Origin Of Life thermodynamics and information

Second Thoughts on the Second Law: Extending an Olive Branch

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Recently on niwrad’s thread we have had a lively discussion about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and its potential application to the question of a materialistic abiogenesis scenario. kairosfocus has followed up with another useful post.

In the present thread I provide a high level view of some of the key issues and misconceptions surrounding the 2nd Law arguments. Please note, I do so not as any kind of official spokesperson for intelligent design, but based on my experience debating this issue and my individual thoughts on the matter. My intelligent-design-inclined colleagues may disagree with my assessment, but hopefully I have provided some food for thought and, perhaps, an avenue for more productive discourse in the future.

Discussions on this topic almost invariably generate more heat than light, but there are a few useful nuggets that have come out of the discussions that deserve to be brought to the forefront. I hope I am not stepping on niwrad’s or kairosfocus’ toes by writing this post, but I wanted to share a few thoughts in a somewhat more formal manner than I can with a comment in another thread.

Specifically, I want to lay out what the 2nd Law argument potentially can, and cannot, bring to the table in the context of the abiogenesis question. The overall goal is to help avoid side roads and irrelevancies in future discussions so that the primary issues can be focused on. As a result, I will approach this by outlining a few myths that abiogenesis proponents need to be cognizant of, as well as a few myths that abiogenesis skeptics need to be aware of.

I would note at the outset that much of the disconnect arises due to a failure to understand, or to charitably attempt to understand, the arguments being put forth by the other side. In the hopes that all of us might benefit from a deep breath and a careful outline of some of the issues, here is my initial attempt at a few myths to be aware of – and to avoid – in future discussions and debates.

Myths for Abiogenesis Proponents to Be Aware Of

Myth #1: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that, in the history of life on Earth, there has actually been a violation of the 2nd Law.

Those who entertain this myth tend to heap copious amounts of ridicule on abiogenesis skeptics, noting how incredibly foolish the skeptics are to think the 2nd Law could be violated. After all, everyone knows this is not possible, so clearly the skeptics have no idea what they are talking about and can be ignored. This might sound good on the surface, but it arises from a complete misunderstanding of the skeptics’ argument. Don’t fall prey to this myth. Don’t claim that abiogenesis skeptics think the 2nd Law has been violated. Don’t lead others astray by insinuating as much.

Myth #2: The 2nd Law does not present a problem for abiogenesis because Earth is an “open” system and receives energy from the Sun.

This myth is likewise based on a misunderstanding of the skeptics’ arguments. If skeptics were wondering where most of the energy on the Earth comes from, then pointing out that Earth is an “open” system and receives energy from the Sun would be relevant. But that is not the focus of the skeptics’ question. Nor is the skeptics’ question about where energy is from generally or whether enough energy is available. Don’t use the common ‘Earth-is-an-open-system’ refrain to try to explain why the skepticism about abiogenesis is silly, or to insinuate that skeptics are foolish because they aren’t aware of energy transfer or energy availability or similar such matters.

Myth #3: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that local decreases in entropy are not possible.

This myth is closely related to #2, and is often implicitly linked to #2, but it deserves its own paragraph. Those who entertain this myth point out – quite rightly so – that the 2nd Law does not necessarily prohibit entropy levels from changing in particular locations or under particular circumstances. They often also point to a generally-held concept that changes in entropy in one location can be “compensated” for by counterbalancing changes elsewhere. Unfortunately, again, these arguments are based on a misunderstanding of the skeptics’ argument in the first place. Abiogenesis skeptics do not question whether entropy can change in specific locations under specific circumstances. And the fact that an entropy change in location A may be “compensated” for by a change in some location B is entirely irrelevant to the question at issue.

Myth #4: The 2nd Law does not pose any practical constraints on abiogenesis because it does not absolutely prohibit abiogenesis.

Those who entertain this myth make much of the fact that living systems exist, ergo, the 2nd Law does not prohibit such systems from existing. They may carry on about how the 2nd Law does not absolutely, as a matter of sheer logic, prohibit the spontaneous formation of far-from-equilibrium systems. This myth is, again, borne of a misunderstanding of the skeptics’ argument, although in this case, as discussed below, it is sometimes due to the skeptics’ poor efforts to make clear their argument. In either case, it simply does not follow that because the 2nd Law does not prohibit such living systems from existing, that it does not prohibit them from initially forming on their own from inanimate matter under natural conditions. Such formation has definitely never been demonstrated. Additionally, it certainly does not follow that because an absolute prohibition against naturalistic abiogenesis does not exist that the 2nd Law does not pose any serious or significant constraints on such an event.

Myth #5: Concerns about the 2nd Law as it relates to abiogenesis are just the musings of ignorant design proponents or “creationists,” are old hat, and have been fully addressed many times over.

Intelligent design proponents and creationists of various stripes did not invent this issue. The fact of significant thermodynamic constraints on abiogenesis is a well-known and ongoing issue among origin of life researchers. It remains a significant hurdle and has most definitely not been solved, despite decades of attempts to do so.

Myth #6: The 2nd Law can only be applied or fruitfully studied in its initial, most basic formulation relating to thermal energy.

Again, abiogenesis skeptics are not the first to raise the idea of applying the 2nd Law – or at the very least the concepts of the 2nd Law as they relate to entropy – to other areas, including informational entropy and organizational entropy. These are intriguing areas that merit careful consideration, not handwaving dismissals by people who are unable to see beyond the initial formulation. These areas are clearly applicable to the problems of creating an information-rich, functionally-organized living system. (Furthermore, as noted above, origin of life researchers also recognize that the 2nd Law, even in its basic formulation relating to thermal energy, raises issues in the origin of life context that must be dealt with.)

Myth #7: Order equals organization.

Those who fall into this trap have a fundamental misunderstanding of the critical difference between mere order and functional organization. They often bring up examples of crystals or snowflakes or other “orderly” configurations in nature as examples of spontaneous (and thermodynamically preferred) configurations. Unfortunately, none of those examples have anything to do with what we are dealing with in living systems or in abiogenesis.

There are no doubt a few additional myths that could be added, but if abiogenesis proponents as an initial step would refrain from falling into the above traps it would go a long way toward making the discussions more fruitful.

—–

As mentioned, there is room for improvement on all sides. So here are the myths abiogenesis skeptics should avoid.

Myths for Abiogenesis Skeptics to Be Aware Of

Myth #1: The entropy of designed things is always lower than the entropy of non-designed things.

This myth rests on the idea that because designed systems typically exhibit some kind of functional state or can perform work, etc., that they are always lower in entropy than more uniformly-distributed states. It is true that living organisms constitute far-from-equilibrium systems and it is true that a necessary condition for work is typically the existence of a gradient or “potential,” rather than a uniformly-distributed state. It might even be true that designed systems often exhibit a lower level of entropy than non-designed things. However, it is not necessarily the case that they always do. Indeed, on the informational side in perhaps the easiest case we have to work with, that of our own language, we recognize that while meaningful language patterns tend to cluster toward a particular end of the entropy spectrum, there are nonsense patterns both lower and higher on the spectrum.

Myth #2: The measure of entropy is a sufficient, or even key, indicator of design.

This myth is related to the prior myth, but deserves its own paragraph. Those who hold to this myth take the trajectory of the constraints of the 2nd Law and apply them a bridge too far. Whether thermal, organizational, or informational, the measure of entropy in a system is not the ultimate arbiter of whether something is designed. The measure of entropy is essentially a statistical measure, similar at some level (if I dare mention another poorly-understood issue) to the statistical measure of the Shannon information metric. As such, the entropy measure can operate as something of a surrogate for the complexity side of the design inference. But it does not, in and of itself, address the specification aspect, nor yield an unambiguous signal of design. It is doubtful that it will ever be possible to prove design through a definite, unassailable calculation of entropy. Thus, while an entropy analysis can be an initial step in assessing the probability of a system arising through natural processes, it is not the only, nor even the most important, characteristic that needs to be considered to infer design.

Myth #3: The 2nd Law prohibits abiogenesis.

This myth is the reciprocal of Myth #4 for the abiogenesis proponents. Just as abiogenesis proponents sometimes mistakenly equate the lack of an absolute prohibition with the lack of significant practical constraints, abiogenesis skeptics sometimes mistakenly equate the existence of significant practical constraints with an absolute prohibition. It is true that origin of life researchers acknowledge the constraints imposed by the 2nd Law and that a resolution is not yet at hand. It is likely even the case that if we look at the specific molecular reactions required to form a simple living organism that pure thermodynamic considerations (setting aside organizational and informational aspects for a moment) will be sufficient to conclude that abiogenesis is effectively impossible. But the fact remains that it is, conceivably, at least logically possible.

Many abiogenesis skeptics will resonate with the following assessment from Robert Gange in Origins and Destiny, as early as 1986:

The likelihood of life having occurred through a chemical accident is, for all intents and purposes, zero. That does not mean that faith in a miraculous accident will not continue. But it does mean that those who believe it do so because they are philosophically committed to the notion that all that exists is matter and its motion. In other words, they do so for reasons of philosophy and not science.

However, even as Gange acknowledges, we are dealing with “likelihood” not absolute logical prohibition.

Summary

As I have indicated on previous occasions, I do not view arguments based on the 2nd Law as the best arguments to make against evolution generally, or against abiogenesis specifically.

Let me be clear: the 2nd Law does impose harsh, unforgiving, inescapable parameters on any abiogenesis scenario. The constraints of the 2nd Law are acknowledged by origin of life researchers and should be strongly pointed out where applicable. However, there are reasons to be cautious with the 2nd Law arguments, including:

(a) Arguments based on the 2nd Law tend to quickly become bogged down in definitional battles and general misunderstandings, including the myths outlined above. Often, so much energy is spent trying to correct the myths that little substantive progress results.

(b) The really interesting aspect of designed systems is not, in most cases, their thermal properties, but the organizational and informational aspects. Although there are good reasons to examine these aspects in the context of “entropy,” it is not formally necessary to do so, nor is it perhaps the most helpful and straight-forward way to do so.

(c) Ultimately, 2nd Law arguments eventually collapse to a probability argument. This occurs for two reasons: (1) abiogenesis proponents, despite the lack of any empirical evidence for abiogenesis and strong reasons – including thermodynamic ones – to doubt the abiogenesis story, can always repose faith in a lucky chance, a cosmic accident, a highly-unusual coincidence to explain the origin of far-from-equilibrium living systems; and (2) the design inference itself depends in part on a probability analysis (coupled with a specification). As a result, despite whatever watertight 2nd Law argument an abiogenesis skeptic may put forward, it eventually comes down to a question of the probabilities and whether the abiogenesis story is realistic given the available probabilistic resources.

In summary, the constraints imposed by the 2nd Law should definitely be on the list – the exceedingly long list – of problems with a purely naturalistic origin of life story.

However, I would probably not lead with it.

398 Replies to “Second Thoughts on the Second Law: Extending an Olive Branch

  1. 1
    keith s says:

    Eric:

    Myth #1: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that, in the history of life on Earth, there has actually been a violation of the 2nd Law.

    On the other thread, Box immediately proves Eric wrong:

    I gather that the second law – as a statistical law – cannot be overcome under materialism. However there is a spiritual realm which organizes matter – thereby overcoming the 2nd law. I hold that this is just what we see around us; as Granville Sewell and others pointed out many times.

    Too funny.

    EA: What is too funny — no, sad, actually — is that even after I laid out the point clearly you are still unable or unwilling to make a genuine attempt at discourse. Box did not argue in the quote you cited that the 2nd Law had been violated, in the sense that it does not hold. He is saying that the normal effects of the 2nd Law can be countered by engineering and design. That doesn’t mean the 2nd Law has been proven to have exceptions. Is just means that the 2nd Law has been taken into account in the engineering/design process. If you are still having trouble with this concept, do a quick Google search for something like “aviation overcome-gravity” and you will see what I mean.

  2. 2
    keith s says:

    Also, as I keep reminding all of you, to deny the validity of the compensation argument is to deny the validity of the second law itself. They are inseparable.

    Every local decrease in entropy would violate the second law if the compensation argument were invalid.

    EA: Again you fall prey to an unhelpful discourse-halting myth. The compensation argument you keep putting forth is made by abiogenesis proponents as a response to skeptics pointing out the problems with abiogenesis. But the compensation argument is irrelevant and a red herring. It does not address the question at hand. It doesn’t make any difference whether there is “compensation” going on elsewhere. It doesn’t matter whether compensation is the most true fact in the universe. It simply is not relevant. Thus, it doesn’t answer anything. Its primary function is as a handwaving device to avoid dealing with the real issues.

  3. 3
    keith s says:

    Eric:

    Don’t use the common ‘Earth-is-an-open-system’ refrain to try to explain why the skepticism about abiogenesis is silly, or to insinuate that skeptics are foolish because they aren’t aware of energy transfer or energy availability or similar such matters.

    We don’t.

    When we point out that the earth is an open system, we’re explaining why OOL and evolution skeptics are foolish to invoke the second law.

    The second law forbids violations of the second law. That’s all it does. OOL and evolution don’t violate the second law. They involve open systems which can export entropy into their surroundings. The second law is not a problem for them.

    EA: Same problem as the prior comment. The “open” system canard is simply a restatement of the “compensation” idea. Completely irrelevant.

  4. 4
    scordova says:

    I’m and 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.

    A living human has substantially more thermodynamic entropy than a frozen dead rat. Anyone who actually bothers to calculate entropy as taught in Chemistry, Engineering, and Physics textbooks will know this. All things being equal, entropy increases with mass.

    I don’t participate here much anymore. My dissent and disagreement with other ID proponents and creationists isn’t exactly welcome.

    Here are computations that show entropy INCREASE with complexity of design:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....se-part-1/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....se-part-2/

    Here are derivations that connect Clausius, Boltzman Shannon, Dembski:

    http://creationevolutionuniver.....&t=72

    Taking the above link, one can even make conversion factor from Clausius entropy expressed in Joule/Kelvin to Shannon Entropy expressed in Bits. Two people on opposite sides of the ID issue (Gordon Davisson and Myself) independently arrived at the same conversion factor! See:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ober-2000/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cs-and-id/

    I probably wasn’t really ever forgiven for this heresy:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-systems/

    Bottom line, I wish ID proponents would de-emphasize the 2nd law, it doesn’t add credibility to the ID case, it just adds confusion.

    Good work, btw, Eric Anderson.

    PS
    For the Physics Buffs, I did find these gems:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-beings/

    and

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....n-physics/

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    My Book In the Beginning and Other Essays on Intelligent Design Is Now Out in an Expanded Edition
    Granville Sewell March 16, 2015
    Excerpt: The new Chapter 4 is a June 2013 BIO-Complexity article, “Entropy and Evolution,” which is a more “scientific” version of this story. The new Chapter 3, “How the Scientific Consensus is Maintained,” gives a little history of my attempts to publish these ideas, and of the attempts of ID opponents to suppress them.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94441.html

    Other Types of Entropy – Granville Sewell – September 6, 2012
    Excerpt: If you insist on limiting the second law to applications involving thermal entropy, and that the only entropy is thermal entropy, than Sal is right that the second law has little to say about the emergence of life on Earth. But it is not just the “creationists” who apply it much more generally, many violent opponents of ID (including Asimov, Dawkins, Styer and Bunn) agree that this emergence does represent a decrease in “entropy” in the more general sense,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....f-entropy/

    Biological Information – Entropy, Evolution and Open Systems 11-15-2014 by Paul Giem – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_G9HtsfXfs

    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

    As should be needless to say, the physical demonstration that ‘information has a thermodynamic content’ is extremely bad news for neo-Darwinism (and OOL for that matter).

    As well, as if that was not bad enough for neo-Darwinism, 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.
    per daily galaxy

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    EA,

    I just commented in reply to many of the errors of projection you outlines, here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-554356

    Let me clip the summary on statistical underpinnings of 2LOT that are pivotal to understanding why I question views looking for statistical miracles:

    As a simple example, used by Yavorsky and Pinsky in their Physics (MIR, Moscow, USSR, 1974, Vol I, pp. 279 ff.]) of approximately A Level or first College standard and discussed in my always linked note as being particularly clear, which effectively models a diffusion situation, we may 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.)

    In short, for over 100 years, 2LOT has not stood on its own as an empirical law that somehow comes up with a magic quantity ds that gives us time’s arrow. It is deeply connected to molecular level behaviours of systems.

    I then went on to discuss a bridge to the FSCO/I concept and will clip again . . . though to understand my argument I point to the comment in the context of the OP, onward linked notes and exchanges.

    I have felt very much that what I and many others have actually argued has been twisted beyond reason into strawman caricatures. Which has been an unfortunate problem with debates on evo going back to the Scopes trial and beyond to the misrepresentation of Paley’s full watchmaker argument. For in Ch 2 of NT he went on to insightfully discuss implications of a time-keeping, self replicating watch.

    Anyway, let us draw on L K Nash::

    A closely parallel first example by L K Nash, ponders the likely outcome of 1,000 coins tossed at random per the binomial distribution. This turns out to be a sharply peaked bell curve centred on 50-50 H-T as has been discussed. The dominant cluster will be just this, with the coins in no particular sequence.

    But, if instead we were to see all H or all T or alternating H and T or the first 143 characters of this comment in ASCII code we can be assured that of the 1.07*10^301 possibilities, such highly specific, “simply describable” sets of outcomes are utterly maximally unlikely to come about by blind chance or mechanical necessity, but are readily explained on design. That sort of pattern is a case of complex specified information, and in the case of the ascii code, functionally specific complex organisation and associated information; FSCO/I, particularly digitally coded functionally specific information, dFSCI.

    This example draws out the basis of the design inference on FSCO/I; as, the observed cosmos of 10^80 atoms or so, each having a tray of 1,000 coins flipped and observed every 10^-14 s, will in a reasonable lifespan to date of 10^17 s look at 10^111 possibilities. An upper limit to the number of Chem rxn speed atomic scale events in the observed cosmos to date. A large number, but one utterly dwarfed by 10^301 possibilities or so. Reducing the former to the size of a hypothetical straw, the size of the cubical haystack it would be pulled from would reduce our observed cosmos to a small blob by comparison.

    That is, any reasonably isolated and special, definable cluster of possible configs, will be maximally unlikely to be found by such a blind search. Far too much haystack, too few needles, no effective scale of search appreciably different from no search.

    On the scope of events we can observe, then, we can only reasonably expect to see cases from the overwhelming bulk.

    This, with further development, is the core statistical underpinning of 2LOT.

    And, as prof Sewell pointed out, the statistical challenge does not go away when you open up a system to generic, non functionally specific mass or energy inflows etc, opened up systems of appreciable size . . . and a system whose state can be specified by 1,000 bits of info is small indeed (yes a coin is a 1-bit info storing register) . . . the statistically miraculous will be still beyond plausibility unless something in particular is happening that makes it much more plausible. Something, like organised forced motion that sets up special configs.

    In short, we cannot properly expect

    a: molecular noise or general statistical and chemical behaviour in a Darwin’s warm salty lightning struck pond or other typical proposed pre-life setting to

    b: spontaneously and cumulatively do the massive quantity of functionally specific and complex configuration work — forced, ordered motion at micro or macro levels — that

    c: is required to get us anywhere serious along the road to self replicating, metabolising, coded info using cell based life.

    d: No more than we can reasonably expect to compose this post by flipping coins.

    In short, the proposed OOL frameworks expect forces overwhelmingly of diffusion, disorganisation etc to spontaneously carry out a cascade of statistical miracles and create FSCO/I.

    Where 2LOT in light of the statistical underpinnings in effect says, such statistical miracles are unobservable due to the relative weights of clusters of microstates consistent with given macrostates. Or as G N Lewis etc would put it, the entropy of a system is effectively the average missing info to specify its microstate (range of micro-level freedom of distribution of micro level mass and energy) given the macro state conditions. The spontaneous direction of change . . . say we start with 500H-500 T in the coins will be away from low uncertainty micro state clusters to high uncertainty ones; the famous time’s arrow description of entropy. In the long run, spontaneous changes will settle the states in dominant clusters, an equilibrium.

    Consistent with this, we can constrain systems to be far from that by imposing a pattern of forced ordered motion.

    But, we will pay a price.

    Work comes from converting energy sources into useful ordered motion, often by way of shaft work as seen in the OP. High quality energy is extracted, flows through a working system, which may execute a programmed series of motions that create desired configs, then degraded waste energy must be rejected, often as heat.

    The net entropy rise for such will exceed the reduction of entropy occasioned by the constructive work as described. That comes from Szilard’s analysis of Maxwell’s Demon a thought intelligence carrying out such organising work.

    The problem with the spontaneous OOL stories we are being told, is they want to get organisation for free, through statistical miracles. That is Darwin’s warm pond — which is NOT coupled to an effective and informed energy-work device — is in effect a perpetual motion device of the second kind. This is covered up by suggesting that somehow energy and materials flux through the pond (or like environment) can be used to compensate. Won’t work for a conventional perpetuum mobile of the second kind and won’t work for this.

    Hence my cry to call in the energy auditors to assess relevant energy-work flows.

    Hope this helps, and helps draw out the bridge to discussion on FSCO/I.

    KF

    PS: I am now of the view that essentially ANY well informed discussion by a supporter of design theory will be twisted into strawman tactic simplistic dismissible caricatures and that this underlying problem will have to be sharply exposed and corrected. This is a broader form of my longstanding conviction that there is a dangerous trifecta rhetorical fallacy we face: red herrings led away to strawman caricatures and set alight to poison, cloud, confuse and polarise the atmosphere, frustrating serious and sober discussion.

  7. 7
    Collin says:

    Scordova,

    I’m glad for your forthrightness on this.

    Some lingering questions though:

    The Sun has had an abundance of high order energy for billions of years. Why no life on the Sun?

    Similarly, Venus, the moon, Jupiter etc. Why no life?

    It doesn’t satisfy me when people say that there is no liquid water in those locations. So what? My computer doesn’t have liquid water. Why can’t Venus make a self-replicating computer?

    Maybe these questions aren’t “Second Law” questions, but just what AM I getting at? Is there some scientific principle that can explain why Venus doesn’t have life, notwithstanding its lack of liquid water?

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    SalC: pardon, but I think 6 above — including the PS — points to where I think some key concerns lie and why I think essentially any argument of consequence design supporters raise will face massive strawman caricature and dismissal challenges as well as linked ad hominem attacks. We have to deal with that problem, aggressively. KF

  9. 9
    sparc says:

    Don’t you even consider that you may just be wrong?

  10. 10
    Jim Smith says:

    “, 2nd Law arguments eventually collapse to a probability argument. ”

    That is just as it should be … because the second law is a fancy way of discussing probability. Systems tend to disorder because it is more probable that chance molecular movements will produce disorder than order.

    Saying abiogenesis is impossible because it violates the 2nd law and saying the earth is an open system so abiogensis is possible, are both just so stories unless you discuss actual probabilities based on our knowledge of the conditions on earth when life supposedly arose and our knowledge of chemistry.

  11. 11
    Jim Smith says:

    I wouldn’t open a round in a debate with an argument on thermodynamics, I would save it to reply to my opponent’s statements on thermodynamics. If someone says “life violates the 2nd law”, you can reply “but the earth is an open system”, or if someone says “a natural origin of life is thermodynamically possible because the earth is an open system” you can reply “but a tornado doesn’t turn rubble into buildings”.

    Either way arguments on thermodynamics are not going to prove anything. To make a strong argument you have to either come up with a plausible chemical mechanism for the natural origin of life, or you have to refute all proposed mechanisms for the natural origin of life. Either way you have to argue chemistry, the rates of specific reactions, the probabilities of specific reactions, thermodynamics is too general to solve the question.

  12. 12
    Jim Smith says:

    … After you’ve done the chemical analysis of possible ways life might have arisen naturally and found that none are plausible based on what is known about the conditions at the time and what is known about chemistry, then saying “it’s thermodynamically impossible” is a valid way to generalize your findings.

  13. 13
    Collin says:

    Jim, it seems like we can’t answer the question without massive amounts of data, which is mostly unavailable.

    Also, would you say that something that is thermodynamically impossible would even be impossible with an intelligent designer?

  14. 14
    niwrad says:

    Excellent miths black-list, thanks Eric Anderson.

  15. 15
    Missy says:

    As for the origin of life, I’ve read about a physicist who says that the laws of thermodynamics are favorable to the origin of life under certain conditions. I’m saying this without looking at it. I think a link a link was posted a while ago at sandwalk.

    As for probabilities… do you even know that, for instance, the event of someone who is black having a white twin is improbable, and much more so the probability of having a black twin x the probability of both having brown eyes x the probability of both having small ears x … (whatever traits)? And I don’t think we need to go that far – any genetic conbination that you might have is improbable.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes:
    To pick up from post 5 and extend it: 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

    As should be needless to say, the physical demonstration that ‘information has a thermodynamic content’ is extremely bad news for neo-Darwinism (and OOL for that matter).

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    When measuring the information content of a ‘simple cell’ from the themodynamic perspective, the ‘information problem’ explodes into garguatuan porportions:

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.” –
    R. C. Wysong

    ‘The information content of a simple cell has been estimated as around 10^12 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
    Carl Sagan, “Life” in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894

    For calculations, from the thermodynamic perspective, please see the following site:

    Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures. https://docs.google.com/document/d/18hO1bteXTPOqQtd2H12PI5wFFoTjwg8uBAU5N0nEQIE/edit

    Having one hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica worth of information sitting out of thermodynamic equilibrium would certainly suggest something ‘unnatural’ has entered the universe from beyond space-time to make the simple cell ‘not extremely improbable’ (Sewell).
    Moreover, it is apparent that the human body trounces the ‘simple cell’ in terms of being out of Thermodynamic equilibrium. The human body consist of something close to one trillion-billion protein molecules:

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”.,,,
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way:
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    And although the effects of entropy are readily apparent as we grow older,,,

    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

    Here’s a interesting talk by Dr. John Sanford. Starting at the 17 minute mark going to the 22 minute mark. He relates how slightly detrimental mutations, that accumulate each time a cell divides, are the primary reason why our physical/material bodies grow old and die.

    John Sanford on (Genetic Entropy) – Down, Not Up – 2-4-2012 (at Loma Linda University) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....L0#t=1040s

    Notes from 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 us about the effects of genetic entropy:

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

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    And although the effects of entropy are readily apparent as we grow older, it is also readily apparent that the human body is being constrained from the effects of entropy by something that is ‘unnatural’. Talbott puts the question as to why the human body does not immediately disintergrate into thermodynamic equilibrium like this:
    “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    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

    “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?” – picture
    http://cdn-4.spiritscienceandm.....ardd-2.jpg

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

    I hold, as Andy C. McIntosh, professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory at the University of Leeds, holds, that it is non-material information that is what is constraining the cell (and the human body) to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium and is the ‘power holding off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer’.
    To back that claim up, we now have evidence that information must be ‘entering the system’ (Sewell), from beyond space-time, in order to construct the human body (in order to make the human body ‘not extremely improbable’).
    Every time a DNA molecule is constructed, or a protein is folded, an appeal must now be made to a non-local, beyond space and time, cause so as to coherently explain the non-local quantum entanglement within the DNA and protein molecule:

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    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.
    per daily galaxy

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Thus, Dr. Sewell is found to be correct in his contention:

    “If an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.

    Of supplemental note: the maximum source for entropy (randomness) in the universe is now known to be black holes,,,

    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

    “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

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternity of death and destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion!
    In light of this dilemma, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity/Entropy was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:

    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

    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

    Verses and Music:

    John 8:23-24
    But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.

    Evanescence – The Other Side (Music-Lyric Video)
    http://www.vevo.com/watch/evan.....tantsearch

  19. 19
    harry says:

    Regarding myth #1 for abiogenesis proponents:

    It seems to me that there are abiogenesis skeptics who believe that any theory of the mindless, accidental emergence of life proposes for belief that which would indeed be a violation of the 2nd Law, but there are none who believe that “… in the history of life on Earth, there has actually been a violation of the 2nd Law,” unless computers and spaceships are considered violations of the 2nd Law — which they of course would be if they arose mindlessly and accidentally. But we know they don’t.

    If a causal factor in the emergence of life, the functional complexity of which is light years beyond that of computers and spaceships, was intelligent agency, then there was no violation of the 2nd Law. Yet if life, the most functionally complex phenomenon known to us, came about mindlessly and accidentally, that would indeed be a violation of the 2nd Law, and most certainly so if matter accidentally assembling itself into relatively crude and simple (compared to life) computers and spaceships would violate the 2nd Law.

    So, would matter mindlessly and accidentally assembling itself into a computer violate the 2nd Law?

  20. 20
    Box says:

    Life does not violate the 2nd Law wrt to thermal energy. However regarding informational entropy and organizational entropy life violates the “extended” 2nd law in the sense that there is no materialistic origin for information and organization.

    To be clear: am I saying an organism creates thermodynamic energy out of nothing? Not at all. However I am saying that organization is being applied by an organism and that this cannot be accounted for under materialism.

    The mysterious origin of organization is noted by many, which is why an organism is often described as “self-organizing” and “self-sustaining”. N.B. exactly in this self-reference we see the crucial disconnection with a material cause – and the grounding for my notion that there is indeed a violation of 2nd law. Also note that we are all witness of this kind of self-causation in our own consciousness which is its own observer.

  21. 21
    Zachriel says:

    Collin: would you say that something that is thermodynamically impossible would even be impossible with an intelligent designer?

    The 2nd law of thermodynamics was originally formulated due to limitations of human engineers, no matter how clever. There is no perpetual motion machine.

  22. 22
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: Myths for Abiogenesis Proponents to Be Aware Of

    Eric Anderson: Myth #1: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that, in the history of life on Earth, there has actually been a violation of the 2nd Law.

    Apparently, some do. It’s actually quite common. That’s why it is common to remind the reader that sunlight is the rich energy source, while the deep of space is the cold sink, and life is one of many forms of energy dissipation, swirls in the energy flow.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #2: The 2nd Law does not present a problem for abiogenesis because Earth is an “open” system and receives energy from the Sun.

    A source of energy is required, but not sufficient to explain life. The open system argument is sufficient not for life, but to rebut the claim that the 2nd law of thermodynamics prohibits abiogenesis.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #3: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that local decreases in entropy are not possible.

    They seem to choke on this fact when it’s pointed out.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #4: The 2nd Law does not pose any practical constraints on abiogenesis because it does not absolutely prohibit abiogenesis.

    Correct. The 2nd law of thermodynamics places constraints on all physical processes, including any plausible abiogenetic scenario. Discussions about messy rooms and tornadoes making jet aircraft are not valid appeals to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #5: Concerns about the 2nd Law as it relates to abiogenesis are just the musings of ignorant design proponents or “creationists,” are old hat, and have been fully addressed many times over.

    Pretty much.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #6: The 2nd Law can only be applied or fruitfully studied in its initial, most basic formulation relating to thermal energy.

    There are many formulations of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but they are all formulations of the same underlying phenomenon. If your formulation leads to a different result, then it is not the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Maybe you’re referring to the 2nd law of something-something.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #7: Order equals organization.

    No, but the 2nd law of thermodynamics is not stated in terms of organization. Even order is a bit of a misnomer.

    Eric Anderson: Myths for Abiogenesis Skeptics to Be Aware Of

    Eric Anderson: Myth #1: The entropy of designed things is always lower than the entropy of non-designed things.

    Yeah, IDers always seem to choke on this one.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #2: The measure of entropy is a sufficient, or even key, indicator of design.

    Obviously not, though most IDers have no idea how to measure entropy. If they did, then most of these discussions would be moot.

    Eric Anderson: Myth #3: The 2nd Law prohibits abiogenesis.

    That seems to be the most common ID claim.

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    Collin: The Sun has had an abundance of high order energy for billions of years. Why no life on the Sun? Similarly, Venus, the moon, Jupiter etc. Why no life?

    Chemistry.

  24. 24
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Life does not violate the 2nd Law wrt to thermal energy.

    Good. Glad that’s settled.

    Box: However regarding informational entropy and organizational entropy life violates the “extended” 2nd law in the sense that there is no materialistic origin for information and organization.

    If, by informational entropy, you mean statistical statements of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then no. The statistical and classical statements of the 2nd law of thermodynamics are equivalent.

    The “extended 2nd law” must be referring to something else, the 2nd law of something-something.

  25. 25
    harry says:

    Box @ 20, Zachriel @ 24

    The “extended 2nd law” must be referring to something else, the 2nd law of something-something.
    — Zachriel

    It is a matter of common experience, that things get more disordered and chaotic with time. This observation can be elevated to the status of a law, the so-called Second Law of Thermodynamics. This says that the total amount of disorder, or entropy, in the universe, always increases with time. However, the Law refers only to the total amount of disorder. The order in one body can increase, provided that the amount of disorder in its surroundings increases by a greater amount.
    — Stephen Hawking, Life in the Universe, http://www.hawking.org.uk/life.....verse.html

    Hawking defines above the more general or “extended” application of the 2nd Law.

  26. 26
    Piotr says:

    Either Hawking or, more probably, someone copying his lecture made a serious mistake in this paragraph (where?). The folk-scientific conflation of entropy with “disorder” can be excused, since the lecture was addressed to a lay audience, and I suppose Hawking wanted to avoid technical jargon.

  27. 27
    Piotr says:

    #20 Box,

    If entropy (unlike mass/energy) can be generated “out of nothing”, why can’t structure arise in the same way? Vanishingly low probability is no obstacle. See here. Wanna do the calculations?

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Box @ 20, Zachriel @ 24

    You have you extension in the wrong direction. In any case, Hawking is making a common analogy. The 2nd law of thermodynamics refers to available microstates. The thermodynamic entropy of a messy desk and a neat desk are the same. If your notions leads to a different result, then you can’t be referring to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    How many ways are there to arrange a messy desk?

    EA: I’m not sure a messy desk is the best analogy, so probably not worth discussing in detail, but again, you are focusing only on the thermal aspect. See Myth #6.

  29. 29
    Piotr says:

    #18 BA77,

    I had the premonition that the Quantum Shroud of Turin would appear in this thread. Clairvoyance or telepathy?

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Piotr, wouldn’t you have to believe that you actually have a real mind, instead of a ‘illusory mind’, before you can believe that telepathy of the mind is possible? 🙂

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “Hawking’s entire argument is built upon theism. He is, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.
    Take that part about the “human mind” for example. Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules. Hawking needs God In order to deny Him.”
    – Cornelius Hunter – Photo –
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H-kj.....0/rob4.jpg

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz’s work) – Oct. 2014 – video
    The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    Study suggests precognition may be possible – Nov 18, 2010
    Excerpt: A Cornell University scientist has demonstrated that psi anomalies, more commonly known as precognition, premonitions or extra-sensory perception (ESP), really do exist at a statistically significant level.
    http://phys.org/news/2010-11-precognition.html

    The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – (Referenced Notes) – video
    http://vimeo.com/33479544

    Telephone telepathy with the Nolan Sisters – video
    http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=22013

    Jaytee: A dog who knew when his owner was coming home – video
    https://vimeo.com/81150973

    Of supplemental note: the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process:

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
    http://cab.unime.it/journals/i.....802004/271

  31. 31
    Starbuck says:

    Lol @ “abiogenesis skeptics” you’re not abiogenesis skeptics, youre creationists who want to believe in talking snakes

    EA: Thank you. Good example of Myth #5.

  32. 32
    sparc says:

    Not the shroud again, please.
    BTW, what about the sudarium given to Bilhildis. Any quantum processes involved in this case too?

  33. 33
    harry says:

    Piotr, Zachriel,

    Whether it an extension of the 2nd Law or not, is it or is it not true that “It is a matter of common experience, that things get more disordered and chaotic with time. … the total amount of disorder, or entropy, in the universe, always increases with time. … The order in one body can increase, provided that the amount of disorder in its surroundings increases by a greater amount.”?

    And if that is true, then doesn’t it mean that local decreases in entropy are only temporary and must eventually submit to the inexorable pressure on matter to assume a more likely state? And except for the singular exception of life, doesn’t all of our knowledge of the observable Universe indicate that matter does indeed tend to “get more disordered and chaotic with time,” instead of assembling itself into functional complexity light years beyond our own technology? If there are exceptions other than life, and phenomena brought about by intelligent life, what are they? And if there aren’t, why not?

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    What I don’t believe in is mindless statistical miracles, and as I noted above, 2LOT backs me in that. FSCO/I required for life from molecular noise and irrelevant energy/mass flows without a paper trail on the constructive work, is appeal to statistical miracle after miracle. KF

  35. 35
    Piotr says:

    #33 Harry,

    And if that is true, then doesn’t it mean that local decreases in entropy are only temporary and must eventually submit to the inexorable pressure on matter to assume a more likely state?

    Eventually, yes, but a stable source of low-entropy energy can keep a biosphere going for many billions years. Life is not an “exception”. It thrives on earth because it can tap into energy and entropy fluxes while they exist.

  36. 36
    sparc says:

    Did Dr Dembski ever conatacted you to learn something about FSCO/I?

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    sparc, OK, since you insist,

    https://www.youtube.com/user/RussBreault2/videos

    https://www.shroud.com/

    Shroud Of Turin – Photographic Negative – 3D Hologram – The Lamb – video
    http://www.tunesbaby.com/watch/?x=5664213

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the “3D hologram – photographic negative” image on the Shroud I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright ‘Light’ or ‘Being of Light’ who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before.

    Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)? – article with video
    Excerpt: “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like a light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    – Jeffery Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively

  38. 38
    Box says:

    Niwrad,

    I like your explanation of the 2nd law problem. You depict the second law as a tendency toward an increase of disorganization.

    Niwrad:

    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.

    Does is follow from the mere existence of organization and systems that some force working in the opposite direction (to the left) must be present? That some force steers things in the opposite direction than is to be expected under the 2nd law alone?
    IOW the mere existence of organization and systems leads us to conclude that the 2nd law is “overcome” or “violated”.

    Again:

    Niwrad:

    organization……………..systems———–>
    —> = 2nd law arrow

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Sparc, he obviously was there first, on record in NFL; though Orgel and Wicken were first of all, he cites Orgel. I worked from Orgel, Wicken and Thaxton et al. Your attempted inquisition is simply showing you to be determined to find any objection you can to dismiss something that is a directly observable common reality. A reality that routinely traces to design and which happens to be there in copious quantities in the cell and life forms generally. FSCO/I is real, get over it. KF

    PS: Oops this is in a cross thread situation, I cited WmAD on FSCO/I in extenso from NFL here at 131 in the Piotr etc thresd:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-554393

  40. 40
    Piotr says:

    #38, Box,

    [sigh] Those things are not “forces”. Entropy is not a force, and whatever can lower it locally is not a force either. Both the increase and the decrease of entropy are statistical effects — the emergent flock behavior of immense numbers of molecules capable of interacting with other molecules. The 2nd law doesn’t say “disorder must increase”, full stop”.

  41. 41
    harry says:

    Piotr @ 35

    Life is not an “exception.”

    Oh. So it’s not an exception. And just what are the phenomena exhibiting significant functional complexity other than life, that mindlessly and accidentally came to “thrive on earth” because all they had to do was simply “tap into energy and entropy fluxes while they exist.”?

    There should be a plethora of examples of phenomena 1/4 or 1/2 or 3/4 as functionally complex as life, and some instances of phenomena even more functionally complex than life, if all it took was tapping “into energy and entropy fluxes” to resist the inexorable tendency of matter towards a more likely, non-functional state.

  42. 42
    niwrad says:

    Box

    Does is follow from the mere existence of organization and systems that some force working in the opposite direction (to the left) must be present? That some force steers things in the opposite direction than is to be expected under the 2nd law alone?

    The answers are two “yes”. You are right. The “force” steering things in the opposite direction is indeed intelligence.

    IOW the mere existence of organization and systems leads us to conclude that the 2nd law is “overcome” or “violated”.

    I wouldn’t say properly that 2nd law is “violated”. The 2nd law doesn’t prohibit at all that an organization source (the above intelligence) injects organization into a system. Exactly like gravity doesn’t prohibit the force of your arm lifts an object from the ground.

    Yes, the mere existence of organization in the cosmos points to a organizing Intelligence.

  43. 43
    Box says:

    Piotr #40,

    Piotr: Entropy is not a force, (…)

    Okay, fine by me. BTW In #38 I did not make that claim.

    Piotr: (…) and whatever can lower it locally is not a force either.

    How do you know? Do you object to terming an organizing intelligence a “force”?

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    harry: And if that is true, then doesn’t it mean that local decreases in entropy are only temporary and must eventually submit to the inexorable pressure on matter to assume a more likely state?

    Eventually can be a long time. The Sun is expected to shine for several billions years before petering out.

    harry: And except for the singular exception of life, doesn’t all of our knowledge of the observable Universe indicate that matter does indeed tend to “get more disordered and chaotic with time,” …

    While overall entropy inevitably increases, local decreases are very common in nature.

    harry: instead of assembling itself into functional complexity light years beyond our own technology?

    You’re still confusing “functional complexity” with thermodynamic order.

    Box: IOW the mere existence of organization and systems leads us to conclude that the 2nd law is “overcome” or “violated”.

    Nothing violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. No matter how clever you might be, there is no perpetual motion machine.

    Myth #1: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that, in the history of life on Earth, there has actually been a violation of the 2nd Law.

    Box: O……………..S———–>

    Crystals are low entropy, meaning opposite the direction of entropy flow.

    niwrad: The “force” steering things in the opposite direction is indeed intelligence.

    So Vulcan forges crystals?

    Myth #3: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that local decreases in entropy are not possible {without intelligence}

    harry: So it’s not an exception.

    Life is not an exception to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. If you stop consuming calories, you will wind down like any heat machine.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    Niw, 2LOT of course implies a relevant compensating energy degradation elsewhere, with a paper trail on constructive work transactions requiring energy sources, conversions, co-ordinated action steps on that, exhaust of degraded energy . KF

  46. 46
    Box says:

    Niwrad: The “force” steering things in the opposite direction is indeed intelligence.

    Thank you for this clear answer. So intelligence steers things in the opposite direction as intended by the 2nd law.
    This brings us to the question if this constitutes a “violation” of the 2nd law.

    Niwrad: I wouldn’t say properly that 2nd law is “violated”. The 2nd law doesn’t prohibit at all that an organization source (the above intelligence) injects organization into a system. Exactly like gravity doesn’t prohibit the force of your arm lifts an object from the ground.

    In line with your explanation (see quote in #38) one could say that the 2nd law “orders” things to go to the right, but that ‘organizing intelligence’ refuses to obey and steers things to the left. Looking at it like this seems to imply that the 2nd law is indeed violated.
    On the other hand as you point out “the 2nd doesn’t prohibit at all that an organization source (the above intelligence) injects organization into a system”. IOW the 2nd law has no dominion over intelligence. Looking at it like this implies that, since intelligence is not bound by the 2nd law, it also cannot violate it.

    The disconnect between the 2nd law and intelligence seems to end once organization is injected into a material system. Instantiated information is subjected to the 2nd law – eventually everything is turned to rubble and it kills all of us. IOW organization’s origin is disconnected from the second law, but – after instantiation into matter – it’s functioning and continued existence (in matter) is not. This may ground correlations between thermodynamic, informational and organizational entropy.

  47. 47
    niwrad says:

    Box

    We are on the same page (no news here).

    Interesting note of yours:

    The disconnect between the 2nd law and intelligence seems to end once organization is injected into a material system.

    Once organization is injected into a material system, then that organized material system inesorably degradates, if an apt maintance is not provided. Only organization meant in the metaphysical realm of “ideas” and archetypes is not subject to degradation. Its instantiations on matter necessarily are.

  48. 48
    Box says:

    Zachriel: Nothing violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. No matter how clever you might be, there is no perpetual motion machine.

    Maybe intelligence is. Under materialism there has to be an external cause for everything – it is (also) my understanding that this notion of causation is foundational to the 2nd law. First Cause arguments (Aquinas) inform us that this leads to an infinite regress of causation, which is incoherent. In post #20 I refer to the fact that life and consciousness points to “self-causation”, which is IMO indicative of a force that is not under the dominion of the 2nd law.

  49. 49
    Piotr says:

    KF closed comments on the previous thread before I had a chance to reply to him, so I’ll say it here, since it isn’t off topic:

    Poitr, even just the creation of one functional protein of typical length 300 AAs or the D/RNA with the code for it — never mind needed execution machinery — is beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold.

    Good, we have established that the creation of life from sctratch is impossibly difficult. There goes creationism. Stepwise increase of complexity seems to be the only viable notion. We may not know the right scenario yet, but maybe you recall Boltzmann’s remarks about the chemistry of photosynthesis and plant metabolism. He had no idea what the details were, but the general principle was clear to him.

    So what about those calculations? You see, I’m just a linguist who’s overstepped his limits, placing too much trust in the wrong school of thought. But you are well-versed in Boltzmann and Gibbs; and since you’ve recommended Robertson’s book to me, I assume you know it yourself. If not, this place is aswarm with experts. Is the problem too hard for your brain trust? I’m pretty sure it would be no problem for Sal Cordova, but this is precisely the reason why he chose to part company with the rest of you. All right, it’s easy to arrive at a ballpark estimate, so I’ll give you a little time.

    In my example, the chances that a member of the next generation will survive and produce offspring are 10^(-1) — something that may well happen in nature. After 100 years we have a population consisting entirely of individuals 10^100 times “more improbable” than the initial generation. This makes your thresholds pathetically low. To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, that’s not an improbability — THAT’s an improbability!

  50. 50
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Maybe intelligence is.

    Is what? A perpetual motion machine?

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, you failed to mention that despite warnings you resorted to schoolyard taunt type trollish behaviour, forfeiting the privilege of comment. That context is highly material, and it speaks to a serious attitude problem that you and those who are as you need to address. KF

  52. 52
    DNA_Jock says:

    Good point, Piotr.

    I would also note that, when closing the thread, kf did concede

    …entropy values directly tied to creating such configurations would patently be small relative to those connected to things like the latent heat of fusion of ice…

    Well, not so much “small” as miniscule, but I accept his concession that 2LoT has nothing to do with it. That was my point.

  53. 53
    keith s says:

    KF,

    Try to learn to accept defeat gracefully. You were out-argued in that thread, plain and simple.

    This repeated business of grabbing your ball, scrawling all over someone else’s comments, closing comments altogether, and going home is childish.

    If you can’t accept defeat gracefully, then perhaps you should find a much smaller pond in which you can pretend to be the big fish.

  54. 54
    Box says:

    Scordova,

    Scordova: I probably wasn’t really ever forgiven for this heresy

    I enjoyed reading it! This part is particularly interesting:

    Scordova: A thermodynamically closed system that is far from equilibrium can increase the amount of physical design provided it is either front loaded or has an intelligent agent (like a human) within it.

    A simple example: A human on a large nuclear powered space ship can write software and compose music or many other designs. The space ship is closed but far from equilibrium. But complexity can still increase because of the human intelligent agent.

    [edit:]An increase in organization implies a decrease of statistical entropy, right?

  55. 55
    Andre says:

    Says Keith S who still don’t understand his own unguided evolution is the best explanation nonsense….

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, pardon me. It is DNA_jock who indulged the trollish misbehaviour again after warning was given. KF

  57. 57
    niwrad says:

    keith, Piotr…

    Your accusations to kairosfocus are not fair. kairosfocus has closed his previous thread because it is inefficient to maintain open two threads about an identical topic. It is better to convey comments to the last one. This is the reason why I don’t comment any more on my own old thread on the same topic. You should honestly recognize that you do have the chance of commenting here how much you desire, and you also do it heavily!…

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, you have just convinced me that you are out of contact with reality. I am now of the view that too many objectors to design thought are victims of the ideologised, indoctrinated, polarised, padlocked mind. But then, some of these refuse to acknowledge self evident first principles of right reason. If they are that closed and locked, no amount of empirical evidence or reasoning regarding best explanations of traces of a remote, unobservable past of origins will move them. Only the scale of institutional shock such as happened 25 years back when Marxism-Leninism imploded, and even then it will be likely that there will be a tendency of denial, self justification and repackaging. I will be acting on that basis henceforward. G’day. KF

    PS: Niw, though it is inefficient to be commenting on multiple threads, I was willing, even in the midst of Budget season here. But I am NOT willing to be pulled into trying to hold a reasonable discussion with those who indulge trollish conduct. It cropped up several times in recent days, and after giving warning in the thread just closed DNA_Jock insisted on going back to schoolyard level taunting and constructing and knocking over ad hominem laced strawmen. That has changed my position . . . I had hoped that we were going somewhere with a discussion at at least serious levels. I can no longer hold that view and will act accordingly until I see very good reason to hope for better behaviour.

  59. 59
    Piotr says:

    #KF

    Didn’t I, in that closed thread, say something about people who lived in glass houses?

    I’m quite serious about those calculations because they show the absurdity of the “impossibly low probability” argument. If 10^100 (on just a century) doesn’t impress you, the 1000000th generation will be 10^(1000000) times less probable than their ancestors, just because the survival rate is low. The geological timescale is long — we haven’t even left the Pleistocene yet, travelling back in time. It means a tremendous reduction of entropy in the history of life. Is it physically possible on our planet? Well, it depends on the natural flux of entropy. One has to do the (rather simple) maths to make sure. If the flux were insufficient, unguided evolution would be in trouble. (Spoiler: never fear, it isn’t.)

  60. 60
    Andre says:

    It had to be said. I’m growing weary of the absolute idiocy some display. Keith S is thee poster child. I’ll summarise his view. Unguided evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life, you can’t really trust your own mind but of unguided evolution I’m sure….

    Am I the only one that think this lunacy?

  61. 61
    ENich says:

    Mr. Keith. and to whom it may concern,
    I’m a younger man, learning my way through these arguments. I have been visiting this site for quite some time and have learned much from both sides. I scroll through the site and I keep seeing a recurring name “keith s ” attached with a nasty atittude (you aren’t the only one). Here I will be , reading thoughtful responses from either side and you chime in with vain rhetoric , snarky one-liners, and an attitude that doesn’t radiate intellect or grace.

    You are distracting and not in a way that brings forth delight. You also have this unfailing ability to turn any subject into demands that people answer your questions, which they have done. You don’t like their answers then claim they haven’t dealt with your “arguments”, then seemingly claim victory. It’s rabid.

    You’ll go into threads post a link with the title ” my question” or some other title of similar nature and once again derail topics. I’m sure I’m not the only observing reader that notices this. Please stop.

    And to either side, please, please be generous to your opponents, it’s amazing what a decent attitude will do, especially for us onlookers. No, I don’t think it is a cure-all, but a very decent start. I’m one reader that continues to watch these interesting topics devolve into tactics that honestly seem like I’m back in some schoolyard , backwards caps, and all.

    See, let’s say you had substantive arguments to an outsider looking in, then you finish off with some “I GOT U!” laughing fit or an attack or borderline attack on someone’s character, you lost me. It’s nauseating to read this on forums with this type of rich communication from both sides of the equation, and the teenage testosterone kicks in and disenchants the entire lot. Yes this is emotional and I think that is a side discredited too often. It has implications.

    I surely can’t speak for everyone and I know that emotion is not a way to truth. However, you can speak truth and be completely disregarded due to a serial cocksure , nasty attitude. I really look forward to reading more topics here, but please any of you, be gracious and thoughtful and you will have my attention and I’m sure others as well.

    I don’t know where I stand just yet, I find both sides quite engaging and interesting. I assume most of you are my senior, so please lead by example. I can’t wait to see what is to come. I wish every single one of you the best and thank you for all your work on each side, it is quite wonderful.

    ps Sorry for derailing this topic, I too can be a hypocrite. = )

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, I see a strawman snip-snipe above. I have pointed out that a 300 AA protein in Darwin’s pond or the like is looking at . . . generously (we include free chaining of any of 20 AAs with any other but leave out chirality, cross reactions, non-peptide bonds, hydrolysis and other means of degradation such as lightning, etc) . . . 4.32 bits per AA to be formed by blind chance and mechanical necessity. The info capacity is 1296 bits, well beyond the 1,000 bit FSCO/I blind search threshold for the observed cosmos. We cannot credibly expect a single such protein to form spontaneously in the life of our cosmos. Just as the same resources and time could not plausibly by blind search hit on the text for the first 143 ASCII characters of your post. But, an intelligence running a nano-tech lab with something like an artificial ribosome and control tape who knows the chem and can compute folding, could. As a simplistic scenario. Design, after all is modifying organisms as we speak — as has been repeatedly pointed out with Venter called as a specific name but obviously pointedly ignored in the rush to set up and knock over Creationist strawmen targets. You have also failed to report and respond to the fact that in the thread you just clipped, I have repeatedly said I think within 100 years we will be there, triggering Industrial Revolution 3.0 after the C18 and late C19/early C20 waves. With industrial transformation and solar system colonisation in prospect. I again point you to the statistical underpinnings of 2LOT and the implications of the bridge to FSCO/I generation, where something as silly as trying to pretend that melting a few ice cubes answers to the functional organisation challenge, needs to be seriously faced. Compensating energy flows need to be relevant, constructive work-wise, to the FSCO/I to be generated. They are going to have energy converters, waste energy and entropy rises that will compensate, but that is different utterly from hoping to get constructive work to create needed FSCO/I from diffusion etc, in the teeth of the overwhelming evidence of the search space needle in haystack challenge. G’day gotta go to a meeting NOW, KF

  63. 63
    Piotr says:

    KF,

    What the heck are you talking about? What Darwin’s pond? In the other thread I invited you, for the sake of the argument, to assume that life, together with all the basic proteins, was created by God a few billion years ago. That’s because we don’t know how life originated, but we know pretty well what happened next, and why.

    Please stop talking about the statistical underpinnings of 2LOT if you can’t carry out the basic calculations. Do you know why Boltzmann admired Darwin so much? He immediately saw that natural selection could trick entropy and reach extremely (and I mean extremely extremely) improbable states without violating the second law, and feeding only on a minuscule fraction of the usable energy available on Earth. If you understand it too, you’ll never again dream of invoking 2LOT to justify creationism or intelligent design.

  64. 64
    keith s says:

    Indeed, KF’s entire FSCO/I shtick is to ignore cumulative selection entirely in his “calculations”.

    Piotr, to KF:

    Do you know why Boltzmann admired Darwin so much? He immediately saw that natural selection could trick entropy and reach extremely (and I mean extremely extremely) improbable states without violating the second law, and feeding only on a minuscule fraction of the usable energy available on Earth. If you understand it too, you’ll never again dream of invoking 2LOT to justify creationism or intelligent design.

    [Emphasis added]

    ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

  65. 65
    niwrad says:

    Piotr

    In my previous post I explained why energy feed is counterproductive to unguide evolution. Energy speeds the processes. But since the processes go towards the more probable states, uncontrolled energy, far from helping evolution, it even worsens its problems, because accelerates the trend towards non-organization of the 2nd law. It is unwise for you to invoke energy flux.

  66. 66
    keith s says:

    niwrad,

    Entropy is not “disorder” or “non-organization”.

    I suggested some remedial reading to Granville. Perhaps you would also benefit:

    Here’s some remedial reading for you:
    Disorder—A Cracked Crutch for Supporting Entropy Discussions

    An excerpt:

    Entropy is not disorder. Entropy is not a measure of disorder or chaos. Entropy is not a driving force. Energy’s diffusion, dissipation, or dispersion in a final state compared to an initial state is the driving force in chemistry. Entropy is the index of that dispersal within a system and between the system and its surroundings.

  67. 67
    DNA_Jock says:

    Kf,
    When I stated (on the thread you closed) that

    Every time you do one of these [redacted] calculations, you assume that the identity of each amino acid in the protein is independent of the identity of the other AAs. You might (on one of your good days) admit that this is inaccurate, but you always assert that the error is “immaterial”.

    Which you “annotated”

    [–> this remark is basically just made up out of whole cloth.

    This is false. I refer you to your comment,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-526771
    specifically

    In aggregate, the adjustments just seen in a simple case, do not make any material difference, the overall FSCO/I in a living cell, or just in the whole protein synthesis system is well beyond any reasonable reach of a blind watchmaker search process on the gamut of our observed cosmos.

    And my response,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-526864

    So, even using the sequences of extant proteins as the source data (which is inappropriate if we wish to understand the early evolution of a protein) we find that the reduction-in-uncertainty per residue drops two-fold when any attempt is made to try to account for correlation.
    Therefore, blithely asserting that the lack of independence is ‘not material’ is going to require some real data to support it. Of course to address this issue properly, you are going to have to also deal with the subject of my discussion with gpuccio: selection.

    Issues which you have yet to address.

  68. 68
    Piotr says:

    #64, niwrad,

    Unwise, you say? Do you want me to show what “unwise” looks like?

  69. 69
    Collin says:

    Zach,

    Thanks. Now I understand it all because you said, “chemistry.” It’s like when a puppy says, “Because bacon” and the argument is clearly over.

  70. 70
    Zachriel says:

    Collin: Thanks. Now I understand it all because you said, “chemistry.”

    Collin: The Sun has had an abundance of high order energy for billions of years. Why no life on the Sun? Similarly, Venus, the moon, Jupiter etc. Why no life?

    You already rejected the answer out of hand.

    Collin: It doesn’t satisfy me when people say that there is no liquid water in those locations. So what?

    Life is based on organic chemistry. The Sun is too hot. The moon is too dry.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    General: At this point it is pretty clear that there is no serious responsiveness from several objectors, so some quick remarks for onlookers, just to point some hints . . .

    DNA_jock, You first have some trolling games and manners issues to resolve. Second you are showing yourself a snip-snipe strawman artist. Let me give some context, including a calc from Bradley:

    I must insist we start from OOL, as this is what allows us to understand the problem most clearly.

    We need to get to a gated, encapsulated metabolising cell with an integral von Neumann self replicator. That is what is empirically relevant and observed. When you can show empirically actual other architectures of biological life and how they bridge to what we see, then that would become relevant.

    In that context, we note that there are hundreds of proteins at minimum needed (including enzymes), and tha the causal chain runs:

    D/RNA –>

    Ribosome + tRNAs etc –>

    AA chain, adjustments and folding, agglomeration –>

    biofunction

    There is no pattern where functional configs can cause changes to codes ahead of time so they can come into existence. Nor, given sparseness of fold-function protein string clusters in AA space, is there a credible warrant for a simple stepping stones incremental pattern across hundreds of relevant proteins.

    Nor, does functionally specific, complex organisation leading to interactive coupling and function come about for free.

    Of course, one may go back-ways and look from functioning proteins and impose a priori evolutionary materialism constraints and think that assessing info content on the basic facts of freedom of chaining, is dismissible. But, I wold think that it is not unreasonable to look at that basic point first.

    Where, for instance, Shannon himself used the counting of possibilities in a chain as an information metric in that famous 1948 paper. That is, it is not inherently unreasonable or shoddy to look at a state in a set of possibilities, and ask, how many structured y/n questions in a context can be used to specify the state form other possibilities, and to reckon this an information metric. Where one may go on to assess relative symbol frequencies and make adjustments on H = -SUM pi log pi, etc. And by using a suitable dummy variable one may warrant that the information metric is functional and specific based on observations. Functionality of configured complex entities is commonly observed in all sorts of settings.

    Here is Bradley of the original team with Thaxton who about 20 years ago presented the following (I clip from App A my always linked, where it has been for years) to the ASA:

    Cytochrome c (protein) — chain of 110 amino acids of 20 types

    If each amino acid has pi = .05 [–> per front end chaining chemistry not after the fact chains that are seen as functioning and variations on the same fundamental protein], 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 [–> thus an after the fact functional context in which the real world dynamic-stochastic process has been run through whatever real degree of common descent has happened], one may calculate the average information per residue (or link in our 110 link polymer chain) to be 4.139 using i = – SUM pi log2 pi [–> the familiar result]

    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) [–> again, after the fact of variations across the world of life to today,the real world Monte Carlo runs I spoke of]

    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).

    Now, we are actually dealing with hundreds of proteins from various families to make a living cell. In aggregate, the adjustments just seen in a simple case [–> by Bradley], do not make any material difference, the overall FSCO/I in a living cell, or just in the whole protein synthesis system is well beyond any reasonable reach of a blind watchmaker search process on the gamut of our observed cosmos. [–> note, for the set of proteins etc, similar to a quick rough calc with impossibly generous terms that came up with 10,000 bits of FSCO/I easily/]

    The only empirically warranted cause of FSCO/I is design.

    And FSCO/I is not after the fact target painting [just derange organisation a bit and see function vanish], it is as common as text in languages, or computer programs or gears in a train or wiring diagram based function at all sorts of scales from cell metabolism to petroleum refineries. It is readily observable and recognisable, and it is readily seen that reliably it is caused by design when we can directly see cause. So, per vera causa we are well warranted to infer it as a reliable sign of design.

    So, much of the above objectionism towards the design view is a case of straining at gnats while swallowing camels: selective hyperskepticism about what one is disinclined to accept multiplied by hypercredulity on any rays of faint hope for what is desired given the a priori evolutionary materialism and fellow travellers dominant in science and science education.

    Now, let me turn to that shoddy math by an IDiot, so-called.

    First, information can be quantified by reasonable metrics, as a commonplace of information theory and practice, including counting chains of y/n q’s in a structured context, which is of course a bit value. (If you doubt me then kindly explain how AutoCAD works in terms of describing a configuration in a bit based file structure.) Multiply by a dummy variable that certifies warrant on functional specificity dependent on config relative to available alternatives. For practical purposes we can look at the possibilities and count them element by element, or we may if we wish modify based on how symbols appear in proportion after the fact. Makes little practical difference to the overall result.

    Then, use a threshold that makes sparse search constrained by atomic resources, here sol system, maximally implausible:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, functionally specific bits beyond a sol system threshold of blind search

    I is an info metric, S the warranting dummy variable, 500 bits the threshold, and if Chi_500 goes positive it is implausible that on the gamut of sol system, something with FSCO/I came about by blind mechanisms. Instead, the best explanation is intelligently directed configuration, aka design.

    Remember, we are aggregating hundreds of proteins.

    Let’s take the Cy-C after the fact value and round down to 100 bits. Multiply by say 100. 10,000 bits. [–> 10 kbits again] Well past 500 bits or even the 1,000 for the observable cosmos.

    Also, let’s look at codes, which appear in strings -*-*-*- . . ., which are a linear node-arc pattern. These are therefore a subset of FSCO/I. The DNA codes for the proteins run at 3 x 4-state letters per AA codon. Six bits nominal, if we want to adjust by the halved Cy-C result, we are at about one bit per AA, 1/6 bit per base. In aggregate, we are looking at again, well past the limit.

    And while it is now a favourite pastime to try to pick holes in Dembski’s 2005 metric model, I suggest again that if one simply reduced the logs, it is an info beyond a threshold metric. And, the probability that has become the focal point for objections of all sorts is an information value based on whatever happened in the real world with reasonable enough likelihood to be material.

    I suggest that info values from direct inspection of chains and possible states, or from working though a version of SUM pi log pi on observing the range of functional states in the world of life will make but little difference in the end, to the result. Especially given the island of function pattern imposed by multiple part interactive relevant function. [–> again, in the context of aggregating across 100’s of proteins in a functional system] If you cannot tell the difference between a pile of bricks and a functional castle — as has happened here at UD in recent weeks — then there is a problem here.

    Snip, wrench, snipe.

    Piotr, Kindly see what you said and why I therefore responded. You dismissed “Creation” by setting up and knocking over a strawman and failing to address the thing I actually set on the table, a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyong Venter et al. As well, I find that you and others seem deaf to the problem of relevant energy fluxes to create FSCO/I. Statistical miracles to create the functional organisation of life are a serious issue. And, one connected directly to the underpinnings of 2LOT.

    But then, at this point, I don’t think there has been a serious meeting of minds, mostly a projection of caricatures on your side backed up by a refusal to attend to any corrective.

    KS, you know the problem is to start in Darwin’s pond and the like — where there is no reproduction to use as a shield — then account for origin of life. More broadly, the root challenge is to get to islands of function before you can appeal to incremental hill climbing. Where the specific, interactive function sharply constrains possible configs. As to the notion that mebbe some other architecture will work, the core challenge is that observed cosmos scale time and atomic resources simply cannot bring up a significant search of config spaces significantly different from effectively no search. Too little search.

    ____________

    But, at this point, it is a waste of time and effort to try to go over what has already been cogently pointed out but insistently ignored or even snipped, sniped and caricatured.

    Were I in some of your shoes, I would be more concerned as to what you are revealing about how you respond to issues, facts, reason and people you disagree with, given the radical relativism and inherent amorality of the evolutionary materialist view.

    Now, RW things press very hard, so later I will act on what I have been forced to conclude.

    Responding to ruthless faction tactics requires a different approach; as in the old days of dealing with committed and ruthless Marxist agitators.

    KF

    KF

  72. 72
    REC says:

    If the search exceeds the “observed cosmos scale time and atomic resources” of the universe, how the heck can a “molecular nanotech lab” that is part of that universe accomplish the search?

    EA: REC, you have been around the block enough to know better. This is a complete red herring. The distinction that is drawn is between blind search and intelligent search.

  73. 73
    CJYman says:

    I see I am a little late to the party, but I couldn`t resist a `quick` comment given the responses to the subject matter. I hope I can help provide some clarification from my point of view. Due to time constraints, I will probably have to withdraw back to lurking after this.

    2 scenarios:

    1. There exists a pile of wooden beams and a pile of nails. A carpenter proceeds to organize the pile of wood and nails into a doghouse. Not horribly far from equilibrium, but definitely moving away from equilibrium. Of course 2LOT isn’t violated. From what I understand, the heat released by the carpenter as well as all friction created, etc, etc, leaves no unaccounted balance of energy for the movement of the beams and nails into their respective positions. It’s all good.
    2. The same pile of wooden beams and nails. No carpenter this time. We can have as much energy flow from the sun, as much flow towards equilibrium elsewhere as we want, and no sane person would expect to see the pile of wooden beams and nails configure themselves into a well organized doghouse. And for those so desperate for rhetorical points who might obfuscate with, “but there is no scientific way to determine a functional difference between a tunnel under the pile that provides shelter verses an actual doghouse“ may I suggest either for this argument you focus on the configuration of the doghouse or just replace the doghouse with a car, the carpenter with a bunch of carpenters, and the wood and nails with … you get the point …

    So the idea of ‘compensation with a greater trend to equilibrium elsewhere’ does nothing in this specific case. Why? Why can’t we just rely on thermal flow to produce this specific case of organization? Obviously, thermal energy has been accounted for in both scenarios and there is no violation of 2LOT, just as a flying airplane does not violate the law of gravity. But merely pointing out that there exists either sufficient energy flow and/or sufficient disorganization elsewhere does nothing to explain how this specific instance of organization in a direction away from equilibrium came about. Is there a proximate cause we are missing just as a specific structure at a certain acceleration generating lift is required to compensate for gravity rather than just spouting a truism that nothing can violate the law of gravity so obviously everything is ok. The point to the whole ‘violation’ semantic is that IF a large couple tonne chunk of metal suddenly started flying around with no properly understood compensation for gravity AND the reason given was that as long as something as heavy was falling down elsewhere or that there are heavier planets above the earths atmosphere so there is obviously no violation of the law of gravity then, to someone who knew a thing or two about gravity, it would definitely APPEAR as if the chunk of metal was violating the law of gravity GIVEN the incorrect compensation argument.

    Let me explain further. Even taking unguided abiogenesis and evolution for granted, which would allow us to directly connect energy from the sun over vast amounts of time to the organization of the doghouse, we find that there is more to the picture than merely energy flow. Energy must flow first to create a self-replicating robot much more complex and in a state many orders of magnitude further from equilibrium than the doghouse. This self replicating robot must be flexible enough to evolve – the available search space for the evolution of it’s code and hardware given its starting software and hardware must allow millions of years of evolution. These millions of years of evolution must create a secondary CPU within the previous system that is capable of modeling its surroundings and generating internal plans for the doghouse which are used to control actuators that build the doghouse. So, we are stuck in a loop. Why not just bet on the sun whipping up a doghouse in the first place? You have all the energy from the sun required for ‘compensation.’ The doghouse is much closer to equilibrium and the energy required to compensate is also much less than the energy required to evolve the self replicating robot that built it. If there is any connection at all between equilibrium, disorganization, and 2LOT then this is definitely a 2LOT problem. It appears that is exactly what OOL researches are looking for — The self-organizing cycles that are not extremely improbable given realistic conditions and energy flows that compensate for 2LOT (if indeed 2LOT has anything to do with equilibrium and disorganization) in the generation of extremely organized and far from equilibrium machines and codes. How is this different than discovering how structure and acceleration produce lift to compensate for the law of gravity?

    Let’s not confound the fact that there must be compensation with lazy pronouncements that any energy transfer will provide the required compensation. This appears to be the point of every ID proponent that I’ve read who has had a say in this matter. So, the question still remains. How do some systems travel in an extended direction far from equilibrium at seemingly insurmountable odds while still following 2LOT. Actually, this is more a question of how does such a system arise and continue to evolve, since there is no problem with the thermodynamics of the already functional self-repair and cellular replication which keeps the system going. Where is the 2LOT compensation in the generation of such a system?

    As far as I can tell, the only way that this question and point of ‘violation’ is moot is if it can be shown that 2LOT has nothing to do with any directional flow to or from equilibrium and that directions to or from equilibrium have nothing to do with disorganization as it relates to the probability of states. If this is indeed the case, of which I am not yet convinced, then we will still need to find that factor which allows highly improbable organization to reach far from equilibrium states since mere energy flow (not specifically guided) is apparently not up to the task either theoretically or experimentally. Refer to the above 2 scenarios. Then, it just wouldn’t be a 2LOT issue. However, in this case, if it were not a 2LOT issue then the defenders would not need to provide any compensation argument referencing the flow of energy from the sun. We’ll see …

    Just so I don’t have to spell it out again, ‘violation’ in this argument is not an actual violation; it is merely a rhetorical tool akin to Schrodinger’s cat. It is more of a paradox — in a sense it is an apparent violation given the available energy flow compensation argument.

  74. 74
    Eric Anderson says:

    All, apologies for starting the thread and not being able to participate actively due to other commitments the last day. I will try to read through the comments in the next 24-48 hours.

  75. 75
    Cross says:

    Piotr @ 63

    “we don’t know how life originated”

    Finally an admission. So, God could have done it, right?

    Cheers

  76. 76
    sparc says:

    39
    kairosfocus March 17, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Sparc, he obviously was there first, on record in NFL; though Orgel and Wicken were first of all, he cites Orgel. I worked from Orgel, Wicken and Thaxton et al. Your attempted inquisition is simply showing you to be determined to find any objection you can to dismiss something that is a directly observable common reality. A reality that routinely traces to design and which happens to be there in copious quantities in the cell and life forms generally. FSCO/I is real, get over it. KF

    PS: Oops this is in a cross thread situation, I cited WmAD on FSCO/I in extenso from NFL here at 131 in the Piotr etc thresd:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com…..ent-554393

    I am aware that you cite Dembski again and again. But did Dembski ever reacted to your ideas? Did he ever talk to you? And what about Behe, Johnson, Meyer, Luskin? FSCO/I didn’t make it in any of theit books or even posts at EN&V. You really must be ahead of times.

  77. 77
    Piotr says:

    Finally an admission.

    That we don’t (yet) know something? It normal in science.

    So, God could have done it, right?

    Yes, the god of the gaps.

  78. 78

    @piotr #63

    “feeding only on a minuscule fraction of the usable energy available on Earth”

    And how does this feeding mechanism which can acquire and direct this minuscule energy to generate increased complexity come into existence? Can anyone point to any process outside of biology where very complex functional systems self-organize themselves needing only some matter in the presence of external energy?

  79. 79
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    We have two options, either the universe created itself or a creator did it, since we know empirically that for anything to be its own cause it has to exist before it existed, we can rule out spontaneous creation because we know its illogical and impossible for anything to be its own cause.

    We thus have one option left, The universe was created by a creator, now please do pray tell how that is a god of the gaps argument?

    should we give you more time to keep running your illogical fools errand?

  80. 80
    Piotr says:

    #79 Andre,

    You are now seguing from the origin of life on Earth to the beginning of the Universe — events separated by ten billion years. This thread is supposed to be about abiogenesis, life, and the 2LOT, not the Big Bang. If you have nothing intelligent to say about the topic, you can just stay silent.

  81. 81
    Piotr says:

    #78,

    Of course tranfers of energy produce a lot of structure everywhere in the Universe, from subatomic scales to galaxy superclusters. But entities capable of complicating their organisation further and further thanks to replication and differential survival (using low-entropy energy sources) are life by definition.

  82. 82
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    Whether we are talking about creation of a universe ex nihilo or life ex nihilo, the same principle applies, nothing in this universe can be its own cause, it violates the law of causality and do I have to remind you that the law of causality is the bedrock of science?

  83. 83
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    But entities capable of complicating their organisation further and further thanks to replication and differential survival (using low-entropy energy sources) are life by definition.

    LOL!!!! Do you actually believe this drivel? How on earth can you trust your mind and say this is correct? Evidence? Has it been tested? Perhaps you are far more religious than what you would like to admit…..

  84. 84
    Cross says:

    Piotr @ 77

    Can’t let that Divine foot in the door, can we?

    As Andre has pointed out, there are only two possibilities for OOL and the truly scientific approach would be not to discount one out of hand, if, as you say, you don’t know yet.

    Your faith in materialist evolution is also an “evolution of the gaps” argument, ie. we don’t know how we got from dead chemicals to reproducing life but materialist/evolution must be the answer.

    Cheers

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    FYI-FTR: I have promoted and augmented some remarks in 123 in the energy audit thread to an OP insert, regarding the obviously largely ignored or dismissed but inextricably involved statistical underpinnings of 2LOT and implications for the massive constructive work and FSCO/I involved in OOL. As a bonus, I have added clips on a longstanding summary of the OOL challenge and the exchange of mutual ruin between Shapiro and Orgel on metabolism vs RNA world type models:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....it-police/

    I note, again, FYI-FTR. KF

  86. 86
    Piotr says:

    As Andre has pointed out, there are only two possibilities for OOL…

    Umm… no. Andre said something incoherent about the origin of the Universe, without mentioning life at all.

    Your faith in materialist evolution is also an “evolution of the gaps” argument…

    Nope. Science tries to fill in the gaps; religion worships them.

  87. 87
    Piotr says:

    Andre:

    do I have to remind you that the law of causality is the bedrock of science?

    Is it? Causation is a heuristically useful notion in science, but the whole concept is philosophical rather than purely scientific, and I only ever hear of “the law of causality” from people with a religious agenda trying to deploy the hoary “First Cause” argument. There is no such law in physics.

  88. 88
    timothya says:

    Kairosfocus said this:

    “FYI-FTR: I have promoted and augmented some remarks in 123 in the energy audit thread to an OP insert, regarding the obviously largely ignored or dismissed but inextricably involved statistical underpinnings of 2LOT and implications for the massive constructive work and FSCO/I involved in OOL. As a bonus, I have added clips on a longstanding summary of the OOL challenge and the exchange of mutual ruin between Shapiro and Orgel on metabolism vs RNA world type models:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com…..it-police/

    I note, again, FYI-FTR. KF”

    Comments have been disabled on that thread. Where should I comment on your contribution?

    It appears that KeithS is now banned from contributing to this website. Can anyone explain why?

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: RDW caught my eye with an excellent catch:

    Piotr: “feeding only on a minuscule fraction of the usable energy available on Earth”

    RDW: And how does this feeding mechanism which can acquire and direct this minuscule energy to generate increased complexity come into existence? Can anyone point to any process outside of biology where very complex functional systems self-organize themselves needing only some matter in the presence of external energy?

    Yes, there are many orders of magnitude differences in energy flow level and entropy number values between microscale configs to give FSCO/I and something like melting an ice cube. That is interesting, but has been pointed to all along in say the Wiki clip on informational entropy cired in the just linked. Likewise, the energy expended at CERN to achieve tiny energy scale particle transactions is utterly out of proportion . . . I would not like to sign CERN’s energy bill cheques! . . . but such is besides the point and serves only to distract focus from what is pivotal.

    Namely, just taking the toy case of 1,000 coins in a string, we have 1.07*10^301 possible configs, with an utterly dominant peak around the 50-50 H:T point. If coins flip at random, there will be a strong statistical trend to move to the dominant cluster of near 50-50 distribution in no particular special order, gibberish-noise in effect. But, there are in that config space all sorts of ASCII code text strings such as the 1st 143 characters of this post etc. But given the statistics of such a toy, mobilising the entire observed cosmos’ atoms to try to blindly look for such needle in haystack configs would only allow 10^111 configs. That sounds like a lot until one compares 10^301, 190 orders of magnitude beyond. Turning the first into a straw, the comparative haystack would dwarf the observed cosmos. As in, pick a straw sized sample from such a stack blindly. Next to no search, no plausible reason to expect to be able to find anything but the bulk, gibberish.

    That is what is being obfuscated.

    Similarly trying to get rid of the stack by putting us down at a convenient location on or next to an island of function then calling up hill-climbing begs the question of getting to the shores of such islands. Search for golden search comes from the set of subsets of the config space of size W, i.e. from a higher order space of scale 2^W, where W for our toy is 1.07*10^301. Calculator smoking territory, as has repeatedly been pointed out but of course ignored or dismissed.

    That pattern strongly reminds me of how Marxist activists c 1980 used to behave, and I will draw an analogy and make some projections on it.

    On track record of ideologically indoctrinated, polarised agenda activists, expect this sort of questioning of their doctrine to be studiously ignored (per a notorious tactic in Wilson’s The Arte of Rhetorique . . . ) or subjected to the trifecta fallacy: red herring distractors, led to strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight rhetorically to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    Let’s see if that projection can be falsified . . . but RDW, don’t hold your breath a-waiting.

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    TA feel free to comment but keep away from trollish tactics such as led me to close that thread. But understand that I am no longer in a mode of action that presumes reasonable dialogue on the merits of actual fact, reason and prudence. For cause. KF

    PS: I should note I inserted a little test in 123 in the previous thread, that seems to have been failed on one or more of several possible levels. That, was a key part of my turning point.

  91. 91
    Andre says:

    Poitr

    If the law of causality was philosophical as you presume it to be then science would be of no use. It is only people with a materialistic agenda that deny causality. Fixed it for you denier.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Those puzzled by Piotr’s dismissiveness on causality are right to trip a red flag. For, despite all sorts of argument to the contrary, causality is antecedent to the possibility of doing science; as a logical-rational basis.

    Given the link of causality to weak investigatory forms of the principle of sufficient reason, e.g.:

    [PSR, weak form:] Of any particular thing A that is

    [. . . or (ii) is possible, or even (iii) is impossible],

    we may ask, why it is

    [. . . or (ii’) why it is possible, or (iii’) why it is impossible],

    and we may expect — or at least hope — to find a reasonable answer.

    Of course, for any given case, X, we may simply directly proceed to ask why is X so, or why is X possible or why is X impossible, and seek a reasonable answer. So, the weak form as it stands is unobjectionable . . . .

    We thus see by definite and instructive example [such as pondering how a fire comes about, is sustained and ceases] , the principle of cause and effect. That is,

    [d’] if something has a beginning or may cease from being — or, generally it is contingent — it has a cause.

    Common-sense rationality, decision-making and science alike are founded on this principle of right reason: if an event happens, why — and, how? If something begins or ceases to exist, why and how? If something is sustained in existence, what factors contribute to, promote or constrain that effect or process, how?

    The answers to these questions are causes.

    Without the reality behind the concept of cause the very idea of laws of nature would make no sense: events would happen anywhere, anytime, with no intelligible reason or constraint.

    As a direct result, neither rationality nor responsibility would be possible; all would be a confused, unintelligible, unpredictable, uncontrollable chaos with nothing having a stable existence or identity . . .

    . . . the dismissal of causality and cause-effect bonds is tantamount to a rejection of rationality in science.

    Which should have a very familiar ring to it in light of say Haldane’s observation on the self referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism as undermining mind:

    “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. (Cf here for Pearcey’s update.)]

    Evo mat activists have a LOT of explaining to do. KF

  93. 93
    Andre says:

    Poitr

    You do know what science is right? It is the practice to understand and learn what cause what….

  94. 94
    Piotr says:

    #91 Andre,

    Please enlighten me and others: what’s the physical formulation of the Law of Causality?

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    CJY, 73: good concerns. KF

  96. 96
    timothya says:

    Kairosfocus:

    Whatever mode you are in is a matter for you.

    Just to put the matter on “the record” as you often say, why is KeithS banned from commenting at this site?

  97. 97
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    I can agree that the formulation of the law of casualty is very difficult but if you want to know do some research on Laplace……

    http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/hedj.....m-Cont.pdf

  98. 98
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    More on Cause and effect for you;

    http://www.neutonus-reformatus.....sality.pdf

  99. 99
    Piotr says:

    #97 It isn’t the Law of Causality, Andre, but the definition of a “causal system”. A definition isn’t a law; try again.

  100. 100
    Piotr says:

    Andre, if you don’t know how the Law of Causality is formulated in modern physics (as opposed to, say Newtonian metaphysics), don’t worry. There is no such law, so you can’t know it. Just admit it and we’ll be fine.

  101. 101
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    This is pay walled but you should have access

    http://link.springer.com/chapt.....1-5516-8_2

    Love this from Bertrand Russell

    “The law of causation, according to which later events can theoretically be predicted by means of earlier events, has often been held to be a priori, a necessity of thought, a category without which science would not be possible.”

    (Russell, External World p.179)

    He was not a religious nut was he Piotr?

  102. 102
    Cross says:

    Piotr @ 86

    You have once again avoided the hard bits. OOL research has turned up no credible answer from a materialist perspective after many many years. Lots of just so stories like the RNA world etc. but no answers.

    From what I have seen, science is not filling in the gaps but increasing them. The discovery of the incredibly complex machinery in every cell, the complex dna code and machinery to use it to build and maintain life has only widened the gaps.

    When you have a credible answer to dead chemicals becoming replicating life get back to me.

    Cheers

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    TA, I don’t know what the case is with KS, or if it has anything to do with UD Management (there have been vanishings projected on UD leadership that were dirty tricks). I do know that there is a problem of trollish misconduct on the part of too many objectors, which is the direct context for my closing a discussion and for my shift tot he mode of dealing with an agenda based on an ill-founded ideology rather than hoping that I am dealing with genuine dialogue and mere disagreements. I had to deal with Marxists, and that is what it was like. Needless to say, it is not a category that gives any reasonable person any pleasure to have to address in the way that is necessary to maintain good order. KF

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    Cross, very well said. KF

  105. 105
    Missy says:

    Cross, you should add (to this part “The discovery of the incredibly complex machinery in every cell, the complex dna code and machinery to use it to build and maintain life has only widened the gaps.”): And therefore God did it. Then, you’d be an intellectually fulfilled creationist.

  106. 106
    Piotr says:

    #101 Andre,

    No, Russell was not a religious nut, and if you read his full critique of the concept (rather than quote-mine him), you will discover that Russell eventually rejects “the law of causation” as an a priori principle.

    Still no formulation, only irrelevant links, quotations, and attempts to change the topic. Where’s the law of physics called “the Law of Causality”? How shall I discuss something you can’t even formulate?

  107. 107
    Andre says:

    Piotr….

    Seriously, are you denying the law of causality? Then how did you come to be? How did life come to be? Planets? Solar Systems? Galaxies? The universe?

    You can not refute this statement, because it is logically sound.

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause…..

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    Missy,

    that’s a red herring led away to a strawman caricature soaked in ad homs and set alight.

    The issue is not we don’t know and fill in God in so-called gaps. We DO know on trillions of cases what causes FSCO/I in our experience. Intelligently directed configuration. We know that config spaces of relevant scope cannot reasonably be searched via blind needle in haystack strategies or processes.

    We do know on stat underpinnings of 2LOT inextricably involved in our understanding of same for 100+ years that chance factors at micro, molecular level — hoped for source of highly informational and functionally specific configs — is going to push strongly to dominant, gibberish clusters. So, statistical miracles are a forlorn hope clung to and desperately defended (like the labour theory of value) because it is what you have.

    Instead we know from Venter et al, that design of molecular nanostructures and components of life is possible and that FSCO/I is routinely created by design, a proved adequate cause. That is, we have an adequate causal process per vera causa.

    And, we have good reason to see that per a trillion member knowledge base, FSCO/I is a strong inductive sign of design.

    No credible counter-instances that are actually observed can be brought forth. Many tried, typically presenting overlooked design.

    In fact, it is not seriously doubted that FSCO/I is characteristic of design as cause.

    Except, where a priori imposition of the self-referentially incoherent ideology of evolutionary materialist scientism is in the stakes.

    KF

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: denial of causality and linked foundations of logic is a gateway for injecting irrational and self-contradictory ideologies and for presenting the notion that we can get something from nothing for no reason. If you doubt me look up how Marxists often spoke concerning “contradictions,” and how this propagated subtly across their system . . . especially on missing the importance of entrepreneurship, management, creativity and even the fact that the info to regulate an economy is inextricably distributed across people scattered far and wide, undermining central planning decisively. KF

  110. 110
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    As Louis Pasteur affirmed, life only comes from life, and life only produces life after its own kind. This scientific fact is indisputable and none of the hundreds of experimental tests have yet disproved this scientific Law.

    Prominent marine biologist and evolutionist, Martin Moe, admitted:

    “A century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life. Abiogenesis is not possible”

    Cause and effect is the absolute truth in this universe science itself is meaningless without it….

    Again science is to learn and understand… WHAT CAUSES WHAT……

  111. 111
    Piotr says:

    Everything that begins to exist has a cause…

    Let’s leave this scholastic mumbo-jumbo to William Lane Craig. This is not how the laws of physics are expressed. I can’t tell you whether I accept or reject your “law” because I don’t know what it is and how it could be tested.

  112. 112
    DNA_Jock says:

    I am glad to see kf does concede @89 that

    there are many orders of magnitude differences in energy flow level and entropy number values between microscale configs to give FSCO/I and something like melting an ice cube

    Again, not really an ice “cube”: by my reckoning, if I melted the amount of water necessary to account for the information content of the human genome every second it would take me a year to melt 1.5 micrograms of water.

    So this acme of creation is equivalent (in terms of informational entropy) to the melting of an invisible speck of ice.

    Please take Sal’s advice and stop using 2LoT arguments; they make you look bad.

    Regarding kf’s “context” @70, I refer onlookers to my original response the first time he made these statements
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-526864
    Onlookers can see that kf did claim that the lack of independence between AAs is not material, so defacing my post with the false accusation that my claim was “made up out of whole cloth”, followed by his closing the thread (which was entitled “Piotr (and KS, DNA_Jock…”), and finally editing the OP of the closed thread, does seem a bit, err, dictatorial.

    Asked about the fact that KS has been silently “disappeared”, kf replies @103

    I don’t know what the case is with KS, or if it has anything to do with UD Management (there have been vanishings projected on UD leadership that were dirty tricks).

    Uh-huh.

    But onlookers will understand that all these steps, though unpleasant, are “necessary to maintain good order”.

    Is it just me, or is it chilly in here?

    Kf @ 90

    PS: I should note I inserted a little test in 123 in the previous thread, that seems to have been failed on one or more of several possible levels.

    Let’s see, you have inserted 2,458 words into the OP after you closed comments on the thread.
    A “little test” of your ability to cut & paste, it appears.

    And you complain that I repeat myself.
    Sheesh.

  113. 113
    Missy says:

    «that’s a red herring led away to a strawman caricature…»

    No strawman here. Just me telling him/her how to be an intellectually fulfilled creationist (I’ve seen creationists making this kind of argument before, and if you’re not one of them, you shouldn’t be so agitated, because the comment wasn’t directed to you and doesn’t fit you).

    Now try to say the whole phrase very fast… lol.

    As for the rest, Piotr already did a good job explaining what kind of thing may also produce such amounts of information (low probability, ’cause, basically, every creationist argument ends up in “tornado probability”).

  114. 114
    Andre says:

    Piotr is in the last stage, full scale denial…..

    Question for you;

    Piotr, can Piotr come into existence without a cause?

  115. 115
    Zachriel says:

    CJYman: But merely pointing out that there exists either sufficient energy flow and/or sufficient disorganization elsewhere does nothing to explain how this specific instance of organization in a direction away from equilibrium came about.

    That’s right. While any explanation has to be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, mere consistency is not an explanation.

    CJYman: These millions of years of evolution must create a secondary CPU within the previous system that is capable of modeling its surroundings and generating internal plans for the doghouse which are used to control actuators that build the doghouse. So, we are stuck in a loop.

    What loop? It appears to be a progressive change, not a loop.

    CJYman: Why not just bet on the sun whipping up a doghouse in the first place?

    Because the evidence indicates that humans built the doghouse, and that humans and dogs evolved from common ancestors.

    CJYman: How do some systems travel in an extended direction far from equilibrium at seemingly insurmountable odds while still following 2LOT.

    Snowstorms are far from equilibrium. Are you confused about snow?

    CJYman: Where is the 2LOT compensation in the generation of such a system?

    The plant absorbs sunlight using this energy to generate sugars and then proteins. From that it produces seeds.

    CJYman: If this is indeed the case, of which I am not yet convinced, then we will still need to find that factor which allows highly improbable organization to reach far from equilibrium states since mere energy flow (not specifically guided) is apparently not up to the task either theoretically or experimentally.

    Evolution.

    Collin: From what I have seen, science is not filling in the gaps but increasing them.

    That’s right! Every missing link discovered makes two more gaps!

    Collin: When you have a credible answer to dead chemicals becoming replicating life get back to me.

    We have overwhelming evidence that all life evolved from a primitive unicellular common ancestor. Given that, and given evidence that molecules can self-replicate, abiogenesis has considerable evidence.
    http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/

  116. 116
    Missy says:

    Creationists, YOU’re in denial. You have a religious agenda and you have to spread the word: your God did it no matter what.

    EA: If you have an argument to make as to how life arose through natural processes, great, please make it. Also, please feel free to read up on the design inference so that you understand the structure of the design argument.

  117. 117
    Andre says:

    Missy

    If there is no other explanation then what was the cause? You can not shy away from the reality forever….. That is not in your best interest……

  118. 118
    Missy says:

    «If there is no other explanation then what was the cause?» – Some more or less stepwise process, probably… just like Piotr explained.

  119. 119
    Missy says:

    And because we don’t know everything about that, doesn’t mean we should jump in to conclusions, saying “God did it”. I could say the same about your “god hypothesis”: you don’t know everything. How the hell did your God did all of that? What were the processes involved? You don’t know? So, god didn’t do it!
    I chose the natural origin of life hypothesis, because the alternative is to postulate the existence of a god without independent confirmation and the hypothesis itself has nothing useful. No processes involved. Nothing.

  120. 120
    kairosfocus says:

    DNA_Jock:

    Right on track record projection, you have used an entropy calc to distract attentoin form the statistical foundational issue relevant to FSCO/I.

    Red herring-strawman right there.

    You have not apolgised for or withdrawn schoolyard taunt distortions of FSCO/I nor do you show any reasonable responsiveness to a fact of life: FSCO/I exists, is real and relevant, is also showing how the blind chance and necessity resources of the obseved cosmos canot scratch the surface of the config space for just 125 bytes of info. Cell based life just for DNA requires 100 – 1,000 k bases of DNA.

    Don’t even bother with insistent strawman distortions and pretending that willful misrepresentation is a right or it is not cause for serious action.

    You have forfeited the right to be viewed as one interested in genuine dialogue, so don’t pretend that there is a real substantial issue at stake when you show intead just the opposite.

    For onlookers who may be confused by your rhetoric, I simply say, that

    a: the functionally specific complex organisation an associated information in the living cell is something that had a beginning,

    b: is thus contingent and requires explanation on adequate cause — whatever dismissive rhetoric Piotr may wish to try to tag and dismiss as though this were a strange peculiarity of WL Craig — and so

    c: the required information rich constructive work needs adequate explanation on an empirically warranted adequate cause. Where

    d: The only such is intelligently directed configuration, aka design, to the point where

    e: FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause. Where

    f: the statistical underpinnings of 2LOT (which are inextricable from the meaning of the law since 100 years past nd people like Gibbs< Boltzmann and co) confirm this point. That is,

    g: as Granville Sewell aptly observed long since:

    . . . 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 . . .

    h: That is, unless energy and work flows and exhaustion of depleted degraded waste energy and materials are relvently connected to the step by step constructive work, they are irrelevant. And:

    i: The material issue then is not mere quantities but he statistical underpinnings and the implication that entropy is in effect a metric of average missing info to specify macrostate given macro-state. with

    j: FSCO/I rich functional configs being very tightly constrained relative to all clumped at random possibilities, much less the scattered ones. Indeed

    k: the 1.07*10^301 possibilities for a Nash string of 1,000 coins is just the clumped at random set; if we incorporate the possibilities for scattering just across a pond or a vat there are vastly more.

    l: So, to clump the string is itself a hug challenge, much less to organise it into say the ascii code for the first 143 characters of this comment.

    m: So, thank you, I am a statistical miracle skeptic.

    Wen we see signs of serious grappling with these issues, then we know we have someone to discuss with.

    I continue to predict, red herrings, strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominenms and set alight through subtle or blatant hit-the-man rhetoric.

    Revealing just what we are dealing with here.

    G’day.

    KF

    KF

  121. 121
    Piotr says:

    Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Kairosfocus’s answer to my old question. Any other resident geniuses are welcome to help KF.

    Let’s imagine a constant-size population of replicators in which every new generation consists of individuals 10 times “more specified” (10 times less probable) than members of the parent generation. Let’s further assume that the generation cycle is one year. The resampling of the population reduces its entropy from generation to generation (by eliminating most of the microstates). Is the actual flux of entropy on Earth sufficient to allow for such a decrease?

    [Supplement: Let’s make the size of the population really large, comparable with the total number of prokaryotes on Earth; say, 10^30. I will be satisfied by any ballpark figure, as long as it’s based on sound calculations.]

    This exercise, though not quite original, is instructive. It shows how life beats low probabilities. No coin tossing and fishing reels, please, just the maths.

    EA: Piotr, though not directed at me, I would note that your challenge is pointless, as it has no basis in reality. At least you started it with “let’s imagine . . .” That part is true.

  122. 122
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Given that, and given evidence that molecules can self-replicate, abiogenesis has considerable evidence.

    Ok, you think there is considerable evidence supporting abiogenesis. That tells us a lot about how you interpret evidence. I’ll put it this way, I wouldn’t call your view exactly objective and unbiased.

    Susan Mazur’s new book offers an alternative view. As do researchers like Robert Shapiro.

  123. 123
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: you think there is considerable evidence supporting abiogenesis. That tells us a lot about how you interpret evidence. I’ll put it this way, I wouldn’t call your view exactly objective and unbiased.

    We pointed to specific empirical findings.

    We have overwhelming evidence that all life evolved from a primitive unicellular common ancestor. Given that, and given evidence that molecules can self-replicate, abiogenesis has considerable evidence.
    http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/

    ETA: Desnarkified comment.

  124. 124
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: researchers like Robert Shapiro.

    Shapiro points to energy-driven networks of small molecules as a plausible precursor. Is that your position?

  125. 125
    bornagain77 says:

    Missy at 116 states,

    “Creationists, YOU’re in denial.”

    No Missy, actually that would be Atheists that are the ones in the midst of denial. Atheists admit that the ‘appearance of design’ is everywhere, but are in denial that the design they see is real. And they do this ‘denial of design’ even though atheists/neo-Darwinists have not one shred of evidence that unguided material processes can produce non-trivial levels of function information (such as a bacterial flagellum). Here are a few quotes from leading Atheists getting this point across:

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 1

    “We may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve some sensible purpose… Any engineer can recognize an object that has been designed… simply by looking at the structure of the object.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – 2010 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    Moreover, Richards Dawkins is far from the only atheist who seems to be afflicted with this mental illness of seeing the ‘illusion of design’ pervasively throughout life (and nature). (And I note that these atheists are seeing ‘the appearance of design’ even though they have never conducted any scientific experiments, or mathematical calculations, to scientifically ‘detect design’ in life, in anything man-made, or in anything otherwise)

    living organisms “appear to have been carefully and artfully designed”
    Lewontin

    “The appearance of purposefulness is pervasive in nature.”
    George Gaylord Simpson

    Indeed, the atheist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, seems to have been particularly haunted by this mental illness of seeing the ‘illusion of design’ everywhere he looked in molecular biology and fought valiantly to fight those delusions off:

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    Moreover,

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    Thus, since these atheists are seeing the ‘illusion of design’, (seeing this illusion of design with what they claim to be the ‘illusion of mind’ I might add 🙂 ), without ever conducting any scientific experiments or mathematical calculation to ever rigorously ‘detect design’, or ever providing any real-time empirical evidence that unguided material processes are capable of producing this ‘appearance of design’, then of course the ID advocate would be well justified in saying that these atheists are not really suffering from a mental illness at all, of ‘seeing illusions of design’, but they are in fact perfectly mentally healthy and are ‘naturally detecting REAL design’ because of the inherent ‘image of God’ that they have within themselves.

    Verse and Music:

    Romans 1:19
    since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

    George Strait – I Saw God Today –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06AvQF5NOw

  126. 126
    Zachriel says:

    bornagain77: Atheists that are the ones in the midst of denial. Atheists admit that the ‘appearance of design’ is everywhere, but are in denial that the design they see is real.

    Are you conflating atheism with evolution?

    bornagain77: And they do this ‘denial of design’ even though atheists/neo-Darwinists have not one shred of evidence that unguided material processes can produce non-trivial levels of function information

    There’s substantial evidence of historical transitions. A canonical example is the mammalian middle ear. Then again, the entire phylogenetic tree supports historical transitions.

  127. 127
    Missy says:

    bornagain77:
    «And they do this ‘denial of design’ even though atheists/neo-Darwinists have not one shred of evidence that unguided material processes can produce non-trivial levels of function information» – Au contraire, structures proposed by ID creationists as being designed were (and are still being) studied and nothing there seemed to be more than what is expected by known (natural) evolutionary processes.

  128. 128
    Andre says:

    Zachriel sucking stuff from his thumb again

  129. 129
    DNA_Jock says:

    Kf,

    I fail to see how a calculation of the informational entropy in the human genome, and its mind-blowingly miniscule size compared with the thermal entropy available, can possibly be a red herring on threads entitled “Piotr (and KS, DNA_Jock, VS, Z et al) and “compensation” arguments vs the energy audit police . . .” and “Second Thoughts on the Second Law: Extending an Olive Branch“

    Simply put, Granville Sewell is wrong.
    (His x-entropies don’t even have the right units, a mistake that a high-school student would be excoriated for.)

    In a discussion of 2LoT it is YOU, kairosfocus, who is indulging in the red-herring strawman, by trying to introduce FSCO/I and related probability arguments. You say “The material issue then is not mere quantities but he statistical underpinnings and the implication that entropy is in effect a metric of average missing info”, but you resolutely refuse to consider the nature of the trade-off.

    If you want to talk about the improbability of some aspect of life on earth, let’s discuss that. But you keep erroneously conflating that alleged improbability with 2LoT. As Sal Cordova has pointed out to you previously, you really should stop.

    On the other hand, I do understand your desire to conflate the issues – your improbability argument lacks substance:
    You keep claiming that, e.g.,

    FSCO/I exists, is real and relevant, is also showing how the blind chance and necessity resources of the obseved cosmos canot scratch the surface of the config space for just 125 bytes of info.

    , but you have never been able to calculate the probability p(T|H) for any biological, ever.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  130. 130
    bornagain77 says:

    Missy you state that

    “structures proposed by ID creationists as being designed were (and are still being) studied and nothing there seemed to be more than what is expected by known (natural) evolutionary processes.”

    So Missy, are you telling me that you have real time empirical evidence that unguided material processes can produce these following ‘illusions of design’?

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    “Although the tiniest living things known to science, bacterial cells, are incredibly small (10^-12 grams), each is a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world”.
    Michael Denton, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,” 1986, p. 250.

    The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines
    “We have always underestimated cells. Undoubtedly we still do today,,, Indeed, the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”
    Bruce Alberts: Former President, National Academy of Sciences;
    http://www.imbb.forth.gr/peopl.....erts98.pdf

    Here is, according to a Darwinist, a ‘horrendously complex’ metabolic pathway chart:

    Map Of Major Metabolic Pathways In A Cell – Picture
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AKkR.....way-1b.png

    ExPASy – Biochemical Pathways – interactive schematic
    http://biochemical-pathways.com/#/map/1

    DNA – Replication, Wrapping & Mitosis on Vimeo
    Video for dna wrapping replication and mitosis – video
    https://vimeo.com/33882804

    You claim that none of the preceding seems to be “more than what is expected by known (natural) evolutionary processes”.

    REALLY???

    Then perhaps you would not mind falsifying ID by producing a flagellum, in real time, by unguided material processes?

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

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://tl.cross.tv/61771

    Biologist Howard Berg at Harvard calls the Bacterial Flagellum
    “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

    Engineering at Its Finest: Bacterial Chemotaxis and Signal Transduction – JonathanM – September 2011
    Excerpt: The bacterial flagellum represents not just a problem of irreducible complexity. Rather, the problem extends far deeper than that. What we are now observing is the existence of irreducibly complex systems within irreducibly complex systems. How random mutations, coupled with natural selection, could have assembled such a finely set-up system is a question to which I defy any Darwinist to give a sensible answer.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50911.html

    The flagellum has steadfastly resisted all attempts to elucidate its plausible origination by Darwinian processes, much less has anyone ever actually evolved a flagellum from scratch in the laboratory;

    Genetic Entropy Refutation of Nick Matzke’s TTSS (type III secretion system) to Flagellum Evolutionary Narrative:
    Excerpt: Comparative genomic analysis show that flagellar genes have been differentially lost in endosymbiotic bacteria of insects. Only proteins involved in protein export within the flagella assembly pathway (type III secretion system and the basal-body) have been kept…
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....t/msn153v1

    Quote:

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane Kramarik – former Child Prodigy –

  131. 131
    Missy says:

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality” – Now apply it to your “god did it” crap.

    As for the rest, evolutionary steps have been partially reconstructed for said structures and what did scientists find? gene duplication, co-option, other mutations and beneficial evolutionary stages. And nothing that wasn’t explainable by known processes.

    EA: Please provide some citations. And keep in mind vague generalities, speculations, wild guesses, and what-if’s are not quite as impressive to those who have not bought into the intellectual trap of assuming that everything must have come about through particles bumping into each other.

  132. 132
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “As for the rest, evolutionary steps have been partially reconstructed for said structures and what did scientists find? gene duplication, co-option, other mutations and beneficial evolutionary stages. And nothing that wasn’t explainable by known processes.”

    Let me translate that for you Missy,

    “I don’t have any real time empirical evidence of unguided material processes producing a single molecular machine, but what I do have are just so stories that I believe in”

  133. 133
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @22:

    Apparently, some do. It’s actually quite common. That’s why it is common to remind the reader that sunlight is the rich energy source, while the deep of space is the cold sink, and life is one of many forms of energy dissipation, swirls in the energy flow.

    It is most certainly not common. See my inline comment to keith s @1.

    And your reminders about sunlight are a red herring. See my inline comments to keith s @2-3.

  134. 134
    Eric Anderson says:

    Sal @4:

    Thanks for the comments. Good to hear from you — I thought we might bring you out of the woodwork on this one. 🙂

    What you are highlighting is, in my estimation, a valid point, a worthy caution, and is the basis for Myth #1 under the abiogenesis skeptics. Also, (a) under the summary.

    So you needn’t feel like you are the lone voice crying in the wilderness. 🙂

    For the reasons outlined, I agree with you that the 2nd Law argument is not the most fruitful way to discuss these issues. I would not suggest, however, (and I’m not saying you have) that discussion of the 2nd Law should be avoided in all cases. There are some interesting issues that merit attention and fruitful discussion. It is just too hard to have a good discussion with people who constantly bring up myths and stifle the substantive points.

  135. 135
    bornagain77 says:

    Missy as to:

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality” – Now apply it to your “god did it” crap.

    actually,

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”

    is far more supportive of ‘“god did it” crap’ than you seem to realize:

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed.
    Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,,
    The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec11.html

    Of related note, Einstein was once asked (by a philosopher):

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”

    Einstein’s answer was categorical, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    Quote was taken from the last few minutes of this following video or can be read in full context in the article following the video:

    Stanley L. Jaki: “The Mind and Its Now”
    https://vimeo.com/10588094

    The Mind and Its Now – Stanley L. Jaki, July 2008
    Excerpts: There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,,
    Three quarters of a century ago Charles Sherrington, the greatest modern student of the brain, spoke memorably on the mind’s baffling independence of the brain. The mind lives in a self-continued now or rather in the now continued in the self. This life involves the entire brain, some parts of which overlap, others do not.
    ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.
    ,,, the now is immensely richer an experience than any marvelous set of numbers, even if science could give an account of the set of numbers, in terms of energy levels. The now is not a number. It is rather a word, the most decisive of all words. It is through experiencing that word that the mind comes alive and registers all existence around and well beyond.
    ,,, All our moments, all our nows, flow into a personal continuum, of which the supreme form is the NOW which is uncreated, because it simply IS.
    http://www.saintcd.com/science.....imitstart=

    The statement, ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement’, was an interesting statement for Einstein to make since ‘the now of the mind’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, undermined the space-time of Einstein’s General Relativity as to being the absolute frame of reference for reality.

    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    Excerpt: Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uLcJUgLm1vwFyjwcbwuYP0bK6k8mXy-of990HudzduI/edit

    i.e. ‘the now of the mind’, contrary to what Einstein thought possible for experimental physics, and according to advances in quantum mechanics, takes precedence over past events in time. Moreover, due to advances in quantum mechanics, it would now be much more appropriate to phrase Einstein’s answer to the philosopher in this way:

    “It is impossible for the experience of ‘the now of the mind’ to ever be divorced from physical measurement, it will always be a part of physics.”

    Of related note, Einstein took the importance of mind (and free will), as to coherently explaining reality, far too lightly, since he himself would not have been able to deduce relativity unless he possessed faculties of mind that are not reducible to a material basis:

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

  136. 136
    Missy says:

    “I don’t have any real time empirical evidence of unguided material processes producing a single molecular machine, but what I do have are just so stories that I believe in”

    No, you IDiot.

    Let me translate that to you: What I have is “historical” data, and by exploring them I can come up with conclusions.

  137. 137
    Eric Anderson says:

    Jim Smith @10-12:

    Excellent comments.

    The only caveat I would make, if I may, is that the onus to “refute all proposed mechanisms for the natural origin of life” is a bit too strong, and places the burden on the wrong foot. After all, we cannot prove a negative.

    The burden is on those alleging some naturalistic origin to provide a good reason — I would even be happy with a rational, semi-plausible one — to think that the scenario holds water. Yes, a part of the skeptical job is to point out problems with the scenarios, but we are talking about a historical matter which is decided on an inference to the best explanation, not a complete refutation of all proposed scenarios. Particularly when many of the scenarios are so vague and unclear that they are not even be amenable to full analysis or refutation.

    Anyway, I think we are on the same page. Just a minor caveat to the description.

    Thanks,

  138. 138
    Eric Anderson says:

    Collin @13:

    I realized you addressed this to Jim, but I’ll answer as well:

    Also, would you say that something that is thermodynamically impossible would even be impossible with an intelligent designer?

    Yes, it would be impossible even with an intelligent designer.

    I agree with Zachriel @21.

  139. 139
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: If you are still having trouble with this concept, do a quick Google search for something like “aviation overcome-gravity” and you will see what I mean.

    One overcomes the force of gravity, not the law of gravity.

    EA: is this a semantic game you are trying to play? Can you look at Box’s statement that keith s cited in comment #1 and read it in a way to refer to the “effects” of thermodynamics, not the “law” of thermodynamics?

    Eric Anderson: It is most certainly not common.

    Common enough.

    EA: Perhaps it comes up occasionally. But most of the time we are dealing with (i) a less-than-perfect explanation [Myth #3 for the abiogenesis skeptic], coupled with (ii) an uncharitable or purposeful attempt to discredit the skeptic, rather than thoughtfully discussing the issue at hand [Myth #1 for the abiogenesis proponent].

  140. 140
    Eric Anderson says:

    Missy @15:

    Thanks for your comments.

    As for the origin of life, I’ve read about a physicist who says that the laws of thermodynamics are favorable to the origin of life under certain conditions. I’m saying this without looking at it. I think a link a link was posted a while ago at sandwalk.

    I would be very interested in the link, if you can find it.

    Until then, I remain extremely skeptical, because we have been sent down the rabbit’s hole with papers that allegedly show this or that (including by Nick Matzke a while back on this very issue of thermodynamics as it relates to living systems). The conditions the physicist is proposing must be highly unrealistic for early Earth or his conclusions would be enthusiastically embraced by more researchers. That origin of life researchers are still grappling with the thermodynamic issues in OOL should suggest something to us.

    As for probabilities… do you even know that, for instance, the event of someone who is black having a white twin is improbable, and much more so the probability of having a black twin x the probability of both having brown eyes x the probability of both having small ears x … (whatever traits)? And I don’t think we need to go that far – any genetic conbination that you might have is improbable.

    I’m not sure where you are headed, but I would just point out that the probabilities we are talking about for purposes of the design inference or in OOL are far beyond the examples you provide.

    Again, I’m not sure you are driving at this particular aspect, but the idea that we should accept the possibility of life arising by chance because, after all, other improbable things happen, does not hold water. But that is the topic of discussion for another day. 🙂

  141. 141
    Andre says:

    What happens to amino acids in water? What happens to amino acids in oxygen? What happens to amino acids exposed to heat? What happens to amino acids exposed to cold?

    Just asking……

  142. 142
    Eric Anderson says:

    Piotr @49:

    Good, we have established that the creation of life from sctratch is impossibly difficult. There goes creationism. Stepwise increase of complexity seems to be the only viable notion.

    This is nowhere near anything that can reasonably be concluded from KF’s statement, and is a clear attempt at misdirection. Piotr, on a regular basis you have good thoughts and careful observations. I know many of us appreciate your participation. Please don’t sully your own approach by misrepresenting KF’s statement.

  143. 143
    Eric Anderson says:

    Box @54:

    An increase in organization implies a decrease of statistical entropy, right?

    Not necessarily. This is one of the problems with the 2nd Law arguments. (Myth #1 for the abiogenesis skeptics.)

    I think entropy can be relevant in very specific cases to point out the expected trajectory of the system in that case. But we cannot, in my view, point to a general principle that would unequivocally tie entropy to design.

  144. 144
    Missy says:

    «Again, I’m not sure you are driving at this particular aspect, but the idea that we should accept the possibility of life arising by chance because, after all, other improbable things happen, does not hold water.» – I think accepting the possibility is just a humble proposition and for accepting the POSSIBILITY we do not need much more. Accepting it as likely or the best hypothesis, that’s another story, but I addressed why I do accept it as such (I mean, I guess when you say “by chance”, you’re inaccurately referring to life arising by natural processes) and I also pointed out that a good explanation for the origin of life would be some stepwise process and referenced Piotr’s comment and example.

  145. 145
    Eric Anderson says:

    ENich @61:

    Welcome! And thank you for the thoughts and observations.

    I hope you will feel free to join in and comment on threads any time.

  146. 146
    bornagain77 says:

    So Missy, you have never actually seen, in real time, a molecular machine arise by unguided material processes. No one else has ever seen, in real time, a molecular machine arise by unguided material processes. But you believe that by divining the tea leaves of deep time, i.e. history, that you can deduce that unguided material processes accomplished in the past what they cannot accomplish today?

    Small problem with all that, deep time is not your friend:

    Time: The Unlikely Villain
    Excerpt: When confronted with the problem of equilibrium, most scientific materialists will appeal to the magic ingredient of time. In chapter one we saw this appeal by Nobel Laureate, George Wald:

    “Time is in fact the hero of the plot. Given so much time the impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: Time itself performs the miracles.” 49

    However, Dr. (Harold F.) Blum, who is a materialist, points out that Wald’s faith in the miraculous ingredient of time is mere wishful thinking. Prolonged time periods, he asserts, actually worsen the dilemma:
    “I think if I were rewriting this chapter [on the origin of life] completely, I should want to change the emphasis somewhat. I should want to play down still more the importance of the great amount of time available for highly improbable events to occur. One may take the view that the greater the time elapsed the greater should be the approach to equilibrium, the most probable state, and it seems that this ought to take precedence in our thinking over the idea that time provides the possibility for the occurrence of the highly improbable.” 50 (Emphasis added)
    According to Dr. Blum, the magic bullet of time does not increase the likelihood that chains of DNA or proteins will form by chance chemistry. In fact, according to Dr. Blum, increasing the time factor actually ensures that any primordial soup would consist of predominantly unbonded amino acids and nucleotides!
    http://www.bibliotecapleyades......life13.htm

    i.e. time itself is found to be connected to entropy:

    Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012
    Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,
    Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,,
    The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,,
    http://crev.info/2012/10/shini.....rk-energy/

    As well, the irreversible process of ‘Genetic Deterioration’ over deep time is indicated in ‘realistic’ computer simulations over deep time:

    Using Numerical Simulation to Better Understand Fixation Rates, and Establishment of a New Principle – “Haldane’s Ratchet” – Christopher L. Rupe and John C. Sanford – 2013
    Excerpt: We have therefore independently demonstrated that the findings of Haldane and ReMine are for the most part correct, and that the fundamental evolutionary problem historically known as “Haldane’s Dilemma” is very real.
    Previous analyses have focused exclusively on beneficial mutations. When deleterious mutations were included in our simulations, using a realistic ratio of beneficial to deleterious mutation rate, deleterious fixations vastly outnumbered beneficial fixations. Because of this, the net effect of mutation fixation should clearly create a ratchet-type mechanism which should cause continuous loss of information and decline in the size of the functional genome. We name this phenomenon “Haldane’s Ratchet”.
    http://media.wix.com/ugd/a704d.....fa9c20.pdf

    Thus, Darwinists are found to be postulating that the irreversible ‘random’ events of entropy of the universe, entropic events which explain time itself in the first place, are creating information when in fact it is now shown that these random entropic events in the cell, and of the universe, will do exactly the opposite of what Darwinists claim they can do. These ‘random’ entropic events are found to be consistently destroying the information in the cell rather than ever creating it. It is the equivalent in science of someone claiming that gravity can make things fall up instead of down, and that is not overstating the bizarre situation we find ourselves in in the least, with this completely unsupported postulation from Darwinists for how life arose and diversified, since gravity itself is tied to time and entropy.

    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.....ity-is-a-f

    Also of note:

    Atheistic neo-Darwinists claim that given enough time the improbable becomes probable. i.e. Evolution, no matter how improbable, becomes certain if you allow enough time according to their reasoning. Thus to counter such simplistic reasoning in the power of time to work miracles, here are a few notes to the contrary of what the neo-Darwinists take on blind faith in the power of time;

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

    Quote from preceding video – In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.
    William Lane Craig

    “So there we have it. The amount of time currently available for life to evolve is of the order of time N (billions of years), but according to Chaitin’s toy model, Darwinian evolution should take at least time N^2, or quintillions of years. That fact troubles Chaitin, and it should. But at least he has the honesty to admit there is a problem.”
    Dr. VJ Torley
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....the-earth/

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    Excerpt: The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

  147. 147
    scordova says:

    Sal @4:

    Thanks for the comments.

    You’re welcome.

    Good to hear from you — I thought we might bring you out of the woodwork on this one. 🙂

    🙂

    Regards,
    Sal

  148. 148
    Eric Anderson says:

    CJYman @73:

    Thank you for the good thoughts and explanation. Those falling into the trap of Myth #1, please read CHYman’s comments.

    This also drives home the point that it is helpful to try to understand someone’s argument — even going so far as to mak a charitable attempt to reframe it in language that makes sense to you, if needed — rather than playing rhetorical games.

  149. 149
    REC says:

    Andre @141

    “What happens to amino acids in water?”

    Some tend to self-organize. This organization is largely driven by entropy.

  150. 150
    DNA_Jock says:

    True, REC. We both know that so-called “hydrophobic bonding” is almost entirely entropic. Ironically, when amino acids enter water, the resulting zwitterion formation will lead to a decrease in the entropy of the water immediately surrounding each amino acid, which is compensated for by an increase in the entropy of the rest of the solution.

    Chemistry is fun. Examples of compensation abound.

  151. 151
    Andre says:

    Some tend to self organise that’s nice and I suppose this is the hope of those that reckon life started in water. .. so tell me which ones self organise? Left handed? Right handed or a mixture?

  152. 152
    REC says:

    “Some tend to self organise that’s nice”

    Well, it isn’t so nice for tornado-in-junkyard types. Exposing molecules to a “molecular tornado” often results in spontaneous entropy-favored reassembly. Cars and houses don’t do this. So if the analogy totally and utterly fails in the face of observations, why keep using it?

    To mislead, I suppose?

    “so tell me which ones self organise? Left handed? Right handed or a mixture?”

    D- and L-amino acids, and mixtures of the two, can self assemble. Let’s not distract this discussion with the origins of homochirality.

  153. 153
    bornagain77 says:

    as to the ‘just add water to get life’ belief of materialists, water is not nearly as friendly in overcoming entropic concerns as atheists imagine it is:

    A Substantial Conundrum Confronting The Chemical Origin Of Life – August 2011
    Excerpt: 1. Peptide bond formation is an endothermic reaction. This means that the reaction requires the absorption of energy: It does not take place spontaneously.
    2. Peptide bond formation is a condensation reaction. It hence involves the net removal of a water molecule. So not only can this reaction not happen spontaneously in an aqueous medium, but, in fact, the presence of water inhibits the reaction.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....n-of-life/

    Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories – Casey Luskin – December 12, 2012
    Excerpt:: Problem 2: Forming Polymers Requires Dehydration Synthesis:
    Chemically speaking, however, the last place you’d want to link amino acids into chains would be a vast water-based environment like the “primordial soup” or underwater near a hydrothermal vent. As the National Academy of Sciences acknowledges, “Two amino acids do not spontaneously join in water. Rather, the opposite reaction is thermodynamically favored.”11 In other words, water breaks down protein chains into amino acids (or other constituents), making it very difficult to produce proteins (or other polymers) in the primordial soup.
    [11.] Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, National Research Council, The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, p. 60 (Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 2007).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67431.html

    RNA world: Chemists Propose a Seemingly Unlikely Environment for the Origin of Life – February 27, 2013
    Excerpt:,,, *The “water problem”: Many of the bonds in RNA will undergo hydrolysis. This occurs when water reacts with the bond, causing it to break apart. In a lab, the problem is easily addressed by using a different solvent. However, the environment of the early Earth could not draw on the resource of various organic solvents.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68661.html

    Suzan Mazur: Origin of life shifting to “nonmaterial events”? – December 15, 2013
    Excerpt: The first paradox is the tendency of organic matter to devolve and to give tar. If you can avoid that, you can start to try to assemble things that are not tarry, but then you encounter the water problem, which is related to the fact that every interesting bond that you want to make is unstable, thermodynamically, with respect to water. If you can solve that problem, you have the problem of entropy, that any of the building blocks are going to be present in a low concentration; therefore, to assemble a large number of those building blocks, you get a gene-like RNA — 100 nucleotides long — that fights entropy. And the fourth problem is that even if you can solve the entropy problem, you have a paradox that RNA enzymes, which are maybe catalytically active, are more likely to be active in the sense that destroys RNA rather than creates RNA.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-events/

    Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis – Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean.
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers.....fault.html

    Sea Salt only adds to this thermodynamic problem:
    …even at concentrations seven times weaker than in today’s oceans. The ingredients of sea salt are very effective at dismembering membranes and preventing RNA units (monomers) from forming polymers any longer than two links (dimers).
    Creation Evolution News – Sept. 2002

    Professor Arthur E. Wilder-Smith “Any amounts of polypeptide which might be formed will be broken down into their initial components (amino acids) by the excess of water. The ocean is thus practically the last place on this or any other planet where the proteins of life could be formed spontaneously from amino acids. Yet nearly all text-books of biology teach this nonsense to support evolutionary theory and spontaneous biogenesis … Has materialistic Neo-Darwinian philosophy overwhelmed us to such an extent that we forget or overlook the well-known facts of science and of chemistry in order to support this philosophy? … Without exception all Miller’s amino acids are completely unsuitable for any type of spontaneous biogenesis. And the same applies to all and any randomly formed substances and amino acids which form racemates. This statement is categorical and absolute and cannot be affected by special conditions.”
    http://theevolutioncrisis.org.uk/testimony3.php

    Moreover, the ‘just add water to get life’ belief of materialists reminds me of this quote:

    “Science just asks for one small miracle and then they’ll be sure to take care of the rest.”
    Terence McKenna

    If any substance deserves to be called ‘miraculous’ in its fine-tuning for life, it is water!

    When we look at water, the most common substance on earth and in our bodies, we find many odd characteristics which clearly appear to be designed. These oddities are absolutely essential for life on earth. Some simple life can exist without the direct energy of sunlight, some simple life can exist without oxygen; but no life can exist without water. Water is called a universal solvent because it has the unique ability to dissolve a far wider range of substances than any other solvent. This ‘universal solvent’ ability of water is essential for the cells of living organisms to process the wide range of substances necessary for life. Another oddity is water expands as it becomes ice, by an increase of about 9% in volume. Thus, water floats when it becomes a solid instead of sinking. This is an exceedingly rare ability. Water is the only non-metallic substance on Earth with this property. Yet if it were not for this fact, lakes and oceans would freeze from the bottom up. The earth would be a frozen wasteland, and human life would not be possible. Water also has the unusual ability to pull itself into very fine tubes and small spaces, defying gravity. This is called capillary action. This action is essential for the breakup of mineral bearing rocks into soil. Water pulls itself into tiny spaces on the surface of a rock and freezes; it expands and breaks the rock into tinier pieces, thus producing soil. Capillary action is also essential for the movement of water through soil to the roots of plants. It is also essential for the movement of water from the roots to the tops of the plants, even to the tops of the mighty redwood trees,,,

    Towering Giants Of Teleological Beauty – October 2010
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-beauty/

    ,,,Capillary action is also essential for the circulation of the blood in our very own capillary blood vessels. Water’s melting and boiling point are not where common sense would indicate they should be when we look at its molecular weight. The three sister compounds of water all behave as would be predicted by their molecular weight. Oddly, water just happens to have melting and boiling points that are of optimal biological utility. The other properties of water we measure, like its specific slipperiness (viscosity) and its ability to absorb and release more heat than any other natural substance, have to be as they are in order for life to be possible on earth. Even the oceans have to be the size they are in order to stabilize the temperature of the earth so human life may be possible.

    Oceans vital for possibility for alien life – July 20, 2014
    Excerpt: “Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....203459.htm

    On and on through each characteristic we can possibly measure water with, it turns out to be required to be almost exactly as it is or complex life on this earth could not exist. No other liquid in the universe comes anywhere near matching water in its fitness for life (Denton: Nature’s Destiny).

  154. 154
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the anomalous life enabling properties of water:

    Anomalous life enabling properties of water
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/anmlies.html

    Water’s remarkable capabilities – December 2010 – Peer Reviewed
    Excerpt: All these traits are contained in a simple molecule of only three atoms. One of the most difficult tasks for an engineer is to design for multiple criteria at once. … Satisfying all these criteria in one simple design is an engineering marvel. Also, the design process goes very deep since many characteristics would necessarily be changed if one were to alter fundamental physical properties such as the strong nuclear force or the size of the electron.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....42211.html

    And these properties of water ‘exist on a knife-edge’.

    Water’s quantum weirdness makes life possible – October 2011
    Excerpt: WATER’S life-giving properties exist on a knife-edge. It turns out that life as we know it relies on a fortuitous, but incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces.,,, They found that the hydrogen-oxygen bonds were slightly longer than the deuterium-oxygen ones, which is what you would expect if quantum uncertainty was affecting water’s structure. “No one has ever really measured that before,” says Benmore.
    We are used to the idea that the cosmos’s physical constants are fine-tuned for life. Now it seems water’s quantum forces can be added to this “just right” list.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....sible.html

    Also of interest to the life enabling properties of water, water appears to also be ‘designed’ with protein folding in mind:

    Protein Folding: One Picture Per Millisecond Illuminates The Process – 2008
    Excerpt: The RUB-chemists initiated the folding process and then monitored the course of events. It turned out that within less than ten milliseconds, the motions of the water network were altered as well as the protein itself being restructured. “These two processes practically take place simultaneously“, Prof. Havenith-Newen states, “they are strongly correlated.“ These observations support the yet controversial suggestion that water plays a fundamental role in protein folding, and thus in protein function, and does not stay passive.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....075610.htm

    Water Is ‘Designer Fluid’ That Helps Proteins Change Shape – 2008
    Excerpt: “When bound to proteins, water molecules participate in a carefully choreographed ballet that permits the proteins to fold into their functional, native states. This delicate dance is essential to life.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....113314.htm

    supplemental note:

    Water found to be an ideal lubricant for nanomachines – September 1, 2013
    Excerpt: Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have discovered that machines just one molecule in size move far quicker if you add a ‘lubricant’ to their surroundings. To their surprise, water proved to be the best lubricant by far.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-08-i.....hines.html

  155. 155
    Eric Anderson says:

    RalphDavidWestfall @78:

    And how does this feeding mechanism which can acquire and direct this minuscule energy to generate increased complexity come into existence? Can anyone point to any process outside of biology where very complex functional systems self-organize themselves needing only some matter in the presence of external energy?

    Indeed. Excellent question.

    Of course, one could try to define the issue away like Piotr did.

  156. 156
    Eric Anderson says:

    Missy @113:

    No strawman here. Just me telling him/her how to be an intellectually fulfilled creationist (I’ve seen creationists making this kind of argument before, and if you’re not one of them, you shouldn’t be so agitated, because the comment wasn’t directed to you and doesn’t fit you).

    It is possible you have heard some people make that kind of argument, but certainly not any well-known proponent of intelligent design. Nor does skepticism of abiogenesis lead to the kind of caricature you are putting up. What is significantly more likely, in my experience, is that materialists misunderstand or misrepresent the logical structure of the argument. It is much easier to dismiss that way, rather than dealing with the evidence.

    You have fallen into the trap of Myth #5.

  157. 157
    Eric Anderson says:

    Missy @118:

    Some more or less stepwise process, probably… just like Piotr explained.

    Piotr didn’t “explain” anything. He just regurgitated the theory: molecules come together in some unknown, unspecified way to form a larger molecule; those come together in some unknown, unspecified way to form a larger structure; unspecified things keep coming together in unspecified ways until, one glorious day, we have life.

    It isn’t an explanation. It doesn’t even pass the laugh test. It is more of a gullibility test.

    @ 119:

    And because we don’t know everything about that, doesn’t mean we should jump in to conclusions, saying “God did it”. I could say the same about your “god hypothesis”: you don’t know everything. How the hell did your God did all of that? What were the processes involved? You don’t know? So, god didn’t do it!
    I chose the natural origin of life hypothesis, because the alternative is to postulate the existence of a god without independent confirmation and the hypothesis itself has nothing useful. No processes involved. Nothing.

    Again, you do not understand the design argument. You are just repeating the tired “god-of-the-gaps” kids-on-a-playground-level accusation that seems to get trotted out anytime a materialist is pushed into an evidentiary corner.

    I am tolerant of your view, but would note that this thread does not invoke God and does not relate to God. That is an interesting discussion in its own right, but not germane to the thread.

  158. 158
    Piotr says:

    #155 Eric Anderson,

    I was serious about that. Self-replication (with some tolerance for copying errors) constrained by limited survival chances seems to be the optimal recipe for “swimming upstream” in a stable entropy flux. I suppose whatever meets that description will be classified as “life”, or at least something covered by the field of biology (viruses, for example, no matter if you treat them as bona fide life-forms). If we ever find anything like that on other planets, we’ll call it extraterrestrial life.

    Cultural evolution (including the evolution of language in humans) is also a potential example, but of course it has biological foundations and presupposes the existence of living beings.

  159. 159
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @123:

    We have overwhelming evidence that all life evolved from a primitive unicellular common ancestor. Given that, and given evidence that molecules can self-replicate, abiogenesis has considerable evidence.

    Many of us are remarkably underwhelmed by the evidence relating to your first sentence, but that is a topic for another day.

    As to the second sentence, I’m not sure you are reading the literature carefully. Can you point to such a thing as a self-replicating molecule? The Szostak lab you keep referring us to has not shown any such thing, to my knowledge.

    In addition, abiogenesis requires much more than a self-replicating molecule. Probably a dozen requirements, essentially every one of which is currently a show-stopper for a naturalistic origin of life scenario.

    So, it is definitely not the case that abiogenesis has considerable evidence. For those who can see the evidence for what it is, without the blinders of materialistic philosophy, it would be difficult to find any concept in modern science that has less evidence going for it.

  160. 160
    Piotr says:

    EA,

    Piotr didn’t “explain” anything. He just regurgitated the theory: molecules come together in some unknown, unspecified way to form a larger molecule; those come together in some unknown, unspecified way to form a larger structure; unspecified things keep coming together in unspecified ways until, one glorious day, we have life.

    It isn’t an explanation. It doesn’t even pass the laugh test. It is more of a gullibility test.

    It looks more like a straw man to me. I am not qualified to discuss the OOL scenarios in any detail, but once we have a viable replication process going (in a prebiotic environment it wouldn’t have had to be anything fancy), the emergence and fine-tuning of new “functional” features (visible to selection and promoted by it) is not only possible but pretty well inevitable, no matter how “improbable” they seem to be. Thermodynamic considerations are important in understanding why (as Boltzmann probably saw, judging from his lectures).

  161. 161
    Eric Anderson says:

    Missy @144:

    I think accepting the possibility is just a humble proposition and for accepting the POSSIBILITY we do not need much more. Accepting it as likely or the best hypothesis, that’s another story, but I addressed why I do accept it as such (I mean, I guess when you say “by chance”, you’re inaccurately referring to life arising by natural processes) and I also pointed out that a good explanation for the origin of life would be some stepwise process and referenced Piotr’s comment and example.

    Thanks.

    I think you are quite right that the question is whether it is likely or a good explanation. I’m not personally too impressed with sheer “possibility” — after all, it is possible, as a matter of sheer logic, that the Sun will cease shining tomorrow at noon. Likely? Not at all. Sheer possibility may be a fun thought exercise for a brainstorming session, but it is not of any real use from a scientific standpoint. So we have to look not at what could occur as a matter of sheer possibility, but what has a real chance of occurring, given the evidence and the laws of the universe as we know them.

    Again, as I noted, Piotr has not provided any kind of explanation. We are all familiar with those kinds of “explanations” for the origin of life. Everyone who studies OOL is familiar with them, including many more details than Piotr knows, no doubt. And on close inspection the explanations don’t hold water.

  162. 162
    Eric Anderson says:

    REC @149:

    “What happens to amino acids in water?”

    Some tend to self-organize. This organization is largely driven by entropy.

    Self-organize into what? Somehow it sounds more impressive when we say “self-organize” than saying that a chemical reaction takes place. 🙂

    Either way, what is the practical result of those chemical interactions? Certainly not anything helpful for abiogenesis, not to mention the long list of additional problems with the hypothesis.

  163. 163
    Eric Anderson says:

    timothya @88:

    It appears that KeithS is now banned from contributing to this website. Can anyone explain why?

    I don’t know anything about that. keith s has been harping on, completely unhelpfully, on a couple of one-note-johnny points, in spite of corrections and clear explanations of why his approach and attitude are unhelpful on this issue.

    That said, I would not favor banning someone for that. I don’t know if he has indeed been banned or even how to ban someone.

    Ironically, I was banned from UD for a year or two a while back. 🙂 But I’ve never bothered to find out why, and have just assumed it was some kind of glitch with my IP address.

  164. 164
    Cross says:

    Missy @ many

    Since I am in a different time zone, things have certainly moved on here. I think EA, KF, BA and Andre have addressed your response.

    Can I say that EA was right, you are assuming my view based on some caricature.

    I do believe God created this universe and all in it but not because of ID or some God of the Gaps argument. I have other reasons for my faith as I am sure some others here would also.

    None of this relates to ID as ID does not require a faith in God, although some have this. I am interested in ID because I believe it best fits the facts.

    I see no plausible OOL scenario from materialist only causes but, unlike many, I am willing to follow where the science leads, are you?

    I am not afraid that science will prove life arose by purely material means (and thus GOD is unnecessary), are you afraid that life may need an Intelligent Designer to arise?

    My hope is that science (which I do not hate, as the caricature is often presented) will one day be honest enough to follow where the evidence leads with no insistence on material only causes like the early pioneers of science were prepared to do.

    Cheers

  165. 165
    Missy says:

    «Can I say that EA was right, you are assuming my view based on some caricature.» – If you read closely, you’re going to understand that I wasn’t assuming you make god of the gaps arguments or view things like that. I was just making a sarcastic comment regarding the views of many creationists. It didn’t intended to be offensive to you, though. – That for the first comment (replying to you)

  166. 166
    Missy says:

    «Again, you do not understand the design argument. You are just repeating the tired “god-of-the-gaps” kids-on-a-playground-level accusation that seems to get trotted out anytime a materialist is pushed into an evidentiary corner.» – i think it was you that did not understand my comment. I was getting ahead of that kind of god of the gaps response, once I’ve seen creationists doing it. But I admit I may be a little biased.

  167. 167
    Cross says:

    Missy @ 165

    No problems, I was not offended.

    Cheers

  168. 168
    DNA_Jock says:

    Eric A writes:

    Either way, what is the practical result of those chemical interactions? Certainly not anything helpful for abiogenesis

    Interesting. You don’t know what the practical result of those interactions might be, yet you are certain that they wouldn’t help abiogenesis.

    You’d be wrong, of course:

    Amino acids lining up at an air-water interface changes both the thermodynamics and the kinetics of peptide bond formation, rendering Jonathan M’s comments (quoted by ba77 @153) incorrect…

    Water-clay interfaces are even more interesting. But why bother learning anything when you already know the answer?

  169. 169
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock: (…) rendering Jonathan M’s comments (quoted by ba77 @153) incorrect…

    Which comments by Jonathan M would that be?

  170. 170
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box asks: “Which comments by Jonathan M would that be?”

    1. Peptide bond formation is an endothermic reaction. This means that the reaction requires the absorption of energy: It does not take place spontaneously.
    2. Peptide bond formation is a condensation reaction. It hence involves the net removal of a water molecule. So not only can this reaction not happen spontaneously in an aqueous medium, but, in fact, the presence of water inhibits the reaction.

    Errors highlighted.

  171. 171
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock,
    Not the final word to be sure, but Wiki seems to support Jonathan M’s comments.

    “The formation of the peptide bond consumes energy, which, in living systems, is derived from ATP.”

    &

    “A peptide bond can be broken by hydrolysis (the adding of water). In the presence of water they will break down and release 8–16 kilojoule/mol (2–4 kcal/mol) [9] of free energy. This process is extremely slow (up to 1000 years).
    In living organisms, the process is catalyzed by enzymes.”

  172. 172
    bornagain77 says:

    DNA_Jock, although there are issues you are glossing over to try to make it seem OOL is plausible in water, let’s just cut to the chase and see why all materialistic OOL scenarios will always fail.

    But before I do that, I would like to point out that all this talk of prebiotic chemistry on the primordial earth is purely imaginary. You have no empirical evidence whatsoever that a prebiotic soup ever existed on the primordial earth so as to have a basis for your imaginary conjectures in the first place:

    For one thing there is no evidence of a ‘prebiotic world’: 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

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

    But the reason why all OOL scenarios will always fail is that even if the entire universe had been nothing but prebiotic soup in it, unguided processes would still not be able to solve the insurmountable ‘information problem:

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

    The Humpty-Dumpty Effect: A Revolutionary Paper with Far-Reaching Implications – Paul Nelson – October 23, 2012
    Excerpt: Tompa and Rose calculate the “total number of possible distinct patterns of interactions,” using yeast, a unicellular eukaryote, as their model system; this “total number” is the size of the space that must be searched. With approximately 4,500 proteins in yeast, the interactome search space “is on the order of 10^7200, an unimaginably large number,” they write — but “more realistic” estimates, they continue, are “yet more complicated.” Proteins present many possible surfaces for chemical interaction. “In all,” argue Tompa and Rose, “an average protein would have approximately 3540 distinguishable interfaces,” and if one uses this number for the interactome space calculation, the result is 10 followed by the exponent 7.9 x 10^10.,,, the numbers preclude formation of a functional interactome (of ‘simple’ life) by trial and error,, within any meaningful span of time. This numerical exercise…is tantamount to a proof that the cell does not organize by random collisions of its interacting constituents. (i.e. that life did not arise, nor operate, by chance!)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65521.html

    Since information is in fact not reducible to a material basis, (in fact quantum teleportation shows us that material reduces to an information basis), then all this ‘just so story’ telling by materialists about the origin of life is severely misguided in regards to the actual science at hand.

    Disagree? Then falsify this null hypothesis:

    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_

    That’s the threshold!

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge
    http://izquotes.com/quote/147518

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  173. 173
    CJYman says:

    First, Kairosfocus and Eric Anderson thank you for the kind words. I really do find the lack of charitable reading and lack of requests for clarification quite disappointing. I guess that’s just what IDiots can come to expect. I just hope us IDiots continually try our best not to return the favor … too much …

    Zachriel @ 115 responds to CJYman @ 73

    Zachriel: “Snowstorms are far from equilibrium. Are you confused about snow?”

    Childish rhetoric aside, which I will admit I will finally be employing further on …

    The ‘imbalance in energy, causing energy flow’ or ‘the earth is an open system and the sun provides all the energy we need’ compensation argument that has been flogged to death works perfectly fine in this case, both theoretically and experimentally. I fail to see your point as it relates to my 2 scenarios and further clarification and resulting point relating to 2LOT. Oh, and your response to my question seems to indicate that you think snowstorms are formed at seeming insurmountable odds. I’m not quite sure I follow. Could you please clarify.

    Zachriel: “Evolution.”

    I ask for a proximate cause that can increases organization, other than heat flow, resulting in abiogenesis and evolution (both of which I concur, at the very least from a logical perspective, had to have occured) and I get ‘evolution’ as an answer — evolution is a proximate cause for evolution. OK, whatever floats your boat but your sense of humor is lost on me. I am actually serious about asking these questions.

    Zachriel: “What loop? It appears to be a progressive change, not a loop.”

    I see what you are saying.

    The loop is that organization in this case requires even more complex, far from equilibrium organization. Organization requires organization. Now I’ll try my best to understand your point. Are you saying that the far from equilibrium organization of abiogenesis and evolution are just like your snowstorm example? If so, I’ll need you to clarify that point since it is obviously absurd. Or did you somehow completely miss the point? No offense, as it could be completely my fault for not spelling it out in crayons.

    Zachriel: “Because the evidence indicates that humans built the doghouse, and that humans and dogs evolved from common ancestors.”

    Is that really the only reason you have for not betting on the sun whipping up a doghouse. Really? Think deep … could there also be other factors at play here … maybe something relating to micro vs macro states, equilibrium and 2LOT? Yes? … no? …. maybe? …

    Do I really need to bring in the infamous ‘doghouse on Mars’ example. Yes, I know it is normally a camera … whatever …

    Zachriel: ” The plant absorbs sunlight using this energy to generate sugars and then proteins. From that it produces seeds.”

    Uhuh … and … how is this supposed to provide the 2LOT compensation [if indeed any is required] to generate a replicating robot with the necessary hardware and software flexibility to evolve? Also, just to be sure I am following your response correctly, are you saying you agree that some type of compensation is required as per 2LOT and that the compensation comes in the form of another previously existing system of far from equilibrium, information processing organization?

    So, again, which is it:
    1. What is the compensation that removes the apparent 2LOT violation (or paradox if you prefer)?
    …or…
    2. Is the problem not a 2LOT problem since 2LOT has nothing to do with equilibrium which in turn has nothing to do with disorganization of microstates and their relation to macrostates?
    …or…
    3. Is there a third option I’m missing, where it is indeed a 2LOT problem but compensation is not required or conversely heat flow as compensation is indeed all that is required?

  174. 174
    bornagain77 says:

    podcast – Examining the Evidence for Evolution, pt. 2
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_50-07_00
    Casey Luskin gave on evolution and intelligent design, in which he presents some of the biggest problems with the case for Darwinian evolution. In this segment, Casey discusses Darwinism and the origin of life.

  175. 175
    DNA_Jock says:

    Yes, Box, your wikipedia quote is correct (such a useful source, but much disparaged hereabouts), so JonM’s first two sentences are correct. It’s the words I highlighted that are wrong.

  176. 176
    bornagain77 says:

    Excerpt:: Problem 2: Forming Polymers Requires Dehydration Synthesis:
    Chemically speaking, however, the last place you’d want to link amino acids into chains would be a vast water-based environment like the “primordial soup” or underwater near a hydrothermal vent. As the National Academy of Sciences acknowledges, “Two amino acids do not spontaneously join in water. Rather, the opposite reaction is thermodynamically favored.”11 In other words, water breaks down protein chains into amino acids (or other constituents), making it very difficult to produce proteins (or other polymers) in the primordial soup.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67431.html
    [11.] Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life, National Research Council, The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, p. 60 (Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 2007).

    The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems – 2007
    2.2.2
    The Reactivity of Water, 15
    The reactivity of water creates problems as well. In particular, many molecules are unstable in water. This generalization applies to many molecules important in terran metabolism, catalysis, and genetics. In some cases, molecules simply decompose through reaction in water, and require another round of metabolism for replacement.
    For genetic molecules, damage by water must be repaired.,,,
    etc.. etc..
    http://www.ecoversity.org/archives/LOLPS.pdf

    Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis – Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean.
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers.....fault.html

  177. 177
    Upright BiPed says:

    It is very nice to see CJYman posting here again.

  178. 178
    Piotr says:

    10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000)

    BA, you can’t count universes. You are off by many orders of magnitude. One can see at a glance that the numbers can’t tally (229/3 gives 1, not 2, as the remainder).

  179. 179
    kairosfocus says:

    Budget season . . .

  180. 180
    bornagain77 says:

    Piotr, you are right, I think I was 7 zeros short. Thanks! 🙂

    Does this look better?

    (10, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000)

    Just curious Piotr, how do you as a materialist, who believes your mind is illusory, i.e. ’emergent’ from a material basis, account for your ability to do math so well? Wallace said the unique human ability to do math was proof for the soul.

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russell Wallace, New Thoughts on Evolution, 1910

    Piotr, do you think your ability to do math so well is just a ‘happy coincidence’ or do you think it is proof of the soul? If not why not, and can you offer empirical proof?

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF25AA4dgGg

    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    Berlinski comments here:

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time ….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Wigner here:

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

  181. 181
    DNA_Jock says:

    ba77 quotes Wallace’s ‘proof’ for the existence of the soul:

    Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation

    I hope Wallace is enjoying hanging out with those macaques (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 6; 111(18): 6822–6827.)
    He should probably give the bonobos a wide berth, though. Ugh.

    Seriously, though, all these “bright-line” distinctions between humans and other animals keep turning out, upon closer inspection, to be matters of degree. We are better at math than other primates. Well, most of us are 😉

  182. 182
    Piotr says:

    Yes, BA, it’s much better now. Of course it wasn’t entirely your fault, since you copied that stuff from Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D., Professor of Geology and Biology, Southwestern Adventist College, Keene, TX. Fine, then, they got a science department down there in Johnson County where professors throw about big numbers but can’t actually count. Just be careful when you cite them again.

    A pocket calculator crunches numbers much better than either of us, though it has no mind to speak of. I didn’t actually bother to count all your noughts, but I have this habit of spotting little things like “there are 3n+2 zeros, whereas 2+2+9=13, and 13 mod 3 = 1: this can’t be right”. If you don’t respect numbers, you shouldn’t use them to make a point. You try to impress your readers with all these big exponents and long strings of digits, but you are no good at maths and you can’t really like it (or you wouldn’t be blind to rather obvious details).

    Probability theory is one of the trickiest fields of mathematics, full of counterintuitive results; even great mathematicians may get lost in it (see Paul Erdös and the Monty Hall problem). And you think you can prove something just by showing us 1 followed by many zeros (who cares how many if there are lotsa lotsa them?). Let me assure you that if the probability of something is lower than 1/N, where N is the number of atoms in the Universe to the power of 1000, it still doesn’t mean that the “something” can’t happen. In the little problem I offered to KF as an exercise, after one million years our test organisms will produce descendants which are 10^1000000 times more improbable than generation zero.* And this is what real living things are like.

    * What, by the way, is the corresponding decrease in entropy per organism per year?

  183. 183
    bornagain77 says:

    DNA_Jock, Wallace, co-discover of natural selection, who had far more field work than Darwin did, is correct that ‘The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable’.

    Disagree? Then you have some pretty heavy hitters to contend with in order to try to make your case that it is ‘just a matter of degree not of kind’. Here is a fairly recent paper on the subject:

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    The mystery of language evolution – May 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Paleontology and archaeology,,,
    Although technologies became more complex over the history of the genus Homo (Tattersall, 2012), indications of modern-style iconic and representational activities (Henshilwood et al., 2002, 2004) begin only significantly after the first anatomically recognizable H. sapiens appears at a little under 200 thousand years ago,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4019876/

    Moreover, the three Rs, reading, writing, and arithmetic, i.e. the unique ability to process information inherent to man, are the very first things to be taught to children when they enter elementary school. And yet it is this information processing, i.e. reading, writing, and arithmetic that is found to be foundational to life:

    Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer – video clip
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkdQhNdzHU

    As well, as if that was not ‘spooky enough’ information, not material, is found to be foundational to physical reality:

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    Thus, since atheists have never demonstrated the origination of functional information by material processes (Behe, Sanford, Abel), and yet humans create functional information at will, then the fact that both life and the universe are ‘information theoretic’ in there basis is certainly powerful evidence that we are indeed ‘made in the image of God’:

    Verses and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

    Of supplemental note: there is a video on Wallace, co-discover of natural selection, that you may find interesting:

    Darwin’s Heretic: Alfred R. Wallace – Did the Co-Founder of Evolution Embrace Intelligent Design? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxvAVln6HLI

    Rescuing Alfred Russel Wallace from his (Darwinist) Rescuers – May 22, 2012
    Excerpt: By 1913, Wallace declared himself unapologetically for theism:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59961.html

  184. 184
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock #175,

    Andy C. McIntosh’ paper “Information and Thermodynamics in Living Systems” may be of interest, topics like free energy and spontaneous and non-spontaneous natural molecule formations are being adressed.

  185. 185
    bornagain77 says:

    Piotr, do you know that you really can be a condescending little prick sometimes? I bet you have heard that before!

    Chadwick’s paper is heavily referenced to empirical evidence and his point stands whether or not he miscounted the zeros he used to emphasize the point he was making.

    To attack his claim you would have to refute the experimental evidence that he referenced in his paper, not the number of zeros he miscounted! For you to think that you have refuted his point by pointing out mistakes in how he wrote his paper is a joke. I guess in your twisted view of science, English teachers should be the final arbitrators of the peer review process since mistakes in counting zeros, spelling, and grammar can refute empirical evidence?

    Moreover, I catch you making outright false claims, in regards to actual empirical evidence, all the time to defend your atheistic worldview, but you never admit you are wrong. At least I have never seen you humble yourself when you were shown to be wrong. You just go on to the next lie that you will tell. IMHO, You are an absolute disgrace to science!

    Other than that, I’m sure your mother probably loves you! Maybe! 🙂

  186. 186
    Piotr says:

    BA,

    Chadwick argues that a 101-AA long protein won’t self-assemble from a mixture of amino acids dissolved in water. I agree, but since I don’t think anyone thinks abiogenesis worked that way, it’s a straw man argument. What is there to refute if it’s not even wrong but beside the point?

  187. 187
    bornagain77 says:

    Piotr, you state:

    “A pocket calculator crunches numbers much better than either of us, though it has no mind to speak of.”

    You do not seem to realize just how big of a problem math is for any reductive materialistic explanation.

    Simply put, material particles follow rules, they do not make them up.

    In other more technical words, minds invent mathematical axioms, material particles obey them.

    Disagree? Then falsify Godel’s incompleteness theorem:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    https://vimeo.com/92387853

    Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video
    https://vimeo.com/92387854

    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine”
    Kurt Gödel

    The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
    Excerpt: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.,,,
    http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/sciamer3.pdf

    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_

    The danger of artificial stupidity – Saturday, 28 February 2015
    “Computers lack mathematical insight: in his book The Emperor’s New Mind, the Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose deployed Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem to argue that, in general, the way mathematicians provide their “unassailable demonstrations” of the truth of certain mathematical assertions is fundamentally non-algorithmic and non-computational”
    http://machineslikeus.com/news.....-stupidity

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    supplemental quote:

    “The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”
    Charles Darwin to Doedes, N. D. – Letter – 2 Apr 1873
    http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-8837

  188. 188
    Zachriel says:

    CJYman: I fail to see your point as it relates to my 2 scenarios and further clarification and resulting point relating to 2LOT.

    We responded to your statement: “How do some systems travel in an extended direction far from equilibrium at seemingly insurmountable odds while still following 2LOT.” You seemed confused, so we provided a simple example. A snowstorm is a far from equilibrium system. The simple explanation is uneven heating of the Earth by the Sun.

    CJYman: I ask for a proximate cause that can increases organization, other than heat flow, resulting in abiogenesis and evolution

    Your question was “How do some systems travel in an extended direction far from equilibrium at seemingly insurmountable odds while still following 2LOT.” We might have answered with uneven heating by the Sun causing convection.

    CJYman: Organization requires organization.

    Organization can occur spontaneously, such as a snow storm.

    CJYman: Are you saying that the far from equilibrium organization of abiogenesis and evolution are just like your snowstorm example?

    They are alike in that they are both examples of ‘far from equilibrium systems’. Can’t get much farther from equilibrium than lightning.

    CJYman: Is that really the only reason you have for not betting on the sun whipping up a doghouse. Really?

    Yes. Evidence is determinative — for scientific conclusions, at least.

    CJYman: Uhuh … and … how is this supposed to provide the 2LOT compensation [if indeed any is required] to generate a replicating robot with the necessary hardware and software flexibility to evolve?

    The 2nd law of thermodynamics requires a differential. That’s all it requires. Sunlight and the deep of space provide more than sufficient available energy for work, though we understand that nowadays humans sometimes use nuclear forces to power their robot manufacturing processes.

    CJYman: Also, just to be sure I am following your response correctly, are you saying you agree that some type of compensation is required as per 2LOT and that the compensation comes in the form of another previously existing system of far from equilibrium, information processing organization?

    You can’t decrease entropy in one place without exporting entropy. It has nothing to do with “information processing”.

    CJYman: 1. What is the compensation that removes the apparent 2LOT violation

    Available energy for work.

    CJYman: 2. Is the problem not a 2LOT problem since 2LOT has nothing to do with equilibrium which in turn has nothing to do with disorganization of microstates and their relation to macrostates?

    Any theory of any physical process, whether biological or chemical or mechanical, has to be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. However, being consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics is not an explanation of biology.

    CJYman: 3. Is there a third option I’m missing, where it is indeed a 2LOT problem but compensation is not required or conversely heat flow as compensation is indeed all that is required?

    Being consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics just means that there is an overall increase in thermodynamic entropy. However, that is hardly all that is required to explain the origin of life, if that is your question.

  189. 189
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Zachriel:

    We responded to your [CJYman] statement:
    “How do some systems travel in an extended direction far from equilibrium at seemingly insurmountable odds while still following 2LOT.”

    You seemed confused, so we provided a simple example. A snowstorm (…)

    So snowstorms are formed at seemingly insurmountable odds??
    You seem confused Zachriel.

  190. 190
    DNA_Jock says:

    Box @ 184,

    You will have noticed that at 3.1 McIntosh makes the distinction between enthalpy (h) and free energy (g), although I think he could have worded it better and his example (magnets?) is very misleading.

    Jonathan M is saying that “peptide bond formation is endothermic [i.e. unfavorable enthalpy] therefore it does not occur spontaneously” which is obviously wrong. The dissolution of ammonium nitrate or potassium chlorate are endothermic, but proceed like bandits. How on earth do you think those first aid ice packs work?

    What he should have said was that peptide bond formation has positive Free Energy change (i.e. “endergonic”), and is therefore thermodynamically disfavored.

    In addition, there’s a more subtle point (this is where the magnet example is awful) about how the free energy will change with concentrations of reactants and products, and the need to account for entities entering and leaving the system.

    So be careful what you infer from statements like “reaction X does / does not occur spontaneously”. Favorable reactions may not occur, if there is a kinetic barrier. Disfavored reactions do occur, it is just that the net flow will be towards the equilibrium value, all other things being equal.

    I do want to thank you very much for supplying this McIntosh reference, I really enjoyed it.
    It is an excellent exposition of the way creationists argue by analogy from the 2LoT to create their own version of 2LoT. You will notice that in 4.2.1 McIntosh ‘postulates’ the ‘First and Second Principles of information, language and communication’. These ‘postulates’ are offered up as ‘parallel principles’ to the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics. There is no effort to actually justify this connection.

    Thus this (non-reviewed vanity) publication does not utilize the actual 2LoT, rather it postulates an alternative Creationist Law of Thermodynamics, or “CLoT” for short. (h/t JoeF)

    According to CLoT, growth and reproduction is impossible. Whatever.

  191. 191
    Piotr says:

    BA,

    So computers lack mathematical insight? Big deal — most people lack it as well; a large part of humanity is mathematically illiterate. I don’t think you understand Gödel’s (1st incompleteness) theorem, much as you love to refer to it, or you wouldn’t say silly things, like challenging me to “falsify” it. I won’t falsify it because Gödel himself proved it to be true. The original version is forbiddingly technical, but a lighter exposition (plus numerous variations on the theme) can be found here (the book was a must-read for my generation when I was a student, and still has a cult following). If you read Hofstadter, you will (perhaps) understand that intelligence, even superhuman, has no licence to escape the consequences of Gödel’s theorem in the area of mathematical logic, just as it has no licence to escape the consequences of 2LOT in physics (though of course for different reasons).

  192. 192
    Zachriel says:

    Box: So snowstorms are formed at seemingly insurmountable odds??

    How unlikely is it that molecules moving randomly will suddenly line up into a precise formation?

    In this case, water droplets supercool and form snow crystals. When this occurs, some of the water droplet evaporates, carrying away excess heat energy. The overall entropy increases, even though the crystal is much more ordered than the molecules in the amorphous water droplet.

    If you want to extend this a bit, you could start with fusion in the Sun, which results in sunlight, the vast majority of which dissipates into the cold of space. A tiny tiny portion reaches a small satellite of the Sun, called Earth. The sunlight causes turbulence in the very thin and tenuous atmosphere. There’s some water there too, which is evaporated by the heat of the Sun. There’s a very slight elevation above the mean surface called continents which contributes to the effect. The rotation of the rock causes uneven heating, helping to organize the convection currents into cyclones. The upwelling air can cause the water to condense into crystals, which then fall as snow.

    Now add up the microstates of the fusion in the Sun, and the tiny, tiny amount in snow crystals. You will find that the snow crystals are dwarfed by the overall increase in entropy.

  193. 193
    Quest says:

    Ba77,

    I find it a bit strange that you are such a promoter of the immortal soul teaching. Many scholars question the authenticity of this teaching as Christian or biblical…

    http://www.ucg.org/death/what-.....rtal-soul/

  194. 194
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    You will find that the snow crystals are dwarfed by the overall increase in entropy.

    I say,

    Again with the compensation argument. geez

    Demonstrating once again that the critics are so regimented and knee jerk in their thinking that they are unable to even comprehend what the actual discussion is about?

    I’m not sure what it will take to get past this. But until we do real discussion will continue to elude us

    peace

    EA: Yes, it is very unfortunate that we are seeing live exhibits of the very myths highlighted in the OP. Some of this stuff is pretty ingrained apparently . . .

  195. 195
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this claim:

    “There is no effort to actually justify this connection.”

    That claim is false: Dr. McIntosh is experimentally confirmed to be correct in his contention:

    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

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems?
    Excerpt: This paper highlights the distinctive and non-material nature of information and its relationship with matter, energy and natural forces. It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    A.C. McINTOSH – Dr Andy C. McIntosh is the Professor of Thermodynamics Combustion Theory at the University of Leeds. (the highest teaching/research rank in U.K. university hierarchy)
    http://journals.witpress.com/paperinfo.asp?pid=420

    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 is now backed up 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

    As should be needless to say, the physical demonstration that ‘information has a thermodynamic content’ is extremely bad news for neo-Darwinism, (and naturalistic OOL scenarios for that matter), since Neo-Darwinism holds that information is not physically real but is merely the result of, i.e. ‘emergent from’, unguided material processes.

    As well, as if that was not bad enough for materialists, non-local, beyond space and time, quantum entanglement/information is now found to ‘hold DNA together’:

    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/

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

    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.
    per daily galaxy

    The preceding experiments clearly confirm Professor McIntosh’s contention that “it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.”

    If Darwinists want to hold that this is no problem for their materialistic worldview, they are more than welcome to try to falsify quantum non-locality:

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

  196. 196
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Again with the compensation argument.

    How did you think it worked? If entropy decreases in one place, an increase in entropy has to be exported. Perhaps you can explain snow crystal formation.

  197. 197
    bornagain77 says:

    Quest, do you want me to quote counter scholars who disagree with your scholars? A little battle of ‘my biblical expert is better than your biblical expert’ debate? 🙂

    I don’t see the issue resolved in such a manner

    On the other hand, As to empirical evidence, the empirical evidence supports the contention that we have eternal souls that are transcendent of our material bodies.

    Of course, one could still argue, Theologically, that God must sustain the soul for it to be truly immortal (i.e. the whole annihilation versus eternal torment debate), but empirically, i.e. scientifically, all we can say is that we do indeed have a soul that is transcendent of the material body and is capable of being immortal!

  198. 198
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    How did you think it worked? If entropy decreases in one place, an increase in entropy has to be exported.

    I say,

    I think it worked just as you describe but I think how snowflakes happen is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand and see no reason at all to even bring it up.

    hence the communication difficulty.

    peace

  199. 199
    Quest says:

    Ba77

    I’m aware of the controversy but here is a sample:

    “The Hebrew Scriptures state plainly that, rather than possess immortality, the soul can and does die. “The soul [ nephesh ] who sins shall die” (Ezekiel:18:4, Ezekiel:18:20).

    Even if there is a soul, it is not immortal…

  200. 200
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I think it worked just as you describe but I think how snowflakes happen is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand and see no reason at all to even bring it up.

    The thread is about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Myth #7 brings up the claim that snowflakes are thermodynamically different from what is found in living systems, so examining that claim requires understanding how they differ.

  201. 201
    Box says:

    Zach,

    snow storms are not comparable to organized systems in general and life in particular, because the ordering principle of crystals is latently already there in the structure of the chemical elements to begin with. Moreover during crystal formation the change in free energy is precisely zero.

  202. 202
    Phinehas says:

    Box:

    Zachriel:

    We responded to your [CJYman] statement:
    “How do some systems travel in an extended direction far from equilibrium at seemingly insurmountable odds while still following 2LOT.”

    You seemed confused, so we provided a simple example. A snowstorm (…)

    So snowstorms are formed at seemingly insurmountable odds??
    You seem confused Zachriel.

    This is interesting. It seems to me there are two things being presented that, together, seem problematic for purely naturalistic explanations.

    1) Traveling in an extended direction far from equilibrium (2LOT)
    2) Seemingly insurmountable odds

    This makes me wonder whether the first one is acting as the specification in the normal “specified complexity” formulation of ID. The “seemingly insurmountable odds” appears to be targeting the complexity side of the formulation.

    From this perspective, the snowstorm example is akin to flipping a coin and getting 5 heads in a row and supposing that getting 150 heads in a row wouldn’t be particularly problematic.

  203. 203
    bornagain77 says:

    Quest, I’m not going to argue Theology with you. If you want to contest the scientific evidence and say that non-local quantum entanglement within the material body does not support the Theistic contention for a soul, I will argue with you. But theologically, I’ll leave that debate to the Biblical scholars who have been going back and forth on that ‘annihilation vs eternal torment’ issue for as long as I can remember. (At least where I grew up)

  204. 204
    DNA_Jock says:

    ba77 writes

    That claim is false: Dr. McIntosh is experimentally confirmed to be correct in his contention:

    [Emphasis added]

    No ba77, my statement is correct. ACMcI has made no attempt to support his “First and Second Principles of information, language and communication” (henceforth CLoT), and none of his contentions have been confirmed, experimentally or otherwise.

    Your first two links are to articles wherein ACMcI proposes his postulates, but does not provide any support for them.

    Sano’s truly awesome experimental work confirms the relationship between informational entropy and thermal entropy that IS ENSHRINED IN 2LoT. This is the trade-off that Kairosfocus was so unwilling to calculate:

    if I melted the amount of water necessary to account for the information content of the human genome every second it would take me a year to melt 1.5 micrograms of water.

    Then you quote some guff about quantum entanglement. Spooky stuff, I agree, but it doesn’t actually help your “evolution is impossible” case.

    Glad to see that the regulars have moved on to debate whether souls are immortal.
    ASSF.

  205. 205
    bornagain77 says:

    DNA_Jock, as usual, you are wrong.

    The information, based solely on the ‘knowledge of the particle’s position’ was shown to have a ‘thermodynamic content’. The information was not gained by unguided material processes although it was implemented by material means!
    Thus confirming McIntosh’s contention.

    Moreover, you dismiss quantum entanglement in DNA. Your mistake. Willful ignorance of the evidence does not make the evidence go away.

    Quantum Entanglement/Information in DNA must be explained by reference to a non-local, beyond space and time, cause. Thus, in even more direct fashion than the previous experiment, confirming McIntosh’s contention that

    it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.

    I don’t blame you for trying to ignore quantum entanglement/information in DNA, you only have to falsify quantum non-locality in order to save neo-Darwinism from falsification!

    Not an easy task.

  206. 206
    Phinehas says:

    Quest:

    Nephesh relates etymologically to the throat and breathing and eating. It is often used to refer to a life or living beings and not just to “the soul.” The word “soul” is even used in secular parlance to refer to lives, as in, “thirty-seven souls perished in the tragic accident.” Perhaps “the soul” (whatever is meant by that) is immortal and perhaps it is not, but the verses you’ve quoted from Ezekiel are hardly plain evidence one way or the other.

    EA: OK folk (I realize you didn’t start it Phinehas), can we leave the Bible and discussions about the nature of souls for another time. Thanks.

  207. 207
    Zachriel says:

    Box: snow storms are not comparable to organized systems in general and life in particular, because, the ordering principle of crystals is latently already there in the structure of the chemical elements to begin with.

    All the known processes in living organisms are consistent with the known ordering principles of chemistry.

    Box: Moreover during crystal formation the change in free energy is precisely zero.

    It takes work to form crystals.

    Phinehas: From this perspective, the snowstorm example is akin to flipping a coin and getting 5 heads in a row and supposing that getting 150 heads in a row would’t be particularly problematic.

    A small snowball has about 10^24 molecules. The molecules all have to line up pretty precisely to form a snow crystal.

  208. 208
    Box says:

    BA77,

    First off, thank you (again) for all the information you provide.
    A question regarding information: are you implying (#205 #195) that information is related to quantum entanglement – or is something with ‘similar’ powers? If so, that would be very interesting IMHO.

  209. 209
    bornagain77 says:

    Box: beyond space and time, quantum entanglement (A. Aspect, A. Zeilinger, etc..) can be used as a ‘quantum information channel’,,,

    Quantum Entanglement and Information
    Quantum entanglement is a physical resource, like energy, associated with the peculiar nonclassical correlations that are possible between separated quantum systems. Entanglement can be measured, transformed, and purified. A pair of quantum systems in an entangled state can be used as a quantum information channel to perform computational and cryptographic tasks that are impossible for classical systems. The general study of the information-processing capabilities of quantum systems is the subject of quantum information theory.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-entangle/

    In fact by using this ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, ‘quantum information channel’ of entanglement, such as they use in quantum computation, physicists have reduced material, via quantum teleportation, to quantum information. (of note: energy is completely reduced to quantum information, whereas matter is semi-completely reduced, with the caveat being that matter can be reduced to energy via e=mc2).

    Thus, IMHO, confirming John 1:1 and falsifying materialism.

  210. 210
    Box says:

    Zachriel:

    All the known processes in living organisms are consistent with the known ordering principles of chemistry.

    You don’t seem to get it. The ordering principle of crystals is latently in the structure of the chemical elements. The ordering principle of dog houses is nowhere to be found in the structure of the chemical elements.

  211. 211
    REC says:

    Box: “Moreover during crystal formation the change in free energy is precisely zero.”

    That is precisely wrong, except in a system where ice and water (for example) are at equilibrium. Then deltaG=0.

    Box: “The ordering principle of crystals is latently in the structure of the chemical elements. The ordering principle of dog houses is nowhere to be found in the structure of the chemical elements.”

    The ordering principles of biological macromolecules is found latently in their chemical structures. (DNA base pairs, RNA and Proteins fold spontaneously, with favored entropy.”

    This point has been made repeatedly. What you are doing is arguing the comparison of fishing reels, cars and houses to molecules is stupid. It is. So please stop.

  212. 212
    Phinehas says:

    Z:

    A small snowball has about 10^24 molecules. The molecules all have to line up pretty precisely to form a snow crystal.

    I’m not a mathematician or a statistician, but even I know that, if something occurs on a routine basis, then known regularities plus the probabilistic resources are likely enough to overcome whatever improbabilities are in place. (Are you implying this isn’t the case with snowstorms?) Were I to find out otherwise, I’d begin to suspect that something else was afoot, wouldn’t you?

  213. 213
    Zachriel says:

    Box: The ordering principle of crystals is latently in the structure of the chemical elements. The ordering principle of dog houses is nowhere to be found in the structure of the chemical elements.

    The ordering principle of crystals can be resolved to the conditions under which they form. The ordering principles of organisms can also be resolved to physical processes. The ordering principles of doghouses appears to be a symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs.

  214. 214
    StephenB says:

    Quest:

    “The Hebrew Scriptures state plainly that, rather than possess immortality, the soul can and does die. “The soul [ nephesh ] who sins shall die” (Ezekiel:18:4, Ezekiel:18:20).

    This passage means that the “person” who sins will die. Many translations do, indeed, use that same word. It is not a reference to the human soul, which consists of intellectual and volitional faculties. The human soul cannot die. Also, there is a distinction between physical death and spiritual death. Spiritual death does not mean annihilation. It means hell.

    Even if there is a soul, it is not immortal.

    Nothing spiritual can die since it contains no physical parts. The soul has no physical parts and cannot, therefore, disintegrate.

  215. 215
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: I’m not a mathematician or a statistician, but even I know that, if something occurs on a routine basis, then known regularities plus the probabilistic resources are likely enough to overcome whatever improbabilities are in place.

    Similarly with life.

  216. 216
    Box says:

    REC,

    You are always welcome to comment, but my exchange with Zachriel stems from Zach’s snowstorm comments on CJYman (#73 and #173) who provided the example of a doghouse. You may hold that the ordering principle of organisms is to be found in the structure of their chemical elements, however I do hope that you agree with me that this is not the case with doghouses.
    – –

    edit: I see that Zach stopped making sense altogether.

    Zach:
    The ordering principles of doghouses appears to be a symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs.

  217. 217
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Phinehas says,

    The “seemingly insurmountable odds” appears to be targeting the complexity side of the formulation.

    I say,

    I agree.

    The problem is Zac is confounding the complexity side with the specified side.

    It’s simple

    Random Snow flakes are not specified. Dog houses on the other hand are.

    perhaps a rephrasing of CJYman’s example would help

    If a cluster of snowflakes landed on my window and I asked “how did that happen” zac’s compensation spiel would be a satisfying answer.

    On the other hand if a cluster of snow flakes that spelled out “Zac is only one person” fell on my window and “I asked how did that happen”. His explanation would be laughably insufficient.

    If only the critics could understand that simple difference

    peace

  218. 218
    Zachriel says:

    Box: I see that Zach stopped making sense altogether.

    Zachriel: The ordering principles of doghouses appears to be a symbiotic relationship between humans and dogs.

    In what way was the statement nonsensical? Humans and dogs have a symbiotic relationship. Dogs provide companionship to humans and bark at strangers. Humans feed them and build them houses.

  219. 219
    REC says:

    “Snow flakes are not specified.”

    Actually, snow flakes fall into about 121 specifications (see ref). Each is a bit different, and therefore also highly improbable.

    FSCI/O?

    http://www.researchgate.net/pu.....ar_regions

  220. 220
    Phinehas says:

    Z:

    Phinehas: I’m not a mathematician or a statistician, but even I know that, if something occurs on a routine basis, then known regularities plus the probabilistic resources are likely enough to overcome whatever improbabilities are in place.

    Z: Similarly with life.

    But not demonstrably so.

  221. 221
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: If a cluster of snowflakes landed on my window and I asked “how did that happen” zac’s compensation spiel would be a satisfying answer.

    Pointing out that the formation of snow crystals follows the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not make for a “satisfying answer”. Even saying it minimizes free energy doesn’t constitute much of an answer. First, there’s the fact that water molecules like to arrange themselves into a hexagonal pattern. The formation causes the release of heat, so crystal formation is fastest at the tips of the spikes where heat removal is fastest, which is also closest to the source of new molecules in the surrounding air. But the spikiest also melt more easily reducing the temperature differential with the surrounding air. This limits the length of the spikes, so that branches form. All this organization, including the storm itself, due to the interaction of a few simple physical processes.

    fifthmonarchyman: On the other hand if a cluster of snow flakes that spelled out “Zac is only one person” fell on my window and “I asked how did that happen”. His explanation would be laughably insufficient.

    Depending on the overall circumstance, we would probably determine it was due to one of the featherless bipeds that have a tendency to mark where they’ve been.
    http://www.kilroywashere.org/0.....Square.jpg

  222. 222
    Zachriel says:

    Phinehas: But not demonstrably so.

    Living organisms, their metabolisms, their reproduction, their observed evolution, are all in conformity with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  223. 223
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    REC said,

    Actually, snow flakes fall into about 121 specifications

    I say,

    Of course I was talking about snowflakes in the aggregate that is why I used the qualifier “random” which you conveniently left off.

    moving on

    Suppose I discovered a cluster of snow flakes on my window matching a “specification” that was astronomically improbable in my location. Would the compensation argument satisfactorily explain it’s existence?

    peace

  224. 224
    Quest says:

    Ba77,

    “Quest, I’m not going to argue Theology with you. If you want to contest the scientific evidence and say that non-local quantum entanglement within the material body does not support the Theistic contention for a soul, I will argue with you. But theologically, I’ll leave that debate to the Biblical scholars who have been going back and forth on that ‘annihilation vs eternal torment’ issue for as long as I can remember. (At least where I grew up)”

    Fair enough…

    QM nonlocality supports the existence of a soul…?

    I’m your man…Go for it!

  225. 225
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac said,

    Living organisms, their metabolisms, their reproduction, their observed evolution, are all in conformity with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    I say,

    The continued existence of a cluster of snowflakes spelling out “Zac is only one person” is also in conformity with the second law.

    however the spontaneous generation of such a cluster would be an aperent violation

    peace

  226. 226
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: however the spontaneous generation of such a cluster would be an aperent violation

    Spontaneously, like the wind blew them there? Then, no. It would not be a violation of he 2nd law of thermodynamics. However, just because something is consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t mean it is likely or even possible.

  227. 227
    bornagain77 says:

    Quest, I made the argument on Dr. Sewell’s thread the other day:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-554569

    non-local quantum information is picked up here:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-554570

  228. 228
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest to this video I have been referencing:

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

    I just found another study where they calculated proteins must be using quantum information

    Classical and Quantum Information Channels in Protein Chain – Dj. Koruga, A. Tomi?, Z. Ratkaj, L. Matija – 2006
    Abstract: Investigation of the properties of peptide plane in protein chain from both classical and quantum approach is presented. We calculated interatomic force constants for peptide plane and hydrogen bonds between peptide planes in protein chain. On the basis of force constants, displacements of each atom in peptide plane, and time of action we found that the value of the peptide plane action is close to the Planck constant. This indicates that peptide plane from the energy viewpoint possesses synergetic classical/quantum properties. Consideration of peptide planes in protein chain from information viewpoint also shows that protein chain possesses classical and quantum properties. So, it appears that protein chain behaves as a triple dual system: (1) structural – amino acids and peptide planes, (2) energy – classical and quantum state, and (3) information – classical and quantum coding. Based on experimental facts of protein chain, we proposed from the structure-energy-information viewpoint its synergetic code system.
    http://www.scientific.net/MSF.518.491

  229. 229
    Quest says:

    Thanks Ba77…

    I will review it and let you know….
    I’m a big fan of QM and especially quantum entanglement…

    BTW: Keep slapping those atheo-morons around…!!! I doubt you will change anyone of them…
    Someone once said: “…Even the stupidest idea will find its supporters…That’s what the theory of evolution and abiogenesis is all about…
    My old buddy from collage… really funny and sincere guy once got ticked off by freedom 55 ads… He wanted to retire at 35 so he started this bogus company for freedom 35… Anybody wants to guess what happened…?

  230. 230
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac said,

    Spontaneously, like the wind blew them there? Then, no. It would not be a violation of he 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    I say,

    The wind blowing the snowflakes on my window into a highly specified pattern with low entropy like the English phrase “Zac is only one person” would certenly strike someone as odd.

    This is the same reason that a second tornado in Moore Oklahoma that somehow reconstructed the town in would appear to be a violation of the second law.

    entropy increases.

    peace

  231. 231
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    However, just because something is consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t mean it is likely or even possible.

    I say,

    we are talking about a certain kind of impossibility.

    The spontaneous generation of a highly specified pattern with low entropy is not impossible in the way that a square circle is impossible.

    It is not ruled out by the law non-contradiction or the law of the excluded middle.

    It is thermodynamically impossible.

    That is the point.

    peace

  232. 232
    Curly Howard says:

    If humans disappeared from the face of the earth, would there still be information?

  233. 233
    Andre says:

    Curly

    Yes, Information is the foundation of the universe….

    http://www.technologyreview.co.....mechanics/

  234. 234
    Andre says:

    Here is the clincher, not only is the molecules to man theory one massive lucky coincidence as some claim, but the very fact that this man can ponder and ask;

    “Where does the information come from?”

    This very question should be a very clear indication that there are no coincidences and there is no luck. Such a system is too fantastical to ever consider as reality.

    We have been engineered to find out what truth is. Human beings want to know things simply for the sake of knowing.

  235. 235
    Curly Howard says:

    Andre, you linked to an obscure idea that is one of many about a topic we know next to nothing about. And you pointed me to it as if it was definitive, settled science.
    Why is it that you are so quick to accept anything seemingly scientific that supports your preferred worldview, while ignoring the vast amount of evidence behind evolution?
    Don’t bother answering. I already know the answer.

  236. 236
    Andre says:

    When you say ignoring evidence of evolution what do you mean?

    Darwinian Evolution?
    Lamacrkism?
    Punk Eek
    Horizontal evolution?
    Vertical evolution?

    Which one? I don’t ignore evolution, I just don’t accept blind purposeless Darwinian evolution, the reason for the rejection is because its not true, why is it not true? Because it can never be verified….. I accept Lamarckism, I accept Horizontal evolution and why do I do that? Because we have good verifiable evidence for those……

    Do you think I’m wrong?

  237. 237
    Curly Howard says:

    I mean the evidence behind the scientific theory of evolution. The one that says all living organisms are the descendants of a single common ancestor. You know, the only explanation for the diversity of life that actually makes sense. Based on what I’ve seen from you on UD, I know you’re wrong. But as I said to someone else here, as a layman you have the luxury of being wrong because science doesn’t care what you believe or accept.
    You accept certain forms of evolution, the next generation of people like you will accept some more forms, and eventually there won’t be anything left for you guys to deny. Heck, the pope has already accepted evolution.
    But who am I to pluck you from your fairy tale world?
    Enjoy it while it lasts!

  238. 238
    Andre says:

    I have said this on many occasions and I’ll say it again, I’m open to common ancestry if and only if we can verify it, the truth is we can’t and horizontal gene transfer throws a very nice big spanner into that.

    Darwin himself said proof of Common ancestry is problematic and through future fossil finds will be confirmed. If you hold that the fossil record do confirm that then good for you, at this point I remain sceptical because the fossil record shows the exact opposite, if you’re going to tell me that 98% similarity between chimps and humans prove it I would say that sounds awesome but can you be so kind to show me how 60 000 000 base pair differences ( a very generous estimate) between chimps and humans have become fixed in about 6 000 000 years (Calculated time of our LCA)all this while random mutation, drift and natural selection conspired against each other.

    If you can give me credible fossil records I will agree with you if you can verify and show how those 60 000 000 base pair differences got fixed in such a short geological timespan then you’re in business, if you can falsify Lamarckism and horizontal evolution also, now please be so kind and provide me with the evidence of what you know!

    That is all I ask.

  239. 239
    Andre says:

    Curly

    I’m not a Catholic but the pope said it exactly as I see it.

    “Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the spirit as emerging from the forces of living matter or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the person.”

    To me you are the most beautifully engineered being in the universe, you are unique there is nothing like you, I disagree with Catholics much but not on this point. Here you can read the entire letter;

    http://www.bible.ca/tracks/b-p.....lution.htm

    Darwinian molecules to man evolution is false and the Pope acknowledges that just as I do.

  240. 240
    Curly Howard says:

    Like I said, you can believe whatever you want.
    But it’s my understanding that the pope accepted “Darwinian molecules to man evolution,” what he disagreed with was a material origin of the soul.
    And again, as I said, you guys can pick and choose what you believe in but eventually there’ll be nothing left for you to deny. Time is not on your side.
    Sorry.

  241. 241
    Andre says:

    Curly

    I forgot to mention, if you want to appeal to the visual similarities between ape and man, I’d like to remind you that common design explains it very well too.

  242. 242
    Andre says:

    Don’t accuse me of believing what I want, just give the evidence that verifies your claim then I’ll believe you…..

  243. 243
    Andre says:

    Time is not on your side, because time and chance can’t do anything…… take the log out of your own eye first my friend!

  244. 244
    Andre says:

    What does the word theory mean?

    “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained:”

    How do formulate a theory on something unguided? Unguided means there is no general principles because well it could go any way or none at all, a theory on something purposeless is impossible!

  245. 245
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: The wind blowing the snowflakes on my window into a highly specified pattern with low entropy like the English phrase “Zac is only one person” would certenly strike someone as odd.

    Sure. But it has nothing to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    fifthmonarchyman: The spontaneous generation of a highly specified pattern with low entropy is not impossible in the way that a square circle is impossible.

    That’s false. Specified patterns with low entropy are common in nature.

  246. 246
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    That’s false. Specified patterns with low entropy are common in nature.

    I say,

    Agreed,

    Your point is? Just because a particular pattern is common does not make it thermodynamically probable.

    The lower the entropy and the greater the specification the lower the probability.

    It’s pretty simple

    Entropy increases.

    In the rare cases that non specified entropy decreases locally it is compensated for directly by greater increases in causally connected areas. Even then the compensation does not just automatically happen it must be facilitated by an intricate mechanism or agent.

    Spontaneous increases in entropy are thermodynamically impossible.

    Just because occasionally decreases in entropy can occur in non specified things like snow flakes by compensation does not in any way mean we should expect similar easy decreases when the pattern is highly specified.

    If it did we would not find reverse tornadoes and English phrases in snowflake clusters to be odd.

    If highly specified things like life were like non specified things like snowflakes we would expect life to arise repeatedly and often not just once.

    If a particular “specified” cup of milk that I just spilled suddenly refilled itself I would be justified in in inferring an apparent violation of the second law.

    Pointing out that snowflakes happen wound not be a satisfying response

    peace

  247. 247
    Curly Howard says:

    Well then Andre, it’s a good thing we don’t rely on “time and chance” to study evolution, huh.

    Time is certainly on my side, unless you want to ignore the past 100 years, when evolutionary thought has become solidified by every field of biology, it is included more and more in college intro bio courses, and even the staunchly religious have begun to accept it.
    You guys are a dying breed.

    EA: Interesting perspective. And rather insular. Particularly since many of the ideas underpinning evolutionary thought are under increasing scrutiny and disrepair, even from many committed materialists. But let’s focus on the topic of this thread for now: abiogenesis. There are plenty of other opportunities to discuss the numerous problems with evolutionary theory generally.

  248. 248
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: The lower the entropy and the greater the specification the lower the probability.

    Like quartz.

    fifthmonarchyman: In the rare cases that non specified entropy decreases locally it is compensated for directly by greater increases in causally connected areas.

    Overall entropy increases, so if it decreases in one place, then entropy has to be exported.

    fifthmonarchyman: Even then the compensation does not just automatically happen it must be facilitated by an intricate mechanism or agent.

    Like a snowstorm.

    fifthmonarchyman: Just because occasionally decreases in entropy can occur in non specified things like snow flakes by compensation does not in any way mean we should expect similar easy decreases when the pattern is highly specified.

    Snowflakes are highly specified. Not only are the molecules arranged in a very specific pattern, but if it were a large object, it would look to be a beautiful and highly contrived tapestry. Indeed, it would be like flipping heads 10^19 times for a single snowflake.

  249. 249
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says,

    Snowflakes are highly specified. Not only are the molecules arranged in a very specific pattern, but if it were a large object, it would look to be a beautiful and highly contrived tapestry.

    I say,

    You are confused about the meaning of term specified it does not mean contrived or beautiful or conforming to a rigid pattern it means ……

    from here

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/specify

    quote:

    specify : to name or mention (someone or something) exactly and clearly : to be specific about (something)….

    end quote:

    Something is specified when it has special meaning to the observer. Like a reverse tornado a refilled cup or an English phrase in a snowflake cluster.

    Specification is the equivalent of non lossy data compression.

    If an object is highly specified it means I will know it quickly when it see it. Pi is the specification of the data string 3.14…

    hope that helps

    Random snowflakes or quartz chunks are not generally specified before the fact in in any meaningful sense.

    peace

  250. 250
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: You are confused about the meaning of term specified it does not mean contrived or beautiful or conforming to a rigid pattern it means

    Out of all possible arrangements of water molecules, only a tiny proportion meet the specification of a snowflake. A rigid pattern can be a specification, like all heads when flipping coins.

    fifthmonarchyman: If an object is highly specified it means I will know it quickly when it see it.

    Snowflake
    http://www.its.caltech.edu/~ph.....2by864.jpg

    It’s a lot of work arranging all those molecules into hexagons.

  251. 251
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    Out of all possible arrangements of water molecules, only a tiny proportion meet the specification of a snowflake.

    I say,

    I agree but that is not at issue. We are talking about objects that are highly specified.

    As REC has pointed out snowflakes can come in least 120 different forms anyone of which can be called a snowflake. The form of individual snowflakes can be practically infinite. Yet on my window all of them are basically interchangeably called snow.

    you say,

    A rigid pattern can be a specification, like all heads when flipping coins.

    I say,

    It’s not the rigidity of the pattern that makes “all heads” a specified pattern it’s the shortness of the description.

    “coin flipped 100 times all heads” is a highly specified event.

    “coin flip one time heads
    coin flip one time heads
    coin flip one time heads
    coin flip one time heads
    etc etc etc…..”

    is not a highly specified event.

    Hope you can see the difference

    peace

  252. 252
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: We are talking about objects that are highly specified.

    ffm: “If an object is highly specified it means I will know it quickly when it see it.”

    fifthmonarchyman: It’s not the rigidity of the pattern that makes “all heads” a specified pattern it’s the shortness of the description.

    Description: “Snowflake”

    Description: “In a million throws, 90% heads”.

    fifthmonarchyman: “coin flipped 100 times all heads” is a highly specified event.

    “coin flip one time heads
    coin flip one time heads
    coin flip one time heads
    coin flip one time heads
    etc etc etc…..”

    is not a highly specified event.

    They describe the same event. The difference is the description, not the event.

  253. 253
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac says,

    The difference is the description, not the event.

    I say,

    Correct, What we mean when we say an event is highly specified is that a short description will compress it with out losing any relevant information. Your descriptions are not detailed specifications but merely a restatement of the general pattern in question.

    in other words

    1) A snowstorm is not highly specified or particularity low in entropy.

    2) The July 4th 1945 Havana Cuba blizzard is highly specified and low entropy.

    I hope you see that there is a huge difference even though it’s possible that both descriptions are of the same event.

    If I asked how snowstorm “1” happened your compensation argument would be sufficient.

    On the other hand snowstorm “2” apparently violates the second law.

    Get it??

    by the same token

    If I found a pile of coins all heads up your compensation argument would be a sufficient explanation.

    on the other hand

    If I flipped 200 coins and the middle 100 all landed heads up while the first and last 50 assumed a normal distribution I would think it thermodynamically odd.

    Hope that helps

    peace

  254. 254
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: 1) A snowstorm is not highly specified or particularity low in entropy.

    2) The July 4th 1945 Havana Cuba blizzard is highly specified and low entropy.

    A snowstorm is much more highly specified and much lower entropy than undifferentiated matter.

    fifthmonarchyman: If I asked how snowstorm “1? happened your compensation argument would be sufficient.

    Compensation is not an explanation of snowstorms. See #221.

    fifthmonarchyman: If I found a pile of coins all heads up your compensation argument would be a sufficient explanation.

    Compensation is not an explanation for all heads.

  255. 255
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    A snowstorm is much more highly specified and much lower entropy than undifferentiated matter.

    I say,

    Sure but that is not the issue.

    A hydrogen atom is much more highly specified and much lower entropy than undifferentiated matter. In fact matter with any differentiation at all is much more highly specified and much lower entropy than undifferentiated matter.

    geez

    A snowstorm is well within the norm of the standard entropic variation we see in the atomphspre of earth. We know that because snowstorms happen all the time.

    Hence it is not beyond the equilibrium that CJYman was talking about when he brought the topic up way back in comment 173.

    IOW this entire exercise was simply a waste of time. Now CJY man has moved on and absolutely no productive conversation has taken place.

    Perhaps that was your goal all along. Throw out a total red herring and hope that your opponents will ware themselves out demonstrating what should have been obvious from the get go.

    you say,

    Compensation is not an explanation for all heads.

    I say,

    Sure it is if we are only dealing with 5 coin tosses.

    That is the point.

    “All heads” is simply not a highly specified event. It is like saying “snowstorm” or “wood pile” or “chunk of quartz”. There is nothing in the specification that marks the event as improbable in the slightest.

    Of course you know this but apparently you want to keep the red hearing out there long enough so that you won’t have to have an actual discussion of evolution or the OOL and the second law.

    Oh well it is your loss. The world will continue to move on with out you.

    peace

  256. 256
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Sure but that is not the issue.

    Of course it’s the issue. A snowflake has a much lower thermodynamic entropy compared to the water from which it was formed.

    fifthmonarchyman: A hydrogen atom is much more highly specified and much lower entropy than undifferentiated matter.

    The entropy of a hydrogen atom depends on its thermal characteristics, and can vary widely. Generally, hydrogen has *higher* entropy as a free atom than when in molecular form.

    fifthmonarchyman: A snowstorm is well within the norm of the standard entropic variation we see in the atomphspre of earth.

    Yes. Now you got it! Entropy can decrease locally as long as entropy is exported.

    fifthmonarchyman: “All heads” is simply not a highly specified event.

    You can pad out the description if you like, “all heads in 500 flips of a fair coin”. ETA: Or 90% heads in 500 flips of a fair coin.

    fifthmonarchyman: It is like saying “snowstorm” or “wood pile” or “chunk of quartz”.

    Each and every snowflake has a much lower entropy, and a much higher degree of specification, than the liquid water from which is it formed.

    fifthmonarchyman: There is nothing in the specification that marks the event as improbable in the slightest.

    It’s only improbable when using a fallacious notion of thermodynamics.

  257. 257
    Joe says:

    Materialism cannot account for water nor snowflakes…

  258. 258
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Zac said,

    You can pad out the description if you like, “all heads in 500 flips of a fair coin”. ETA: Or 90% heads in 500 flips of a fair coin.

    I say,

    Now we have a highly specified event with low entropy. That is what CJYman was talking about about 100 comments ago.

    So give us a satisfying “compensation argument” for how this event happened like you did with snowflakes with out appealing to design.

  259. 259
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: So give us a satisfying “compensation argument” for how this event happened like you did with snowflakes with out appealing to design.

    Thermodynamics doesn’t determine the pattern of heads or tails on a fair coin. However, it does take work to flip the coins.

  260. 260
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    Thermodynamics doesn’t determine the pattern of heads or tails on a fair coin.

    I say,

    Thermodynamics doesn’t determine the form of a snowflake either.

    The second law is not about what thermodynamics does it’s about the entropic constraints that are placed on systems.

    In short the second law says that entropy increases.

    What we have in your description is a unexpected system with low entropy and low probability. How did it happen?

    Please provide a satisfactory “compensation argument” like you did for snowflakes

    If you can’t please admit that compensation arguments are beside the point when it comes to things like OOL and evolution.

    Then finally you would be ready to have a real discussion about ID and the second law.

    The problem is there is no one left who is interested in having that discussion with you. You ran them all off with your snowflake red herring.

    peace

  261. 261
    Timaeus says:

    keith s (66):

    I am not one of those who thinks that the second law of thermodynamics makes evolution impossible. However, I am surprised at the dogmatism with which people offer definitions. For example, your source says:

    “Entropy is not a measure of disorder.”

    But here is a definition from an Ohio State physics textbook:

    “Entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder of a system. The greater the disorder, the greater the amount of entropy.”

    And I could find many other scientific books and articles that employ a similar definition (which incidentally was the one I was taught in chemistry).

    We had this discussion two or three years ago with Elizabeth Liddle. Amidst the back and forth regarding Sewell, Elizabeth offered what to her were decisive definitions of entropy and of the second law. At the time I could pull up standard reference works which had definitions different from hers, but she didn’t seem interested in hearing them. *Her* definitions were the only ones that “scientists” used.

    It seems to me that when qualified scientific authors give different definitions of terms, the proper way to proceed is not to say: “That’s not entropy; this is” or “That’s not the second law, this is”; but to carefully study why the different authors are defining and formulating terms in different ways, and to present a nuanced discussion such as: “Well, if you define entropy in that way, as many scientists do, then you might logically conclude X; however, when you realize the context in which those scientists intend that definition, a context quite different from our current discussion, you will realize that X does not follow. For our current discussion, the best definition of entropy would be the one employed by many other scientists, i.e., … and from that definition one could not conclude X.”

    This seems to me to be a better way of discussion than: “your definition is wrong and mine is right.”

  262. 262
    Piotr says:

    “Entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder of a system. The greater the disorder, the greater the amount of entropy.”

    This must be their Physics for Blondes course. Even the Wikipedia article on entropy begins:

    In thermodynamics, entropy (usual symbol S) is a measure of the number of specific ways in which a thermodynamic system may be arranged, commonly misunderstood as a measure of disorder.

    OK, entropy may be understood (somewhat naively) as a measure of disorder in many typical situations. Let’s accept that for the sake of the argument. Still, it doesn’t mean that 2LOT prevents the spontaneous emergence of order. Living things produce a lot of entropy and export it to their surroundings (as waste heat and low-free-energy molecules) — always enough to compensate for its local lowering, plus a lot more for good measure. The combined system — an organism plus the world around it — increases its entropy even if the organism becomes more “ordered” (“specified”, “organised”, etc.). I don’t know how many times it has been stated and paraphrased here. Anyone who still doesn’t get it is beyond help.

  263. 263
    Box says:

    Piotr: Still, it doesn’t mean that 2LOT prevents the spontaneous emergence of order.

    Yes we know … The 2LOT does not in any way prevent the kind of order that can be explained bottom-up – e.g. snow: the ordering principle of crystals is latently in the structure of the chemical elements.
    However the claim put forward by Sewell and others is that the 2LOT implies a tendency away from ORGANIZATION – which is distinct from plain old bottom-up order. Under the 2LOT natural forces turn spaceships, TV sets, and computers into a pile of rubble but not vice-versa.

  264. 264
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Thermodynamics doesn’t determine the form of a snowflake either.

    That’s right! The creation of snowflakes and the flipping of coins are consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but mere consistency is not an explanation for the particular patterns.

    fifthmonarchyman: The second law is not about what thermodynamics does it’s about the entropic constraints that are placed on systems.

    Right again! The 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn’t determine the shape of a snowflake or the pattern of heads and tails. It just says that work is required to reorder the molecules of water or the faces of the coins.

    fifthmonarchyman: What we have in your description is a unexpected system with low entropy and low probability.

    The entropy of coins are the same regardless of whether they are all heads up or not. The entropy of a snowflake, however, is much lower than the same water molecules in liquid form.

    Timaeus: Entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder of a system. The greater the disorder, the greater the amount of entropy.

    The use of order/disorder can be confusing, but if we use that definition, it refers to microstates, not macroscopic order. A deck of playing cards has the thermodynamic entropy whether sorted or shuffled. If you think differently, think of the difference in energy available for work.

    Box: However the claim put forward by Sewell and others is that the 2LOT implies a tendency away from ORGANIZATION – which is distinct from plain old bottom-up order.

    The organization in life is bottom-up, the global structure evolving from preferential attachment.

    Box: Under the 2LOT natural forces turn spaceships, TV sets, and computers into a pile of rubble but not vice-versa.

    The laws of thermodynamics say that work can turn rubble into ordered structures.

  265. 265
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Piotr says

    The combined system — an organism plus the world around it — increases its entropy even if the organism becomes more “ordered” (“specified”, “organised”, etc.).

    I say,

    Apparently you also are confusing what it means for a system to be “specified”. A system in thermodynamic equilibrium can be easily specified. A system does not become less specified as it’s entropy increases.

    I have come to realize that the source of of much of the communication difficulty surrounding these discussions has to deal with that one term “specification”.

    zac says.

    The entropy of coins are the same regardless of whether they are all heads up or not.

    I say,

    Do you actually mean to say that “all heads in 500 flips of a fair coin” has the same entropy as a random normal distribution in the results?

    If so I think this is another point of misunderstanding between us. Surely you know that entropy is about more than heat.

    peace

  266. 266
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    if we use that definition, it refers to microstates, not macroscopic order.

    I say,

    Do you believe that a system’s microstate is unrelated to it’s macro order?

    peace

  267. 267
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    To recap

    1)In ID When we say a system is highly specified we mean that all of the relevant information can be given in a short description. (Pi for 3.14….. for example)

    2) when we say a system has low entropy we mean that a lot of information is required to describe the exact state of the system.(ie The information required to name the individual digits of Pi is infinite)

    The paradoxical tension between those two statements is the heart of the ID argument.

    peace

  268. 268
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: A system does not become less specified as it’s entropy increases.

    Typically it does, at least in terms of thermodynamics. If its entropy increases, the microstates have more degrees of freedom, that is, are less specified.

    Generally a system is considered as being in equilibrium, meaning it continues to import energy, perform work, and export entropy. An engine.

    fifthmonarchyman: Do you actually mean to say that “all heads in 500 flips of a fair coin” has the same entropy as a random normal distribution in the results?

    The same *thermodynamic* entropy. Go ahead: count the microstates.

    fifthmonarchyman: Do you believe that a system’s microstate is unrelated to it’s macro order?

    If the objects are at thermal equilibrium, such as coins would normally be, their arrangement doesn’t matter. It would matter if they are not at thermal equilibrium, then the temperature gradient determines heat flow.

    fifthmonarchyman: 1)In ID When we say a system is highly specified we mean that all of the relevant information can be given in a short description. (Pi for 3.14….. for example)

    Sure. In thermodynamics, it is determined by the number of available microstates.

    fifthmonarchyman: 2) when we say a system has low entropy we mean that a lot of information is required to describe the exact state of the system.(ie The information required to name the individual digits of Pi is infinite)

    In information theory, a random number has high entropy, while a known constant has low entropy.

    In thermodynamics, a system with low entropy has few available microstates.

  269. 269
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says

    In information theory, a random number has high entropy, while a known constant has low entropy.

    In thermodynamics, a system with low entropy has few available microstates.

    I say,

    Do you see the equivalence????

    peace

  270. 270
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Do you see the equivalence????

    They are not equal. Statistical thermodynamics is an *application* of information theory to microstates.

  271. 271
    Piotr says:

    Box and fifthmonarchyman,

    2LOT says zilch about “organisation” and “specification”. It is not about macroscopic order either. Do you think you reduce the entropy of your hair when you comb it?

    Anyway:

    An open system can easily reach an extremely “improbable” (low-entropy) state if it has access to a source of free energy (“free” in the thermodynamic sense), and to an external “sink” where enough entropy can be deposited.

  272. 272
    Box says:

    Piotr: 2LOT says zilch about “organisation” and “specification”.

    Yes we know … However this is irrelevant to the argument. It is widely recognized that in an organized system entropy is very low.

    Piotr: An open system can easily reach an extremely “improbable” (low-entropy) state if (…)

    Yes we know … However this is irrelevant to the argument. The low-entropy you are referring to is not an organized system. You can keep your snow crystals we don’t want them.

  273. 273
    Zachriel says:

    Box: It is widely recognized that in an organized system entropy is very low.

    A crystal generally has even lower entropy. Also, entropy is an extensive property.

  274. 274
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Piotr says,

    An open system can easily reach an extremely “improbable” (low-entropy) state if it has access to a source of free energy (“free” in the thermodynamic sense), and to an external “sink” where enough entropy can be deposited.

    I said way back in 194……

    Again with the compensation argument. geez

    Demonstrating once again that the critics are so regimented and knee jerk in their thinking that they are unable to even comprehend what the actual discussion is about?

    I’m not sure what it will take to get past this. But until we do real discussion will continue to elude us

    you can have the last word

    peace

  275. 275
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I’m not sure what it will take to get past this. But until we do real discussion will continue to elude us

    By explaining why the export of entropy is not an important consideration on a thread about the 2nd law of thermodynamics, or acknowledging its importance while explaining why it doesn’t apply, or something other than handwaving. Perhaps you could calculate the entropy of a couple of examples as part of your explanation.

  276. 276
    Piotr says:

    The low-entropy you are referring to is not an organized system.

    I refer generally to systems capable of lowering their entropy. According to which law of physics are such systems (including life) impossible without Intelligent Desing? CLOT (the Creationist Law of Thermodynamics)? What exactly does it say, in quantifiable terms?

  277. 277
    Piotr says:

    Again with the compensation argument. geez

    Your response to standard physics is “geez”? Talk of kneejerk reactions…

  278. 278
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I’m not sure what it will take to get past this. But until we do real discussion will continue to elude us

    One way to move forward would be to calculate actual values. How many arrangements are there of 20 pennies? 2^20 or about 10^6. How many microstates are there in 20 copper pennies? It’s not 10^24, but about 10^(10^24), or 10^1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Indeed, you can consider just the microstates of a tiny sliver of the coin, such as the hair in Lincoln’s nostril, and have a number so large as to defy comprehension.

    That’s at standard temperature and pressure. If the temperature is other than 298°K, then the value will be different. Just holding the penny in your hand will increase the number of available microstates by a number dwarfing anything to do with the number of heads and tails.

  279. 279
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    One way to move forward would be to calculate actual values.

    I say,

    OK Ive got a second to kill.

    1)It would take infinite information to name all individual digits of Pi. That means it’s entropy is very (infinitely) low.

    2) At the same time Pi is a subset of all possible numbers. A set which has very high (infinite) entropy.

    Since we have this readily available external “sink” please give a satisfactory compensation argument for the existence of Pi.

    something on the order of

    infinite positive entropy yields zero entropy.

    If you can’t or if such an argument seems nonsensical then please acknowledge that compensation arguments are completely beside the point when we are talking about information.

    So we can move on.

    Now suppose I was looking at trended moisture data from an industrial process and the number sequence matched the digits of Pi.

    From standpoint of information theory it is reasonable to conclude that the 2nd law renders such an event highly unlikely.

    Would you agree?

    peace

  280. 280
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: 1)It would take infinite information to name all individual digits of Pi. That means it’s entropy is very (infinitely) low.

    Thermodynamic entropy for pi is undefined. It’s informational entropy is low, not because it takes an infinite amount of time to transmit, but because it can be transmitted with a few bits of information.

    fifthmonarchyman: 2) At the same time Pi is a subset of all possible numbers. A set which has very high (infinite) entropy.

    Thermodynamic entropy for the set of all possible numbers is undefined. Indeed, the set of all possible numbers is undefined. Did you mean the set of real numbers?

    fifthmonarchyman: Since we have this readily available external “sink” please give a satisfactory compensation argument for the existence of Pi.

    Thermodynamic entropy for pi is undefined.

    However, thermodynamic entropy is defined for a penny. The standard molar entropy is 33.2 J mol-1 K-1, a mole being about 20 copper pennies.

    fifthmonarchyman: Now suppose I was looking at trended moisture data from an industrial process and the number sequence matched the digits of Pi. From standpoint of information theory it is reasonable to conclude that the 2nd law renders such an event highly unlikely.

    Thermodynamic entropy for pi is undefined. You are mixing apples and oranges. Again, calculate the standard entropy of a penny to understand why it has nothing to do with whether the coin is heads up or tails up.

  281. 281
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    zac says,

    You are mixing apples and oranges.

    I say,

    No that is what your side is doing when you bring up compensation arguments.

    However thermodynamic entropy and information entropy are both “apples”.

    from here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....ic_entropy
    quote:
    At an everyday practical level the links between information entropy and thermodynamic entropy are not evident…….

    At a multidisciplinary level, however, 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.
    end quote:
    peace

  282. 282
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: However thermodynamic entropy and information entropy are both “apples”.

    No more than apples are arithmetic just because you can count apples. Thermodynamic entropy is a property of the physical world. You measure thermodynamic entropy with a calorimeter. Information entropy is an abstraction.

    fifthmonarchyman: At a multidisciplinary level, however, 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.

    Yes, statistical thermodynamics is an *application* of the mathematics of information entropy, just like counting apples is an application of arithmetic. But apples are not numbers.

    If you were correct, then the thermodynamic entropy of twenty copper pennies (33.2 J mol-1 K-1) would depend on whether they were heads up or tails up. It doesn’t.

  283. 283
    DNA_Jock says:

    fifthmonarchyman,

    Since you have found in Wikipedia the connection between “informational entropy” and thermal entropy, perhaps YOU would like to calculate the trade-off. Here’s a simple way to illustrate it :

    How much ice would I need to melt to compensate for the informational content of the human genome?

  284. 284
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    DNA_JOCK says.

    How much ice would I need to melt to compensate for the informational content of the human genome?

    I say,

    As I said in 194 and again in 274

    Again with the compensation argument. geez

    Demonstrating once again that the critics are so regimented and knee jerk in their thinking that they are unable to even comprehend what the actual discussion is about?

    I’m not sure what it will take to get past this. But until we do real discussion will continue to elude us

    you can have the last word

    peace

  285. 285
    DNA_Jock says:

    5mm,

    The “Compensation argument” is central to any understanding of 2LoT. Thank you for confirming that you are talking about the CLoT.

    Which, fyi, is unrelated to 2LoT.
    And wrong.

  286. 286
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    to interested lurkers,

    This whole subject was address in OP

    quote:

    Myth #6: The 2nd Law can only be applied or fruitfully studied in its initial, most basic formulation relating to thermal energy.

    Again, abiogenesis skeptics are not the first to raise the idea of applying the 2nd Law – or at the very least the concepts of the 2nd Law as they relate to entropy – to other areas, including informational entropy and organizational entropy. These are intriguing areas that merit careful consideration, not handwaving dismissals by people who are unable to see beyond the initial formulation.

    end quote:

    I can’t think of a better example of “misunderstanding the argument” than expecting thermodynamic compensation for informational or organizational entropy.

    I can’t think of a better example of ignoring the arguments of others than to act like the OP did not exist.

    and I can’t think of a better example of a knee jerk response than to label an argument you clearly don’t understand with a pejorative name and dismissing it out of hand.

    I would hope that critics would at least try to understand what is being said. That is demonstrability not the case

    peace

  287. 287
    Mung says:

    scordova:

    I don’t participate here much anymore. My dissent and disagreement with other ID proponents and creationists isn’t exactly welcome.

    Poor you, the unrepentant hypocrite. You systematically suppressed dissent in the threads you authored here at UD. Whine less.

    The second law of thermodynamics is a matter of probability, as are the arguments for intelligent design.

    There is an abstraction that goes beyond joule per kelvin, something which you never quite seemed either able or willing to grasp.

    You were repeatedly referred to sources which demonstrated the relationship between statistical mechanics and information theory, and given your background it was within your ability to grasp them. but you chose not to.

    Instead, you shot the messenger. Oh well.

  288. 288
    Eric Anderson says:

    Piotr @160:

    I am not qualified to discuss the OOL scenarios in any detail, but once we have a viable replication process going (in a prebiotic environment it wouldn’t have had to be anything fancy), the emergence and fine-tuning of new “functional” features (visible to selection and promoted by it) is not only possible but pretty well inevitable, no matter how “improbable” they seem to be.

    Yes, as I said, that is the theory. The idea is pretty simple. But the devil is, as they say, in the details.

    The effort to import Darwinian evolution into the pre-biotic, molecular realm is important to the materialist creation story because Darwinian variation+selection is thought to be ultra powerful and nearly limitless in capability. Surely if we can get some kind of pre-biotic self-replicator going, then eventually wonderful things will happen — even life. At least that is the theory.

    There are just a couple of problems with this idea: (i) no-one has ever witnessed such a thing; (ii) there is little reason to think it would actually work in the real world; and (iii) there are excellent reasons to think it would not work.

    Thermodynamic considerations are important in understanding why (as Boltzmann probably saw, judging from his lectures).

    Agreed. The types of reactions that are and are not thermodynamically favorable under purely natural conditions (remember, no catalysts, no enzymes, no controlled chemical cascades) is a very important issue.

    An issue that many abiogenesis critics have been pointing out, and one that too many abiogenesis proponents seem fiercely opposed to even considering.

  289. 289
    Eric Anderson says:

    Missy @166:

    I was getting ahead of that kind of god of the gaps response, once I’ve seen creationists doing it. But I admit I may be a little biased.

    Missy, first of all, thank you for acknowledging that you were jumping the gun and that you may be a little biased. That is quite refreshing. I think you will find that most of the ID proponents who comment here (though, no doubt, with an occasional exception or lapse of judgment) are interested in the science and focus on the evidence, rather than throwing up their hands and saying “we don’t know, so God did it”. Thank you for being willing to see beyond the caricatures that you may have run across on other sites. If you are willing to have your views challenged and learn alongside us, I, for one, welcome your continued participation.

  290. 290
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @207:

    All the known processes in living organisms are consistent with the known ordering principles of chemistry.

    Whiffs again on the issue at hand . . .

  291. 291
    Eric Anderson says:

    DNA_Jock @168:

    You don’t know what the practical result of those interactions might be, yet you are certain that they wouldn’t help abiogenesis.

    We have a pretty good idea of what the practical result is. It is has been under intense and extensive study for decades. The reactions produce some variation of inert matter, sludge, tar, but never — not once — anything even close to a self-replicating molecule. And they sure don’t help with the host of other issues surrounding abiogenesis either.

  292. 292
    Eric Anderson says:

    REC @211:

    The ordering principles of biological macromolecules is found latently in their chemical structures. (DNA base pairs, RNA and Proteins fold spontaneously, with favored entropy.”

    This point has been made repeatedly. What you are doing is arguing the comparison of fishing reels, cars and houses to molecules is stupid. It is. So please stop.

    Yes, the primary ordering is determined by the informational content of the DNA base pairs.

    But the translation and transcription process doesn’t just happen by chemistry. There are many mediating and assisting processes that not only maintain the correct order, but which can cut, trim, splice, concatenate, assist in folding, and so on — something that we are barely scratching the surface of.

    While you are quite correct that molecules have specific charge qualities that enable bonding, those same qualities can also interfere with desired configurations if not carefully controlled. That is precisely one of the challenges of abiogenesis research: namely, finding a way to coax the desired structures out of the mix. It is most definitely not just downhill chemistry.

    After all, no-one would expect a well-mixed solution of amino acids to spontaneously form a functional protein, “with favored entropy.”

    So at the very least, we have to say that the DNA base pairs specify a precise order in which the amino acids need to be attached in order to ensure that the correct protein product is produced. (But in reality, it is not even close to that simple. There is much more going on in the cell to get a correct protein product.)

  293. 293
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    All the known processes in living organisms are consistent with the known ordering principles of chemistry.

    lol. the ordering principles of chemistry? really?

    Earth to Zachriels.

  294. 294
    Eric Anderson says:

    REC @219:

    Actually, snow flakes fall into about 121 specifications (see ref). Each is a bit different, and therefore also highly improbable.

    FSCI/O?

    Interesting and useful question.

    I think the answer to your question lies in the misuse of “specification” (at least insofar as it relates to ID). A specification in ID, as you no doubt know, is not just a “category” (reword your sentence with “category” instead of “specification” and it works just as well, probably better). We can categorize all kinds of things in the universe: rocks, streams, mountains, types of elements in a periodic table, and on and on. The existence of a category does not mean we are dealing with a specification in the ID sense, which deals with meaning, purpose, message, function, etc.

  295. 295
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel:

    This is getting quite old. I’ll tell you what:

    Why don’t you tell us in a reasonable, non-inflammatory way what you think the thermodynamic issue is as it relates to abiogenesis, and I’ll post your response as a head post.

    Note: I am not asking you to answer how abiogenesis occurred or anything like that. I just want to see if you understand the issue under discussion. So please just state, in your own words, what you understand the issue to be.

  296. 296
    DNA_Jock says:

    Eric @291 writes:

    We have a pretty good idea of what the practical result is. [of the chemical interactions]

    Well, abiogenesis researchers have a pretty good idea, but Eric evidently does not.

    The types of reactions that are and are not thermodynamically favorable under purely natural conditions (remember, no catalysts, no enzymes, no controlled chemical cascades) is a very important issue.

    Anyone who writes something this dumb needs to take a basic chemistry course. On the nature of catalysis.
    Pop quiz: can a catalyst change whether a reaction is thermodynamically favorable?
    Can an enzyme?
    Yikes.

  297. 297
    tabasco says:

    Mung,

    The second law of thermodynamics is a matter of probability, as are the arguments for intelligent design.

    It does not follow that intelligent design arguments are second law arguments.

    Many IDers make the same bogus argument. KF is a repeat offender.

  298. 298
    Eric Anderson says:

    DNA_Jock:

    Thou dost protest too much, methinks.

    I can’t tell whether you are up in arms about the phrase “thermodynamically favorable” or something else. In OOL, are we looking for reactions that would occur under thermodynamically favorable conditions as they might exist on the early Earth? Of course. That is the whole underpinning of the “metabolism first” proposal.

    And there is certainly a huge effort in abiogenesis research to find simple pre-biotic catalysts that could kick start the speculative abiogenic processes toward more complex molecules. So, yes, I could have said “no biological catalysts”, although that should have been clear from the context.

    Or are you just nitpicking words? Would you prefer that we speak of reactions that are “thermodynamically likely” under early Earth conditions instead of “thermodynamically favorable” under early Earth conditions? Can a catalyst or an enzyme make a reaction that is thermodynamically unlikely for OOL more likely? Of course. That is the whole point of the extensive abiogenesis search for pre-biotic catalysts.

  299. 299
    tabasco says:

    Eric:

    Thou doth protest too much, methinks.

    It’s “thou dost”.

    Add archaic grammar to your list of things to learn. But put it further down the list than thermodynamics, please.

    EA: Thanks, I’ve corrected it.

  300. 300
    tabasco says:

    It occurs to me that if I don’t spell out the point I made in #297, a lot of UDers won’t get it.

    This argument is invalid:

    1. The 2LoT is a probabilistic argument.
    2. ID arguments are also probabilistic arguments.
    3. Therefore ID arguments involve the 2LoT.

    Why? Because 2LoT arguments are only a small percentage of probabilistic arguments.

    Consider Behe’s IC and “Edge of Evolution” arguments. They’re obviously probabilistic arguments, but they don’t involve the 2LoT — and Behe is smart enough not to try to link them to the 2LoT.

    Why make a mistake that Behe is smart enough to avoid?

  301. 301
    Piotr says:

    #288 Eric Anderson,

    There are just a couple of problems with this idea: (i) no-one has ever witnessed such a thing; (ii) there is little reason to think it would actually work in the real world; and (iii) there are excellent reasons to think it would not work.

    Granted (i), why (ii) and (iii)?

  302. 302
    scordova says:

    Mung:

    The second law of thermodynamics is a matter of probability, as are the arguments for intelligent design.

    There is an abstraction that goes beyond joule per kelvin, something which you never quite seemed either able or willing to grasp.

    Wrong! What units do you suggest measuring thermodynamic entropy in, bits? I even provided a conversion factor.

    1 Joule/Kelvin = 1 / (1.381 x 10^-23) / ln (2) Bits =1.045 x 10^23 Bits

    More complexity implies more bits. More bits imply more entropy. Ergo, more complexity implies more entropy, not less!

    A warm living human has more entropy than a frozen dead rat. Given that fact, it is a ironic then there seems to be an obsession about reducing entropy when it is clear sometimes it is better to increase entropy if one wants a more complex living organism versus a dead frozen lump of chemicals!

    You were repeatedly referred to sources which demonstrated the relationship between statistical mechanics and information theory, and given your background it was within your ability to grasp them. but you chose not to.

    Wrong, I actually derived the connection of information to statistical mechanics from first principles here and elsewhere, and I even provided links to the derivations above. You’re just repeating and promoting a false narrative about me.

    Why don’t try doing an actual entropy estimate and compute the J/K of a warm living human to the J/K of a dead frozen rat. You can then convert the J/K estimate to bits using the above conversion factor.

    Post a comment of your findings here whether the warm living human has more bits of entropy than the frozen dead rat.

    You won’t do it possibly because:

    1. you can’t do the derivation
    2. you don’t want to admit you’re wrong and I was right
    3. you insist on perpetuating false narratives about me and my grasp of statistical mechanics
    4. all of the above

    Do you think something dead should have more or less entropy than something alive? Provide some calculations to refute my claims and let’s settle the issue here, or would you prefer to avoid the issue and focus on making ad hominem attacks against me rather than addressing the OP?

  303. 303
    DNA_Jock says:

    Oh, Eric,
    Your statement:

    The types of reactions that are and are not thermodynamically favorable under purely natural conditions (remember, no catalysts, no enzymes, no controlled chemical cascades) is a very important issue.

    And my two questions:

    Pop quiz: can a catalyst change whether a reaction is thermodynamically favorable?
    Can an enzyme?
    [Emphasis in original]

    were not about whether reactions are “thermodynamically likely”, but rather about whether reactions are “thermodynamically favorable”, and the effect of catalysts and enzymes on this issue. It’s not “nit-picking words” to ask for precision in communication.
    Would you like to have another try at answering the questions?

    1) Can a catalyst change whether a reaction is thermodynamically favorable?
    2) Can an enzyme?

  304. 304
    kairosfocus says:

    H = – SUM pi log pi

  305. 305
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Hey,scordova.

    How is it going?

    you said,

    A warm living human has more entropy than a frozen dead rat.

    I say,

    Granted, But I’m not sure how this is relevant. Instead of comparing warm verses frozen why not try comparing a frozen rat verses frozen compost pile. Which one has the most entropy?

    To make it a fair comparison let’s stipulate that both the rat and the compost pile are made up of the same materials in the same quantities.

    For extra credit compare a frozen rat with a warm but sterile compost pile.

    thanks in advance

    peace

  306. 306
    Zachriel says:

    StephenB: Why don’t you tell us in a reasonable, non-inflammatory way what you think the thermodynamic issue is as it relates to abiogenesis

    Any theory of abiogenesis must be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Without a theory to consider, there’s no way to evaluate the specifics. Metabolism-first hypotheses propose that life organizes itself as a natural response to the dissipation of energy, but these ideas are still incomplete.

    Intelligent Designer advocates, on the other hand, often claim the 2nd law of thermodynamics prohibits the spontaneous origin of organization. However, the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not prohibit either organization or order, and there are many naturally organizing phenomena.

    Tabasco identified the fallacy of the undistributed middle:

    1. The 2LoT is a probabilistic argument.
    2. ID arguments are also probabilistic arguments.
    3. Therefore ID arguments involve the 2LoT.

    A common avenue for the Intelligent Design advocate is to then claim that it is intelligence which allows for organization above and beyond the 2nd law of thermodynamics. However, no matter clever you are, you can’t violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You’re left with deus ex machina.

  307. 307
    Zachriel says:

    fifthmonarchyman: To make it a fair comparison let’s stipulate that both the rat and the compost pile are made up of the same materials in the same quantities.

    Depends what you mean by materials. If the molecular structure is intact, then they will have similar entropies. The problem with the example is that the molecular structure is bound up with the overall biological organization of the rat. You might compare the entropy of a live rat and a fresh dead rat instead.

  308. 308
    DNA_Jock says:

    Let’s compare an adult 70kg human at 98.6 F, the same person with a slight fever of 100.4 F, and the same person (at 98.4 F) in 70,000 one cc chunks, immediately following an unfortunate incident with an industrial wood-chipper.

    For extra credit, convert the difference between the same person at 98.6 F and at 100.4 F into bits of information.

    EA: Too funny! I hope you don’t mind if I keep this one in my back pocket for later use.

  309. 309
  310. 310
    DNA_Jock says:

    Z-
    That was the scene I had in mind
    LMAO

  311. 311
    Eric Anderson says:

    Piotr @301:

    Granted (i), why (ii) and (iii)?

    Decades of intense research and billions spent trying to get it to work and still nothing even close. Then there is the huge elephant in the room: getting information — coherent, functional, specific information — to arise.

    The only place a naturalistic molecules-to-life scenario has any chance of working is in the imaginations of materialists.

  312. 312
    Eric Anderson says:

    Sal @302:

    Thanks for your thoughts. Myths #1 and #2 for abiogenesis skeptics relate to your comments, and I agree that a focus on entropy, particularly as it relates to an attempt to tie a thermal measure to an informational measure is problematic.

    I’m curious: given that even abiogenesis proponents acknowledge there are thermodynamic considerations that need to be addressed and overcome for a viable abiogenesis scenario, do you think there is any place for a thermodynamic critique of abiogenesis? (Your concern seems primarily to be with the attempted tie of thermodynamics to the design inference, which is a separate issue.)

  313. 313
    Eric Anderson says:

    tabasco @300:

    Why? Because 2LoT arguments are only a small percentage of probabilistic arguments.

    Consider Behe’s IC and “Edge of Evolution” arguments. They’re obviously probabilistic arguments, but they don’t involve the 2LoT — and Behe is smart enough not to try to link them to the 2LoT.

    I think you make a good point. There are various subsets of probabilistic arguments.

    Why make a mistake that Behe is smart enough to avoid?

    I’m not sure what you are referring to here, but I agree that arguments about the 2LoT can be problematic. At the same time, it does not follow that they need be. Nor does it follow that it is always a “mistake” to raise 2LoT considerations or arguments in appropriate circumstances.

    So there are different arguments that can be made: some better, some worse. There are different contexts in which arguments can be made: drawing a design inference, critiquing abiogenesis, etc. Each has to be evaluated on its own merits.

  314. 314
    Piotr says:

    I wish funding agencies were really willing to lavish billions on OOL research, but since it’s typical exploratory research with little chance of yielding hard results soon, it’s more likely tens of thousand thousands per team, if they are lucky (and there are not too many teams concerned mainly with OOL questions.

    EA: Oh, it has probably exceeded a couple of billion collectively, over the decades if we take the many efforts that feed into the OOL question. If we limit it to only those researchers who say they are specifically focusing all their efforts on OOL, then it would be a more limited group. Yet even in that very limited sense, we are dealing with hundreds of researchers over several decades and several millions of dollars. It is by no means trivial.

    I’m with you though. Probably would be better to have more spent on OOL than on some other areas, but funds aren’t unlimited.

  315. 315
    Eric Anderson says:

    DNA_Jock:

    I’d be happy to answer your question, as soon as you tell me what you have in mind by the word ‘favorable’ in this context. You obviously have a very narrow and specific meaning in mind and you are hoping to trip me up on a technicality so that you can score a point, rather than addressing the substance of my comment to Piotr.

    There are certain reactions needed to create simple organic molecules. Would the existence of catalysts make the early Earth conditions more favorable for such reactions to occur? Conversely, does the absence of catalysts make the early Earth conditions less favorable for such reactions to occur?

  316. 316
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @306:

    Any theory of abiogenesis must be consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Without a theory to consider, there’s no way to evaluate the specifics. Metabolism-first hypotheses propose that life organizes itself as a natural response to the dissipation of energy, but these ideas are still incomplete.

    So far, so good. Yes, everyone, proponents and skeptics alike, agrees that abiogenesis theories must be consistent with the 2LoT. So presumably if there are aspects of a particular abiogenesis theory that run contrary to our normal experience with the 2LoT, then those aspects would be fair game for criticism.

    Intelligent Designer advocates, on the other hand, often claim the 2nd law of thermodynamics prohibits the spontaneous origin of organization. However, the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not prohibit either organization or order, and there are many naturally organizing phenomena.

    There is a critical difference between mere “order” and functional “organization.” Particularly when we are dealing with, as we are in biology, organization that is complex, functional, and information-rich. Yes, there are many examples of naturally-occurring “order” in the physical world — people love to bring up crystals, snowflakes and the like. In contrast, there are no known examples of spontaneous, naturally-occurring, functional, information-rich systems.

    A common avenue for the Intelligent Design advocate is to then claim that it is intelligence which allows for organization above and beyond the 2nd law of thermodynamics. However, no matter clever you are, you can’t violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You’re left with deus ex machina.

    No-one is suggesting that the 2LoT gets violated through design. That is a misunderstanding of the argument. It is quite clear that intelligence allows for functional, information-rich, far-from-equilibrium systems to be designed and built, including the very computers we are using to make comments on this thread. That is not even a point at issue.

    The question is whether there is some designer-substitute that can be called upon in the pre-biotic early Earth environment to perform the same kind of creative work. So far, nothing of any substance has been proposed that even comes close to answering the need. Furthermore, our regular, repeated experience with cause and effect in the world clearly teaches that nothing else does answer the need, except intelligence itself.

  317. 317
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: There is a critical difference between mere “order” and functional “organization.”

    Not in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  318. 318
    DNA_Jock says:

    Eric @315,

    I’d be happy to answer your question, as soon as you tell me what you have in mind by the word ‘favorable’ in this context. You obviously have a very narrow and specific meaning in mind and you are hoping to trip me up on a technicality so that you can score a point, rather than addressing the substance of my comment to Piotr.

    It is true that I have a specific meaning for “thermodynamically favorable” in mind: the universally accepted one:
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=thermodynamically+favorable
    that is, the Gibbs Free Energy change (“delta-G”) is negative (i.e. favorable)

    Your comment to Piotr (288) read

    The types of reactions that are and are not thermodynamically favorable under purely natural conditions (remember, no catalysts, no enzymes, no controlled chemical cascades) is a very important issue.

    How can I “address the substance” of this comment if you don’t know what “thermodynamically favorable” means?

  319. 319
    tabasco says:

    Eric, in the OP:

    Myth #6: The 2nd Law can only be applied or fruitfully studied in its initial, most basic formulation relating to thermal energy.

    Again, abiogenesis skeptics are not the first to raise the idea of applying the 2nd Law – or at the very least the concepts of the 2nd Law as they relate to entropy – to other areas, including informational entropy and organizational entropy

    Eric,

    Please state the 2nd Law in terms of informational entropy, and then in terms of organizational entropy, and provide references to the literature.

  320. 320
    Piotr says:

    I wrote (#314)

    tens of thousand thousands

    Sorry, I was typing in haste. I meant it was probably just tens of thousands at best (unfortunately).

  321. 321
    Piotr says:

    #319,

    Exactly. What is the definition of “organisational entropy”? How do you measure it?

  322. 322
    scordova says:

    Granted, But I’m not sure how this is relevant. Instead of comparing warm verses frozen why not try comparing a frozen rat verses frozen compost pile. Which one has the most entropy?

    To make it a fair comparison let’s stipulate that both the rat and the compost pile are made up of the same materials in the same quantities.

    For extra credit compare a frozen rat with a warm but sterile compost pile.

    thanks in advance

    peace

    Actually to make an even more poignant example, “which has more thermodynamic entropy, a warm living man on Thursday or that same man dead and frozen when buried under an avalanche?” Answer: The warm living man.

    Removing too much entropy from someone can be lethal. Again, my protests is why all this objection about lowering entropy. It can be vital to life and complexity.

    But to answer your question, if the compost pile is 100 time heavier than the rat, it has more entropy. The reason? There are three ways to increase entropy of a system:

    1. increase temperature
    2. increase the amount of material in the system
    3. both #1 and #2

    What has more entropy, a living healthy lamb on Thursday or that same lamb who died because all its blood was drained in a ceremonial sacrifice on Friday? Answer: the living lamb has more entropy, not less. Here is why….

    Assume for the sake of argument the amount of water in the blood is a liter.

    The standard molar entropy of water is

    69.95 J/K/mol
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_(data_page)

    This implies approximately a liter of water has an entropy on the order of:

    S = 69.95 J/K/mol * 1000 g water * 18.01528 mol/g =

    1,260,169 J/K

    Before I go further, the calculation above is textbook for Chemistry, Physics and Engineering students give or take some environmental variation from standard conditions.

    We can convert this entropy in J/K into bits using the conversion factor

    1,260,169 * 1.045 x 10^23 = 1.31 * 10^29 bits

    [The conversion factor can be deduced by inspecting equation for dimensionless entropy stated here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmann_constant ]

    Thus the living lamb has 1.31 * 10^29 bits more entropy than the dead lamb that lost a liter of water when its blood was spilled out.

    The moral of the story is THERMODYNAMIC entropy numbers are not too informative about the design complexity of a system.

    WORSE, it does not reflect well on the ID community to conflate the informational bits of energy microstates related to thermodynamic entropy with the informational bits related to specified complexity.

    For example, usually when I talk about 500 fair coins, we could arrange the coins to evidence 500 bits of specified complexity, whereas doing the standard molar entropy calculations as physics, chemistry, or engineering student would do, we would arrive at:

    8.636 x 1025 Shannon Bits

    as I derived here

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cs-and-id/

    Btw, someone with some Nobel Prize winning genes supported my calculations in that thread. Look in the comment section to see who I’m referring to. 🙂

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cs-and-id/

    The information bits referred in thermodynamic should not be conflated and equivocated with the information bits that IDists are interested in. They are not the same kinds of information.

    This thread

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cs-and-id/

    tried to distinguish between the two kinds of information, and I even provided the calculations hinting it was disastrous to conflate thermodynamic information bits with specified complexity/improbability bits.

    But that hasn’t stopped others from quoting literature linking information theory and thermodynamics as if it supports ID. It does not because the information bits in thermodynamics are based on energy microstates whereas the information bits in ID are based on design/not-design microstates.

    I could try to convey the absurdity of these sorts of conflations and equivocations by asking, “what has more entropy a living man on Thursday, or a dead frozen man with all his blood drained out from an avalanche accident on Saturday?” Answer: the warm living man has more entropy, not less. So why again are we so obsessed with finding ways to lower entropy in order to achieve living designs?

    But it seems, these basic considerations fall on deaf ears….except for guys like you. 🙂

    Thanks for listening.

    Peace.

  323. 323
    scordova says:

    Sal @302:

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    You’re welcome.

    Myths #1 and #2 for abiogenesis skeptics relate to your comments, and I agree that a focus on entropy, particularly as it relates to an attempt to tie a thermal measure to an informational measure is problematic.

    The thermodynamic information bits are not the same as specified complexity information bits. So even though the 2nd law might be expressed in terms of bits, its not talking about the same class of information an IDist is talking about. An IDist might say 500 fair coins can contain 500 specified complex information bits, whereas a thermodynamice analysis will say it has 8.25 * 10^25 thermodynamic information bits — assuming we’re using copper pennies. 🙂

    I’m curious: given that even abiogenesis proponents acknowledge there are thermodynamic considerations that need to be addressed and overcome for a viable abiogenesis scenario, do you think there is any place for a thermodynamic critique of abiogenesis?

    I think a small place, but not much. The one place I saw it was in the problems posed by spontaneous assembly of organisms in the absence of energy. Bradley, Thaxton, and Olsen referred to “configurational entropy” in their classic ID book, Mystery of Life’s origin, but they really could have done their analysis without appeal to that concept, imho.

    (Your concern seems primarily to be with the attempted tie of thermodynamics to the design inference, which is a separate issue.)

    Exactly. The crux of the matter is the 2nd law of thermodynamics deals with entropy defined in terms of the energy microstates of the particles (molecules) of a system, whereas ID is considers a different kind of microstate.

    A system of 500 fair coins to a typical IDist has 2^500 heads/tails microstates, whereas a thermodynamicist would view that same 500-fair-coins system (of copper pennies) as having 2^8.25 * 10^25 thermodynamic microstates — an insanely large number!

    The root of the problem is the conflation and equivocation of what constitutes a microstate.

    Oh well, I’ve ruffled enough feathers for the day….:-)

  324. 324
    Mung says:

    Salvador, just wondering, was your ability to create your own threads here at UD taken away from you?

  325. 325
    Mung says:

    tabasco: It does not follow that intelligent design arguments are second law arguments.

    Indeed. So take that up with Sal, who can’t understand the distinction. Or do you think ID arguments should be presented in terms of joule per kelvin?

  326. 326
    Mung says:

    tabasco: It does not follow that intelligent design arguments are second law arguments.

    I never said they were. I find it difficult to believe that I even implied that they were.

    tabascio: Because 2LoT arguments are only a small percentage of probabilistic arguments.

    Indeed. And wasn’t that my original point?

    Mung: The second law of thermodynamics is a matter of probability, as are the arguments for intelligent design.

    Mung: There is an abstraction that goes beyond joule per kelvin

  327. 327
    tabasco says:

    Mung:

    The second law of thermodynamics is a matter of probability, as are the arguments for intelligent design.

    tabasco:

    It does not follow that intelligent design arguments are second law arguments.

    Mung:

    Indeed. So take that up with Sal, who can’t understand the distinction.

    He understands the distinction. He wrote this just above:

    The information bits referred in thermodynamic should not be conflated and equivocated with the information bits that IDists are interested in. They are not the same kinds of information.

  328. 328
    tabasco says:

    Mung,

    There is an abstraction that goes beyond joule per kelvin…

    What is the more abstract version of the 2nd Law?

    I asked Eric a similar question:

    Eric,

    Please state the 2nd Law in terms of informational entropy, and then in terms of organizational entropy, and provide references to the literature.

  329. 329
    Mung says:

    Salvador: The thermodynamic information bits are not the same as specified complexity information bits.

    How would anyone know?

    What is a “thermodynamic information bit” and what is a “specified complexity information bit”?

    How do you measure “thermodynamic information” and how do you measure a “specified complexity information”?

    By convention, a bit is a binary digit. It is a unit of measurement.

    Now if the binary digit or “bit” represent a YES/NO or TRUE/FALSE answer to a query that can be answered in binary terms, which of those two do you assert cannot be reduced to YES/NO or TRUE/FALSE representations?

    In fact, as has been pointed out to you repeatedly, it is through information theory that “entropy” is stripped of it’s mystery.

  330. 330
    Eric Anderson says:

    Eric Anderson: There is a critical difference between mere “order” and functional “organization.”

    Not in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    If you simply mean that all physical systems are subject to the 2LoT, then fine. But that is not the issue at hand and is irrelevant to the discussion (see myths in OP).

    In contrast, if we are talking about a physical system spontaneously by virtue of the 2LoT under purely natural conditions, then, no, there is a huge difference between mere order and functional organization.

  331. 331
    Eric Anderson says:

    DNA_Jock @318:

    We go to the google search link you provided and what do we see?

    The very first entry on the list defines “thermodynamically favorable” as follows: “meaning it has a reasonable likelihood of proceeding.”

    Seems like there has been a lot of sound and fury for nothing. (Of course we still haven’t even talked about larger chemical cascades, which was also part of my sentence to Piotr.) Now shall we keep beating this red herring, or do you want to address the substantive issue all this relates to, per the OP: spontaneous formation of a living system under early Earth conditions?

  332. 332
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: There is a critical difference between mere “order” and functional “organization.”

    There may be a critical difference between order and functional organization, but it has nothing to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: In contrast, if we are talking about a physical system spontaneously by virtue of the 2LoT under purely natural conditions, then, no, there is a huge difference between mere order and functional organization

    Functional organization has no special place in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson: The very first entry on the list defines “thermodynamically favorable” as follows: “meaning it has a reasonable likelihood of proceeding.

    Hint: Thermodynamically favorable is not the same as kinetically favorable.

  333. 333
    niwrad says:

    Zachriel

    There may be a critical difference between order and functional organization, but it has nothing to do with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
    Functional organization has no special place in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Eric Anderson is right, functional organization has a lot to do with the 2nd law of statistical mechanics, because this field deals with probable and improbable states. Functional organization implies improbable states, then the 2nd law also deals with functional organization.

  334. 334
    Zachriel says:

    niwrad: functional organization has a lot to do with the 2nd law of statistical mechanics, because this field deals with probable and improbable states.

    As delineated by tabasco, that’s a fallacy of the undistributed middle:

    1. The 2LoT is a probabilistic argument.
    2. ID arguments are also probabilistic arguments.
    3. Therefore ID arguments involve the 2LoT.

  335. 335
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    let me fix that for you (in line with Niwrad #333):

    1. The 2nd law deals with probable and improbable states.
    2. Functional organization implies improbable states.
    3. Therefor the 2nd law (also) deals with functional organization.

  336. 336
    Eric Anderson says:

    Sal @323:

    I think a small place, but not much. The one place I saw it was in the problems posed by spontaneous assembly of organisms in the absence of energy. Bradley, Thaxton, and Olsen referred to “configurational entropy” in their classic ID book, Mystery of Life’s origin, but they really could have done their analysis without appeal to that concept, imho.

    Thanks for the thoughts. A follow-up question:

    We would all agree, presumably, that something like a bacterial flagellum arising spontaneously from a chemical soup on the early Earth is not going to happen.

    Why is that? In other words, if you were explaining to a young student or a newcomer to the debate why you think it would not happen, what would you say (in plain English, sans special terminology, dense calculations, etc.)?

  337. 337
    Zachriel says:

    Box: 1. The 2nd law deals with probable and improbable states.
    2. Functional organization implies improbable states.
    3. Therefor the 2nd law (also) deals with functional organization.

    1. The 2nd law is a subset of things that “deal with probable and improbable states”.
    2. Functional organization is a subset of things that “deal with probable and improbable states”.
    3. Fallacy of the undistributed middle.

  338. 338
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @334:

    tabasco’s point is relevant (and correct) in terms of pointing out that not all ID arguments need involve the 2LoT (most of them don’t, and we’re all happy with that fact).

    But it does not follow, as you seem to be implying, that the 2LoT cannot be relevant to either (a) design arguments, or (b) critiques of abiogenesis. Please don’t try to apply tabasco’s very narrow point a bridge too far.

    The fact that not all arguments against abiogenesis involve the 2LoT certainly doesn’t mean that none of them can.

  339. 339
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: Please don’t try to apply tabasco’s very narrow point a bridge too far.

    As Box and niwrad’s recent comments make clear, there is still some confusion on the matter.

    Eric Anderson: The fact that not all arguments against abiogenesis involve the 2LoT certainly doesn’t mean that none of them can.

    Sure. If those arguments are ever made, then those can be addressed at that time.

  340. 340
    niwrad says:

    Box

    I have always problems with Zachriel but I am glad that at least you always understand me. 🙂

    Maybe next Sunday or Monday I will release my next article on the 2nd law, according to your wise “approach”. Stay tuned. 😉

  341. 341
    niwrad says:

    Eric

    The very fact that Zachriel is so active in defence in our threads about the 2nd law is proof that he feels this argument as very dangerous for evolution. And he is right! (probably the unique time he is 🙂 ).

  342. 342
    Piotr says:

    #335 Box,

    “Improbable” in what sense? As opposed to thermodynamic equilibrium in a volume of gas, “functional organisation” can only be reached via a long stepwise process (in which every consecutive step may be quite probable). Do you know how to calculate and interpret sequential probabilities? Do you recall Dawkins’s metaphor of Mount Improbable?

    My simple challenge remains unanswered. Why are you guys so shy (or so evasive) if everybody here is an expert on entropy/probability/organisation?

    Hey, I see that Eric Anderson has added a comment to my post #121:

    EA: Piotr, though not directed at me, I would note that your challenge is pointless, as it has no basis in reality. At least you started it with “let’s imagine . . .” That part is true.

    Oh, come on, Eric. You couldn’t be more wrong. The exercise I propose, while somewhat idealised for the sake of clearer exposition, is entirely realistic. If the generation period were shorter (say, a couple of days rather than one year), my hypothetical organisms would correspond rather closely to, say, Escherichia coli in various respects. What really amazes me is that although the problem is not complicated, and hardly original (to be honest, it’s a variant of something discussed by others before me), nobody seems to have the vaguest idea how to approach it. I don’t demand a rigorous solution — we are talking informally. Some ballpark estimates would suffice, as long as you know how to get them.

    EA: The primary problem with your example, is that it doesn’t address any of the points at issue. Who is arguing that there isn’t enough “flux of entropy on Earth sufficient to allow for such a decrease”? Look back at myths #2 and #3. I’m happy to stipulate that there is sufficient “flux of entropy on Earth”. So what? It most certainly does not show “how life beats low probabilities.” It doesn’t show anything. It is an exercise in irrelevance.

  343. 343
    Piotr says:

    We would all agree, presumably, that something like a bacterial flagellum arising spontaneously from a chemical soup on the early Earth is not going to happen.

    I would emphatically agree with that. What use would a bacterial flagellum be to a chemical soup?

    EA: Let the discussion go with Sal where it is going. If you are willing to approach things with an open mind as regards abiogenesis and the possible applicability of the 2LoT to that issue, it could even be interesting.

  344. 344
    Box says:

    Niwrad #340,
    that is excellent news, I’ll be sitting front row! 🙂

  345. 345
    tabasco says:

    Eric,

    tabasco’s point is relevant (and correct) in terms of pointing out that not all ID arguments need involve the 2LoT (most of them don’t, and we’re all happy with that fact).

    Box and niwrad aren’t.

    Box:

    1. The 2nd law deals with probable and improbable states.
    2. Functional organization implies improbable states.
    3. Therefor the 2nd law (also) deals with functional organization.

    niwrad:

    functional organization has a lot to do with the 2nd law of statistical mechanics, because this field deals with probable and improbable states.

  346. 346
    tabasco says:

    Eric, to Zachriel:

    But it does not follow, as you seem to be implying, that the 2LoT cannot be relevant to either (a) design arguments, or (b) critiques of abiogenesis. Please don’t try to apply tabasco’s very narrow point a bridge too far.

    Eric,

    That’s why I eagerly await your response to my #319:

    Eric, in the OP:

    Myth #6: The 2nd Law can only be applied or fruitfully studied in its initial, most basic formulation relating to thermal energy.

    Again, abiogenesis skeptics are not the first to raise the idea of applying the 2nd Law – or at the very least the concepts of the 2nd Law as they relate to entropy – to other areas, including informational entropy and organizational entropy.

    Eric,

    Please state the 2nd Law in terms of informational entropy, and then in terms of organizational entropy, and provide references to the literature.

    [Emphasis added]

    Then we can apply it to design and abiogenesis.

  347. 347
    Mung says:

    Thermodynamics can be reformulated in information theory terms, in which “thermo bits” mean the same thing as “info bits.”

    Meanwhile, my @329 awaits a response. Feel free to take a stab at it tabasco.

    I am presenting nothing new here. What I say has been known for years. Decades even.

    Herbert Bernard Callen was an American physicist best known as the author of the textbook Thermodynamics and an Introduction to Thermostatistics, the most frequently cited thermodynamic reference in physics research literature.

  348. 348
    scordova says:

    Thanks for the thoughts. A follow-up question:

    We would all agree, presumably, that something like a bacterial flagellum arising spontaneously from a chemical soup on the early Earth is not going to happen.

    Why is that? In other words, if you were explaining to a young student or a newcomer to the debate why you think it would not happen, what would you say (in plain English, sans special terminology, dense calculations, etc.)?

    I’d appeal to the Humpty Dumpty argument (which is more general than the flagellum).

    I will never forget in 2005, one of the world’s top origin of life researchers, Dr. Robert Hazen, at my undergraduate alma mater George Mason University, angrily protested at an intelligent design lecture I organized for Jonathan Wells.

    Dr. Hazen stood up and accused Dr. Wells of promoting religion. Dr. Wells calmly smiled and responded by posing the following observation to Dr. Hazen in front of the students and faculty (an observation which he has often repeated to others):

    If we place a small amount of sterile salt solution in a test tube at just the right temperature and acidity, add a living cell, and then poke a hole in that cell with a sterile needle, the contents will leak out. We will have in our test tube all of the molecules needed for life, in just the right proportions (relative to each other) and already assembled into complex specified DNAs, RNAs, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. But we will not be able to make a living cell out of them. We cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    Dr. Hazen just stood there speechless, turning red before he stormed out of the room. To his credit a few weeks later he praised Dr. Wells at another student meeting. But Wells’ insight left a lasting impression on me. Many of my ID arguments are just technical elaborations (chemistry, math, cybernetics, etc.) of the Humpty Dumpty argument. The Humpty Dumpty argument was also good enough for one of the world’s top chemists and nano-engineers, James Tour.

  349. 349
    Curly Howard says:

    Id argue that if we could get the membrane to reform and then were able to physically replace every molecule back into the cell, then we could put humpty dumpty back together.

  350. 350
    DNA_Jock says:

    Actually, Eric, the “substantive” issue that I was addressing was your monumental ignorance of thermodynamics and chemistry, demonstrated by the following statement:

    EA: DNA_Jock, your attitude is unhelpful for constructive discussion, particularly since you have demonstrated no such thing. What you have demonstrated is that you are so obsessed with the concept that a catalyst speeds a reaction but doesn’t “change” the reaction, that you have missed the substantive question: Are there reactions that occur involving a catalyst or a specific chemical cascade that would not reasonably be expected to occur under early Earth conditions without such?

    The types of reactions that are and are not thermodynamically favorable under purely natural conditions (remember, no catalysts, no enzymes, no controlled chemical cascades) is a very important issue.

    Eric twists in the wind:

    DNA_Jock @318:
    We go to the google search link you provided and what do we see?
    The very first entry on the list defines “thermodynamically favorable” as follows: “meaning it has a reasonable likelihood of proceeding.”
    Seems like there has been a lot of sound and fury for nothing. (Of course we still haven’t even talked about larger chemical cascades, which was also part of my sentence to Piotr.) Now shall we keep beating this red herring, or do you want to address the substantive issue all this relates to, per the OP: spontaneous formation of a living system under early Earth conditions?

    Touchingly cute. But the full quote is:

    If the DG is negative, meaning the products are at a lower energy than the reactants, then the reaction is thermodynamically favorable, meaning it has a reasonable likelihood of proceeding. The DG does not indicate how fast this reaction will happen.

    So, given the universally accepted definition of “thermodynamically favorable” as “delta-G is negative”, would you now care to answer the pop quiz questions, viz:

    1) Can a catalyst change whether a reaction is thermodynamically favorable?
    2) Can an enzyme?

  351. 351
    franklin says:

    Eric

    The types of reactions that are and are not thermodynamically favorable under purely natural conditions (remember, no catalysts, no enzymes, no controlled chemical cascades) is a very important issue.

    I can understand the ‘no enzymes’ on a prebiotic Earth but no catalysts? Where does that come from, Eric? Are there no metals (or other inorganic catalysts) present on the prebiotic earth?

    EA: Good point. Discussed and addressed earlier in the thread.

  352. 352
    Box says:

    Scordova #348,

    Thank you for the Humpty Dumpty argument. It seems to me that the 2nd law is very relevant to this argument:

    If we place a small amount of sterile salt solution in a test tube at just the right temperature and acidity, add a living cell, and then poke a hole in that cell with a sterile needle, the contents will leak out. We will have in our test tube all of the molecules needed for life, in just the right proportions (relative to each other) and already assembled into complex specified DNAs, RNAs, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.
    [ But the parts won’t reassemble into a living cell by natural forces alone ].

    What prevents the parts from self-organizing into a living cell? And how do we know?

    I would say our general understanding of the 2nd law.
    Under the 2nd law DNA, RNA, proteins and so forth will degenerate and eventually disperse. IOW the content of the test tube will go in the opposite direction of the functional organization of the living cell – due to the 2nd law. Of all the micro- and macrostates possible in the test tube, those constituting a living cell are statistically improbable.

  353. 353
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Thermodynamics can be reformulated in information theory terms, in which “thermo bits” mean the same thing as “info bits.”

    No. “Two apples” are not the same as “two”.

    Box: I would say our general understanding of the 2nd law.

    Yet before you poke the needle, the contents stayed within the cell. That’s also consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

  354. 354
    Box says:

    Zachriel: Yet before you poke the needle, the contents stayed within the cell. That’s also consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    As per usual, irrelevant to the argument that I presented in #352.

  355. 355
    Zachriel says:

    Box: As per usual, irrelevant to the argument that I presented in #352.

    Of course it’s relevant. Both states are consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so it takes more than the 2nd law of thermodynamics to explain the difference.

    Box: But the parts won’t reassemble into a living cell by natural forces alone

    No, they won’t. But then again, no one says they should.

  356. 356
    Box says:

    Zachriel: Of course it’s relevant. Both states are consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so it takes more than the 2nd law of thermodynamics to explain the difference.

    How about the sterile needle that pokes a hole in the cell? I really don’t see any relevance of what you are saying.

    Box: But the parts won’t reassemble into a living cell by natural forces alone

    Zachriel: No, they won’t. But then again, no one says they should.

    So what? What is your point?

    – – –
    // UD moderators: allow me to suggest the deletion of this post and other posts relating to it – #355, #354 and #353 – they serve no other function than to distract and lower the level of discussion. //

  357. 357
    DNA_Jock says:

    // UD moderators: allow me to suggest the deletion of this post and other posts relating to it – #355, #354 and #353 – they serve no other function than to distract and lower the level of discussion. //

    What a strange suggestion. The topic of this thread is 2LoT, and the Myths that surround ID arguments, e.g.

    Myth #1: Abiogenesis skeptics believe that, in the history of life on Earth, there has actually been a violation of the 2nd Law.

    Therefore the fallaciousness of your general understanding of the 2LoT is very much on topic, however much you might want to disavow these statements:

    I gather that the second law – as a statistical law – cannot be overcome under materialism. However there is a spiritual realm which organizes matter – thereby overcoming the 2nd law. I hold that this is just what we see around us; as Granville Sewell and others pointed out many times.

    life violates the “extended” 2nd law

  358. 358
    Box says:

    DNA_Jock,

    where in #352 do I state that the 2nd law is violated? We all seem to agree – even Zachriel agrees #355 and even Curly Howard seems to agree (in #349 he proposes intervention by intelligent agents in order to repair things) – that Humpty Dumpty (see #348) cannot be put back together again; let alone by natural forces.
    Now my point is very simple: our agreement is based on our general understanding of the 2nd law (see #352).

    EA: Box, I agree there is something worthwhile in discussing the “underlying principle” or “underlying concept” behind the 2LoT, rather than just the thermal application. If this can be articulated in a way that is clearly understandable, I think it can be a fruitful area of discussion (Sewell has tried (most of his critics misunderstand what his larger point is), but I’m not sure it is quite there yet).

  359. 359
    Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: Of course it’s relevant. Both states are consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so it takes more than the 2nd law of thermodynamics to explain the difference.

    Box: How about the sterile needle that pokes a hole in the cell? I really don’t see any relevance of what you are saying.

    Without the hole, thermodynamics keeps the contents of the cell within its membrane. With the hole, thermodynamics spreads the contents into the test tube.

    Box: But the parts won’t reassemble into a living cell by natural forces alone

    Zachriel: No, they won’t. But then again, no one says they should.

    Box: So what? What is your point?

    It’s a strawman. Cells are posited to be the result of billions of years of evolution, not instantaneous assembly in a test tube.

  360. 360
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @355:

    Both states are consistent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so it takes more than the 2nd law of thermodynamics to explain the difference.

    This is a good observation, on both counts. We are kind of back to square one, but that is alright. So far so good. Now let us take the next step:

    Given that everything we observe in the universe is consistent with the 2LoT, can we take the position that the 2LoT is irrelevant for purposes of explaining the origin of certain systems? No. It does not follow.

    The 2LoT does not just exist and apply everywhere, it imposes certain restraints, drives in a certain direction, provides us an expected trajectory of events. Otherwise, it would be meaningless.

    So we can now ask the next logical question: When considering a particular state, are there certain conditions of the 2LoT that have to be dealt with or countered or taken into account in order to achieve that state? Abiogenesis researchers apparently think the answer to this question is “yes.”

    So we can keep pointing out that every state is consistent with the 2LoT, but it does not follow that the 2LoT does not impose constraints or that the 2LoT is irrelevant to determining how a particular state can — or in the case of origins, was — achieved.

    The International Space Station orbiting the Earth is consistent with the Law of Gravity. But we’d better believe the Law of Gravity imposed severe constraints on getting the ISS into orbit. We would never suggest (as some seem to do in the abiogenesis context) that no explanation of how the ISS got to its current location is needed because, hey, both states are consistent with the Law of Gravity.

  361. 361
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: The 2LoT does not just exist and apply everywhere, it imposes certain restraints, drives in a certain direction, provides us an expected trajectory of events.

    Sure. For instance, biological chemistry is driven by thermodynamic reactions, each step consuming energy to make transformations. You can think of life as swirls within swirls in the energy flow.

    Eric Anderson: We would never suggest (as some seem to do in the abiogenesis context) that no explanation of how the ISS got to its current location is needed because, hey, both states are consistent with the Law of Gravity.

    That’s right. The Law of Gravity is not an explanation of the ISS, and while we must consider the Law of Gravity to explain the ISS, it is not a “violation” of the Law of Gravity; it doesn’t require an “extension” of the Law of Gravity, nor does it represent a different “understanding” of the Law of Gravity; nor is it “overcoming” the Law of Gravity (though it does require overcoming the force of Earth’s gravity).

  362. 362
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    Box: How about the sterile needle that pokes a hole in the cell? I really don’t see any relevance of what you are saying.

    Zachriel: Without the hole, thermodynamics keeps the contents of the cell within its membrane. With the hole, thermodynamics spreads the contents into the test tube.

    What of it? What is your point?

    Zachriel: It’s a strawman.

    What is a strawman? I’m saying that we all agree that the cell won’t self-assemble based on our general understanding of the 2nd law. Where is the strawman? I can understand that you are worried about the consequences of this general understanding wrt OOL, however I have not yet provided such a follow-up argument.

    Zachriel: Cells are posited to be the result of billions of years of evolution, not instantaneous assembly in a test tube.

    Where in #352 do I state otherwise?

  363. 363
    Zachriel says:

    Box: I have not yet provided such a follow-up argument.

    We agree cells won’t reassemble from their bits and pieces. So what?

  364. 364
    Box says:

    Zachriel,

    let me fix that for ya:

    Zachriel:

    We agree cells won’t reassemble from their bits and pieces [ based on our general understanding of the 2nd law ].

  365. 365
    Zachriel says:

    Box: We agree cells won’t reassemble from their bits and pieces [ based on our general understanding of the 2nd law ].

    The contents of a cell with a hole in its membrane will spread through the test tube per thermodynamics.

    Without the hole, thermodynamics keeps the contents of the cell within its membrane (lipid bilayer).

    So?

  366. 366
    DNA_Jock says:

    DNA_Jock,

    where in #352 do I state that the 2nd law is violated?

    I never said you did. What you are doing, repeatedly, is adding extra hokum onto the 2LoT, such as “things tend to get more disordered”, and calling this your general understanding of the 2nd law, or the “Extended” 2nd law. You do claim that life violates this “extended” 2nd law. In reality, nothing violates the 2LoT, even design. Plenty of things violate your Creationist LoT (CLoT), all the time, without any ‘intelligent’ intervention. Because the CLoT is bunk.

    Now my point is very simple: our agreement is based on our general understanding of the 2nd law

    I am confident that any agreement you might have with Zachriel or Curly H is NOT based on your general understanding of the 2nd law. It’s probably just a coincidence; even a stopped clock is correct twice a day…

  367. 367
    Box says:

    Zachriel: The contents of a cell with a hole in its membrane will spread through the test tube per thermodynamics.

    IOW you agree with #364.

    Zachriel: Without the hole, thermodynamics keeps the contents of the cell within its membrane (lipid bilayer).

    Hold on, this doesn’t seem so obvious to me. First off, after the cell dies things will take the same course as initiated by the needle – again due to the 2nd law. But exactly for a lifetime those tendencies towards equilibrium are kept at bay.

    — more later —

  368. 368
    Piotr says:

    #342

    EA: The primary problem with your example, is that it doesn’t address any of the points at issue. Who is arguing that there isn’t enough “flux of entropy on Earth sufficient to allow for such a decrease”? Look back at myths #2 and #3. I’m happy to stipulate that there is sufficient “flux of entropy on Earth”. So what? It most certainly does not show “how life beats low probabilities.” It doesn’t show anything. It is an exercise in irrelevance.

    Eric, when a moderator takes part in the discussion, he should post his own comments like everyone else instead of defacing other people’s posts with boldface interpolations. You are wrong again. My example (or any other example of a living population evolving over many generations) shows how a population can “climb Mt. Improbable” without violating any statistically grounded principles (like the 2LOT or any variation on that theme). All probabitistic pro-ID arguments that I have ever seen (and don’t tell me that your reliance on them is a myth) try to impress people with big exponents and hyperastronomically low probabilities. But you know, probabilities are tricky. If you don’t know how to interpret them, your number games become exercises in irrelevance.

  369. 369
    scordova says:

    Some may have wondered why me (a creationist) has taken the side of the ID-haters with regards to the 2nd law. It is because I am concerned for the ability of college science students in the disciplines of physics, chemistry and engineering understanding the 2nd law. The calculations I’ve provided are textbook calculations as would be expected of these students.

    The fundamental problem is 2LOT is concerned with energy (or position/momentum) microstates, whereas IDists are concerened with “design space” microstates. The number of microstates can both be expressed in information bits, but it does not mean we are dealing with the same microstates. I’m providing sample calculations to prove the point that it is disastrous for IDists to invoke textbook 2LOT for the simple reason 2LOT is concerened with energy (or position/momentum) microstates which has little or nothing to do with “design space” microstates of interest to ID.

    I’m going through textbook thermodynamics here. If we have 500 fair copper pennies, how many “design space” microstates are there? Standard ID answer:

    2^500

    since there are 500 coins and each coin has 2 states, a system of 500 coins then has 2^500 possible symbolic configurational states or microstates. This can also be expressed in bits:

    I_design_space = – log2( 1/ (2^500) ) = 500 bits

    What is the design space entropy?

    I_design_space = S_design_space = 500 bits

    IN CONTRAST, how many thermodynamic energy microstates are there in this system of 500 pure copper pennies at standard “room” temperature (298 Kelvin). The textbook style calculation is as follows:

    Mass of a copper penny 3.11 grams.
    Molar weight of copper 65.546.
    Standard molar entropy of copper 33.2 J/K/mol.

    Thermodynamic entropy of 500 copper pennies is therefore:

    S_thermodynamic = 500 * 33.2 Jolues/Kelvin/Mol * 3.11 grams 65.546 grams/ mol = 826.68 J/K

    The thermodynamic entropy in J/K can be converted to bits by simply dividing by Boltzman’s constant and then converting the natural log measure to log-base-2 measure.

    Boltzmann’s constant is 1.381x 10-23 J/K).
    The natural log to log-base-2 conversion is ln(2) = .693147.

    Thermodyamic entropy in bits is computed as follows:

    S_thermodynamic = I_thermodynmic =826.86 J/K = 826.68 J/K / (1.381x 10^-23 J/K) / .693147 = 8.636 x 10^25 bits

    The number of thermodynamic microstates is simply taking 2 raised to the power of I_thermodynmic

    2^(8.636 x 10^25)

    which is a GIGANTIC number.

    Clearly the design space entropy is not the same as the thermodynamic entropy because the design space microstate is not the same as the thermodynamic microstate.

    Now let us heat the coins from room temperature to near boiling of water (373 Kelvin). What is the change in entropy or the number of microstates?

    At 373 Kelvin the “design space” entropy is still 500 bits since the possible number heads tails microstates does not change with this increase in temperature.

    However the thermodynamic entropy and thermodynamic microstates change. What is the change in entropy? Again using standard textbook thermodynamics.

    Specific heat of copper 0.39 J/gram
    Heat capcity C of 500 copper pennies:

    C = 0.39 J/gram/K * 500 pennies * 3.11 grams/penny/K = 606 J/K

    T_initial = 298 K
    T_final = 373 K

    To calculate the change in entropy I used the formulas from:
    http://web.mit.edu/16.unified/.....ode41.html

    delta-S_thermodynamic = C ln ( T_final/T_initial) = 606 J/K ln (373/298) = 136.13 J/K

    Total thermodynamic entropy is calculated as follows:

    S_thermodynamic_initial = 826.86 J/K

    S_thermodyanmic_final = S_thermodyanmic_initial + delta-S_thermodynamic = 826.86 J/K + 136.13 J/K = 963.0 J/K

    Again we can convert this to bits using procedures similar to the above conversions:

    S_thermodyanmic_final = 963.0 J/K = 963.0 J/K / (1.381x 10-23 J/K) / .693147 = 1.01 x 10^26 bits

    The ADDED number of microstates due to the increase in temperature is calculated as follows:

    delta-S_thermodynamic = 136.13 J/K = 136.13 J/K / (1.381x 10^-23 J/K) / .693147 = 1.42 x 10^25 bits

    Thus the number of thermodynamic microstates added by heating is simply found by rasing 2 to the power of delta-S_thermodynamic

    2^delta-S_thermodyanmic = 2^(1.42 x 10^25)

    Adding heat can be said to make the copper molecules bounce around more chaotically (disorderly if you will), and hence increase the thermodynamic entropy and microstates, but it says nothing of the change in design space entropy or microstates.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    Increasing heat increases the thermodynamic entropy and the individual copper molecules look more chaotic (disorderly if you will) because they are vibrating faster from the added heat, but it does nothing to change the design space entropy.

    At 298 Kelvin:

    Design Space Entropy: 500 bits
    number of Design Space microstates: 2^500

    Thermodyamic Entropy: 8.636 x 10^25 bits
    number Thermodynamic microstates: 2^(8.636 x 10^25)

    At 373 Kelvin by adding heat :
    Design Space Entropy: 500 bits
    number of Design Space microstates: 2^500
    change in Design Space entropy due to heat change : 0 bits
    change in number of Design Space microstate due to heat change: 0 microstates

    Thermodyamic Entropy: 1.01 x 10^26 bits
    number Thermodynamic microstates: 2^(1.01 x 10^26)
    change in thermodynamic entropy due to heat change : 1.42 x 10^25 bits
    change in number of thermodynamic microstates due to heat change: 2^(1.42 x 10^25) microstates

    Moral of the story: don’t use 2lot to argue for design space entropy change. Besides, as pointed out earlier, increasing design complexity usually entails increase of both design and thermodynamic entropy.

    Why all this obsession with reducing entropy to increase design complexity? I hope one can see it can be desirable to INCREASE entropy (both design and thermodynamic) in order to increase design complexity. A warm living complex human has more thermodynamic and design space entropy than a dead lifeless ice cube.

  370. 370
    scordova says:

    [Note: I’m a creationist, but I’m writing to discourage creationists from using 2nd Law arguments in favor of creation. There are many reasons to doubt evolution, but the 2nd Law isn’t one of them.]

    A warm living human has substantially more thermodynamic entropy than a lifeless ice cube. This can be demonstrated by taking the standard molar entropies of water and ice and estimating the entropy of water in a warm living human vs entropy of water in a lifeless ice cube.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_(data_page)

    Std Molar Entropy liquid water: 69.95 J/mol/K
    Std Molar Entropy ice: 41 J/mol/K

    A human has more liquid water, say 30 liters, than an ice cube (12 milliliters).

    Let S_humum be the entropy of a human, and S_ice_cube the entropy of an ice cube.

    Order of magnitude entropy numbers:

    S_human > 30 liters * 55.6 mol/liter * 69.95 J/K = 116,677 J/K

    S_ice_cube ~= 0.012 liters * 55.6 mol/liter * 41 J/K = 27 J/K approximately (ice is a little less dense than liquid water, but this is inconsequential for the question at hand).

    Thus warm living human has more entropy than a lifeless cube of ice.

    So why do creationists worry about entropy increasing in the universe as precluding evolution? Given that a warm living human has more entropy than an ice cube, then it would seem there are lots of cases where MORE entropy is beneficial.

    Ergo, the 2nd law does not preclude evolution. Other lines of reasoning should be used by ID proponents to criticize evolution, not the 2nd law.

  371. 371
    Box says:

    Scordova,

    Would you be so kind to comment on #352?

  372. 372
    scordova says:

    Scordova,

    Would you be so kind to comment on #352?

    I was trying to be kind by not commenting. 🙂

    Thank you for the Humpty Dumpty argument.

    You are welcome. 🙂

    It seems to me that the 2nd law is very relevant to this argument:

    If we place a small amount of sterile salt solution in a test tube at just the right temperature and acidity, add a living cell, and then poke a hole in that cell with a sterile needle, the contents will leak out. We will have in our test tube all of the molecules needed for life, in just the right proportions (relative to each other) and already assembled into complex specified DNAs, RNAs, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.
    [ But the parts won’t reassemble into a living cell by natural forces alone ].

    That’s what I disagree with. I’m trying to spare creationists and IDists from making such arguments in the future, it will lead to some embarrassing exchanges if your opponent has even cursory skills in calculating thermodynamic entropy or has understanding of statistical mechanics and information theory. I have some background in these areas since my formal training is in Engineering and Physics.

    What prevents the parts from self-organizing into a living cell? And how do we know?

    It is not the 2nd Law of thermodynamics, but rather the Law of Large Numbers. See:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

    After being in the ID movement for 10 years, and suffering through many debates, if someone were to ask me what is the most fundamental law upon which the ID case rests, I would have to say it is the law of large numbers (LLN). It is the law that tells us that a set of fair coins randomly shaken will converge on 50% heads and not 100% heads. It is the law that tells us systems will tend toward disorganization rather than organization. It is the law of math that makes the 2nd law of thermodynamics a law of physics. Few notions in math are accorded the status of law. We have the fundamental theorem of calculus, the fundamental theorem of algebra, and the fundamental theorem of arithmetic — but the law of large numbers is not just a theorem, it is promoted to the status of law, almost as if to emphasize its fundamental importance to reality.

    Well, that bit about “law of large numbers” being promoted to status of law is a tongue-in-cheek exaggeration, but the rest is accurate.

    To understand what the law of large numbers is, it requires understanding the notion of expected value or expectation value. Rather than giving the somewhat brutal mathematical formalism of expected value, let me give an illustration with coins. If we have large set of fair coins, there is an expectation that approximately 50% of the fair coins will be heads after a vigorous shaking or flipping of the coins (a random process). That is, the expected value for the proportion of heads is 50%.

    As we examine sets of coins that are very large (say 10,000 coins), the outcome will tend to converge so close to 50% heads so frequently that we can say from a practical standpoint, the proportion will be 50% or close to 50% with every shaking of the set. If we consider each coin in the set as a “trial”, the example illustrates the law of large numbers. Formally stated the law of large numbers says:

    the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the expected value, and will tend to become closer as more trials are performed.

    Law of Large Numbers

    With respect to OOL and Humpty Dumpty, the expected outcome is non-life, not life. Life emerging in those situations is a very severe violation of expectation (both theoretical and empirical) and if there is a severe enough violation of expectation, at some point one might call it a miracle. Personally, I would call it a miracle, and the miraculous emergence of life is a sufficient (but not necessary) evidence of ID. But more important to me personally, if life is a miracle, there must be a Miracle Maker. 😉

    One can crawl through the math, but the Humpty Dumpty illustration is a nice way to intuitively understand the difficulty in ordinary chemistry spontaneously creating life. I use the word “ordinary” since “natural” has philosophical and theological connotations.

    “Ordinary processes do not make life.” That statement should be beyond reproach scientifically. Whether that is a miracle or not, that is a theological or philosophical or whatever sort of question. I obviously have my opinions, but if I were in debate rather than debating ID vs. Naturalism, I’d debate ordinary vs. extra-ordinary since that frames the debate in terms of pure science and the law of large numbers.

    People can decide for themselves what the significance of such an extra-ordinary events like the emergence of life is.

  373. 373
    Box says:

    Scordova,

    Most of what you wrote appeals to me, however I find some comments puzzling.

    Box: But the parts won’t reassemble into a living cell by natural forces alone

    your reply:

    Scordova: That’s what I disagree with.

    and then you go on explaining that you in fact do agree with my statement (?):

    Scordova: With respect to OOL and Humpty Dumpty, the expected outcome is non-life, not life. Life emerging in those situations is a very severe violation of expectation (both theoretical and empirical) and if there is a violation of expectation, at some point one might call it a miracle.

    I gather that you don’t agree with the reason why the punctured cell won’t reassemble. According to you it’s not due to the second law, but due to the law of large numbers.
    On the other hand you also state that there is a close relationship:

    Scordova: It [LLN] is the law of math that makes the 2nd law of thermodynamics a law of physics.

  374. 374
    scordova says:

    Scordova: That’s what I disagree with.

    I was disagreeing with the use of the 2nd law, I’d agree naturalistic (or oridinary) forces would actually preclude the formation of life without a miracle.

    Sorry for the confusion! My apologies.

  375. 375
    scordova says:

    there is a close relationship

    Yes, absolutely.

    ID and the modern formulation of the 2nd law in terms of statistical mechanics depend on statistical principles (like the law of large numbers).

    However ID does not depend on the 2nd law, any more than the 2nd law depends on ID, they are sort of sister ways of viewing things statistically, their founding fathers are statistical concepts (which include the Law of Large Numbers).

    Trying to derive ID from the 2nd law is sort of like trying to get someone to give birth to their own full (not-half) sister. The concepts are related, but not in the way most creationists and IDists think.

  376. 376
    Box says:

    Scordova,

    Scordova: I was disagreeing with the use of the 2nd law, I’d agree naturalistic (or oridinary) forces would actually preclude the formation of life without a miracle.

    Thank you for clarifying.

    – – –
    On #375:
    To be clear: do you hold that naturalistic (or oridinary) forces would actually preclude the formation of life putting Humpty Dumpty back together again without a miracle because of the law of large numbers?

    [edit:] is it, in your opinion, not mandatory to point to a physical law?

  377. 377
    scordova says:

    do you hold that naturalistic (or oridinary) forces would actually preclude putting Humpty Dumpty back together again without a miracle because of the law of large numbers?

    Yes.

    To illustrate. Start out with 500 fair coins 100% heads in a big box. Shake the box. It will become 50% heads. No amount of further shaking will make it 100% heads again in this universe. Breaking Humpty Dumpty results in a similar problem. There is a certain irreversibility to the situation.

  378. 378
    Box says:

    Scordova: To illustrate. Start out with 500 fair coins 100% heads in a big box. Shake the box. It will become 50% heads. No amount of further shaking will make it 100% heads again in this universe. Breaking Humpty Dumpty results in a similar problem.

    I fully agree. And this is exactly what I was trying to say when I wrote in #352:

    Box: Of all the micro- and macrostates possible in the test tube, those constituting a living cell are statistically improbable.

    So I take it then that, in your opinion, it is not mandatory to point to a physical law?

  379. 379
    Piotr says:

    To illustrate. Start out with 500 fair coins 100% heads in a big box. Shake the box. It will become 50% heads. No amount of further shaking will make it 100% heads again in this universe. Breaking Humpty Dumpty results in a similar problem. There is a certain irreversibility to the situation.

    Now suppose there is a natural filter which separates heads from tails and sends the latter back to the box. You are likely to end up with all heads after about ten rounds of shaking followed by selection.

  380. 380
    scordova says:

    So I take it then that, in your opinion, it is not mandatory to point to a physical law?

    It could be stated as a law I suppose, but it would not be the 2nd law of thermodynamics. As far as I know, there hasn’t been any codified law for such things in science books. The closes thing is Pasteur’s law of biogenesis.

    Going back to the 500 fair coins, as pointed out, the number of design space microstates is 2^500, but these microstates are not the same as the thermodynamic microstates which number in the range of 2^(8.636 x 10^25) microstates (if the coins are pure copper pennies).

    One might ask, “how do we actually count the thermodynamic microstates?” Hehehe. Not so easily, and only by inference! The way this is done is brutally involved.

    The problem is we cannot apply the 2nd law to design space microstates, but we can apply the LLN to design space microstates.

    Example:
    A system of 500 fair coins 100% heads is circumstantial evidence of design, since the expectation is 50% heads not 100%, and 100% heads is both improbable and not do to chance processes that increase uncertainty in heads/tails configuration (chance processes like shaking or other mindless forms of flipping the coin). We circumstantially infer design based on the LLN.

    There is surely a physical law we could assert that is in play, but it just doesn’t have a name. Since the microstates in question (heads/tails) are design space microstates and not thermodynamic microstates, the 2nd law should not be used.

    Now, I should add, heating the coins makes the molecules more chaotic in their vibrations, in that sense adding heat adds “disorder” to the molecules themselves, but this doesn’t say much about whether the system of 500 coins will or will not evidence design.

    I could for example have a system of 500 fair coins outside in the cold and then when I bring them inside so I can arrange them, as they heat up, they get more thermodynamic entropy (and thus the molecules are more are “disordered”, and I use the term quite loosely) but nevertheless I organize the warmed coins into a design. This is an example where the molecules themselves could be more “disordered” even after the process of making a design.

    That’s why I said, one should consider that a warm living human being has more thermodynamic entropy (“disorder” if one really insists on using an inaccurate term) than a lifeless cube of ice.

    I don’t like the word “disorder” to describe thermodynamic entropy. It’s inaccurate, but it’s still in many textbooks, and the misnomer is because of a passing comment by Boltzmann which hasn’t been quite exorcised from physics, chemistry, and engineering.

    Hey, since we don’t have a name for the law of 500 fair coins converging on 50% heads, maybe we could give it a name, like “Matzke’s law” after this little affair:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ck-matzke/

  381. 381
    Zachriel says:

    Box: IOW you agree with #364.

    No, because you add the nebulous “general understanding”.

    Zachriel: Without the hole, thermodynamics keeps the contents of the cell within its membrane (lipid bilayer).

    Box: Hold on, this doesn’t seem so obvious to me.

    The physics of lipid bilayers can be complex, but the basic principle is that amphiphiles will spontaneously form a two-molecule wide membrane in water. The hydrophilic heads will face the outside of the membrane, while the hydrophobic tails will be inside the membrane.
    http://qph.is.quoracdn.net/mai....._webp=true

  382. 382
    Mung says:

    scordova:

    Some may have wondered why me (a creationist) has taken the side of the ID-haters with regards to the 2nd law.

    Not really. What we really want to know is why you can start your own threads over at TSZ but cannot originate your own threads here at UD. You used to be able to author threads here at UD, what changed?

    Did someone here at UD take away your ability to author threads here and if so, why?

    Or is your failure to start your own threads here voluntary? You claim you were persecuted here for your beliefs and ostracized. How so?

  383. 383
    Mung says:

    scordova:

    To illustrate. Start out with 500 fair coins 100% heads in a big box. Shake the box. It will become 50% heads. No amount of further shaking will make it 100% heads again in this universe.

    Calculate the probabilities for us Salvador.

    What is the probability that after vigorous shaking we will find exactly 250 coins heads and exactly 250 coins tails?

    No amount of further shaking will make it 100% heads again in this universe.

    That depends. There is still a probability that can be assigned to the distribution.

    The second law does not prohibit an all heads from appearing any more than the second law prohibits a configuration of 250 heads and 250 tails.

    Heisenberg knew this, but you apparently still don’t.

  384. 384
    Mung says:

    Mung: Thermodynamics can be reformulated in information theory terms, in which “thermo bits” mean the same thing as “info bits.”

    Zachriels: No. “Two apples” are not the same as “two”.

    And all of you are morons. But then all of you already knew that. If you all don’t understand the conversation then you all should just stay out of it.

    Who ever claimed that “two apples” is the same as “two.”

    You’re such a bunch of dullards Zachriels.

    The point is that if you want to count apples, and you want to count pears, and if you want to count dullards, and you find that there are two of each…

  385. 385
    Piotr says:

    Well, in about 95% of trials with a fair coin the number of heads will be between 228 and 272 (that is, 250 +/- 2 standard deviations).

    The probability of exactly 250 heads and 250 tails coming up is C(500,250)*2^(-500) = (500!/(250!)^2)*2^(-500) = 1.167443…e+149/3.273390…e+150 = 0.035878… . In plain English, you can expect exactly 250 heads more or less once per 30 trials.

    The probability of all heads is, of course, 1/3.273390…e+150 = 3.054936…e-149.

    Of course the tosses have to satisfy the condition that the probability distribution is uniform.

  386. 386
    DNA_Jock says:

    …and that the tosses are independent

  387. 387
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Who ever claimed that “two apples” is the same as “two.”

    M: Thermodynamics can be reformulated in information theory terms, in which “thermo bits” mean the same thing as “info bits.”

    We might have bits of information about the weather, or a horse race, or about Sally (did she or didn’t she?). Or we might just have plain ol’ bits. But that’s not thermodynamics, which refers to available microstates.

  388. 388
    Joe says:

    One more time- The 2LoT is irrelevant for the simple fact that our opponents don’t have anything anyway. They don’t have a model. they don’t have entailments and they don’t have any testable hypotheses. They can’t even say if their claims are feasible!

    Now if they ever come up with something tat will be the time to show how the 2LoT prevents it, if applicable. But right now they don’t have anything so just leave it at that, but keep reminding them with every post.

  389. 389
    scordova says:

    Box,

    I missed your question in #54 (btw thank you for the kind words):

    An increase in organization implies a decrease of statistical entropy, right?

    The answer depends on who you ask!!!!

    I will say “NO”. A warm living human being has more statistical entropy than a dead lifeless ice cube, if we argue the human being has more organization than the ice cube, then it is clear in that case more organization in being alive required more entropy, not less.

    In some cases one might want to have lower entropy to get more organization. Example: a living creature is raised way past the boiling point of water so that it dies. In this case too much entropy is deadly.

    It’s not a matter of having too much or too little entropy, but just the right amounts. 😉

  390. 390
    Mung says:

    scordova:

    [Note: I’m a creationist, but I’m writing to discourage creationists from using 2nd Law arguments in favor of creation. There are many reasons to doubt evolution, but the 2nd Law isn’t one of them.]

    You’re confused.

    You confuse arguments for creation with arguments against evolution.

    You’re also confused about 2nd Law arguments.

    I’m going to guess that this all harks back to your past. At some point you made a fool of yourself with a misguided “2nd Law” argument. Am I right?

    And so now you think it incumbent upon you to declare that “2nd Law” arguments ought to be avoided by creationists and ID proponents. Without being able to say why.

    Emotion is a poor substitute for reason.

  391. 391
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    We might have bits of information about the weather, or a horse race, or about Sally (did she or didn’t she?). Or we might just have plain ol’ bits. But that’s not thermodynamics, which refers to available microstates.

    So you agree that information is always ABOUT something?

    http://www.matheory.info/reviews.html

    Zachriel:

    Or we might just have plain ol’ bits.

    Don’t be stupids.

    Zachriel:

    But that’s not thermodynamics, which refers to available microstates.

    So?

    Are you claiming that available microstates cannot be expressed in information theory?

  392. 392
    Mung says:

    Salvador: A warm living human being has more statistical entropy than a dead lifeless ice cube,

    What is “statistical entropy” Sal?

    How does one calculate “statistical entropy” Sal?

    What does it even mean to say that an ice cube is dead and lifeless? Was the ice cube once alive?

  393. 393
    Mung says:

    Salvador:

    In some cases one might want to have lower entropy to get more organization. Example: a living creature is raised way past the boiling point of water so that it dies. In this case too much entropy is deadly.

    How does one obtain more organization by introducing less entropy Sal?

    Example: a living creature is raised way past the boiling point of water so that it dies. In this case too much entropy is deadly.

    Example: a living creature is lowered way past the freezing point of water so that it dies. In this case too little entropy is deadly.

    Right Sal?

    If it gets too hot, it becomes too disorganized.

    If it becomes too cold it becomes too organized.

    And the entropy is?

  394. 394
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Are you claiming that available microstates cannot be expressed in information theory?

    There is a parallel in statistical thermodynamics to information theory. ‘Thermo bits’, in this formulation, refers to the statistics of microstates, while ‘info bits’ refers to the statistics. Hence, when you say “Thermodynamics can be reformulated in information theory terms, in which ‘thermo bits’ mean the same thing as ‘info bits’,” you are drawing an equivalence between “two apples” and “two”. If that was not your intent, that’s fine. Just clarify your statement.

    Mung: If it gets too hot, it becomes too {disorganized disordered}. And the entropy is?

    Too high.

    Mung: If it becomes too cold it becomes too {organized ordered}. And the entropy is?

    Too low.

  395. 395
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Are you claiming that available microstates cannot be expressed in information theory?

    Try a simple example. What is the thermodynamic entropy of twenty copper pennies? Does it matter whether they are ‘organized’ all heads or random heads and tails?

  396. 396
    scordova says:

    What is the thermodynamic entropy of twenty copper pennies?

    C’mon Mung show some brain power, I did the calculation for 500 copper pennies, surely you can do it for a mere 20. How about 20 copper pennies at 359 Kelvin?

    Otherwise Zachriel will own you.

  397. 397
    Zachriel says:

    scordova: 359 Kelvin

    Room temperature would be fine. Extra credit for determining the difference due to holding the coins in your hands for a few moments.

  398. 398
    Eric Anderson says:

    Piotr @368:

    You are wrong again. My example (or any other example of a living population evolving over many generations) shows how a population can “climb Mt. Improbable” without violating any statistically grounded principles (like the 2LOT or any variation on that theme).

    Everyone knows that a population can proceed from A to B without violating the 2LOT. No-one is arguing that anything that actually exists violates the 2LOT. That is not the issue.

    The question is how did the population proceed from A to B? What mechanisms were involved? Are those mechanisms inherently thermodynamically favorable, or were the thermodynamic constraints dealt with and taken into account by those highly improbable arrangements of matter you dismiss and by the highly improbably coding instructions that materialists think just happen to have come into existence?

    Furthermore, as I said right in the OP, the interesting aspect of living organisms is not so much the thermal properties (although those are interesting and merit discussion), but the informational and organizational aspects.

    Nevertheless, the continued assertion by materialists (not necessarily you, but an extremely common assertion) that either (a) the 2LOT is irrelevant to biological systems, or (b) the 2LOT constraints don’t need to be looked at closely because “hey, Earth is an open system” (or similar phrasing) is pure nonsense. The thermodynamics of the system under study are an issue. OOL researchers acknowledge they are an issue. And they are an issue that has not yet found any explanation under the materialistic paradigm.

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