium systems that must constantly tap into some external source of energy in order to maintain that far-from-equilibrium state. Failure to obtain a continuing supply of energy necessarily leads the animate system toward equilibrium—to death.

    That’s right. It’s why we eat food, why plants use sunlight for photosynthesis, and why ecosystems form around hydrothermal vents. None of which violate the 2nd Law.

    Perhaps it would help if you would state the 2nd Law as you understand it, and then show exactly why you think it presents a problem for far-from-equilibrium systems.

    *There may be exceptions for tiny systems that are much smaller than the ones involved in OOL and evolution.

  138. 138
    Box says:

    Keith:
    The 2nd Law rules out violations of the 2nd Law — no more and no less. Things that violate the 2nd law are forbidden.

    Sure, but does gravity forbid flying?

    Eric Anderson:

    Think of it this way: If we understand how gravity works, but also see an airplane flying, it is perfectly reasonable to ask: What allows the airplane to stay aloft, given the law of gravity?

    There is no suggestion that the law of gravity is broken or has been “violated.” Of course not. But neither can we just dismiss the question and with a rhetorical flick of the finger by saying, “Well, some things fly, so obviously the law of gravity doesn’t prevent things from flying. And so your question is bunk.”

  139. 139
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Clearly, we are speaking of different entropies

    That’s fine. You might want to correct the original post, which concerns thermodynamic entropy so there is no confusion.

    niwrad: I even suspect that you use the magic word “entropy” as a smoke curtain to not acknowledge what really matters: do you realize or not that systems go towards probable states?

    As you’re not referring to thermodynamic entropy, it’s hard to parse your statement. With thermodynamics, at least, things may go towards less probable states locally, defined as a reduction in the available microstates. But you said you weren’t talking about thermodynamic entropy, so its hard to know what you mean.

    Eric Anderson: What allows the airplane to stay aloft, given the law of gravity?

    Energy. That’s what causes dust from Africa to cross the Atlantic to feed the Amazonian rainforest and affect the formation of hurricanes.

    Eric Anderson: To put the shoe on the other foot, does the 2nd Law (or any other natural law) naturally lead to the formation of stable, far-from-equilibrium ? … a highly improbable arrangement of matter

    The monsoon is a non-organic, stable, far-from-equilibrium system.

    Eric Anderson: So those who think such systems came about without any intelligent design or input are left to argue that it was some incredibly lucky accident, a cosmic draw of the lottery, a remarkable fluke.

    Varuna
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p027pyry/p027py0k

    Eric Anderson: this is a live, open, well-understood issue in the origin of life research community.

    Yes, the origin of life is still a mystery.

    Eric Anderson: The researchers thought they had come up with a solution … But to argue that the 2nd Law can only be viewed in its classical and most narrow sense (Zachriel)

    Please note they are using the term thermodynamics in its conventional “narrow sense”.

  140. 140
    Zachriel says:

    Box: does gravity forbid flying?

    No. In Newtonian mechanics, gravity is defined as a force.

  141. 141
    keith s says:

    Box,

    Sure, but does gravity forbid flying?

    No. The law of gravity only forbids violations of the law of gravity — nothing more and nothing less. Gravity continues to operate on airplanes while they are flying, so there is no violation.

    Anyone who says “the law of gravity makes it unlikely that airplanes can fly” is seriously misunderstanding the law of gravity.

    Likewise, anyone who says “the 2nd law makes it unlikely for far-from-equilibrium systems to arise” is seriously misunderstanding the 2nd law.

    The 2nd Law forbids uncompensated local entropy decreases. Anything at all that does not involve uncompensated local entropy decreases is allowed by the 2nd Law, fully and unconditionally. That doesn’t mean it will actually happen. It might be prohibited by some other law or laws, but it is fully allowed by the 2nd Law.

    Far-from-equilibrium systems do not involve uncompensated local entropy decreases. Therefore they are allowed by the 2nd Law. The 2nd Law does not have to be “held at bay”, as Eric put it, in order for such systems to arise. The 2nd Law is fully operational and unfettered the entire time.

    You may think that such systems are unlikely for some other reason, but if you think that the 2nd Law makes them unlikely, then you are misunderstanding the 2nd Law.

  142. 142
    keith s says:

    A couple of years ago, commenter CS3 made the same mistake as Eric. Here’s how I responded:

    CS3,

    You and Granville have fallen into the trap of wanting the second law to do more than it actually does. The second law forbids violations of the second law, no more and no less.

    Let me give an example of the same error, but in terms of the first law.

    Suppose a friend of yours claims that gerbils keep poofing into existence in his living room. He is constantly giving gerbils away to his friends as a result of the alleged gerbil influx.

    You find this wildly implausible, but he is adamant that it really happens. You try to reason him out of his delusion by showing him that gerbils can’t possibly materialize out of thin air.

    One of your arguments is that if gerbils really did poof into existence in his living room, this would be a violation of the first law of thermodynamics, which says that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Since matter is a form of energy (by Einstein’s famous equation), the appearance of a gerbil out of thin air would violate the first law.

    He tells you he’s made careful measurements that show that every time a gerbil appears, the mass of the furniture in the living room decreases by a corresponding amount. In other words, the incarnation of the gerbil is compensated for by a decrease in mass of the living room furniture.

    You find this absurd and tell him “This compensation argument is bogus. The first law doesn’t allow gerbils to poof into existence merely because there is a compensatory loss of mass in the living room furniture!”

    But if you tell him this, you are wrong.

    The first law does allow gerbils to poof into existence, because the first law only forbids violations of the first law, no more and no less. As long as the mass of the furniture decreases by the correct amount, there is no violation of the first law.

    The gerbil-poofing idea is still ridiculous, and you have many reasons to doubt it, but the first law is not one of them, because the first law is not violated. The first law is not obligated to rule out every wildly improbable event in the universe, including gerbil poofing. It only rules out violations of the first law.

    Likewise with evolution and the second law. You and Granville may (and obviously do) think that evolution is ridiculous, and that people and locomotives and lava lamps can’t appear on a formerly barren planet simply because solar energy is streaming in and waste heat is radiating out. But your skepticism has nothing to do with the second law, because the second law is not violated.

    You just think evolution is improbable, like every other IDer and creationist.

  143. 143
    Box says:

    Keith: Anyone who says “the law of gravity makes it unlikely that airplanes can fly” is seriously misunderstanding the law of gravity.

    Really? So you seriously hold that gravity doesn’t pose an obstacle for anything to fly?

  144. 144
    Zachriel says:

    Box: So you seriously hold that gravity doesn’t pose an obstacle for anything to fly?

    You are confused. The law of gravity isn’t that nothing can go up. The law of gravity is a force. As such, it just means you need sufficient force working in the opposite direction to create lift.

  145. 145
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    Keith: Anyone who says “the law of gravity makes it unlikely that airplanes can fly” is seriously misunderstanding the law of gravity.

    Box:

    Really? So you seriously hold that gravity doesn’t pose an obstacle for anything to fly?

    The law of gravity must be taken into account, but that doesn’t make it unlikely that airplanes can fly. As Zachriel says, they provide a lifting force to balance gravity. Nor does flight require that the law of gravity be “held at bay”, to use Eric’s phrase. The law of gravity is in full force while an airplane flies. It is unfettered and not diminished in the least. After all, the law of gravity only forbids violations of the law of gravity, and airplane flight does not violate the law of gravity.

    Likewise, the maintenance of far-from-equilibrium systems requires a source of usable energy, but such sources exist. The 2nd Law does not have to be “held at bay” in order for these systems to continue existing. It is in full force the entire time, unfettered and not diminished in the least. After all, the 2nd law only forbids violations of the 2nd law, and the continued existence of far-from-equilibrium systems does not violate the 2nd law, as long as they are able to export entropy to their environments.

    PS Did you read and understand my gerbil example above?

  146. 146
    keith s says:

    Box,

    If I were an atheist I would opt for the multiverse (MWO). That solves the 2nd law problem.

    What 2nd law problem?

  147. 147
    Box says:

    Zachriel: The law of gravity isn’t that nothing can go up. The law of gravity is a force. As such, it just means you need sufficient force working in the opposite direction to create lift.

    Exactly!! One needs a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction to create lift”.
    Well … Similarly wrt the second law one needs a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction to create ORDER”!

  148. 148
    Box says:

    Keith:

    The law of gravity must be taken into account, but that doesn’t make it unlikely that airplanes can fly. As Zachriel says, they provide a lifting force to balance gravity.

    Yes, as Zach says, we do indeed need “a lifting force” to overcome the obstacle that gravity presents for anything that wants to go up.
    Well now … what is this “ordering force” – or organizational force – that balances the 2nd law? What force prevents an organism to be lead toward equilibrium – death – due to the 2nd law?

  149. 149
    DNA_Jock says:

    I rather like Eric’s gravity/planes analogy.

    As Zachriel and keith s have noted, there is no need to “keep gravity at bay” for a plane to fly. Gravity is there, fully in force (sorry) throughout the flight.

    Furthermore, when confronted by a flight ‘skeptic’ who asks “What allows the airplane to stay aloft, given the law of gravity?”, people who view flight as non-magical do NOT “just dismiss the question and with a rhetorical flick of the finger by saying, “Well, some things fly, so obviously the law of gravity doesn’t prevent things from flying. And so your question is bunk.”
    NO, people who view flight as non-magical patiently explain about upthrust, and the deflection of the air caused by the wings. Yes, fluid mechanics is tricky, and some questions might not have entirely satisfactory answers, but we are pretty confident that there is no reason to invoke flying-carpet-magic.
    Likewise, people who view cell division as NOT violating the 2LoT explain about the export of energy to a heat sink, and how that allows local decreases in entropy to occur.

    Finally, the analogy is apt because :

    IF gravity did NOT exist, then airplanes would be unable to fly (in a controlled manner).
    No gravity =>
    No atmosphere =>
    Nothing for the control surfaces to control =>
    CRASH.

    Rockets, on the other hand, would work really well on very little fuel.
    🙂

    In an analogous way, the 2LoT sets up the conditions that allow stable, far-from-equilibrium states to arise. 2LoT is equivalent to the arrow of time. Every single irreversible process that occurs, including the production of “computers, TV sets and telephones” occurs thanks to the 2LoT.

    Regarding

    How could a stable far-from-equilibrium system arise under purely natural conditions, in light of the 2nd Law? And what enables such a system to continue to exist over long periods, given the 2nd Law?

    These arise naturally all the time. Any mixture of oxygen and a flammable gas is such a system. You can mix hydrogen, methane etc with oxygen and nothing happens. It is quite stable until a spark or suitable catalyst is introduced, because there is a kinetic barrier that prevents the system from moving promptly to equilibrium.

    If it wasn’t for such kinetic barriers (and the 2LoT) there wouldn’t be life.

    Ready to experiment, you’re ready to be burned
    If it wasn’t for some accidents then some would never ever learn

    ETA: kinetic barriers are also the answer to Box’s question

  150. 150
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock:
    I rather like Eric’s gravity/planes analogy.

    That’s good to hear because I intend to use it a lot.

    DNA_Jock:
    As Zachriel and keith s have noted, there is no need to “keep gravity at bay” for a plane to fly. Gravity is there, fully in force (sorry) throughout the flight.

    Yep. And they both point out that a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction” is necessary to balance or overcome gravity.
    What – under materialism – is a “sufficient force” to balance (or overcome) the 2nd law – meant in its statistical sense – wrt e.g. computers, spaceships, brains and libraries?

  151. 151
    DNA_Jock says:

    Please read the rest of my post.

    Likewise, people who view cell division as NOT violating the 2LoT explain about the export of energy to a heat sink, and how that allows local decreases in entropy to occur.

    The same applies to computers, spaceships, brains and libraries.

  152. 152
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    You might want to correct the original post, which concerns thermodynamic entropy so there is no confusion.

    There is nothing to correct. Indeed at the beginning the OP speaks of *statistical* thermodynamics, and nowhere it contains the term “entropy”. Entropy is a term you introduced to obfuscate.

  153. 153
    Me_Think says:

    niward @ 152
    You might want to delete your comment before a lot more people see it and embarrass you.[you may delete this comment too]

  154. 154
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Exactly!! One needs a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction to create lift”. Well … Similarly wrt the second law one needs a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction to create ORDER”!

    Actually, with regards to thermodynamics, it’s work that creates and maintains order. Nature is full of examples, e.g. a raindrop.

    Box: what is this “ordering force” – or organizational force – that balances the 2nd law?

    Work.

    niwrad: Indeed at the beginning the OP speaks of *statistical* thermodynamics, and nowhere it contains the term “entropy”.

    Statistical thermodynamics yields the same answer as classical thermodynamics. They are related by the Boltzmann’s equation, S = k log W. (ETA: W is the number of microstates, not work.)

    Keep in mind that thermodynamic entropy is a specific, well-defined, extensive, measurable property.

  155. 155
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: what is this “ordering force” – or organizational force – that balances the 2nd law?

    Zachriel:

    Work.

    – – –
    Actually, with regards to thermodynamics, it’s work that creates and maintains order. Nature is full of examples, e.g. a raindrop.

    So it’s “work” that creates and maintains order – that balances (or overcomes) the 2nd law. What is this force that you term “work”? What exactly is this “work” that creates and maintains e.g. an organism?

  156. 156
    Zachriel says:

    Z: Statistical thermodynamics yields the same answer as classical thermodynamics. They are related by the Boltzmann’s equation, S = k log W. (ETA: W is the number of microstates, not work.)

    If you consider the formula, you will find the number of possible microstates dwarfs any common notion of order. k is Boltzmann’s constant, 1.3806488 × 10^-23.

    If we use Dembskian logic, then a small piece of quartz is so unlikely to form without intelligent agency that it will never happen in the entire universe over the entirety of its history, or something something.

  157. 157
    Zachriel says:

    Box: So it’s “work” that creates and maintains order – that balances (or overcomes) the 2nd law. What is this force that you term “work”?

    Work is not force, but force acting over a distance. It’s a standard term in physics and mechanics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_%28physics%29

  158. 158
    Box says:

    I don’t expect an answer to my question from Keith, Zachriel nor DNA_Jock – who wants me to read on how airplanes can have stable flights.

    It seems that all three have conceded the obvious fact that – like gravity poses an obstacle to things that want to go up – the 2nd law poses an obstacle to organization.

    The logical question then raised is:

    WHAT FORCE creates and maintains organization and in so doing balances (or overcomes) the 2nd law?

    Materialism does not accommodate such a force.

  159. 159
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    You continue to obfuscate again and again to avoid acknowledging what matters: systems go towards probability, while unguided evolution is improbability. Ergo they are incompatible.

    Me_Think #153

    You might want to delete your comment [#152] before a lot more people see it and embarrass you.[you may delete this comment too]

    Mind you, I never deleted a comment in my life (mine or other’s). My #152 says exactly the truth and I confirm it.

  160. 160
    Box says:

    (…) the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?

    [Stephen L. Talbott – “The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings”]

  161. 161
    Hangonasec says:

    Box @158

    The logical question then raised is:

    WHAT FORCE creates and maintains organization and in so doing balances (or overcomes) the 2nd law?

    Materialism does not accommodate such a force.

    The electrostatic force, principally. Responding to it causes molecular species to adopt lower-energy configurations, if they can. Those lower-energy configurations frequently appear more ‘ordered’ than the original separate parts. Most commonly, the apparent ordering in biology is coupled to the disassociation of one or more phosphate bonds – the entropy of the entire system goes up, but that of the little bit we focus upon – the complex molecule, in this simple illustration – goes down. This neither ‘balances’ nor ‘overcomes’ the 2nd Law. It is driven by it. As entropy is the inverse of the capacity to do useful work, energetic redistribution – the natural tendency of systems to shed energy – can be coupled to ‘organisation’, by tapping into that capacity.

    Of course the energy must get into those phosphate bonds in the first place. In living things it comes from proton gradients – again, coupling energy transfer to equilibration – but that’s a puzzle prior to ‘self-sustaining’ replication. And of course entropy can also be inimical to organisation. Bonds can spontaneously break, and so on. But once replication is in train, multiple copies provide insurance.

    Be all that as it may, to see the 2nd Law as purely a destructive, disorganising principle is to completely misunderstand it. It is simply a process of equilibration which can provide energy. The dynamic, cyclic nature of Life’s long-term refusal to actually reach equilibrium may seem mysterious. But its energetic relations are not. We are powered by the 2nd Law, brains and all.

  162. 162
    DNA_Jock says:

    Hangonasec,

    Very well put. I would encourage those who think that the 2LoT is somehow a problem to read hangonasec’s post repeatedly, until they understand it.

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    H, nope, the electrostatic force absent the organised string of highly specifically sequenced AAs would not result in a stable functional protein. Where, the organisation to be explained is just that sequence antecedent to the folding of the protein — remember any one of 20 AAs can follow any other and the evidence is that proteins are rare in AA space, not to mention wider organic chemistry space. Spell that interfering cross reactions, especially in Darwin’s warm salty lightning struck pond or the like — which is where all of this needs to start. The blindness to such is one of the most revealing aspects of this whole exchange. KF

  164. 164
    niwrad says:

    Hangonasec #161

    to see the 2nd Law as purely a destructive, disorganising principle is to completely misunderstand it.

    If you leave a system in the wild (ex. a car) what will be its destiny? It will increase its organization? or it will decrease its organization? It will decrease its organization. The 2nd law is that. So, it is an organizing or a disorganising principle? I answer the latter. Do you answer the former? well, put your car in the wild…(I prefer to have my car in maintenance).

  165. 165
    Box says:

    Wind coming from the north poses an abstacle for things wanting to go north. An obstacle even for sailboats:

    Sailboats cannot sail directly into the environmental wind, nor on a course that is too close to the direction from which the wind is blowing. The range of directions into which a boat cannot sail is called the ‘no-go zone’.
    [wiki]

    But it can be said that absent any wind sailing is not possible. Or one could say that northern wind “provides energy” for sailboats to go north. And of course many other clever paradoxical statements can be construed.

    However anyone will understand that “wind coming from the north poses an obstacle for things wanting to go north”.

  166. 166
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @139:

    Please note they are using the term thermodynamics in its conventional “narrow sense”.

    Exactly.

    Even in its conventional narrow sense, they recognize that the 2nd Law presents a significant hurdle to the naturalistic abiogenesis story and that it is a legitimate scientific question to ask how that hurdle could be overcome. (And that is without even considering the arguably greater challenges with organizational entropy and informational entropy.)

  167. 167
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel, keith s (and anyone else):

    Let’s cut to the chase:

    1. Do you or do you not acknowledge (as abiogenesis researchers do) that the constraints of the 2nd Law are relevant to the abiogenesis of a living organism under purely natural conditions?

    2. If so, is it legitimate for someone to ask what kinds of conditions must exist and what principles might need to be implemented in order to overcome these constraints?

  168. 168
    Me_Think says:

    niwrad @ 159

    Mind you, I never deleted a comment in my life (mine or other’s).

    That is great.

    My #152 says exactly the truth and I confirm it.

    But you are wrong.*statistical* thermodynamics is entropy.Simple explanation here
    so if the 10^14 cells in the human body are rearranged, I get an entropy of k x ln(10^14!) = 1.38x10^-23 x (14 ln[5] + 14 ln[2])! = 8.27×10^12.

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me snip from my always linked note regarding these topics:

    I: Section A:

    >> Further to this, we may average the information per symbol in the communication system thusly (giving in termns of -H to make the additive relationships clearer):

    – H = p1 log p1 + p2 log p2 + . . . + pn log pn

    or, H = – SUM [pi log pi] . . . Eqn 5

    H, the average information per symbol transmitted [usually, measured as: bits/symbol], is often termed the Entropy; first, historically, because it resembles one of the expressions for entropy in statistical thermodynamics. As Connor notes: “it is often referred to as the entropy of the source.” [p.81, emphasis added.] Also, while this is a somewhat controversial view in Physics, as is briefly discussed in Appendix 1below, there is in fact an informational interpretation of thermodynamics that shows that informational and thermodynamic entropy can be linked conceptually as well as in mere mathematical form. Though somewhat controversial even in quite recent years, this is becoming more broadly accepted in physics and information theory, as Wikipedia now discusses [as at April 2011] in its article on Informational Entropy (aka Shannon Information, cf also here):

    At an everyday practical level the links between information entropy and thermodynamic entropy are not close. Physicists and chemists are apt to be more interested in changes in entropy as a system spontaneously evolves away from its initial conditions, in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, rather than an unchanging probability distribution. And, as the numerical smallness of Boltzmann’s constant kB indicates, the changes in S / kB for even minute amounts of substances in chemical and physical processes represent amounts of entropy which are so large as to be right off the scale compared to anything seen in data compression or signal processing.

    But, at a multidisciplinary level, connections can be made between thermodynamic and informational entropy, although it took many years in the development of the theories of statistical mechanics and information theory to make the relationship fully apparent. In fact, in the view of Jaynes (1957), thermodynamics should be seen as an application of Shannon’s information theory: the thermodynamic entropy is interpreted as being an estimate of the amount of further Shannon information needed to define the detailed microscopic state of the system, that remains uncommunicated by a description solely in terms of the macroscopic variables of classical thermodynamics. For example, adding heat to a system increases its thermodynamic entropy because it increases the number of possible microscopic states that it could be in, thus making any complete state description longer. (See article: maximum entropy thermodynamics.[Also,another article remarks: >> in the words of G. N. Lewis writing about chemical entropy in 1930, “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more” . . . in the discrete case using base two logarithms, the reduced Gibbs entropy is equal to the minimum number of yes/no questions that need to be answered in order to fully specify the microstate, given that we know the macrostate .>>]) Maxwell’s demon can (hypothetically) reduce the thermodynamic entropy of a system by using information about the states of individual molecules; but, as Landauer (from 1961) and co-workers have shown, to function the demon himself must increase thermodynamic entropy in the process, by at least the amount of Shannon information he proposes to first acquire and store; and so the total entropy does not decrease (which resolves the paradox).

    Summarising Harry Robertson’s Statistical Thermophysics (Prentice-Hall International, 1993) — excerpting desperately and adding emphases and explanatory comments, we can see, perhaps, that this should not be so surprising after all. (In effect, since we do not possess detailed knowledge of the states of the vary large number of microscopic particles of thermal systems [typically ~ 10^20 to 10^26; a mole of substance containing ~ 6.023*10^23 particles; i.e. the Avogadro Number], we can only view them in terms of those gross averages we term thermodynamic variables [pressure, temperature, etc], and so we cannot take advantage of knowledge of such individual particle states that would give us a richer harvest of work, etc.)

    For, as he astutely observes on pp. vii – viii:

    . . . the standard assertion that molecular chaos exists is nothing more than a poorly disguised admission of ignorance, or lack of detailed information about the dynamic state of a system . . . . If I am able to perceive order, I may be able to use it to extract work from the system, but if I am unaware of internal correlations, I cannot use them for macroscopic dynamical purposes. On this basis, I shall distinguish heat from work, and thermal energy from other forms . . .

    And, in more details, (pp. 3 – 6, 7, 36, cf Appendix 1 below for a more detailed development of thermodynamics issues and their tie-in with the inference to design; also see recent ArXiv papers by Duncan and Samura here and here):

    . . . It has long been recognized that the assignment of probabilities to a set represents information, and that some probability sets represent more information than others . . . if one of the probabilities say p2 is unity and therefore the others are zero, then we know that the outcome of the experiment . . . will give [event] y2. Thus we have complete information . . . if we have no basis . . . for believing that event yi is more or less likely than any other [we] have the least possible information about the outcome of the experiment . . . . A remarkably simple and clear analysis by Shannon [1948] has provided us with a quantitative measure of the uncertainty, or missing pertinent information, inherent in a set of probabilities [NB: i.e. a probability different from 1 or 0 should be seen as, in part, an index of ignorance] . . . .

    [deriving informational entropy, cf. discussions here, here, here, here and here; also Sarfati’s discussion of debates and the issue of open systems here . . . ]

    H({pi}) = – C [SUM over i] pi*ln pi, [. . . “my” Eqn 6]

    [where [SUM over i] pi = 1, and we can define also parameters alpha and beta such that: (1) pi = e^-[alpha + beta*yi]; (2) exp [alpha] = [SUM over i](exp – beta*yi) = Z [Z being in effect the partition function across microstates, the “Holy Grail” of statistical thermodynamics]. . . .

    [H], called the information entropy, . . . correspond[s] to the thermodynamic entropy [i.e. s, where also it was shown by Boltzmann that s = k ln w], with C = k, the Boltzmann constant, and yi an energy level, usually ei, while [BETA] becomes 1/kT, with T the thermodynamic temperature . . . A thermodynamic system is characterized by a microscopic structure that is not observed in detail . . . We attempt to develop a theoretical description of the macroscopic properties in terms of its underlying microscopic properties, which are not precisely known. We attempt to assign probabilities to the various microscopic states . . . based on a few . . . macroscopic observations that can be related to averages of microscopic parameters. Evidently the problem that we attempt to solve in statistical thermophysics is exactly the one just treated in terms of information theory. It should not be surprising, then, that the uncertainty of information theory becomes a thermodynamic variable when used in proper context . . . .

    Jayne’s [summary rebuttal to a typical objection] is “. . . The entropy of a thermodynamic system is a measure of the degree of ignorance of a person whose sole knowledge about its microstate consists of the values of the macroscopic quantities . . . which define its thermodynamic state. This is a perfectly ‘objective’ quantity . . . it is a function of [those variables] and does not depend on anybody’s personality. There is no reason why it cannot be measured in the laboratory.” . . . . [pp. 3 – 6, 7, 36; replacing Robertson’s use of S for Informational Entropy with the more standard H.]

    As is discussed briefly in Appendix 1, Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen [TBO], following Brillouin et al, in the 1984 foundational work for the modern Design Theory, The Mystery of Life’s Origins [TMLO], exploit this information-entropy link, through the idea of moving from a random to a known microscopic configuration in the creation of the bio-functional polymers of life, and then — again following Brillouin — identify a quantitative information metric for the information of polymer molecules. For, in moving from a random to a functional molecule, we have in effect an objective, observable increment in information about the molecule. This leads to energy constraints, thence to a calculable concentration of such molecules in suggested, generously “plausible” primordial “soups.” In effect, so unfavourable is the resulting thermodynamic balance, that the concentrations of the individual functional molecules in such a prebiotic soup are arguably so small as to be negligibly different from zero on a planet-wide scale.

    By many orders of magnitude, we don’t get to even one molecule each of the required polymers per planet, much less bringing them together in the required proximity for them to work together as the molecular machinery of life. The linked chapter gives the details. More modern analyses [e.g. Trevors and Abel, here and here], however, tend to speak directly in terms of information and probabilities rather than the more arcane world of classical and statistical thermodynamics, so let us now return to that focus; in particular addressing information in its functional sense, as the third step in this preliminary analysis. >>

    II: Appendix 1:

    >> Let us reflect on a few remarks on the link from thermodynamics to information:

    1] TMLO: In 1984, this well-received work provided the breakthrough critical review on the origin of life that led to the modern design school of thought in science. The three online chapters, as just linked, should be carefully read to understand why design thinkers think that the origin of FSCI in biology is a significant and unmet challenge to neo-darwinian thought. (Cf also Klyce’s relatively serious and balanced assessment, from a panspermia advocate. Sewell’s remarks here are also worth reading. So is Sarfati’s discussion of Dawkins’ Mt Improbable.)

    2] But open systems can increase their order: This is the “standard” dismissal argument on thermodynamics, but it is both fallacious and often resorted to by those who should know better. My own note on why this argument should be abandoned is:

    a] Clausius is the founder of the 2nd law, and the first standard example of an isolated system — one that allows neither energy nor matter to flow in or out — is instructive, given the “closed” subsystems [i.e. allowing energy to pass in or out] in it. Pardon the substitute for a real diagram, for now:

    Isol System:

    | | (A, at Thot) –> d’Q, heat –> (B, at T cold) | |

    b] Now, we introduce entropy change dS >/= d’Q/T . . . “Eqn” A.1

    c] So, dSa >/= -d’Q/Th, and dSb >/= +d’Q/Tc, where Th > Tc

    d] That is, for system, dStot >/= dSa + dSb >/= 0, as Th > Tc . . . “Eqn” A.2

    e] But, observe: the subsystems A and B are open to energy inflows and outflows, and the entropy of B RISES DUE TO THE IMPORTATION OF RAW ENERGY.

    f] The key point is that when raw energy enters a body, it tends to make its entropy rise. This can be envisioned on a simple model of a gas-filled box with piston-ends at the left and the right:

    =================================
    ||::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::||
    ||::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::||===
    ||::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::||
    =================================

    1: Consider a box as above, filled with tiny perfectly hard marbles [so collisions will be elastic], scattered similar to a raisin-filled Christmas pudding (pardon how the textual elements give the impression of a regular grid, think of them as scattered more or less hap-hazardly as would happen in a cake).

    2: Now, let the marbles all be at rest to begin with.

    3: Then, imagine that a layer of them up against the leftmost wall were given a sudden, quite, quite hard push to the right [the left and right ends are pistons].

    4: Simply on Newtonian physics, the moving balls would begin to collide with the marbles to their right, and in this model perfectly elastically. So, as they hit, the other marbles would be set in motion in succession. A wave of motion would begin, rippling from left to right

    5:As the glancing angles on collision will vary at random, the marbles hit and the original marbles would soon begin to bounce in all sorts of directions. Then, they would also deflect off the walls, bouncing back into the body of the box and other marbles, causing the motion to continue indefinitely.

    6: Soon, the marbles will be continually moving in all sorts of directions, with varying speeds, forming what is called the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, a bell-shaped curve.

    7: And, this pattern would emerge independent of the specific initial arrantgement or how we impart motion to it, i.e. this is an attractor in the phase space: once the marbles are set in motion somehow, and move around and interact, they will soon enough settle into the M-B pattern. E.g. the same would happen if a small charge of explosive were set off in the middle of the box, pushing our the balls there into the rest, and so on. And once the M-B pattern sets in, it will strongly tend to continue. (That is, the process is ergodic.)

    8: A pressure would be exerted on the walls of the box by the average force per unit area from collisions of marbles bouncing off the walls, and this would be increased by pushing in the left or right walls (which would do work to push in against the pressure, naturally increasing the speed of the marbles just like a ball has its speed increased when it is hit by a bat going the other way, whether cricket or baseball). Pressure rises, if volume goes down due to compression. (Also, volume of a gas body is not fixed.)

    9: Temperatureemerges as a measure of the average random kinetic energy of the marbles in any given direction, left, right, to us or away from us. Compressing the model gas does work on it, so the internal energy rises, as the average random kinetic energy per degree of freedom rises. Compression will tend to raise temperature. (We could actually deduce the classical — empirical — P, V, T gas laws [and variants] from this sort of model.)

    10: Thus, from the implications of classical, Newtonian physics, we soon see the hard little marbles moving at random, and how that randomness gives rise to gas-like behaviour. It also shows how there is a natural tendency for systems to move from more orderly to more disorderly states, i.e. we see the outlines of the second law of thermodynamics.

    11: Is the motion really random? First, we define randomness in the relevant sense:

    In probability and statistics, a random process is a repeating process whose outcomes follow no describable deterministic pattern, but follow a probability distribution, such that the relative probability of the occurrence of each outcome can be approximated or calculated. For example, the rolling of a fair six-sided die in neutral conditions may be said to produce random results, because one cannot know, before a roll, what number will show up. However, the probability of rolling any one of the six rollable numbers can be calculated.

    12: This can be seen by the extension of the thought experiment of imagining a large collection of more or less identically set up boxes, each given the same push at the same time, as closely as we can make it. At first, the marbles in the boxes will behave very much alike, but soon, they will begin to diverge as to path. The same overall pattern of M-B statistics will happen, but each box will soon be going its own way. That is, the distribution pattern is the same but the specific behaviour in each case will be dramatically different.

    13: Q: Why?

    14: A: This is because tiny, tiny differences between the boxes, and the differences in the vibrating atoms in the walls and pistons, as well as tiny irregularites too small to notice in the walls and pistons will make small differences in initial and intervening states — perfectly smooth boxes and pistons are an unattainable ideal. Since the system is extremely nonlinear, such small differences will be amplified, making the behaviour diverge as time unfolds. A chaotic system is not predictable in the long term. So, while we can deduce a probabilistic distribution, we cannot predict the behaviour in detail, across time. Laplace’s demon who hoped to predict the future of the universe from the covering laws and the initial conditions, is out of a job.

    15: To see diffusion in action, imagine that at the beginning, the balls in the right half were red, and those in the left half were black. After a little while, as they bounce and move, the balls would naturally mix up, and it would be very unlikely indeed — through logically possible — for them to spontaneously un-mix, as the number of possible combinations of position, speed and direction where the balls are mixed up is vastly more than those where they are all red to the right, all alack to the left or something similar.

    (This can be calculated, by breaking the box up into tiny little cells such that they would have at most one ball in them, and we can analyse each cell on occupancy, colour, location, speed and direction of motion. thus, we have defined a phase or state space, going beyond a mere configuration space that just looks at locations.)

    16: So, from the orderly arrangement of laws and patterns of initial motion, we see how randomness emerges through the sensitive dependence of the behaviour on initial and intervening conditions. There would be no specific, traceable deterministic pattern that one could follow or predict for the behaviour of the marbles, through we could work out an overall statistical distribution, and could identify overall parameters such as volume, pressure and temperature.

    17: For Osmosis, let us imagine that the balls are of different size, and that we have two neighbouring boxes with a porous wall between them; but only the smaller marbles can pass through the holes. If the smaller marbles were initially on say the left side, soon, they would begin to pass through to the right, until they were evenly distributed, so that on average as many small balls would pass left as were passing right, i.e., we see dynamic equilibrium. [this extends to evaporation and the vapour pressure of a liquid, once we add in that the balls have a short-range attraction that at even shorter ranges turns into a sharp repulsion, i.e they are hard.]

    18: For a solid, imagine that the balls in the original box are now connected through springs in a cubical grid. The initial push will now set the balls to vibrating back and forth, and the same pattern of distributed vibrations will emerge, as one ball pulls on its neigbours in the 3-D array. (For a liquid, allow about 3% of holes in the grid, aned let the balls slide over one another, making nes connextions, some of them distorted. The fixed volume but inability to keep a shape that defines a liquid will emerge. The push on the liquid will have much the same effect as for the solid, except that it will also lead to flows.)

    19: Randomness is thus credibly real, and naturally results from work on or energy injected into a body composed of microparticles, even in a classical Newtonian world; whether it is gas, solid or liquid. Raw injection of energy into a body tends to increase its disorder, and this is typically expressed in its temperature rising.

    20: Quantum theory adds to the picture, but the above is enough to model a lot of what we see as we look at bulk and transport properties of collections of micro-particles.

    21: Indeed, even viscosity comes out naturally, as . . . if there are are boxes stacked top and bottom that are sliding left or right relative to one another, and suddenly the intervening walls are removed, the gas-balls would tend to diffuse up and down from one stream tube to another, so their drift verlocities will tend to even out, The slower moving stream tubes exert a dragging effect on the faster moving ones.

    22: And many other phenomena can be similarly explained and applied, based on laws and processes that we can test and validate, and their consequences in simplified but relevant models of the real world.

    23: When we see such a close match, especially when quantum principles are added in, it gives us high confidence that we are looking at a map of reality. Not the reality itself, but a useful map. And, that map tells us that thanks to sensitive dependence on initial conditions, randomness will be a natural part of the micro-world, and that when energy is added to a body its randomness tends to increase, i.e we see the principle of entropy, and why simply opening up a body to receive energy is not going to answer to the emergence of funcitonal internal organisation.

    24: For, organised states will be deeply isolated in the set of possible configurations. Indeed, if we put a measure of possible configurations in terms of say binary digits, bits, if we have 1,000 two-state elements there are already 1.07*10^301 possible configs. The whole observed universe searching at one state per Planck time, could not go through enough states of its 10^80 or so atoms, across its thermodynamically credible lifespan — about 50 mn times the 13.7 BY said to have elapsed form the big bang — to go through more than about 10^150 states. That is, the whole cosmos could not search more than a negligible fraction of the space. The hay stack could be positively riddled with needles, but at that rate we have not had any serious search at all..

    25: That is, there is a dominant distribution, not a detailed plan a la Laplace’s (finite) Demon who could predict the long term path of the world on its initial conditions and sufficient calculating power and time.

    26: But equally, since short term interventions that are subtle can have significant effects, there is room for the intelligent and sophisticated intervention; e.g. through a Maxwell’s Demon who can spot faster moving and slower moving molecules and open/shut a shutter to set one side hotter and the other colder in a partitioned box. Providing he has to take active steps to learn which molecules are moving faster/slower in the desired direction, Brillouin showed that he will be within the second law of thermodynamics.

    . . . So, plainly, for the injection of energy to instead do predictably and consistently do something useful, it needs to be coupled to an energy conversion device.

    g] When such energy conversion devices, as in the cell, exhibit FSCI, the question of their origin becomes material, and in that context, their spontaneous origin is strictly logically possible but — from the above — negligibly different from zero probability on the gamut of the observed cosmos. (And, kindly note: the cell is an energy importer with an internal energy converter. That is, the appropriate entity in the model is B and onward B’ below. Presumably as well, the prebiotic soup would have been energy importing, and so materialistic chemical evolutionary scenarios therefore have the challenge to credibly account for the origin of the FSCI-rich energy converting mechanisms in the cell relative to Monod’s “chance + necessity” [cf also Plato’s remarks] only.)

    h] Now, as just mentioned, certain bodies have in them energy conversion devices: they COUPLE input energy to subsystems that harvest some of the energy to do work, exhausting sufficient waste energy to a heat sink that the overall entropy of the system is increased. Illustratively, for heat engines — and (in light of exchanges with email correspondents circa March 2008) let us note: a good slice of classical thermodynamics arose in the context of studying, idealising and generalising from steam engines [which exhibit organised, functional complexity, i.e FSCI; they are of course artifacts of intelligent design and also exhibit step-by-step problem-solving processes (even including “do-always” looping!)]:

    | | (A, heat source: Th): d’Qi –> (B’, heat engine, Te): –>

    d’W [work done on say D] + d’Qo –> (C, sink at Tc) | |

    i] A’s entropy: dSa >/= – d’Qi/Th

    j] C’s entropy: dSc >/= + d’Qo/Tc

    k] The rise in entropy in B, C and in the object on which the work is done, D, say, compensates for that lost from A. The second law — unsurprisingly, given the studies on steam engines that lie at its roots — holds for heat engines.

    l] However for B since it now couples energy into work and exhausts waste heat, does not necessarily undergo a rise in entropy having imported d’Qi. [The problem is to explain the origin of the heat engine — or more generally, energy converter — that does this, if it exhibits FSCI.]

    m] There is also a material difference between the sort of heat engine [an instance of the energy conversion device mentioned] that forms spontaneously as in a hurricane [directly driven by boundary conditions in a convective system on the planetary scale, i.e. an example of order], and the sort of complex, organised, algorithm-implementing energy conversion device found in living cells [the DNA-RNA-Ribosome-Enzyme system, which exhibits massive FSCI].

    n] In short, the decisive problem is the [im]plausibility of the ORIGIN of such a FSCI-based energy converter through causal mechanisms traceable only to chance conditions and undirected [non-purposive] natural forces. This problem yields a conundrum for chem evo scenarios, such that inference to agency as the probable cause of such FSCI — on the direct import of the many cases where we do directly know the causal story of FSCI — becomes the better explanation. As TBO say, in bridging from a survey of the basic thermodynamics of living systems in CH 7, to that more focussed discussion in ch’s 8 – 9:

    While the maintenance of living systems is easily rationalized in terms of thermodynamics, the origin of such living systems is quite another matter. Though the earth is open to energy flow from the sun, the means of converting this energy into the necessary work to build up living systems from simple precursors remains at present unspecified (see equation 7-17). The “evolution” from biomonomers of to fully functioning cells is the issue. Can one make the incredible jump in energy and organization from raw material and raw energy, apart from some means of directing the energy flow through the system? In Chapters 8 and 9 we will consider this question, limiting our discussion to two small but crucial steps in the proposed evolutionary scheme namely, the formation of protein and DNA from their precursors.

    It is widely agreed that both protein and DNA are essential for living systems and indispensable components of every living cell today.11 Yet they are only produced by living cells. Both types of molecules are much more energy and information rich than the biomonomers from which they form. Can one reasonably predict their occurrence given the necessary biomonomers and an energy source? Has this been verified experimentally? These questions will be considered . . . [Bold emphasis added. Cf summary in the peer-reviewed journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, “Thermodynamics and the Origin of Life,” in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 40 (June 1988): 72-83, pardon the poor quality of the scan. NB:as the journal’s online issues will show, this is not necessarily a “friendly audience.”]

    3] So far we have worked out of a more or less classical view of the subject. But, to explore such a question further, we need to look more deeply at the microscopic level. Happily, there is a link from macroscopic thermodynamic concepts to the microscopic, molecular view of matter, as worked out by Boltzmann and others, leading to the key equation:

    s = k ln W . . . Eqn.A.3

    That is, entropy of a specified macrostate [in effect, macroscopic description or specification] is a constant times a log measure of the number of ways matter and energy can be distributed at the micro-level consistent with that state [i.e. the number of associated microstates; aka “the statistical weight of the macrostate,” aka “thermodynamic probability”]. The point is, that there are as a rule a great many ways for energy and matter to be arranged at micro level relative to a given observable macro-state. That is, there is a “loss of information” issue here on going from specific microstate to a macro-level description, with which many microstates may be equally compatible. Thence, we can see that if we do not know the microstates specifically enough, we have to more or less treat the micro-distributions of matter and energy as random, leading to acting as though they are disordered. Or, as Leon Brillouin, one of the foundational workers in modern information theory, put it in his 1962 Science and Information Theory, Second Edition:

    How is it possible to formulate a scientific theory of information? The first requirement is to start from a precise definition. . . . . We consider a problem involving a certain number of possible answers, if we have no special information on the actual situation. When we happen to be in possession of some information on the problem, the number of possible answers is reduced, and complete information may even leave us with only one possible answer. Information is a function of the ratio of the number of possible answers before and after, and we choose a logarithmic law in order to insure additivity of the information contained in independent situations [as seen above in the main body, section A] . . . .

    Physics enters the picture when we discover a remarkable likeness between information and entropy. This similarity was noticed long ago by L. Szilard, in an old paper of 1929, which was the forerunner of the present theory. In this paper, Szilard was really pioneering in the unknown territory which we are now exploring in all directions. He investigated the problem of Maxwell’s demon, and this is one of the important subjects discussed in this book. The connection between information and entropy was rediscovered by C. Shannon in a different class of problems, and we devote many chapters to this comparison. We prove that information must be considered as a negative term in the entropy of a system; in short, information is negentropy. The entropy of a physical system has often been described as a measure of randomness in the structure of the system. We can now state this result in a slightly different way:

    Every physical system is incompletely defined. We only know the values of some macroscopic variables, and we are unable to specify the exact positions and velocities of all the molecules contained in a system. We have only scanty, partial information on the system, and most of the information on the detailed structure is missing. Entropy measures the lack of information; it gives us the total amount of missing information on the ultramicroscopic structure of the system.

    This point of view is defined as the negentropy principle of information [added links: cf. explanation here and “onward” discussion here — noting on the brief, dismissive critique of Brillouin there, that you never get away from the need to provide information — there is “no free lunch,” as Dembski has pointed out ; ->) ], and it leads directly to a generalization of the second principle of thermodynamics, since entropy and information must, be discussed together and cannot be treated separately. This negentropy principle of information will be justified by a variety of examples ranging from theoretical physics to everyday life. The essential point is to show that any observation or experiment made on a physical system automatically results in an increase of the entropy of the laboratory. It is then possible to compare the loss of negentropy (increase of entropy) with the amount of information obtained. The efficiency of an experiment can be defined as the ratio of information obtained to the associated increase in entropy. This efficiency is always smaller than unity, according to the generalized Carnot principle. Examples show that the efficiency can be nearly unity in some special examples, but may also be extremely low in other cases.

    This line of discussion is very useful in a comparison of fundamental experiments used in science, more particularly in physics. It leads to a new investigation of the efficiency of different methods of observation, as well as their accuracy and reliability . . . . [From an online excerpt of the Dover Reprint edition, here. Emphases, links and bracketed comment added.]

    4] Yavorski and Pinski, in the textbook Physics, Vol I [MIR, USSR, 1974, pp. 279 ff.], summarise the key implication of the macro-state and micro-state view well: as we consider a simple model of diffusion, let us think of ten white and ten black balls in two rows in a container. There is of course but one way in which there are ten whites in the top row; the balls of any one colour being for our purposes identical. But on shuffling, there are 63,504 ways to arrange five each of black and white balls in the two rows, and 6-4 distributions may occur in two ways, each with 44,100 alternatives. So, if we for the moment see the set of balls as circulating among the various different possible arrangements at random, and spending about the same time in each possible state on average, the time the system spends in any given state will be proportionate to the relative number of ways that state may be achieved. Immediately, we see that the system will gravitate towards the cluster of more evenly distributed states. In short, we have just seen that there is a natural trend of change at random, towards the more thermodynamically probable macrostates, i.e the ones with higher statistical weights. So “[b]y comparing the [thermodynamic] probabilities of two states of a thermodynamic system, we can establish at once the direction of the process that is [spontaneously] feasible in the given system. It will correspond to a transition from a less probable to a more probable state.” [p. 284.] This is in effect the statistical form of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Thus, too, the behaviour of the Clausius isolated system above is readily understood: importing d’Q of random molecular energy so far increases the number of ways energy can be distributed at micro-scale in B, that the resulting rise in B’s entropy swamps the fall in A’s entropy. Moreover, given that FSCI-rich micro-arrangements are relatively rare in the set of possible arrangements, we can also see why it is hard to account for the origin of such states by spontaneous processes in the scope of the observable universe. (Of course, since it is as a rule very inconvenient to work in terms of statistical weights of macrostates [i.e W], we instead move to entropy, through s = k ln W. Part of how this is done can be seen by imagining a system in which there are W ways accessible, and imagining a partition into parts 1 and 2. W = W1*W2, as for each arrangement in 1 all accessible arrangements in 2 are possible and vice versa, but it is far more convenient to have an additive measure, i.e we need to go to logs. The constant of proportionality, k, is the famous Boltzmann constant and is in effect the universal gas constant, R, on a per molecule basis, i.e we divide R by the Avogadro Number, NA, to get: k = R/NA. The two approaches to entropy, by Clausius, and Boltzmann, of course, correspond. In real-world systems of any significant scale, the relative statistical weights are usually so disproportionate, that the classical observation that entropy naturally tends to increase, is readily apparent.)

    5] The above sort of thinking has also led to the rise of a school of thought in Physics — note, much spoken against in some quarters, but I think they clearly have a point — that ties information and thermodynamics together. Robertson presents their case; in summary:

    . . . It has long been recognized that the assignment of probabilities to a set represents information, and that some probability sets represent more information than others . . . if one of the probabilities say p2 is unity and therefore the others are zero, then we know that the outcome of the experiment . . . will give [event] y2. Thus we have complete information . . . if we have no basis . . . for believing that event yi is more or less likely than any other [we] have the least possible information about the outcome of the experiment . . . . A remarkably simple and clear analysis by Shannon [1948] has provided us with a quantitative measure of the uncertainty, or missing pertinent information, inherent in a set of probabilities [NB: i.e. a probability should be seen as, in part, an index of ignorance] . . . .

    [deriving informational entropy, cf. discussions here, here, here, here and here; also Sarfati’s discussion of debates and open systems here; the debate here is eye-opening on rhetorical tactics used to cloud this and related issues . . . ]

    S({pi}) = – C [SUM over i] pi*ln pi, [. . . “my” Eqn A.4]

    [where [SUM over i] pi = 1, and we can define also parameters alpha and beta such that: (1) pi = e^-[alpha + beta*yi]; (2) exp [alpha] = [SUM over i](exp – beta*yi) = Z [Z being in effect the partition function across microstates, the “Holy Grail” of statistical thermodynamics]. . . .[pp.3 – 6]

    S, called the information entropy, . . . correspond[s] to the thermodynamic entropy, with C = k, the Boltzmann constant, and yi an energy level, usually ei, while [BETA] becomes 1/kT, with T the thermodynamic temperature . . . A thermodynamic system is characterized by a microscopic structure that is not observed in detail . . . We attempt to develop a theoretical description of the macroscopic properties in terms of its underlying microscopic properties, which are not precisely known. We attempt to assign probabilities to the various microscopic states . . . based on a few . . . macroscopic observations that can be related to averages of microscopic parameters. Evidently the problem that we attempt to solve in statistical thermophysics is exactly the one just treated in terms of information theory. It should not be surprising, then, that the uncertainty of information theory becomes a thermodynamic variable when used in proper context [p. 7] . . . .

    Jayne’s [summary rebuttal to a typical objection] is “. . . The entropy of a thermodynamic system is a measure of the degree of ignorance of a person whose sole knowledge about its microstate consists of the values of the macroscopic quantities . . . which define its thermodynamic state. This is a perfectly ‘objective’ quantity . . . it is a function of [those variables] and does not depend on anybody’s personality. There is no reason why it cannot be measured in the laboratory.” . . . . [p. 36.]

    [Robertson, Statistical Thermophysics, Prentice Hall, 1993. (NB: Sorry for the math and the use of text for symbolism. However, it should be clear enough that Roberson first summarises how Shannon derived his informational entropy [though Robertson uses s rather than the usual H for that information theory variable, average information per symbol], then ties it to entropy in the thermodynamic sense using another relation that is tied to the Boltzmann relationship above. This context gives us a basis for looking at the issues that surface in prebiotic soup or similar models as we try to move from relatively easy to form monomers to the more energy- and information- rich, far more complex biofunctional molecules.)] >>

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Entropy, then, can be understood in terms of avg missing info to specify microstate given macrostate defined by lab scale parameters that attach to clusters of microscopic states in a phase space. From this, we may see how 2LOT is inherently informational and probabilistic in character. This renders attempts to wall off a “traditional” sense of entropy and of the 2nd law from information and organisation issues. Where also, the question of creating FSCO/I rich energy converters by simply opening up highly contingent systems to have raw energy flowing in falls apart for much the same reason as Sewell highlighted.

    KF

  170. 170
    DNA_Jock says:

    kf,

    So you agree that the “informational” entropy is small compared with the “thermodynamic” entropy.

    Cool. That’s really the point.

    Next up, chemistry.

  171. 171
    kairosfocus says:

    D, did you appreciate that entropy is inherently informational — as say G N Lewis pointed out in 1930? That is what is pivotal, as it means mere shuffling across a config space will not plausibly give rise spontaneously to organisation beyond a reasonable threshold of complexity. FSCO/I stares at 500 – 1,000 bits of info which swamps the atomic-temporal resources of sol system and observed cosmos respectively. Where, the chemistry of chaining of D/RNA and AAs simply does not constrain the information-bearing side chains that are “perpendicular.” similar to how many Swiss Army Knife attachments have the same spring-mechanism. No, blind Chemistry does not adequately account for functionally specific complex interactive organisation and associated information. KF

  172. 172
    DNA_Jock says:

    kf,
    Based on the equations that you provided above, how much water would I need to melt to account for the informational content of the human genome?
    I’ll accept answers that are off by six orders of magnitude, but you will have to show your calculations.

  173. 173
    Joe says:

    For all of this blah, blah, blah and the evos still can’t come up with a methodology to test the claims of their position.

    They can’t post unguided evolution’s entailments because there aren’t any. The same goes for their OoL. But that is what happens when one’s position is nothing more than “stuff happens and some stuff sticks around”.

    So even if the 2LoT is not a threat to their claims, everything else is. 😉

  174. 174
    kairosfocus says:

    D, irrelevant actually, as the organisation separately needs to be accounted for as specifying states — recall a functionally specific state is macro-observable. There is a question of energy coupling. Entropy, recall is a state function and is additive, not all clumped states are equal — work of clumping and work of functional organisation are separable and highlight this. I suggest you read Thaxton et al TMLO chs 7 – 9 to see what I am pointing out. Just because you are at [macro-]molecular scales does not move these issues off the table. Hence the force of my nanobots and microjets thought exer4cise in App A my always linked, which also has the ds clump vs ds organised issue. KF

  175. 175
    DNA_Jock says:

    kf,

    Sooooo, no calculations, huh?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2eUopy9sd8

  176. 176
    Zachriel says:

    Box: It seems that all three have conceded the obvious fact that – like gravity poses an obstacle to things that want to go up – the 2nd law poses an obstacle to organization.

    There is law concerning the gravitational force. There is no law that says things can’t go up.

    There is a law that says the overall entropy of a closed, isolated system will increase over time. There is no law that says the entropy of part of the system can’t decrease over time.

    Box: Materialism does not accommodate such a force.

    Work and energy, not force. And work is available in non-organic systems.

    Box: systems go towards probability, while unguided evolution is improbability

    Overall entropy increases, but parts of a system can decrease in entropy.

    Eric Anderson: Even in its conventional narrow sense, they recognize that the 2nd Law presents a significant hurdle to the naturalistic abiogenesis story and that it is a legitimate scientific question to ask how that hurdle could be overcome.

    Any solution for abiogenesis has to be consistent with the 2nd law, of course.

    Eric Anderson: 1. Do you or do you not acknowledge (as abiogenesis researchers do) that the constraints of the 2nd Law are relevant to the abiogenesis of a living organism under purely natural conditions?

    Of course. All physical processes have to be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: 2. If so, is it legitimate for someone to ask what kinds of conditions must exist and what principles might need to be implemented in order to overcome these constraints?

    Of course. If someone proposes a theory of abiogenesis that is not consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then that’s a significant problem for the theory. But that’s the real 2nd law of thermodynamics, not the made-up one.

  177. 177
    keith s says:

    Eric #167,

    OOL hypotheses are constrained by the second law. Any OOL hypothesis that violates the second law is a non-starter.

    They are also constrained by the first law. Any OOL hypothesis that violates the conservation of energy is a non-starter.

    They are also constrained by the law of conservation of charge. Any proposed OOL hypothesis that doesn’t conserve charge is a non-starter.

    And so on, for the other laws of physics.

    Is the law of conservation of charge a problem for OOL? No, because no one is proposing OOL hypotheses that violate the law of conservation of charge. Does the law of conservation of charge have to be “held at bay” in order for OOL to be viable? No. It remains in full force, like all the other laws of physics.

    Is the first law a problem for OOL? No, because no one is proposing OOL hypotheses that violate the conservation of energy. Does the first law have to be “held at bay” in order for OOL to be viable? No. It remains in full force, all the time.

    Is the second law a problem for OOL? No. No one is proposing OOL hypotheses that violate the second law. Must the second law be “held at bay” for OOL to be viable? Of course not.

    As much as you’d like to believe otherwise, the second law is a problem neither for OOL nor for evolution. It’s time to accept that and move on.

  178. 178
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    Overall entropy increases, but parts of a system can decrease in entropy.

    Irrelevant. Your “decreases in entropy” have nothing to do with organization. In my example of “car-in-the-wild” (#164) car’s organization always decreases. Tell me where are your “decreases in entropy” making car’s organization increase.

  179. 179
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Tell me where are your “decreases in entropy” making car’s organization increases.

    Both the manufacture of the car, and its eventually rusting away, result in an *increase* in overall thermodynamic entropy.

  180. 180
    Box says:

    Keith: Is the second law a problem for OOL? No one is proposing OOL hypotheses that violate the second law.

    Indeed no one. Why mention it at all?

    Must the second law be “balanced” or “overcome” for OOL to be viable? Of course.
    Just as with gravitation and flying a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction” is necessary to explain the organizational order we see.

  181. 181
    keith s says:

    Box,

    Must the second law be “balanced” or “overcome” for OOL to be viable? Of course.

    Absolutely not. The second law, and the law of gravity, cannot be overcome. They’re laws, after all.

    Think about it.

  182. 182
    keith s says:

    Both Eric and KF have expressed skepticism regarding the compensation argument, so this comment from 2013 is worth reposting:

    CS3,

    The compensation argument is just a restatement of the entropy equation for open systems, which in turn is a direct consequence of the second law. When Granville argues against the compensation argument, he is unknowingly arguing against the second law. If you want to join him in his folly, be my guest.

    It’s quite funny, actually. Granville sets out to show that evolution violates the second law, but he ends up inadvertently contradicting the second law himself!

    Besides incorrectly disputing the compensation argument, Granville also mangles his statement of it:

    Anyone who has made such an argument is familiar with the standard reply: the Earth is not an isolated system, it receives energy from the sun, and entropy can decrease in a non-isolated system, as long as it is “compensated” somehow by a comparable or greater increase outside the system.

    That is wrong, of course. The compensation argument, being a restatement of the entropy equation for open systems, requires a net export of entropy across the boundary of the system. An arbitrary increase in entropy in some arbitrary location outside the system won’t suffice.

    The entropy equation for an open system merely says that if the entropy of an open system decreases by a certain amount, then the net entropy exported from the system exceeds the entropy produced within the system itself by the same amount. That’s it.

    Granville is unhappy that it doesn’t do more than this. His frustration is palpable:

    One can still argue that it only seems extremely improbable, but really isn’t, that under the right conditions, the influx of stellar energy into a planet could cause atoms to rearrange themselves into computers and laser printers and the Internet.

    But one would think that at least this would be considered an open question, and those who argue that it really is extremely improbable, and thus contrary to the basic principle underlying the second law of thermodynamics, would be given a measure of respect, and taken seriously by their colleagues, but we aren’t.

    He is effectively saying that the compensation argument allows for entropy reductions on Earth, and evolution is an example of an entropy reduction; but he thinks evolution is improbable, so the compensation argument must be invalid. A total non-sequitur.

    Granville wants the second law to rule out evolution, but all it does is rule out violations of the second law. His skepticism about sunlight producing computers over the long haul is just your standard ID skepticism about evolution. The second law has nothing to do with it, because the second law is not violated by it.

  183. 183
    niwrad says:

    Me:

    Tell me where are your “decreases in entropy” making car’s organization increases.

    Zachriel:

    Both the manufacture of the car, and its eventually rusting away, result in an *increase* in overall thermodynamic entropy.

    Non-answer. I was speaking of in-the-wild spontaneous “decreases in entropy” and you reply with human interventions.

  184. 184
    Box says:

    Keith:

    Absolutely not. The second law, and the law of gravity, cannot be overcome. They’re laws, after all.

    Think about it.

    I have thought about it:

    Suppose there are two forces: A and B; and an object: C.

    A ‘wants’ C to go down. B wants C to go up. A is a stronger force than B – in this context.
    Question: what will happen?

    If one force ‘wins’ what happened to the other force? Is it “violated”, “balanced”, “overcome”. “over-powered” or something else?
    Let me know which term is acceptable for you, because things are getting boring.

  185. 185
    kairosfocus says:

    D,

    did you look at my always linked app a and the onward discussion in Chs 7 – 9 of TMLO? There are more than enough first level calcs there.

    Besides, the pivotal issue is that there is a clear informational foundation behind entropy and linked phenomena, linked to statistics of microstates. From that we move to the pivotal issue as s is additive. That issue is to account for organisation and its linked information.

    The mere influx of raw energy is not sufficient to address this, in fact — and that is where all this came in — it will increase the number of ways energy and mass can be arranged at micro level, leading to increased entropy due to relative weights of clusters of microstates.

    That is already evident from Clausius’ first context for deducing the 2nd law as we look at dQ moving between “closed” entities A and B due to temp differences. A warmed, lightning hit pond or the like or a deep sea volcano vent etc are energy importing. Energy flux (even with inflows and outflows) needs to be coupled to organised frameworks for it to generate useful constructive work . . . work that is required for the sort of organisation that is relevant to cell based life systems, and you cannot get away with hoping that diffusion etc will do the work for free because of the issue of weights of clusters of microstates.

    Hence this thought exercise.

    And in particular, when relevant frameworks are FSCO/I rich, hoping that they can be accounted for on the equivalent of diffusion etc is again confronted by the needle in haystack search challenge in relevant config spaces. Just 500 bits worth of organisation swamps out the atomic and temporal resources of our sol system. 10^57 atoms, 10^17 s and 10^14 configs per second (a fast chem rxn rate) for the config space of 500 bits, will sample as one straw to a cubical haystack comparably thick as our galactic disk, which patently will fail at searches for narrow clusters of organised states. Which is exactly what FSCO/I is about.

    Go up to 1,000 bits, the atomic-temporal resources of the observed cosmos and the straw to stack ratio requires a cubical stack that would be so large that our observed cosmos would be a small blob by comparison.

    Think here, proteins, D/RNA sequences, the protein synthesis system. Well beyond 125 bytes of organised complexity.

    Functionally specific, complex, organised nano-molecular technologies.

    Oh that warm pond is an open system does not begin to address the challenge. It’s a pat answer cop out by those who should know a lot better.

    KF

    PS: Recall, work is forced, ordered motion. To get constructive work, the forced motion and what is moved have to be organised relevant to forming appropriate functionallly specific patterns, as we are familiar with from say building a house.

  186. 186
    niwrad says:

    Keith

    Is the second law a problem for OOL? No one is proposing OOL hypotheses that violate the second law.

    No one? *All* naturalistic-OOL evolutionist proponents do propose hypotheses of spontaneous organization that violate the second law because nature spontaneously goes towards disorganization.

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, cf 185 above i/l/o 169 above, on why compensation arguments are — in sharp short words — pat answer cop outs. KF

  188. 188
    DNA_Jock says:

    Kf,

    I am familiar with the equations, thank you.

    I was asking in order to see if you were willing to use them to calculate the thermal equivalent (expressed in terms of melting water) of the information content of the human genome. It’s a simple application of Landauer, but you seem unwilling or unable to actually do the calculation.

    It’s a FIASCO
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2eUopy9sd8

  189. 189
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: I was speaking of in-the-wild spontaneous “decreases in entropy” and you reply with human interventions.

    The manufacture of the car results in an *increase* in overall entropy. The local decrease in entropy, primarily through the manufacture of the material components of the car, are artificial, so not sure why you are asking about “in-the-wild”.

    niwrad: *All* naturalistic-OOL evolutionist proponents do propose hypotheses of spontaneous organization that violate the second law because nature spontaneously goes towards disorganization.

    Repeating your claim is not an argument. There’s nothing in the 2nd law of thermodynamics that prevents local decreases in thermodynamic entropy. It happens all the time in non-organic nature!

    Which has more thermodynamic entropy; a human brain or a like mass of diamonds?

  190. 190
    keith s says:

    niwrad,

    The second law forbids only uncompensated local decreases in entropy.

    Can you name a single OOL researcher who is proposing such decreases?

  191. 191
    kairosfocus says:

    DNA-J you have resorted to namecalling and evasions of the core issues. That speaks volumes. If you doubt the reali6ty of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information at this stage, I suggest you read this and first ponder the reality of a 6500 C3 fishing reel and its main gear. Then move on to other cases in point. If you will not acknowledge things like that, then your resort to nonsense rhetoric and shool-yard level name-calling is revealing of a fundamentally unserious and unscientific mentality. That is telling, sadly telling. KF

  192. 192
    keith s says:

    Box #184,

    The second law is a physical law, not a force. Forces can be overcome, but physical laws cannot.

  193. 193
    keith s says:

    KF #187,

    As I already explained, if you deny the compensation argument, you are denying the second law itself.

    Not a smart move.

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, any researcher who is appealing to diffusion or the equivalent and linked basic chem kinetics to do the sort of organising work required to compose a metabolic, code using, von Neumann replicator using cell or any significant stage to that is going against the underlying statistical issues that undergird 2LOT. Those issues do not go away by ruling convenient system boundaries and then pretending that energy flows can compensate for requisites of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information. KF

    PS: I draw to the attention of participants and onlookers the closing remarks in effect of Orgel and Shapiro on OOL by spontaneous chemistry etc, which puts the matter in sharp focus by bringing RNA world and the metabolism first school to mutual ruin:

    [[Shapiro:] RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern . . . . [[S]ome writers have presumed that all of life’s building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.

    A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . .

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . .

    Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . .

    [[Orgel:] If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear . . . .

    It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility . . . few would believe that any assembly of minerals on the primitive Earth is likely to have promoted these syntheses in significant yield . . . . Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each of the many steps of [[for instance] the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth [[8], or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface [[6]? . . . Theories of the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy of competing theories: they must stand on their own . . . .

    The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on “if pigs could fly” hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.

  195. 195
    Box says:

    Keith:

    The second law is a physical law, not a force. Forces can be overcome, but physical laws cannot.

    Okay so the “law of gravitation” cannot be overcome, but “gravitational force” can be overcome. No problem here. Finally we are making some progress.
    Similarly the second law cannot be overcome, but “entropic force” can be overcome.

    Which leads to the following rephrasing of my statement:

    Must the 2nd law entropic force be “balanced” or “overcome” for OOL to be viable? Of course.
    Just as with gravitation and flying a “sufficient force working in the opposite direction” is necessary to explain the organizational order we see.

  196. 196
    keith s says:

    KF,

    Allow me to repeat myself:

    If you deny the compensation argument, you are denying the second law itself.

    Not a smart move.

    If you accept the second law, you cannot consistently deny the compensation argument.

  197. 197
    Hangonasec says:

    KF

    H, nope, the electrostatic force absent the organised string of highly specifically sequenced AAs would not result in a stable functional protein.

    Who said anything about protein? Formation of the peptide bond is thermodynamically unfavourable in plausible conditions, and there is no clear source of prebiotic repeatable sequential information (in Crick’s actual sense of the term). I do not favour OoL scenarios that are thermodynamically unfavourable, hence I reject ‘proteins-first’ OoL scenarios. You need to reserve that argument for someone else – someone who actually proposes it.

    One reaction that isn’t thermodynamically unfavourable is the polymerisation of nucleoside triphosphates such as ATP, which I find pretty interesting, though I agree that doesn’t make Life. It does make RNA though, which is a heck of a coincidence. Now, I’m betting someone has a sheaf of links ready to roll to tell me how impossible RNA World is. 🙂

    […]warm little pond […] The blindness to such is one of the most revealing aspects of this whole exchange. KF

    The monotonous insistence that there is only one OoL scenario, and it must involve protein and ‘soup’, is also revealing. OoL chemists are well aware of the second Law, and its immediate demands, not upon ‘organisation’ per se, but upon chemistry.

  198. 198
    Hangonasec says:

    niwrad @164

    Hangonasec #161

    to see the 2nd Law as purely a destructive, disorganising principle is to completely misunderstand it.

    niwrad: If you leave a system in the wild (ex. a car) what will be its destiny? It will increase its organization? or it will decrease its organization? It will decrease its organization. The 2nd law is that. So, it is an organizing or a disorganising principle? I answer the latter. Do you answer the former? well, put your car in the wild…(I prefer to have my car in maintenance).

    A somewhat disappointing response to my @161! You really don’t get it, and there’s me thinking I’d explained it and all! You need to think at the molecular scale. Physics is not scale invariant. Cars are not molecules, and we don’t tend to use their rusting to generate energy. Invoking the rusting of cars in an oxygen-and moisture-rich environment (a thermodynamically favourable reaction), and extending that to ALL applications of the Second Law (ie, all situations where response to force results in the shedding of free energy), leaves me rather speechless!

    Without the second Law, you would not even be able to move. Proteins would spontaneously unfold, DNA strands would part, you and your car would float off into space, and soon be nothing but quarks … it is an organising principle, as well as a destructive one. It keeps matter condensed, because the low-energy (and often superficially ordered) state is more ‘probable’.

  199. 199
    Zachriel says:

    Box: the second law cannot be overcome, but “entropic force” can be overcome.

    The force of gravity can be overcome with some other force. It requires work to raise an object, but it can be kept there with no additional work by putting it on a shelf. With a helicopter, though, it requires constant work to keep the helicopter aloft.

    Similarly, the ‘entropic force’ can be overcome with some other force. It requires work to lower the entropy, but it can be kept there almost indefinitely with no additional work by putting it on a ‘shelf’, such as in a stable crystal. With an organism, though, it requires constant work to keep the organism ‘aloft’.

  200. 200
    niwrad says:

    keith

    If you deny the compensation argument, you are denying the second law itself.

    If your “compensation argument” is that “organization can spontaneously increase here if disorder increases there” is nonsense.

  201. 201
    Box says:

    Hangonasec: Without the second Law, you would not even be able to move.

    There you have one of those clever paradoxical statements about the 2nd law. Luckily I covered this already:

    Box #165: But it can be said that absent any wind sailing is not possible. Or one could say that northern wind “provides energy” for sailboats to go north. And of course many other clever paradoxical statements can be construed.

    However anyone will understand that “wind coming from the north poses an obstacle for things wanting to go north”.

  202. 202
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: “organization can spontaneously increase here if disorder increases there” is nonsense.

    Order can increase, but is not required to do so.

  203. 203
    DNA_Jock says:

    But Box, as Hangonasec has patiently explained to you, “No second law” is analogous to “No wind”.

    As a sailor, I can sail upwind. No wind, and I cannot sail anywhere.

    What you characterize as “clever paradoxical statements” are in fact TRUE, even if they seem ‘paradoxical’ to you.

  204. 204
    niwrad says:

    Hangonasec #198

    You need to think at the molecular scale. Physics is not scale invariant. Cars are not molecules…

    The 2nd law applies to all systems with many atoms. Cars are made of many atoms, organisms are made of many atoms. To both the 2nd law applies. As cars don’t self-organize from atoms, the same organisms don’t self-organize, indeed because the 2nd law prescribes the inverse, degradation.

  205. 205
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock,

    DNA_Jock:

    But Box, as Hangonasec has patiently explained to you, “No second law” is analogous to “No wind”.

    In fact I’m the one who did the patient explaining by offering the ‘no-wind-analogy’.

    DNA_Jock:

    As a sailor, I can sail upwind. No wind, and I cannot sail anywhere.

    I said it first. You are just repeating me. Did you notice that I was quoting myself in #201? 🙂

    DNA_Jock:

    What you characterize as “clever paradoxical statements” are in fact TRUE, even if they seem ‘paradoxical’ to you.

    They are true statements and quite clever, but they don’t diminish the DOMINANT TRUTH which everyone will understand: “wind coming from the north poses an obstacle for things wanting to go north”.

  206. 206
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Cars are made of many atoms, organisms are made of many atoms. To both the 2nd law applies. As cars don’t self-organize from atoms, the same organisms don’t self-organize, indeed because the 2nd law prescribes the inverse, degradation.

    Cars are made of many atoms, crystals are made of many atoms. To both the 2nd law applies. As cars don’t self-organize from atoms, crystals don’t self-organize, indeed because the 2nd law prescribes the inverse, degradation.

  207. 207
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    Cars are made of many atoms, crystals are made of many atoms. To both the 2nd law applies. As cars don’t self-organize from atoms, crystals don’t self-organize, indeed because the 2nd law prescribes the inverse, degradation.

    The 2nd law prescribes degradation if there isn’t a law that prescribes patterns. The case of crystals is of this sort: physical/chemical laws prescribe formation of crystals under specific circumstances.

    The case of cars/organisms is fully different because there aren’t physical/chemical laws prescribing their formation.

  208. 208
    keith s says:

    niwrad,

    If your “compensation argument” is that “organization can spontaneously increase here if disorder increases there” is nonsense.

    No, the compensation argument is that entropy can decrease locally provided that there is an equal or greater net export of entropy to the surroundings.

    The two are causally connected; it isn’t that a local decrease in entropy is compensated for by a simultaneous increase of entropy on the other side of the universe.

    ETA: And as I reminded KF:

    If you accept the second law, you cannot consistently deny the compensation argument.

  209. 209
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: The 2nd law prescribes degradation if there isn’t a law that prescribes patterns.

    Nope. The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that the overall entropy increases. There’s nothing in there about except when.

  210. 210
    niwrad says:

    keith

    No, the compensation argument is that entropy can decrease locally provided that there is an equal or greater net export of entropy to the surroundings.

    This “compensation argument” in no way resolves your problem that spontaneous organization is contra the 2nd law.

  211. 211
    Box says:

    Granville Sewell explains Keith’s compensation argument:

    Of course the whole idea of compensation, whether by distant or nearby events, makes no sense logically: an extremely improbable event is not rendered less improbable simply by the occurrence of ‘‘compensating’’ events elsewhere. According to this reasoning, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal—and the door is open. (Or the thermal entropy in the next room is increasing, though I am not sure how fast it has to increase to compensate computer construction!)

  212. 212
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: This “compensation argument” in no way resolves your problem that spontaneous organization is contra the 2nd law.

    The 2nd law of thermodynamics is about thermodynamic disorder, not ‘organization’.

    Box: an extremely improbable event is not rendered less improbable simply by the occurrence of ‘‘compensating’’ events elsewhere.

    Not simply because, but nonetheless, a decrease in entropy in one place has to be compensated for by an increase in entropy elsewhere.

  213. 213
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    Nope. The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that the overall entropy increases. There’s nothing in there about except when.

    Laws that prescribe patterns are not considerable as “exceptions” to the 2nd law because in its statistical sense it states tendency towards probable states, and those patterns are, in those scenarios, the more probable.

  214. 214
    Piotr says:

    The 2nd law prescribes degradation if there isn’t a law that prescribes patterns.

    Which formulation of the 2nd LOT says so? One could make a whole book of naive folk-scientific misconceptions about the 2nd law and entropy.

  215. 215
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    The 2nd law of thermodynamics is about thermodynamic disorder, not ‘organization’.

    Nope. It is about trend to probable, since organization is improbable it is adverse to organization.

  216. 216
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Laws that prescribe patterns are not considerable as “exceptions” to the 2nd law because in its statistical sense it states tendency towards probable states, and those patterns are, in those scenarios, the more probable.

    Crystals are considered less probable states. That’s because they have far fewer available microstates. What is being minimized during crystal formation is the free energy. The overall entropy of the total system increases as the crystal releases heat.

    Order is a bad metaphor. A warm crystal might form from a cold liquid and not lose heat to the environment. It would seem perhaps that the warm crystal is more ordered than the cold liquid, but that’s because you still have to account for the thermal fluctuations when calculating the number of microstates. Organization is a far worse metaphor.

  217. 217
    Box says:

    Zachriel: Order is a bad metaphor.

    Organization Zachriel. Not crystals. Not just simple order. Organization.

  218. 218
    keith s says:

    Box #211,

    I already addressed that in my response to niwrad:

    No, the compensation argument is that entropy can decrease locally provided that there is an equal or greater net export of entropy to the surroundings.

    The two are causally connected; it isn’t that a local decrease in entropy is compensated for by a simultaneous increase of entropy on the other side of the universe.

  219. 219
    keith s says:

    A plea to the second-law “truthers” in this thread: Would it kill you to crack open a reputable thermodynamics textbook or two?

  220. 220
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Organization

    There’s nothing in the 2nd law of thermodynamics about ‘organization’. If you’re talking about some other 2nd law, then you need to state it clearly and provide the empirical support.

  221. 221
    Box says:

    Keith can you provide an example of such local entropy decrease – preferably one that doesn’t involve machines or organisms?

  222. 222
    keith s says:

    Box:

    Keith can you provide an example of such local entropy decrease – preferably one that doesn’t involve machines or organisms?

    Sure. Imagine a puddle of water in front of your house in Minnesota in January. The sun goes down, the temperature drops, and the water freezes. Its entropy has decreased.

  223. 223
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, I think there is a problem for objectors with understanding that there are micro underpinnings to the macro level summary results. To try to sever them is futile, and it is those underpinnings that show that spontaneous origin of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is maximally implausible. And such organisation is simply not comparable to freezing and formation of crystals, etc. Until there is a willingness to face such basic facts and analysis, all we can do is point to the problem. KF

  224. 224
    Piotr says:

    #223,

    You are entitled to your own ideas about “organisation” (it’s another question if your intuitive insights can be formalised and quantified, so that they can be tested). Just don’t pretend that your “functionally specific complex organisation and associated information” technobabble has anything to do with the second law of thermodynamics.

  225. 225
    keith s says:

    KF,

    Until there is a willingness to face such basic facts and analysis, all we can do is point to the problem.

    Actually, you could present a counterargument — if you had one. But you don’t.

  226. 226
    niwrad says:

    Piotr #224

    Just don’t pretend that your “functionally specific complex organisation and associated information” technobabble has anything to do with the second law of thermodynamics.

    kairosfocus is perfectly right, his “technobabble” has a lot to do with the 2nd law, because “technobabble” is improbable and that law says that nature doesn’t make improbable things. Organisms are “technobabble” and their arise cannot be spontaneous, indeed because of the 2nd law.

  227. 227
    niwrad says:

    keith #222

    Imagine a puddle of water in front of your house in Minnesota in January. The sun goes down, the temperature drops, and the water freezes. Its entropy has decreased.

    If you trust in these “entropy decreases” to explain spontaneous organization in nature you are hopeless. There is an abyss between organization and these phenomena. These thermic phenomena are not improbable (they spontaneously happen routinely). Differently, you must consider the 2nd law in probabilistic sense to grasp its trend contra self-organization.

    P.S. Since this topic is very important, likely I will write other posts about (now this thread is in UD second page…). Stay tuned.

  228. 228
    Piotr says:

    #226 niwrad,

    Thank you for your contribution to the growing collection of popular misconceptions about the Second Law:

    The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Nature doesn’t make improbable* things. — Niwrad

    Footnote: *Improbable things = the stuff that nature doesn’t make, according to UD regulars.

    I shall second Keith S’s advice.

  229. 229
    Box says:

    Niwrad:
    Since this topic is very important, likely I will write other posts about (now this thread is in UD second page…). Stay tuned.

    Very good to hear! It’s a very important topic.

    Allow me to suggest a possible approach -since the obfuscation level goes through the roof each time this topic is brought up-: a series of posts that deals with the various objections separately. Objections such as:

    1. The 2nd law is restricted to heat dispersion. (Zachriel).
    2. The 2nd law cannot be violated because it is a law. (Keith)
    3. The 2nd law allows for local entropy decrease, so what is the problem anyway? (Keith, Zachriel and others)
    4. The 2nd law makes organization possible or “you don’t understand the 2nd law”. (DNA-Jock)
    5. Organization is not quantifiable nor testable. (Piotr)
    6. Compensation argument.

    and a few others I forgot.

  230. 230
    niwrad says:

    Box #229

    Allow me to suggest a possible approach -since the obfuscation level goes through the roof each time this topic is brought up-: a series of posts that deals with the various objections separately.

    I fully agree with you. Your approach is the best. Thanks for your suggestions!

    You are right that in this field the degree of obfuscation is maximum. We have seen it indeed in these 200+ comments. I started with a single simple concept, with a minimum of terminology, which all people could understand, and soon the discussion is exploded causing a smoke curtain where all is confused. And they deny systems go towards degradation…!

    Obviously the ID arguments contra ecolutionism are countless, however the one based on the 2nd law is potentially easier to understand than many others. This is one of the reasons it is important.

    Again thank you for your support.

  231. 231
    Box says:

    Niwrad,

    Thank you for considering my suggestion. I’m certainly looking forward to the upcoming series 🙂

    For me the 2nd law is a kind of ‘bonus argument’:
    From time to time I put forward the argument that upward causation cannot explain life (unity), because parts lack overview. Molecules don’t self-organize into man because they lack the overview – and therefor the capability – to do so. Moreover parts lack motivation, information and so forth – all indispensable attributes to get the job done.
    IOW there is no sufficient upward cause for life, hence life is due to downward causation.

    The second law is a bonus – it adds to my simple argument. Not only do parts lack all these things – overview, motivation and so forth -, not only are parts an insufficient cause, but on top of that there is a law – the 2nd law – that steers the parts into the opposite direction of organization (unity). As if things were not already hard enough for the unmotivated blind mindless parts ….

    For me the 2nd law is the deathblow to the infinitesimal possibility that parts/molecules self-organize into man.

  232. 232
    kairosfocus says:

    H,

    Have you noticed that while I refer to Darwin’s pond “soup” as typical, I also refer to comets, deep sea vents, and occasionally moons of gas giants, etc? Please.

    (For more details, before further mischaracterising, kindly note that there is a background note linked from every comment I have ever made at UD, which discusses OOL inter alia.)

    And above, Orgel and Shapiro brought RNA World/broader genes first AND metabolism/ proteins etc first scenarios to mutual ruin. The thermodynamics driving the chem simply is not right and the gap between generic chemicals and correctly sequenced chains to fold proteins or carry correct codes with correct regulatory info and associated execution machinery simply has not been cogently addressed.

    OOL is in deep trouble and is only sustaimed by the prior insistence on origins scenarios consistent with evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat.

    KS

    Again, nope.

    On the contrary, the inextricably linked micro analysis shows that the 2LOT and linked Gibbs free energy thinking etc are rooted in what is reasonable i/l/o relative statistical weights of microstate clusters. That is why for instance unweaving of diffusion by spontaneous micro-processes is so remotely unlikely and outweighed by the dominant pattern of mixing that it becomes empirically vanishingly implausible.

    Likewise, going back to LK Nash’s 1,000 coin array, if a line of coins is tossed, we overwhelmingly expect near 50-50 in no particular functionally specific or simply describable patterns. The Binomial distribution is overwhelmed by the bulk cluster as described. (Echoes of Kolmogorov complexity are intended.)

    If instead we saw the ASCII code for the first 143 characters for this post, we would properly and with empirical certainty infer design. Islands of function are too remotely isolated among the 1.07*10^301 possibilities to be credibly spontaneously found by even using up the atoms of the observed cosmos and the timeline since the usually given date for the big bang initiation.

    As in 10^111 tries if viewed as one straw would be as that to a cubical haystack of possibilities that dwarfs the observed cosmos.

    Next to no credible search. Too much haystack to find isolated needles.

    So, on the logic that directly grounds 2LOT, which is what I have consistently highlighted, FSCO/I is utterly unlikely to be found by spontaneous processes. Open system compensation is only relevant to the same means as we commonly see responsible for text in English or buildings organised from components or fishing reels formed by following exploded view assembly diagrams.

    Namely, that counterflow in area X issuing in constructive work and an outcome exhibiting FSCO/I is due to generalised shaft work coupled to an intelligently directed assembly process that uses energy conversion devices with energy inflows and waste — degraded — energy outflows, typically heat exhausted to some sink or other.

    Cf discussion and diagrams here early in the UD ID foundations series.

    And, the FSCO/I in the assembly instructions and/or the energy converter involved in the X-constructor does not credibly come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity, on the same grounds.

    Empirically,on our observation, such information comes from an intelligent agent and is an empirically reliable sign of such.

    Z, 199:

    See the just above.

    DNA_Jock:

    Ditto.

    Z,

    Crystals form when there are circumstances that limit tendency to disorder sufficiently for electrostatic forces etc to allow nucleation and growth.

    This is irrelevant to formation of highly contingent, aperiodic and information-rich functionally specific complex organisation dependent on interaction of correct correctly arranged and coupled parts.

    Box 211:

    Citing GS:

    Of course the whole idea of compensation, whether by distant or nearby events, makes no sense logically: an extremely improbable event is not rendered less improbable simply by the occurrence of ‘‘compensating’’ events elsewhere. According to this reasoning, the second law does not prevent scrap metal from reorganizing itself into a computer in one room, as long as two computers in the next room are rusting into scrap metal—and the door is open. (Or the thermal entropy in the next room is increasing, though I am not sure how fast it has to increase to compensate computer construction!)

    Prezactly.

    But ideological commitment to a priori evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers blinds until the obvious becomes ever so hard to see much less acknowledge.

    Niw, 213:

    Laws that prescribe patterns are not considerable as “exceptions” to the 2nd law because in its statistical sense it states tendency towards probable states, and those patterns are, in those scenarios, the more probable.

    Well put.

    P, 214:

    I am sorry but my comments above are NOT based on folk misconceptions but the underlying microscopic processes that ground the law.

    I find your cavalier dismissiveness to be snide, ill-informed and frankly disrespectful. I suggest you take time out to rethink your tone and assumptions about those you are dealing with here.

    Let me get back to substance, linked to what is excerpted at 169 above.

    Under given constraints, the overwhelming direction of spontaneous micro changes is towards statistically dominant clusters. And given the relative paucity of atomic and temporal resources in the observed cosmos (or worse our practical subcosmos, the sol system) we cannot but extract a tiny sample of the space of relevant possibilities. So, if done through blind chance and mechanical necessity, whether as a dust or a connected random walk with drift or whatever sampling of the relevant phase space, the probability and statistics tell us the overwhelmingly dominant outcome: the bulk, stack hay not needles scattered within.

    There is a logic backed up by experience behind that old folk image of searching for needles in haystacks.

    Yes, the evo mat OOL hopes demand spontaneous generation of life in ponds, or whatever, but the observational evidence, analysis and growing knowledge base of what is involved in cell based life are ever more rendering such maximally implausible.

    And no, energy and mass inflow to earth do not change this in general, unless such is accompanied by information flows and organisation that would make the picture drastically different.

    As has been noted, life could have been seeded here (though the same issues obtain cross cosmos).

    A molecular nanotech lab could have done it. Who ran the lab would be an interesting onward question.

    The same cause behind an observed cosmos sitting at a narrow operating point of physics and cosmological parameters that enables C-chemistry cell based life would also be a very viable candidate. (BTW, this issue of fine tuning makes multiverse scenarios maximally implausible — the target zone we are sitting in is far too narrow for it to be plausible that this outcome was hit upon by what my countrymen call “buck-ups.”)

    Doubtless, more ideas and scenarios may be suggested.

    But the evidence in hand warrants openness to design based explanations and even makes it not only rational to explore but to defend such.

    Which is a good slice of why I take the specific stance I do.

    KS:

    A plea to the second-law “truthers” in this thread: Would it kill you to crack open a reputable thermodynamics textbook or two?

    This is an outrageous insult.

    Especially given the explicit summary and excerpts from Harry S Robertson’s Statistical Thermophysics, Prentics, that are in the excerpts in 169 above.

    First, 9-11 truthers so called are conspiracy theorists, with whom I disagree for much the same sorts of reasons as above: the weight of empirical evidence does not point that way.

    Second, I have taken time to provide evidence and reasoning, even clipping extensively in ways that someone familiar with thermodynamics will find directly echo standard thermodynamics reasoning and presentations.

    Third, in fact I happen to have a reasonable collection of relevant works, and in fact my discussion of the Clausius first example of bodies A and B inside an isolated system which have dq flowing A to B builds on the very first serious presentation I dealt with in Sears ans Salinger Addison Wesley, way back in undergrad physics.

    The analysis as can be seen in 169 above — you have no excuse — shows what happens when dq flows and how we get to the overall increase in system entropy. And BTW it is the same Sears-Sal that very subtly but astutely raised the point, that the question of the universe being an isolated system is a debated, philosophically loaded point.

    SHAME ON YOU!

    KS, you owe an apology for arrogance and contempt in the face of evidence already in hand to the contrary. But, I won’t hold my breath waiting.

    Instead, I will simply take it under notice that you have obviously not taken a serious moment to read seriously and with a modicum of respect for fairness.

    I suggest that you take time to get a copy of Harry Robertson, and read then ponder on the informational perspective in thermodynamics.

    L K Nash’s little book would do you good too. (I wish I had been sensible enough as an undergrad to go over and look at the chemists on stat thermo-d, I still hate Mandl in the Manchester Physics series.)

    Piotr:

    Dismissiveness about FSCO/I duly noted, unjustified contempt and outright rudeness duly noted. I hope you don’t treat your wife and students like you have behaved above. You crossed a serious line Piotr and were you in my living room when you did so, there would be consequences for such ill-bred misbehaviour.

    Tone.

    Let’s turn to substance.

    What part of the following — cf here in my IOSE for onward links and highlights etc — from J S Wicken do you fail to understand:

    ‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [[“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

    . . . and what part of the following from Orgel do you fail to understand (especially, bearing in mind the pointer to Kolmogorov-Chaitin) . . . and FYI, just to address the what books objection, Orgel’s book is sitting across from me as I give this citation:

    . . . In brief, living organisms [–> functionally specific! Note, Dembski in response to Eigen in NFL] are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.

    [HT, Mung, fr. immed following, p. 190 & 196 now backed up by my own copy:] These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here, here and here (with here on self-moved agents as designing causes).] One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions. [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196. Of course, that immediately highlights OOL, where the required self-replicating entity is part of what has to be explained (cf. Paley here), a notorious conundrum for advocates of evolutionary materialism; one, that has led to mutual ruin documented by Shapiro and Orgel between metabolism first and genes first schools of thought, cf here. Behe would go on to point out that irreducibly complex structures are not credibly formed by incremental evolutionary processes and Menuge et al would bring up serious issues for the suggested exaptation alternative, cf. his challenges C1 – 5 in the just linked. Finally, Dembski highlights that CSI comes in deeply isolated islands T in much larger configuration spaces W, for biological systems functional islands. That puts up serious questions for origin of dozens of body plans reasonably requiring some 10 – 100+ mn bases of fresh genetic information to account for cell types, tissues, organs and multiple coherently integrated systems. Wicken’s remarks a few years later as already were cited now take on fuller force in light of the further points from Orgel at pp. 190 and 196 . . . ]

    Pardon, your attitude is showing.

    Fix it.

    But, the two clips and highlights above should suffice to show that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I for short is a well founded descriptive summary, that it is something that can be observed based on Wicken wiring diagram functional specificity, and that it can be quantified based on a structured sequence of y/n q’s, in bits.

    Those who still refuse to acknowledge such do not show sophisticated understanding but instead purblind willful obtuseness at best, stubborn closed minded ideology at worst.

    And, Piotr, those are your options if you continue with your dismissive attitude.

    Enough for one morning.

    Cho man, do betta dan dat!

    KF

  233. 233
    kairosfocus says:

    Niw & Box: The basic point in thermodynamics is easy enough to spot, but the obfuscation games push us into high voltage territory real fast, starting with marching ranks of partial differential eqns and linked variables, parameters and constructs. That is why I normally emphasise Thermod underlying factors then switch over to information and organisation to achieve function. I recall an early exchange — not at UD — with an objector where I ended up trying a tutorial only to hit serious barriers with Gibbs free energy and enthalpy etc. I now basically refuse to play the escalating technical depth game and insist on addressing fundamentals. Thaxton et al is a good onward reference. Niw, get a copy of Harry S Robertson Statistical Thermophysics, Prentice. Orgel is accessible on Amazon if you don’t live in boondocks where US Postal service routinely loses books or has undue delays etc. I now have to try for getting to a Freight forwarder and accepting the handling charges for a lot of things. I need to tell the Govt that MSR 1110 is meaningless out there to the US postal service. KF

  234. 234
    niwrad says:

    kairosfocus #233

    I now basically refuse to play the escalating technical depth game and insist on addressing fundamentals. Thaxton et al is a good onward reference. Niw, get a copy of Harry S Robertson Statistical Thermophysics, Prentice.

    “To insist on addressing fundamentals”, good suggestions kairosfocus. In fact “escalating technical depths” makes sense only when the fundamentals are verified perfectly ok. The problems of evolutionism are that its “fundamentals” are rotten from all points of view.

    Again thank you for your support.

  235. 235
    Piotr says:

    KF,

    Dismissiveness about FSCO/I duly noted, unjustified contempt and outright rudeness duly noted. I hope you don’t treat your wife and students like you have behaved above. You crossed a serious line Piotr and were you in my living room when you did so, there would be consequences for such ill-bred misbehaviour.

    This is ridiculous, KF. Practically all the regulars here are more than dismissive of well-established concepts of mainstream biology. I suppose it’s fine and dandy if your side does it, so why take offence if I dare to be dismissive about one of your sacred cows? “FSCO/I” is not a person, and dismissiveness towards it is not a personal attack. I can’t apologise to a concept. It’s up to you to justify your twisted interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics (LOT2, for short). It should be done formally, with maths, not with vague analogies and mental shortcuts.

    It’s rather difficult to keep one’s cool if such twisting is done systematically and incorrigibly, in thread after thread. No, KF, LOT2 is not about chaos versus organisation (except in the popular imagination). It does nor prohibit the spontaneous rise of complexity if the work needed for that is diverted from natural flows of energy and the net entropy of the system and its environment increases. It doesn’t place any universal limit on the level of complexity that can be reached. If you believe otherwise, show your proof.

  236. 236
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: If you trust in these “entropy decreases” to explain spontaneous organization in nature you are hopeless.

    Entropy decreases don’t explain spontaneous organization, but the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t preclude it.

    Box: 1. The 2nd law is restricted to heat dispersion.

    No. It refers to available microstates, which includes thermal fluctuations.

    Box: 2. The 2nd law cannot be violated because it is a law.

    No. It’s a law because there are no known violations.

    Box: 3. The 2nd law allows for local entropy decrease

    Yes. That is correct.

    Box: 4. The 2nd law makes organization possible

    It doesn’t preclude organization, and without energy gradients, organization would not be possible.

    Box: 5. Organization is not quantifiable nor testable.

    Can you provide such a quantification for discussion?

    Box: 6. Compensation argument.

    That’s implicit in the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The overall entropy of a system must increase, so if it decreases locally, then it must increase elsewhere.

  237. 237
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Z, Crystals form when there are circumstances that limit tendency to disorder sufficiently for electrostatic forces etc to allow nucleation and growth. This is irrelevant to formation of highly contingent, aperiodic and information-rich functionally specific complex organisation dependent on interaction of correct correctly arranged and coupled parts.

    But relevant to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which is the topic of the thread. There is nothing in the 2nd law of thermodynamics that prevents ordering or even organization, however, you define the term.

  238. 238
    Eric Anderson says:

    Box @229:

    Excellent suggestion. I like your list.

    The biggest problem with the 2nd Law argument (perhaps not the only one) is that it generates so many illogical red-herring counterclaims by materialists, that it is nearly impossible to cut through the nonsense and focus on the real issues.

  239. 239
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, it is time for plain words: you do not know what you are talking about, refuse to address patent facts, and need to learn some basic manners. Pardon some plain speaking Niw. KF

  240. 240
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: The biggest problem with the 2nd Law argument …

    The biggest problem with the 2nd law argument is that the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t preclude order or organization, and holds no matter intelligent the engineer.

  241. 241
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, I will only repeat in brief as enough has been said for the wiling. The statistical, ultramicroscopic foundations of thermo_D lead to the situation where spontaneous formation of complex functionally specific organisation — as opposed to periodic crystalline order and similar cases like hurricanes — is maximally implausible on the gamut of the observed cosmos. What is observed is that relevant constructive work to assemble things according to a wiring diagram is based on an information rich plan and associated effectors capable of carrying it out. Where there will be dissipation that will credibly conform to 2LOT, cf Szilard et al on the Maxwell demon. That which per statistical weight of clusters of microstates is maximally implausible under isolated conditions does not suddenly become plausible when we open it up unless something is happening that makes that now plausible or — in the case of crystallisation on freezing etc — inevitable. That, you canot sho an empirical counter-example to, and it is inextricably intertwined with the 2LOT’s foundations. No wonder the sorry spectacle of rhetoric and distractions or even personalities — thankfully you have not indulged that — above. KF

  242. 242
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me give a further snip from app 1 the always linked:

    ______________

    >> 6] It is worth pausing to now introduce a thought (scenario) experiment that helps underscore the point, by scaling down to essentially molecular size the tornado- in- a- junkyard- forms- a- jet example raised by Hoyle and mentioned by Dawkins with respect in the just linked excerpt in Section A above. Then, based on (a) the known behaviour of molecules and quasi-molecules through Brownian-type motion (which, recall, was Einstein’s Archimedian point for empirically demonstrating the reality of atoms), and (b) the also known requirement of quite precise configurations to get to a flyable micro-jet, we may (c) find a deeper understanding of what is at stake in the origin of life question:

    NANOBOTS & MICRO-JETS THOUGHT EXPT:

    i] Consider the assembly of a Jumbo Jet, which requires intelligently designed, physical work in all actual observed cases. That is, orderly motions were impressed by forces on selected, sorted parts, in accordance with a complex specification. (I have already contrasted the case of a tornado in a junkyard that it is logically and physically possible can do the same, but the functional configuration[s] are so rare relative to non-functional ones that random search strategies are maximally unlikely to create a flyable jet, i.e. we see here the logic of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, statistical thermodynamics form, at work. [Intuitively, since functional configurations are rather isolated in the space of possible configurations, we are maximally likely to exhaust available probabilistic resources long before arriving at such a functional configuration or “island” of such configurations (which would be required before hill-climbing through competitive functional selection, a la Darwinian natural Selection could take over . . . ); if we start from an arbitrary initial configuration and proceed by a random walk.])

    ii] Now, let us shrink the Hoylean example, to a micro-jet so small [~ 1 cm or even smaller] that the parts are susceptible to Brownian motion, i.e they are of about micron scale [for convenience] and act as “large molecules.” (Cf. “materialism-leaning ‘prof’ Wiki’s” blowing-up of Brownian motion to macro-scale by thought expt, here; indeed, this sort of scaling-up thought experiment was just what the late, great Sir Fred was doing in his original discussion of 747’s.) Let’s say there are about a million of them, some the same, some different etc. In principle, possible: a key criterion for a successful thought experiment. Next, do the same for a car, a boat and a submarine, etc.

    iii] In several vats of “a convenient fluid,” each of volume about a cubic metre, decant examples of the differing mixed sets of nano-parts; so that the particles can then move about at random, diffusing through the liquids as they undergo random thermal agitation.

    iv] In the control vat, we simply leave nature to its course.

    Q: Will a car, a boat a sub or a jet, etc, or some novel nanotech emerge at random? [Here, we imagine the parts can cling to each other if they get close enough, in some unspecified way, similar to molecular bonding; but that the clinging force is not strong enough at appreciable distances [say 10 microns or more] for them to immediately clump and precipitate instead of diffusing through the medium.]

    ANS: Logically and physically possible (i.e. this is subtler than having an overt physical force or potential energy barrier blocking the way!) but the equilibrium state will on statistical thermodynamics grounds overwhelmingly dominate — high disorder.

    Q: Why?

    A: Because there are so many more accessible scattered state microstates than there are clumped-at -random state ones, or even moreso, functionally configured flyable jet ones. (To explore this concept in more details, cf the overviews here [by Prof Bertrand of U of Missouri, Rolla], and here — a well done research term paper by a group of students at Singapore’s NUS. I have extensively discussed on this case with a contributer to the ARN known as Pixie, here. Pixie: Appreciation for the time & effort expended, though of course you and I have reached very different conclusions.)

    v] Now, pour in a cooperative army of nanobots into one vat, capable of recognising jet parts and clumping them together haphazardly. [This is of course, work, and it replicates bonding at random. “Work” is done when forces move their points of application along their lines of action. Thus in addition to the quantity of energy expended, there is also a specificity of resulting spatial rearrangement depending on the cluster of forces that have done the work. This of course reflects the link between “work” in the physical sense and “work” in the economic sense; thence, also the energy intensity of an economy with a given state of technology: energy per unit GDP tends to cluster tightly while a given state of technology and general level of economic activity prevail. (Current estimate for Montserrat: 1.6 lbs CO2 emitted per EC$ 1 of GDP, reflecting an energy intensity of 6 MJ/EC$, and the observation that burning one US Gallon of gasoline or diesel emits about 20 lbs of that gas. Thereby, too, lies suspended much of the debate over responses to feared climate trends (and the ironies shown in the 1997, Clinton era Byrd-Hagel 95-0 Senate resolution that unless certain key “developing” nations also made the sacrifice, the US would not sign to the Kyoto protocol [they refused to amend the draft to include non-Annex I countries, and the US has refused to sign; signatories then have gone on to bust the required emissions cuts . . .], but that bit of internationalist “folly-tricks” and spin-doctoring is off topic, though illuminating on the concept of work and how it brings the significance of intelligent direction to bear on energy flows once we get to the level of building complicated things that have to function . . .)]

    Q: After a time, will we be likely to get a flyable nano jet?

    A: Overwhelmingly, on probability, no. (For, the vat has ~ [10^6]^3 = 10^18 one-micron locational cells, and a million parts or so can be distributed across them in vastly more ways than they could be across say 1 cm or so for an assembled jet etc or even just a clumped together cluster of micro-parts. [a 1 cm cube has in it [10^4]^3 = 10^12 cells, and to confine the nano-parts to that volume obviously sharply reduces the number of accessible cells consistent with the new clumped macrostate.] But also, since the configuration is constrained, i.e. the mass in the microjet parts is confined as to accessible volume by clumping, the number of ways the parts may be arranged has fallen sharply relative to the number of ways that the parts could be distributed among the 10^18 cells in the scattered state. (That is, we have here used the nanobots to essentially undo diffusion of the micro-jet parts.) The resulting constraint on spatial distribution of the parts has reduced their entropy of configuration. For, where W is the number of ways that the components may be arranged consistent with an observable macrostate, and since by Boltzmann, entropy, s = k ln W, we see that W has fallen so S too falls on moving from the scattered to the clumped state.

    vi] For this vat, next remove the random cluster nanobots, and send in the jet assembler nanobots. These recognise the clumped parts, and rearrange them to form a jet, doing configuration work. (What this means is that within the cluster of cells for a clumped state, we now move and confine the parts to those sites consistent with a flyable jet emerging. That is, we are constraining the volume in which the relevant individual parts may be found, even further.) A flyable jet results — a macrostate with a much smaller statistical weight of microstates. We can see that of course there are vastly fewer clumped configurations that are flyable than those that are simply clumped at random, and thus we see that the number of microstates accessible due to the change, [a] scattered –> clumped and now [b] onward –> functionally configured macrostates has fallen sharply, twice in succession. Thus, by Boltzmann’s result s = k ln W, we also have seen that the entropy has fallen in succession as we moved from one state to the next, involving a fall in s on clumping, and a further fall on configuring to a functional state; dS tot = dSclump + dS config. [Of course to do that work in any reasonable time or with any reasonable reliability, the nanobots will have to search and exert directed forces in accord with a program, i.e this is by no means a spontaneous change, and it is credible that it is accompanied by a compensating rise in the entropy of the vat as a whole and its surroundings. This thought experiment is by no means a challenge to the second law. But, it does illustrate the implications of the probabilistic reasoning involved in the microscopic view of that law, where we see sharply configured states emerging from much less constrained ones.]

    vii] In another vat we put in an army of clumping and assembling nanobots, so we go straight to making a jet based on the algorithms that control the nanobots. Since entropy is a state function, we see here that direct assembly is equivalent to clumping and then reassembling from a random “macromolecule” to a configured functional one. That is: dS tot (direct) = dSclump + dS config.

    viii] Now, let us go back to the vat. For a large collection of vats, let us now use direct microjet assembly nanobots, but in each case we let the control programs vary at random a few bits at a time -– say hit them with noise bits generated by a process tied to a zener noise source. We put the resulting products in competition with the original ones, and if there is an improvement, we allow replacement. Iterate, many, many times.

    Q: Given the complexity of the relevant software, will we be likely to for instance come up with a hyperspace-capable spacecraft or some other sophisticated and un-anticipated technology? (Justify your answer on probabilistic grounds.)

    My prediction: we will have to wait longer than the universe exists to get a change that requires information generation (as opposed to information and/or functionality loss) on the scale of 500 – 1000 or more bits. [See the info-generation issue over macroevolution by RM + NS?]

    ix] Try again, this time to get to even the initial assembly program by chance, starting with random noise on the storage medium. See the abiogenesis/ origin of life issue?

    x] The micro-jet is of course an energy converting device which exhibits FSCI, and we see from this thought expt why it is that it is utterly improbable on the same grounds as we base the statistical view of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, that it should originate spontaneously by chance and necessity only, without agency.

    xi] Extending to the case of origin of life, we have cells that use sophisticated machinery to assemble the working macromolecules, direct them to where they should go, and put them to work in a self-replicating, self-maintaining automaton. Clumping work [if you prefer that to TBO’s term chemical work, fine], and configuring work can be identified and applied to the shift in entropy through the same s = k ln W equation. For, first we move from scattered at random in the proposed prebiotic soup, to chained in a macromolecule, then onwards to having particular monomers in specified locations along the chain — constraining accessible volume again and again, and that in order to access observably bio-functional macrostates. Also, s = k ln W, through Brillouin, TBO link to information, viewed as “negentropy,” citing as well Yockey-Wicken’s work and noting on their similar definition of information; i.e this is a natural outcome of the OOL work in the early 1980’s, not a “suspect innovation” of the design thinkers in particular. BTW, the concept complex, specified information is also similarly a product of the work in the OOL field at that time, it is not at all a “suspect innovation” devised by Mr Dembski et al, though of course he has provided a mathematical model for it. [ I have also just above pointed to Robertson, on why this link from entropy to information makes sense — and BTW, it also shows why energy converters that use additional knowledge can couple energy in ways that go beyond the Carnot efficiency limit for heat engines.]

    7] We can therefore see the cogency of Mathematician, Granville Sewell’s observations, here. Excerpting:

    . . . The second law is all about probability, it uses probability at the microscopic level to predict macroscopic change: the reason carbon distributes itself more and more uniformly in an insulated solid is, that is what the laws of probability predict when diffusion alone is operative. The reason natural forces may turn a spaceship, or a TV set, or a computer into a pile of rubble but not vice-versa is also probability: of all the possible arrangements atoms could take, only a very small percentage could fly to the moon and back, or receive pictures and sound from the other side of the Earth, or add, subtract, multiply and divide real numbers with high accuracy. The second law of thermodynamics is the reason that computers will degenerate into scrap metal over time, and, in the absence of intelligence, the reverse process will not occur; and it is also the reason that animals, when they die, decay into simple organic and inorganic compounds, and, in the absence of intelligence, the reverse process will not occur.

    The discovery that life on Earth developed through evolutionary “steps,” coupled with the observation that mutations and natural selection — like other natural forces — can cause (minor) change, is widely accepted in the scientific world as proof that natural selection — alone among all natural forces — can create order out of disorder, and even design human brains, with human consciousness. Only the layman seems to see the problem with this logic. In a recent Mathematical Intelligencer article [“A Mathematician’s View of Evolution,” The Mathematical Intelligencer 22, number 4, 5-7, 2000] I asserted that the idea that the four fundamental forces of physics alone could rearrange the fundamental particles of Nature into spaceships, nuclear power plants, and computers, connected to laser printers, CRTs, keyboards and the Internet, appears to violate the second law of thermodynamics in a spectacular way.1 . . . .

    What happens in a[n isolated] system depends on the initial conditions; what happens in an open system depends on the boundary conditions as well. As I wrote in “Can ANYTHING Happen in an Open System?”, “order can increase in an open system, not because the laws of probability are suspended when the door is open, but simply because order may walk in through the door…. If we found evidence that DNA, auto parts, computer chips, and books entered through the Earth’s atmosphere at some time in the past, then perhaps the appearance of humans, cars, computers, and encyclopedias on a previously barren planet could be explained without postulating a violation of the second law here . . . But if all we see entering is radiation and meteorite fragments, it seems clear that what is entering through the boundary cannot explain the increase in order observed here.” Evolution is a movie running backward, that is what makes it special.

    THE EVOLUTIONIST, therefore, cannot avoid the question of probability by saying that anything can happen in an open system, he is finally forced to argue that it only seems extremely improbable, but really isn’t, that atoms would rearrange themselves into spaceships and computers and TV sets . . . [NB: Emphases added. I have also substituted in isolated system terminology as GS uses a different terminology. Cf as well his other remarks here and here.]

    8] What is the result of applying such considerations on the link between entropy and information to the issue of the suggested spontaneous origin of life? TBO in CH 8 set up a model prebiotic soup, on a planetary scale, with quite generous unimolar concentrations of the required amino acids [L-form only] to give rise to a hypothetical, relatively simple 100-link, 101-monomer biofunctional protein. Then, using the separability of the components of entropy, a state function, they work out that there is a configurational component, which can be estimated.

    Taking a step back to their analysis in Ch 7, which introduces the Gibbs Free Energy they will use:

    By energy conservation: change in internal energy, dE is heat flow into the system, d’Q plus work done on the system, dW (a “simple” form of the 1st law of thermodynamics– never mind mass flows etc for now):

    dE = d’Q + dW . . . [Eqn A.5, cf. TBO 7.1 ]

    using also: dS >/= d’Q/T, and using pressure-volume work of expansion against a pressure P, so dW = P*dV, we may blend the first and 2nd laws of thermodynamics:

    dS >/= [dE + PdV]/T . . . [“Eqn” A.6 cf. TBO 7.5]

    or, multiplying through by T: TdS >/= dE + PdV . . . [“Eqn” A.6.1]

    Thus: dE + PdV – TdS NB: if PdV = 0, then increment in enthalpy is the change in the internal energy of a system. [Thus, the common comment in Chemistry circles that enthalpy is “heat content”: dW = 0, so d’Q = dE + 0 = dH, at constant pressure, and with no pressure-volume work involved.)

    –> Of course, strictly, H = E + PV, so dE = dH + PdV + VdP, but if P is constant, VdP = 0. (I give this detail, as there is a common tendency among Evo Mat advocates, to suspect, assume, assert or even insist that Design-friendly thinkers are all hopelessly ignorant on these matters. An irrelevancy is then trotted out a a “proof” that the argument in the main can be dismissed. A red herring, leading out to a strawman to be pummelled.)

    dG = dH – TdS . . . “Def’n” (where T is also effectively constant)

    So, dH – TdS </= 0 . . . ["Eqn" A.6.3]

    or, dG </= 0 . . . ["Eqn" A.6.4, cf. TBO 7.6]

    Bringing in rates, through increment in time, dt, in a closed system:

    dG/dt 0 . . . [“Eqn” A.7, cf. TBO, 7.8]

    –> In other words, decrease in Gibbs free energy as a criterion of spontaneous process, is in effect the same as saying that entropy increases in a real world spontaneous process.

    Then, also, we can back-substitute and rearrange to get:

    dS/dt – [dE/dt + PdV/dt]/T >/= 0

    i.e. dS/dt – [dH/dt]/T >/= 0 . . . [“Eqn” A.8]

    –> That is, in spontaneous processes, rate of entropy change in the system {dS/dt} added to entropy change due to exchange of mechanical or thermal energy with surroundings {[dH/dt]/T} will be at least zero.

    Going forward to the discussion in Ch 8, in light of the definition dG = dH – Tds, we may then split up the TdS term into contributing components, thusly:

    First, dG = dE + PdV – TdS . . . [Eqn A.9, cf def’ns for G, H above]

    But, [1] since pressure-volume work may be seen as negligible in the context we have in mind, and [2] since we may look at dE as shifts in bonding energy [which will be more or less the same in DNA or polypeptide/protein chains of the same length regardless of the sequence of the monomers], we may focus on the TdS term. This brings us back to the clumping then configuring sequence of changes in entropy in the Micro-Jets example above:

    dG = dH – T[dS”clump” +dSconfig] . . . [Eqn A.10, cf. TBO 8.5]

    Of course, we have already addressed the reduction in entropy on clumping and the further reduction in entropy on configuration, through the thought expt. etc., above. In the DNA or protein formation case, more or less the same thing happens. Using Brillouin’s negentropy formulation of information, we may see that the dSconfig is the negative of the information content of the molecule.

    A bit of back-tracking will help:

    S = k ln W . . . Eqn A.3

    Now, W may be seen as a composite of the ways energy as well as mass may be arranged at micro-level. That is, we are marking a distinction between the entropy component due to ways energy [here usually, thermal energy] may be arranged, and that due to the ways mass may be configured across the relevant volume. The configurational component arises from in effect the same considerations as lead us to see a rise in entropy on having a body of gas at first confined to part of an apparatus, then allowing it to freely expand into the full volume:

    Free expansion:

    || * * * * * * * * | ||

    Then:

    || * * * * * * * * ||

    Or, as Prof Gary L. Bertrand of university of Missouri-Rollo summarises:

    The freedom within a part of the universe may take two major forms: the freedom of the mass and the freedom of the energy. The amount of freedom is related to the number of different ways the mass or the energy in that part of the universe may be arranged while not gaining or losing any mass or energy. We will concentrate on a specific part of the universe, perhaps within a closed container. If the mass within the container is distributed into a lot of tiny little balls (atoms) flying blindly about, running into each other and anything else (like walls) that may be in their way, there is a huge number of different ways the atoms could be arranged at any one time. Each atom could at different times occupy any place within the container that was not already occupied by another atom, but on average the atoms will be uniformly distributed throughout the container. If we can mathematically estimate the number of different ways the atoms may be arranged, we can quantify the freedom of the mass. If somehow we increase the size of the container, each atom can move around in a greater amount of space, and the number of ways the mass may be arranged will increase . . . .

    The thermodynamic term for quantifying freedom is entropy, and it is given the symbol S. Like freedom, the entropy of a system increases with the temperature and with volume . . . the entropy of a system increases as the concentrations of the components decrease. The part of entropy which is determined by energetic freedom is called thermal entropy, and the part that is determined by concentration is called configurational entropy.”

    In short, degree of confinement in space constrains the degree of disorder/”freedom” that masses may have. And, of course, confinement to particular portions of a linear polymer is no less a case of volumetric confinement (relative to being free to take up any location at random along the chain of monomers) than is confinement of gas molecules to one part of an apparatus. And, degree of such confinement may appropriately be termed, degree of “concentration.”

    Diffusion is a similar case: infusing a drop of dye into a glass of water — the particles spread out across the volume and we see an increase of entropy there. (The micro-jets case of course is effectively diffusion in reverse, so we see the reduction in entropy on clumping and then also the further reduction in entropy on configuring to form a flyable microjet.)

    So, we are justified in reworking the Boltzmann expression to separate clumping/thermal and configurational components:

    S = k ln (Wclump*Wconfig) = k lnWth*Wc . . . [Eqn A.11, cf. TBO 8.2a]

    or, S = k ln Wth + k ln Wc = Sth + Sc . . . [Eqn A.11.1]

    We now focus on the configurational component, the clumping/thermal one being in effect the same for at-random or specifically configured DNA or polypeptide macromolecules of the same length and proportions of the relevant monomers, as it is essentially energy of the bonds in the chain, which are the same in number and type for the two cases. Also, introducing Brillouin’s negentropy formulation of Information, with the configured macromolecule [m] and the random molecule [r], we see the increment in information on going from the random to the functionally specified macromolecule:

    IB = -[Scm – Scr] . . . [Eqn A.12, cf. TBO 8.3a]

    Or, IB = Scr – Scm = k ln Wcr – k ln Wcm = k ln (Wcr/Wcm) . . . [Eqn A12.1.]

    Where also, for N objects in a linear chain, n1 of one kind, n2 of another, and so on to ni, we may see that the number of ways to arrange them (we need not complicate the matter by talking of Fermi-Dirac statistics, as TBO do!) is:

    W = N!/[n1!n2! . . . ni!] . . . [Eqn A13, cf TBO 8.7]

    So, we may look at a 100-monomer protein, with as an average 5 each of the 20 types of amino acid monomers along the chain , with the aid of log manipulations — take logs to base 10, do the sums in log form, then take back out the logs — to handle numbers over 10^100 on a calculator:

    Wcr = 100!/[(5!)^20] = 1.28*10^115

    For the sake of initial argument, we consider a unique polymer chain , so that each monomer is confined to a specified location, i.e Wcm = 1, and Scm = 0. This yields — through basic equilibrium of chemical reaction thermodynamics (follow the onward argument in TBO Ch 8) and the Brillouin information measure which contributes to estimating the relevant Gibbs free energies (and with some empirical results on energies of formation etc) — an expected protein concentration of ~10^-338 molar, i.e. far, far less than one molecule per planet. (There may be about 10^80 atoms in the observed universe, with Carbon a rather small fraction thereof; and 1 mole of atoms is ~ 6.02*10^23 atoms. ) Recall, known life forms routinely use dozens to hundreds of such information-rich macromolecules, in close proximity in an integrated self-replicating information system on the scale of about 10^-6 m.

    9] Recently, Bradley has done further work on this, using Cytochrome C, which is a 110-monomer protein. He reports, for this case (noting along the way that Shannon information is of course really a metric of information-carrying capacity and using Brillouin information as a measure of complex specified information, i.e IB = ICSI below), that:

    Cytochrome c (protein) — chain of 110 amino acids of 20 types

    If each amino acid has pi = .05, then average information “i” per amino acid is given by log2 (20) = 4.32

    The total Shannon information is given by I = N * i = 110 * 4.32 = 475, with total number of unique sequences “W0” that are possible is W0 = 2^I = 2^475 = 10^143

    Amino acids in cytochrome c are not equiprobable (pi ? 0.05) as assumed above.

    If one takes the actual probabilities of occurrence of the amino acids in cytochrome c, one may calculate the average information per residue (or link in our 110 link polymer chain) to be 4.139 using i = – ? pi log2 pi [TKI NB: which is related of course to the Boltzmann expression for S]

    Total Shannon information is given by I = N * i = 4.139 x 110 = 455.

    The total number of unique sequences “W0” that are possible for the set of amino acids in cytochrome c is given by W0 = 2^455 = 1.85 x 10^137

    . . . . Some amino acid residues (sites along chain) allow several different amino acids to be used interchangeably in cytochrome-c without loss of function, reducing i from 4.19 to 2.82 and I (i x 110) from 475 to 310 (Yockey)

    M = 2^310 = 2.1 x 10^93 = W1

    Wo / W1 = 1.85 x 10^137 / 2.1 x 10^93 = 8.8 x 10^44

    Recalculating for a 39 amino acid racemic prebiotic soup [as Glycine is achiral] he then deduces (appar., following Yockey):

    W1 is calculated to be 4.26 x 10^62

    Wo/W1 = 1.85 x 10^137 / 4.26 x 10^62 = 4.35 x 10^74

    ICSI = log2 (4.35 x 10^74) = 248 bits

    He then compares results from two experimental studies:

    Two recent experimental studies on other proteins have found the same incredibly low probabilities for accidental formation of a functional protein that Yockey found

    1 in 10^75 (Strait and Dewey, 1996) and

    1 in 10^65 (Bowie, Reidhaar-Olson, Lim and Sauer, 1990).

    –> Of course, to make a functioning life form we need dozens of proteins and other similar information-rich molecules all in close proximity and forming an integrated system, in turn requiring a protective enclosing membrane.

    –> The probabilities of this happening by the relevant chance conditions and natural regularities alone, in aggregate are effectively negligibly different from zero in the gamut of the observed cosmos.

    –> But of course, we know that agents, sometimes using chance and natural regularities as part of what they do, routinely produce FSCI-rich systems. [Indeed, that is just what the Nanobots and Micro-jets thought experiment shows by a conceivable though not yet technically feasible example.]

    10] Ch 9 extends the discussion by exploring different scenarios for getting the required synthesis through spontaneous mechanisms, circa 1984: chance, prebiotic “natural selection,” self-ordering tendencies, mineral catalysis, nonlinear non-equilibrium processes, experimental thermal synthesis, solar energy, energy-rich condensing agents, and energy-rich precursor molecules. The results are uniformly fruitless as soon as degree of investigator involvement is reduced to a credible one relative to the proposed prebiotic type environment. In the twenty or so years since, as we just saw in Bradley’s updated work, the manner of addressing the issue has generally shifted towards discussing information and probabilities more directly: complex, specified information, probability filters, etc., but as we also saw just above, the result is still more or less the same. (Cf. the recent peer-reviewed, scientific discussions here and here, by Abel and Trevors, in the context of the origin of the molecular nanotechnology of life.)

    11] In short summary: thermodynamics issues tied to the second law are both relevant and strongly adverse for the proposed spontaneous [chance + necessity only] origin of life in prebiotic conditions; rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding. But, at he same time, we know that FSCI, the key factor in driving that adverse thermodynamics, is routinely produced by intelligent agents. Thus, based on what we do directly know about the source of FSCI in every case where we observe or experience its origin, the origin of the FSCI-rich nanotechnologies of life in the cell is best explained as the product of agency. (The further issue of identification of the agency/agencies directly or indirectly involved, of course, is not currently within the ambit of science, proper. A suggestive clue, however is to be found in the similarly fine-tuned observed cosmos, which is “set” so that biological life as we know it becomes possible. This is discussed supra. Related philosophical issues are addressed here.)>>
    ______________

    Th thought exercise will help make clear just what sort of statistical miracles are being evoked by those believing in spontaneous generation of life on the primitive earth or wherever in our observed cosmos.

    KF

  243. 243
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: The statistical, ultramicroscopic foundations of thermo_D lead to the situation where spontaneous formation of complex functionally specific organisation — as opposed to periodic crystalline order and similar cases like hurricanes — is maximally implausible on the gamut of the observed cosmos.

    True or not (not!), it has nothing to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  244. 244
    Piotr says:

    #239 KF,

    Several discussants have asked you (repeatedly, in thread after thread devoted to “the 2nd law argument”) to show that LOT2 places some limit on the order of complexity that can arise naturally, and that intelligent design is somehow exempt from this limitation. What prevents you from demonstrating it? Perhaps the fact that the 2nd law argument is based on misconceptions and doesn’t hold water?

  245. 245
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Given the complexity of the relevant software, will we be likely to for instance come up with a hyperspace-capable spacecraft …

    That’s a real scientific test of evolution ya got there!

  246. 246
    Eric Anderson says:

    Is the second law a problem for OOL? No. No one is proposing OOL hypotheses that violate the second law.

    Well, that’s the rub, isn’t it.

    Obviously there are OOL researchers who think the various OOL proposals to date have not adequately addressed the thermodynamic issue. Which is precisely why they are trying to come up with a new approach to solve the problem.

    Of course if you have an OOL proposal that adequately deals with the issue then, by all means, please share it with everyone. That way those poor researchers can stop wasting their time on an issue that you have already solved.

  247. 247
    niwrad says:

    Piotr #244

    Several discussants have asked you (repeatedly, in thread after thread devoted to “the 2nd law argument”) to show that LOT2 places some limit on the order of complexity that can arise naturally, and that intelligent design is somehow exempt from this limitation. What prevents you from demonstrating it?

    Look at this graph:

    O……………..S———–>

    imagine you are “S” and “O” is a town. You are walking towards right while the town is on the left. What prevents you to reach O? Answer: the direction.

    Mutatis mutandis, S are systems and O is organization. S are walking towards right while O is on the left. What prevents S to reach O? Answer: the direction.

    The arrow represents the 2nd law.

  248. 248
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: Obviously there are OOL researchers who think the various OOL proposals to date have not adequately addressed the thermodynamic issue.

    Any valid theory of abiogenesis has to be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Some theories propose abiogenesis as a natural result of dissipative processes.

    The question of the thread is whether the 2nd law of thermodynamics precludes spontaneous organization, and the answer is no. Meanwhile, ID doesn’t propose a model, so there’s no telling whether it is consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics or not.

    Eric Anderson: Of course if you have an OOL proposal that adequately deals with the issue then, by all means, please share it with everyone.

    ALL proposals are consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, however, there’s no complete theory as yet.

    Szostak Lab
    http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/

    Michaelian, Thermodynamic origin of life, Earth System Dynamics 2010.

  249. 249
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr:

    You have a manners problem to deal with.

    Beyond that, you don’t seem to understand that for 100 years 2LOT has been inextricably intertwined with a microstates view. The issues raised and discussed above are directly connected.

    Z:

    Actually, first the issue is OOL in Darwin’s pond or similar supposed prelife environments. If you wish, think of nanobots that manipulate genes when it comes to life, though nano manipulators of some kind may be an alternative.

    I used the idea of jets to tie back to Hoyle (and Robertson who has a discussion on how we move from air traffic control to an invisible micro level). The issues and principles are the same and with one degree of addition, we would be explicitly discussing von Neumann kinematic self replicators integrated with automata and using control tapes.

    That discussion is here in my IOSE. (And 200+ years ago, Paley’s self replicating watch thought exercise — usually not addressed in haste to dismiss him — raised very relevant issues, in CH 2 after a fairly short Ch I)

    As for macro evo and islands of function, the evidence is 100 – 1,000 kbits of genetic info will cover OOL. Already far beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit conservative limit for blind needle in haystack search that some seem to imagine has not been seriously discussed.

    But now we have body plans requiring 10 – 100+ million bits, dozens of times over.

    The whole evolutionary materialist scheme deals in statistical miracles. 2LOT in effect says, such are unobservable for reasonably sized systems.

    KF

  250. 250
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: You are walking towards right while the town is on the left. What prevents you to reach O? Answer: the direction.

    According to that, highly ordered states, such as crystals, are not available.

  251. 251
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: If you wish, think of nanobots that manipulate genes when it comes to life, though nano manipulators of some kind may be an alternative.

    Nanobots don’t violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics. There’s a cost in work for reordering matter.

    Which has lower thermodynamic entropy, a disassembled engine, or an assembled engine? A human brain, or the same mass crystal of quartz?

  252. 252
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel #250

    According to that, highly ordered states, such as crystals, are not available.

    O……………..S———–>

    No. Crystals are reachable because they are in the rightward direction, the same direction of the 2nd law. Crystals are probable, the direction of the 2nd law is the probable.

  253. 253
    Eric Anderson says:

    Here is the problem with the compensation argument:

    The flow of the argument typically starts this way:

    1- Abiogenesis skeptic notes that thermodynamic considerations cut against the idea of spontaneous organization of far-from-equilibrium living systems. Abiogenesis skeptic might even point to the fact that some OOL researchers recognize the issue and are trying to solve it.

    2- Abiogenesis proponent misunderstands the argument being made and responds that the 2nd Law does not prohibit the formation of such systems because there is an increase in entropy elsewhere in the universe that compensates for the decrease in entropy on the Earth (usually the increase in entropy is claimed to happen in the Sun, as the “Earth-is-an-open-system-and-gets-energy-from-the-Sun” comment is usually part of the compensation claim.)

    3- Notwithstanding the skeptic’s best efforts to point out that this does not address the skeptic’s concerns, this latter compensation claim is harped on as an “answer” to the skeptic’s concerns, because the abiogenesis proponent has misunderstood the skeptic’s argument.

    That misunderstanding typically takes one of two forms. Either the abiogenesis proponent:

    (a) completely whiffs and thinks the skeptic is arguing that we have actually witnessed, in OOL, a violation of the 2nd Law; at which point the proponent piles on all manner of ridicule about how stupid the skeptic is for thinking that the 2nd Law has been violated; or

    (b) recognizes that the skeptic’s argument is not that the 2nd Law has been violated, but that the 2nd Law places constraints on what can be expected to occur naturally.

    In either case, the abiogenesis proponent goes around the horn with various responses that do not deal with the actual issue.

    —–

    As to the compensation argument, a rational person might point out that a change in entropy at the Sun has nothing to do with how a change in entropy could occur at a specific location in an OOL context on the Earth. The idea that the Sun “compensating” for what happens on Earth makes the impossible possible, or the improbable probable, is absurd

    Hint: The Sun is going to do whatever it is going to do, independent of what happens on the Earth. If anyone thinks the Sun (or any other location in deep space) is going to change its properties due to an improbable formation of molecules in some “warm little pond” on Earth, then they need to seriously rethink their understanding.

    On the other hand, if the abiogenesis proponent recognizes that what happens on the Sun is not actually “compensating” for what happens in our warm little pond on Earth, but instead is simply arguing that we can look to the Sun to help balance some theoretical calculation about the overall entropy in the universe, then fine. But it makes no difference whether some hypothetical, unidentified change in entropy elsewhere in the universe can balance out the entropy change on Earth so as to make our mathematical accountants happy.

    It isn’t even the issue. It doesn’t address the point that the abiogenesis skeptic was raising and that OOL researchers are trying to solve.

    The “compensation” idea is irrelevant, pointless, and utterly unhelpful in answering the question about how a far-from-equilibrium living system could arise on the early Earth through purely natural processes.

  254. 254
    Piotr says:

    The idea that the Sun “compensating” for what happens on Earth makes the impossible possible, or the improbable probable, is absurd.

    Possibly, but since nobody’s made such a claim, you’re fencing with a straw man. Where have you taken this idea from? Living things “export” entropy to their immediate environment, not to the Sun. They disperse heat and low-free-energy chemical compounds — that‘s what compensates for any local decreases of entropy in biological systems.

  255. 255
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Crystals are reachable because they are in the rightward direction, the same direction of the 2nd law. Crystals are probable, the direction of the 2nd law is the probable.

    No, they’re not. Overall entropy increases, while crystals are low entropy.

    Eric Anderson: Here is the problem with the compensation argument

    kairosfocus: this is by no means a spontaneous change, and it is credible that it is accompanied by a compensating rise in the entropy of the vat as a whole and its surroundings.

    Eric Anderson: 1- Abiogenesis skeptic notes that thermodynamic considerations cut against the idea of spontaneous organization of far-from-equilibrium living systems.

    Of course any theory of abiogenesis has to be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: 3- Notwithstanding the skeptic’s best efforts to point out that this does not address the skeptic’s concerns, this latter compensation claim is harped on as an “answer” to the skeptic’s concerns, because the abiogenesis proponent has misunderstood the skeptic’s argument.

    Skeptics are not expressing a concern, but are making the absolute and false claim that the 2nd law of thermodynamics prohibits spontaneous ordering or organization.

    Eric Anderson: As to the compensation argument, a rational person might point out that a change in entropy at the Sun has nothing to do with how a change in entropy could occur at a specific location in an OOL context on the Earth. The idea that the Sun “compensating” for what happens on Earth makes the impossible possible, or the improbable probable, is absurd

    Virtually all life is powered by sunlight and sink waste energy to the environment, so it is not absurd.

  256. 256
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, imagining, per the statistics integrated with the 2LOT, that FSCO/I can spontaneously arise is utterly implausible. The key point in th thought exercise above is that nanobots are undoing what would naturally arise spontaneously: diffusion. Organising, constructive work is maximally unlikely to arise by blind Brownian motion etc. There seems to be a conceptual gap that blinds to this statistical miracle you hope for. KF

  257. 257
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: imagining, per the statistics integrated with the 2LOT, that FSCO/I can spontaneously arise is utterly implausible.

    Maybe you’re trying to draw an analogy. But the fact is that the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not preclude the spontaneous formation of order or organization. Or maybe you’re thinking of the 2nd law of something-something.

  258. 258
    kairosfocus says:

    P, kindly cf what has already been said regarding the statistical underpinnings of 2LOT; which has been on the table for over 100 years thanks to Gibbs, Boltzmann and co. (And in case this may help open your eyes, my understanding is that Boltzmann was an atheist.) Compounding ill-mannered behaviour by purblind willful obtuseness is not helping your case. KF

  259. 259
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel #255

    No, they’re not [crystals are not probable].

    O……………..S———–>
    S = systems
    O = organization
    —> = 2nd law arrow

    If crystals are not probable — as you say — why, when it snows, billions of ice crystals are produced any second?

  260. 260
    keith s says:

    Eric,

    If you don’t understand the compensation argument, how can you hope to refute it?

    I’ll say it again:

    If you reject the compensation argument, you reject the second law. The compensation argument flows directly out of the second law equation for open systems.

  261. 261
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, I simply repeat to you that you are hoping for statistical miracles. For over 100 years now, 2LOT has been inextricably tied to the microstates analysis I have made a few remarks on. Mere logical possibility is not enough, the issue of overwhelming weight of clusters of microstates that are clumped but non-functional or scattered and even more non functional must be faced. And that is what I highlighted by way of a thought exercise. The issues drawn out are WLOG. For cause, I simply do not believe in blind statistical miracles, and neither should you. KF

    PS: Repeating a mantra that compensation answers to all things and not accepting irrelevant energy changes elsewhere means disbelief in 2LOT may be of comfort to you emotionally, but it has little to do with the substantial issue on the table once it has been understood that 2LOT is a statistical consequence for systems that tend to start at 10^12 atoms or so and go on up to 10^19 – 26 or so for many practical cases. Statistically miraculous fluctuations are not a credible answer to such issues. And in that light, to continue to pretend that we are rejecting 2LOT when we are pointing out its statistical underpinnings is a case of insistently setting up and knocking over a strawman. Beyond a certain point that sort of stunt goes to character.

  262. 262
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: If crystals are not probable — as you say — why, when it snows, billions of ice crystals are produced any second?

    The term “order” is a bit of misnomer in discussions about thermodynamics. Entropy is based on the number of available microstates. A crystal has fewer available microstates, hence is less “probable” compared to liquid water. During crystal formation, this lower thermodynamic entropy must be compensated elsewhere, usually through the dispersal of waste heat. Compare this waste heat to sunlight, which is composed of energetic, highly-ordered photons.

    Regardless, crystals have lower thermodynamic entropy. Thermodynamic entropy is a *measurable* property which can be done with a calorimeter. Here’s a few measured values for common substances. Note the value for carbon, diamond and graphite.
    http://opentextbc.ca/introduct.....Table_.png

    Here’s the standard molar entropies of water, J K-1mol-1:

    ice, 38
    liquid, 70
    vapor, 189

  263. 263
    DNA_Jock says:

    kf,

    Zachriel @262 has done the difficult bit for you – looking up the entropies of ice and water. Now all you need to do in order to calculate the amount of ice that needs to be melted to ‘account’ for the information content of the human genome is to apply Boltzmann’s constant.

    Care to give it a go?

    You love spouting equations, you seem rather scared of actually using them.

  264. 264

    Eric Anderson has pointed out the real issue. Zachriel argues that abiogenesis is “consistent with” the 2LoT, as if that is all there is to say about the matter.

    Zachriel would certainly also assert that if all the molecules in smoke in a cannister spontaneously spelled out a sentence in English, it would be consistent with the 2LoT; if we saw a tornado construct a functioning 747 by passing through a junkyard, it would be consistent with the 2LoT. Why? Because as long as there is an increase in entropy elsewhere, **any** spontaneous formation of **any** highly ordered local system can still be “consistent” with the 2LoT.

    IOW, there’s no way to claim the 2LoT was violated unless one can read all the entropic states of the universe.

    But, as Eric points out, that’s not what ID advocates mean when they say that the 2LoT has been violated; it merely means that the distributions of matter we see in some cases is clearly well outside of the expected parameters under 2LoT distributions.

    To say that a thing is “consistent with 2LoT” in the sense of, well, any spontaneous rise in order is possible given an assumed increase in entropy elsewhere is the height of obfuscation. We know the construction of 747’s do not violate the 2LoT, but their spontaneous self-construction is not something we plausibly expect nature to produce – ever. There’s no way to know if **any** occurrence in any open system formally “violates” the 2LoT because we cannot know if entropy has been increased “elsewhere”, which makes that obfuscation particularly disengenuous.

    When such dramatic variations from the 2LoT norm occurs, we expect there to be an explanation. Just saying the spontaneous generation of a self-replicating, self-sufficient, functional 3D printer out of primordial soup “doesn’t necessarily violate the 2LoT” is a deflection from the obvious fact that such an event does violate what we accept as plausible 2LoT distributions of matter without any imposition of order by an intelligence, even if that intelligence is also constrained by the 2LoT.

    We also do not expect the ongoing maintenance and increasing organized complexity of such systems by nature when it is not a matter of natural law or natural predispositions and affinities.

  265. 265
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel #262

    O……………..S———–>
    S = systems
    O = organization
    —> = 2nd law arrow

    Probable or improbable depends on the context. Snowflakes, in the context of snowing, are probable. They are produced, they are in the direction of the 2nd law arrow, they don’t deny at all my argument (depicted in the above graph). Differently, if, during snowing, you find a functional mechanic ice-watch you can say that something improbable happened, and the 2nd law arrow went leftward towards organization. Not before. Best wishes.

  266. 266
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: Zachriel argues that abiogenesis is “consistent with” the 2LoT, as if that is all there is to say about the matter.

    Pointing out that the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not preclude abiogenesis hardly explains the origin of life.

    William J Murray: IOW, there’s no way to claim the 2LoT was violated unless one can read all the entropic states of the universe.

    No. For example, if water forms into a crystal, which has lower entropy, then the process will disperse waste heat. This is a measurable effect, and doesn’t require a trip to the Andromeda Galaxy.

    If a chemical process leads to a simple replicator, each step of that process has to be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, meaning a source of energy and the shedding of waste heat.

    Life is consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  267. 267
    keith s says:

    Here’s a question for Eric, KF and the other second law geniuses in this thread.

    Photosynthesis is an entropy-reducing process — that is, the reaction products have lower entropy than the reactants.

    How is this possible if the compensation argument is invalid? Do you really think that plants continually violate the second law by creating local entropy reductions?

    And more importantly, haven’t you ever thought about this? Don’t you have even the slightest bit of scientific curiosity?

    If you don’t understand the science, why are you so confident that the scientists are wrong?

  268. 268
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Probable or improbable depends on the context.

    But thermodynamic entropy is a measurable property, and it is to thermodynamic entropy that the 2nd law of thermodynamics refers. In your diagram, crystals, in particular, water crystals, are in the opposite direction from the flow of thermodynamic entropy.

    Here’s the standard molar entropies of water, J K-1mol-1:

    ice, 38
    liquid, 70
    vapor, 189

    ETA: Melting snow absorbs heat. What happens with regards to heat when snow forms from liquid water in clouds?

  269. 269
    kairosfocus says:

    DNA_Jock: I am not going to chase a red herring led away form the pivotal issue. The issue is that there is a micro level work of clumping that is already against the forces of diffusion etc, then there is a further configurational work that is required to move to FSCO/I rich functional states. If you need a reference on what that implies, I suggest chs 7 – 9 of TMLO which has worked out all relevant considerations at first level. KF

  270. 270
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, the discussion on nanomachinery should have made photosynthesis clear. Photosynth machinery couples light to energise transformation of raw materials to produce results, with efficiencies of a few percent was it. Your “compensation” strawman is simply further distracting form the statistical underpinnings of 2 LOT. When you can show some reasonable responsiveness to pivotal issues, you will have something relevant to say, but until then you are simply playing at distractionsand showing a subtext of unwarranted contempt and mischaracterisations that frankly are beginning to go to character now. For you know better or full well should know better. So, do better, mon! KF

  271. 271
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel #268

    But thermodynamic entropy is a measurable property…

    O……………..S———–>
    S = systems
    O = organization
    —> = 2nd law arrow

    Again.. it is from the very beginning of this thread that I continue to repeat that the present ID argument from the 2nd law deals with probability only. You continue to speak of thermal entropy, which is irrelevant here. Thermal transformations have nothing to do with spontaneous creation of organization.

    …Zachriel: “but the standard molar entropy of ice is 38 and…”

  272. 272
    Piotr says:

    #258 KF,

    Of course LOT2 is a statistical principle, which doesn’t mean that any of its naively vulgarised interpretations we’ve seen here is correct. Niwrad, for example, is completely wrong in claiming that increasing entropy universally draws a system away from an organised state. Actually, an “organised” state may be thermodynamically favoured if it makes the system disperse waste energy more efficiently (something that life is very good at).

  273. 273
    niwrad says:

    Piotr #272

    Actually, an “organised” state may be thermodynamically favoured if it makes the system disperse waste energy more efficiently (something that life is very good at).

    O……………..S———–>
    S = systems
    O = organization
    —> = 2nd law arrow

    Dreams. Whatever “life is very good at” is due to its intelligent design in toto.
    I wait for you to show an “organised” state “thermodynamically favoured”. Don’t say crystals as Zachriel because crystals have nothing to do with organization.

  274. 274
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Your “compensation” strawman is simply further distracting form the statistical underpinnings of 2 LOT.

    Which has lower thermodynamic entropy, a human brain, or the same mass of quartz?

    niwrad: it is from the very beginning of this thread that I continue to repeat that the present ID argument from the 2nd law deals with probability only.

    You forgot to answer the question. What happens with regards to heat when snow forms from liquid water in clouds?

    Unless your understand is consistent with entropy measures, then it is not the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Maybe you mean the 2nd law of something-something instead.

  275. 275
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: Don’t say crystals as Zachriel because crystals have nothing to do with organization.

    But it does have something to do with your claim in the original post. Your argument, encapsulated in your diagram, would mean that crystals can’t form either. As crystals can form, your argument is contradicted by fact.

  276. 276
    Piotr says:

    #273 Niwrad,

    Here’s an interesting example:

    http://engineering.illinois.edu/news/article/10591

    [the full report]

    If you’d like to see how entropy-driven self-organisation can occur in equilibrium systems, consider micelle formation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micelle
    http://www.mpikg.mpg.de/886719.....mation.pdf

  277. 277
    DNA_Jock says:

    Kf @269

    DNA_Jock: I am not going to chase a red herring led away form the pivotal issue.

    I thought this thread was about whether “evolution disagrees with the 2nd law”. The relative contributions of thermal and informational entropy would seem central to this issue.

    The issue is that there is a micro level work of clumping that is already against the forces of diffusion etc,

    What a good description of crystallization.

    then there is a further configurational work that is required to move to FSCO/I rich functional states.

    You will need to be explicit about how you measure “configurational work” and how you quantify “FSCO/I rich functional states” for a biological. When you provide examples, please avoid the mistake of assuming that the elements are independent of each other.
    I note with some amusement that this is something that you have never done , despite repeated requests. I also look forward to someone, anyone, demonstrating how to quantify ‘organization’.

    Piotr – very cool links.

  278. 278
    keith s says:

    I’m still waiting for the resident thermodynamic geniuses to explain how photosynthesis is possible if the compensation argument is invalid.

    Here’s a not-so-subtle hint from an earlier comment:

    If you reject the compensation argument, you reject the second law.

    You guys crack me up.

    KF, please snip something from your always-linked-but-rarely-clicked that explains how photosynthesis is a fraud perpetrated by the amoral evomat Alinskyite radicals and fellow travelers that Plato warned us about 2,350 years ago, who shamelessly poison, polarise and confuse the atmosphere with their photosynthetic talking points. END

  279. 279
    kairosfocus says:

    KS,

    passed by to see how things are getting on. Mockery not substance, when already it has been noted that photosynthesis is a bit of cellular nanotech that is chock full of FSCO/I, similar to metabolic networks, DNA and associated machinery etc.

    Wiki before wandering off on just-so stories:

    Although photosynthesis is performed differently by different species, the process always begins when energy from light is absorbed by proteins called reaction centres that contain green chlorophyll pigments. In plants, these proteins are held inside organelles called chloroplasts, which are most abundant in leaf cells, while in bacteria they are embedded in the plasma membrane. In these light-dependent reactions, some energy is used to strip electrons from suitable substances, such as water, producing oxygen gas. Furthermore, two further compounds are generated: reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “energy currency” of cells.

    In plants, algae and cyanobacteria, sugars are produced by a subsequent sequence of light-independent reactions called the Calvin cycle, but some bacteria use different mechanisms, such as the reverse Krebs cycle. In the Calvin cycle, atmospheric carbon dioxide is incorporated into already existing organic carbon compounds, such as ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP).[5] Using the ATP and NADPH produced by the light-dependent reactions, the resulting compounds are then reduced and removed to form further carbohydrates, such as glucose.

    A bit later it picks up:

    In the light-dependent reactions, one molecule of the pigment chlorophyll absorbs one photon and loses one electron. This electron is passed to a modified form of chlorophyll called pheophytin, which passes the electron to a quinone molecule, allowing the start of a flow of electrons down an electron transport chain that leads to the ultimate reduction of NADP to NADPH. In addition, this creates a proton gradient across the chloroplast membrane; its dissipation is used by ATP synthase for the concomitant synthesis of ATP. The chlorophyll molecule regains the lost electron from a water molecule through a process called photolysis, which releases a dioxygen (O2) molecule.

    In short typical cascaded integrated reactions, use of membranes, “wet electricity” and the like, energised by coupling of photons.

    Nanotech.

    Things that need constructive, very specific work inputs to be able to couple to energy inflows of light and do their own constructive work; which includes . . . energy conversion. Sorta, sorta as has been pointed out all along but brushed aside.

    But then the very notion of complex organised things that need to be just so to work by coupling energy inflows to do onwards constructive work is apparently uncomfortable.

    Mockery is so much easier . . . especially when you can neatly dodge the point that ruthless factionism and alinskyite tactics used by radical atheists is a real challenge . . . and mockery is one of them. FB abuse, anyone?

    KS, please do better.

    KF

  280. 280
    Eric Anderson says:

    Piotr @254:

    Possibly, but since nobody’s made such a claim, you’re fencing with a straw man. Where have you taken this idea from?

    Excellent. So I trust I can count on you to stand with me in shooting down the “Earth-is-an-open-system” canard next time an abiogenesis proponent brings it up — which is essentially every time this topic is discussed, it being one of the most common “explanations” for how entropy can decrease in the local Earth environment.

    Living things “export” entropy to their immediate environment, not to the Sun. They disperse heat and low-free-energy chemical compounds — that‘s what compensates for any local decreases of entropy in biological systems.

    Yes. Which simply means that a chemical reaction will do what it is going to do. If it is exothermic it will release energy; if it is endothermic it will uptake energy. We’re all in agreement on this point, I presume.

    So the remaining question for OOL is whether the types of reactions required to build and maintain a far-from-equilibrium living system are the kinds of reactions that we would expect to see occur under purely natural conditions. The answer is “no,” as is recognized by those who work in OOL research.

  281. 281
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    You are avoiding the question:

    I’m still waiting for the resident thermodynamic geniuses to explain how photosynthesis is possible if the compensation argument is invalid.

    We both know the answer: the compensation argument is correct. The local entropy reduction due to photosynthesis is compensated for by an increase of entropy in the surroundings — just as the second law requires.

    Please do better.

    ETA: If mockery is such an abuse, you should file a restraining order against yourself for self-parody.

  282. 282
    keith s says:

    Eric,

    Perhaps you can tackle the question that KF fears: how is photosynthesis possible if the compensation argument is invalid?

  283. 283
    DNA_Jock says:

    Eric, you are being naughty:
    @280 You write:

    Piotr @254:

    Possibly, but since nobody’s made such a claim, you’re fencing with a straw man. Where have you taken this idea from?

    Excellent. So I trust I can count on you to stand with me in shooting down the “Earth-is-an-open-system” canard next time an abiogenesis proponent brings it up — which is essentially every time this topic is discussed, it being one of the most common “explanations” for how entropy can decrease in the local Earth environment.

    So I scroll up to 254 to find out what was the claim that Piotr referred to, and I find:

    The idea that the Sun “compensating” for what happens on Earth makes the impossible possible, or the improbable probable, is absurd.

    Possibly, but since nobody’s made such a claim, you’re fencing with a straw man.

    That’s not the same thing at all as “Earth-is-an-open-system”, now, is it? When you misrepresent what your interlocutors said, you appear dishonest.
    BTW, it’s the presence of a heat sink, rather than a heat source, that allows entropy to decrease locally.

  284. 284
    keith s says:

    DNA_Jock, to Eric:

    That’s not the same thing at all as “Earth-is-an-open-system”, now, is it? When you misrepresent what your interlocutors said, you appear dishonest.

    This sort of dishonesty is literally a perennial problem for Eric.

    Back in 2013:

    Eric:

    The compensation idea is, frankly, silly. The reason a tree can exist has nothing to do with the fact that the Earth is an open system and the tree’s reduced entropy is “compensated” by increased entropy at the sun. Otherwise, tell me, please, what physical mechanism alerts the Sun to the fact that there is a tree growing on the Earth and, therefore, the Sun should increase its entropy?

    Keith:

    Eric,

    You have misunderstood the compensation argument. The argument is valid, but your understanding of it isn’t.

    In the case of Earth, the compensation is not taking place on the Sun. In fact, the radiation emitted by the Sun actually works toward reducing its own entropy. Instead, the compensation happens because Earth is radiating energy out into its surroundings.

    How do the surroundings “know” that they should increase their entropy? Because they receive the radiation from the Earth.

    Eric refuses to let go of his straw men, even if he has to lie to himself and to others in order to maintain them.

    He reminds me a lot of this baboon.

  285. 285
    keith s says:

    Another relevant comment from that thread:

    For anyone who still doesn’t get it, here is an explanation of Granville’s biggest error.

    The compensation argument says that entropy can decrease in a system as long as there is a sufficiently large net export of entropy from the system.

    Granville misinterpets the compensation argument as saying that anything, no matter how improbable, can happen in a system as long as the above criterion is met.

    This is obviously wrong, so Granville concludes that the compensation argument is invalid. In reality, only his interpretation of the compensation argument is invalid. The compensation argument itself is perfectly valid.

    The compensation argument shows that evolution doesn’t violate the second law. It does not say whether evolution happened; that is a different argument.

    Granville confuses the two issues because of his misunderstanding of the compensation argument.

    Since the second law isn’t violated, it has no further relevance. Granville is skeptical of evolution, but his skepticism has nothing to do with the second law.

    He is just like every other IDer and creationist: an evolution skeptic.

    You can see why this is a huge disappointment to him. Imagine if he had actually succeeded in showing that evolution violated a fundamental law of nature!

  286. 286
    niwrad says:

    Piotr #276

    organization……………..systems———–>
    —> = 2nd law arrow

    Thanks for the links to those papers, however they don’t show thermodynamic origin of spontaneous organization. The first paper explains (with a triumphalist evolutionist bias) how nanotubes are structures formed by the natural laws when apt experiment conditions are set-up by design. Ditto for the micelles: they are configurations that particular groups of molecules assume given their physical/chemical properties.

    Those structures/configurations in no way cannot be defined “organization” in the sense I mean. They lack just the first requisite of organized dynamic systems: hierarchies of functions & tasks.

  287. 287
    niwrad says:

    By the way thanks to Eric Anderson (in particular I appreciated his remarks on the “compensation argument”), and whoever has given contributions to distinguish the true from the false.

  288. 288
    Piotr says:

    Niwrad,

    Stop using the term “2nd law” for something that is your private misconception. You’ve got it all backwards, like your nick.

    Organised dynamic non-equilibrium states are very efficient mechanisms for maximum entropy production in the right circumstances, which makes them attractors in the evolution of some kinds of dynamic systems powered by natural energy flows. Such self-organisation not only obeys the LOT2 (the real one, not your travesty), but obeys it particularly well.

    Sorry, but if I give you an example of a self-organising dynamic structure produced in controlled conditions in a laboratory experiment and you object that it doesn’t count because the experiment conditions are “designed”, I can only turn my attention somewhere else.

  289. 289
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr,

    Perhaps it has not dawned on you what saying “private misconception” dismissively in front of someone who long since studied thermodynamics in light of the microstate underpinnings of macrostates, rooted in the work of Gibbs and Boltzmann comes across as.

    Ill informed, ill advised posturing.

    FYI, it is the observational facts, reasoning and underlying first plausibles that decide a scientific issue, not opinions and a united ideological front.

    In direct terms, FYFI irrelevant energy flows and entropy changes as are commonly trotted out in “compensation” arguments are a fallacy.

    FYYFI, 2LOT (which has multiple formulations as it was arrived at from several directions . . . Clausius being most important in my view), is rooted in the statistics of systems based on large numbers of particles ( typically we can start at say 10^12, and run to 19^19 – 10^26 atoms or molecules etc for analyses that spring to mind), and in effect sums up that for isolated systems the spontaneous trend is towards clusters of microstates with statistical dominance of the possibilities under given macro-conditions.

    On peeking within conceptually (somewhat oddly, as strict isolation means no energy or mass movement cross-border so we technically cannot look in from outside . . . we are effectively taking a God’s eye view . . . ) Clausius set up two subsystems of differing temp and pondered heat flow d’q, then took ratios and showed that as Ta > Tb, net entropy rises, when we do the sums.

    A direct implication is that raw energy importation tends to increase entropy. The micro view indicates this is because the number of ways micro level mass and energy can be arranged consistent with gross macro state has risen.

    Thus, the point that I clipped in 169, that importation of raw energy into a system leads to a trend of increased entropy. Where as G N Lewis and others have highlighted, a useful metric for entropy is that it indicates the average missing information to specify particular microstate consistent with a macroscopic lab level gross state.

    Now, too, work can be understood to be forces, ordered motion at macro or micro levels, generally measured on the dot product F*dx.

    Energy conversion devices such as heat engines couple energy inflows to structures that generate such forced ordered work, commonly shaft work that moves a shaft and loads connected to it. In so doing, to operate they exhaust degraded energy, often waste heat to a heat sink.

    The pivotal issue comes up here: relevant energy conversion devices (especially in cell based life, such as driving ATP synthesis (ATP synthase) or photosynthesis, or onwards synthesising proteins, are FSCO/I rich, composed of many interacting parts in specific arrangements that work together.

    At OOL, there are suggestions, such machinery is supposed to have spontaneously come about through diffusion and chemical kinetics etc.

    But the same statistics underpinning 2LOT and integral to it for over 100 years, highlights that such amounts to expecting randomising forces or phenomena such as diffusion to do complex, specific patterns of constructive work. The relevant statistics and their upshot is massively against such. The non functional clumped at random possibilities vastly outnumber the functionally specific ones, much less the scattered ones.

    Hence the thought exercise I clipped at 242 above.

    The only empirically, observationally warranted adequate cause of such FSCO/I at macro or micro levels (recall that classic pic of atoms arranged to spell IBM?) is intelligently directed configuration. Which of course will use energy converting devices to carry out constructive work in a technology cascade. It takes a lot of background work to carry out the work in hand just now, as a rule.

    Such is not a violation of 2LOT, as eg Szilard’s analysis of Maxwell’s Demon shows. There is a relevant heat or energy flow and degradation process that compensates the reduction in freedom of possibilities implied in constructing an FSCO/I rich entity.

    But, RELEVANT is a key word; the compensating flow needs to credibly be connected to the constructive wiring diagram assembly work in hand to create an FSCO/I rich entity. It cannot just be free floating out there in a cloud cuckooland dream of getting forces of dissipation and disarrangement such as Brownian motion and diffusion to do a large body of constructive work.

    That is the red herring-strawman fallacy involved in typical “compensation” arguments. There ain’t no “paper trail” that connects the claimed “compensation” to the energy transactions involved in the detailed construction work required to create FSCO/I.

    Call in the energy auditors!

    Arrest that energy embezzler!

    In short simple terms, with all due respect, you simply don’t know what you are talking about and yet traipse in to announce that others who do have a clue, misunderstand.

    That does not compute, as the fictional Mr Spock was so fond of saying.

    Such does not exactly commend evolutionary materialist ideology as the thoughtful man’s view of the world. But then, long since, that view has been known to be self-referentially incoherent. E.g. per Haldane’s subtle retort:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    I suggest to you that you would be well advised “tae think again.”

    KF

  290. 290
    kairosfocus says:

    KS & DNA-Jock. Kindly cf the just above. Show the relevance of claimed “compensating” energy flows or hold out your hands for the cuffs of the energy flow audit police. KF

  291. 291
    Hangonasec says:

    niwrad @204

    Hangonasec #198

    You need to think at the molecular scale. Physics is not scale invariant. Cars are not molecules…

    niwrad: The 2nd law applies to all systems with many atoms. […]

    Way to think at the molecular scale! Entropy increase is not all about ‘degradation’. Sorry, but You Are Wrong.

  292. 292
    Hangonasec says:

    Box @205,

    They are true statements and quite clever, but they don’t diminish the DOMINANT TRUTH which everyone will understand: “wind coming from the north poses an obstacle for things wanting to go north”.

    I know you think that cleverly anticipatory, but it isn’t particularly relevant. If you must analogise, you have left all other points of the compass unrestricted. Organisms sail cheerfully downwind, whatever they might ‘want’. No second law means no wind at all, in any direction. The result would not be ‘no degradation’, but the opposite. No air or water molecules, for starters.

    This was intended to counter niwrad’s insistence that the only thing to come out of entropy increase is disorder. Atoms, crystals, planets and proteins are ordered because of it, not in spite of it. I partly blame poor pedagological tools. Statistical mechanics and disorder is fine, imagine all the gas atoms in a box at one end, now look at a student’s room – the sort of thing that KF could weave into another mighty post – but it misses the point by a mile when it comes to biology and chemistry.

  293. 293
    DNA_Jock says:

    Kf, in a moment of lucidity, writes:

    Clausius set up two subsystems of differing temp and pondered heat flow d’q, then took ratios and showed that as Ta > Tb, net entropy rises, when we do the sums.
    A direct implication is that raw energy importation tends to increase entropy.

    And raw energy exportation tends to decrease entropy. As you and eng have noted, dS = dQ/T. It is the presence of a heat sink that matters.

    The micro view indicates this is because the number of ways micro level mass and energy can be arranged consistent with gross macro state has risen.
    Thus, the point that I clipped in 169, that importation of raw energy into a system leads to a trend of increased entropy. Where as G N Lewis and others have highlighted, a useful metric for entropy is that it indicates the average missing information to specify particular microstate consistent with a macroscopic lab level gross state.

    Excellent. Yet you blithely ignore the effect of a heat sink and refuse (172, 188, 263, 277) to calculate how much water would need to be melted to account for the information content of the human genome.
    Telling.
    “Ill informed, ill advised posturing.” One might say.
    Meanwhile niwrad retreats to

    Those structures/configurations in no way cannot be defined “organization” in the sense I mean. [sic]

    As predicted. You are going to have to come up with a definition of “organization” that does not reduce to “requires intelligence”, and come up with a way of measuring it thermodynamically. Good luck.

  294. 294
    DNA_Jock says:

    Yes, Hangonasec,
    and the poor pedagogical tools are generally restricted to introductions to general physics. Introductions to thermodynamics do much better.

  295. 295
    Hangonasec says:

    KF @197, ref 163,

    No use telling me that you have elsewhere addressed other OoL scenarios. I don’t doubt it, but your specific comment @163 was on protein formation in open solution, plus the untrue insinuation that OoL researchers, and interlocutors here, are blind to thermodynamic considerations (real ones, not marbles, coins, shuffled decks and nanobots).

  296. 296
  297. 297
    kairosfocus says:

    H, a moment. The evidence of the blindness is all above. KF

    PS: I usually refer to Darwin’s pond as that is the first and th one build on by Oparin et al. Others, I occasionally mention or simply use etc. None of them makes a material difference wrt FSCO/I the heart of the matter.

  298. 298
    Me_Think says:

    Check out Scordovo’s (who is ID proponent-by his own admission)
    comment

    I’m an ID proponent and creationist, but with respect to the 2nd law I’ve had to side with the ID-haters on the question of the 2nd law. I’ve never been quite forgiven by many of my peers for breaking ranks…

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