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Thread: Entropy and evolution controversy

  1. #1 Entropy and evolution controversy 
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    Recently several papers have been published related to entropy and evolution. According to Daniel F. Styer ("Entropy and evolution", Am. J. Phys 76, Nov 2008) and Emory F. Bunn ("Evolution and the second law of thermodynamics" Am. J. Phys 77, Oct 2009) entropy is decreasing due to evolution. Styer gives an estimate for the entropy change due to evolution, which is - 302 J/K per second. According to Styer and Bunn the decrease in entropy due to evolution is not in conflict with the 2nd law of thermodynamics because Earth is "constantly absorbing sunlight resulting in an enormous increase in entropy." Bunn writes: "...the rate of entropy increase due to the Earth's absorption of sunlight must be sufficient to account for the rate of entropy decrease required for the evolution of life (a negative quantity)."

    According to Annila et al. [See eg. Vivek Sharma and Arto Annila, "Natural process - Natural selection," Biophys. Chem. 127, 123-128 (2007) ; Ville Kaila and Arto Annila, "Natural selection for least action," Proc. R. Soc. A 464, 3055-3070 (2008); Salla Jaakkola, Sedeer El-Showk and Arto Annila, "The driving force behind genomic diversity," Biophys. Chem. 134, 232-238 (2008)] entropy is increasing during evolution. Annila et al. writes: "There is no need to explain the rise of orderly structures by invoking an exemption that entropy would decrease in a living system at the expense of its surroundings. Entropy is increasing in living systems as well by dispersal of energy." "The primitive chemical evolution took the direction dS=dt > 0, just as the sophisticated evolution does today." "It is possible to deduce the direction of evolution and ensuing overall distribution of the genomic entities by requiring that S will increase until dS/dt = 0." "The rate of entropy increase can be regarded as a universal fitness criterion of natural selection."

    So, we have peer-reviewed papers that are making totally opposite claims. According to Styer&Bunn entropy is decreasing (a negative change) due to evolution and according to Annila et al. entropy is increasing (a positive change) due to evolution. The negative change of entropy due to evolution is also an important part of the argument presented by Styer&Bunn, because they use the increase in entropy due to Earth's absorption of sunlight to legitimate the claim that there is no conflict between evolution and the 2nd law of thermodynamics. And for Annila et al. entropy increase is an important part of the argument: “...entropy increase can be regarded as a universal fitness criterion of natural selection”.

    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?


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    It's a question of scale: organisms create order at the expense of creating disorder. One paper is discussing genomes, while the other is discussing the biosphere - which is why your quotes seem, at first glance, to contradict each other.

    These two papers actually don't contradict each other and there is no controversy over entropy and the 2nd Law when it comes to evolution, although many creationists would like us to believe otherwise.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    It's a question of scale: organisms create order at the expense of creating disorder. One paper is discussing genomes, while the other is discussing the biosphere - which is why your quotes seem, at first glance, to contradict each other.

    These two papers actually don't contradict each other and there is no controversy over entropy and the 2nd Law when it comes to evolution, although many creationists would like us to believe otherwise.
    That's about it, yep. There's no conflict in the literature at this time and certainly no evidence that life violates the second law of thermodynamics.
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    And if it would violate the second law of thermodynamics than clearly the second law would be wrong. Considering the vast amount of data supporting evolution.

    duh.
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  6. #5  
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    Perhaps the 2nd law is true but not for evolving systems?

    Must say I'm delighted this is being considered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Perhaps the 2nd law is true but not for evolving systems?
    The second law is true but not always for open systems. It's hard to imagine how an evolving system could be closed without degenerating into chaos. So all evolving systems should locally decrease entropy.
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    Meanwhile in cosmology they're saying the universe must be a finite (closed) system because entropy must be increasing...

    because evolution doesn't exist in their universe model. :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Meanwhile in cosmology they're saying the universe must be a finite (closed) system because entropy must be increasing...

    because evolution doesn't exist in their universe model. :?
    Sure it does. It's just another example of localised entropy decrease. No more troubling than crystal formation. In the grand scheme of things, it's like a 10,000km long river that flows rapidly downhill, except for a 10 meter stretch where it is pumped up hill, with the resulting energy cost, whereupon it continues downhill.

    Life is a process which locally decreases entropy at the cost of increasing entropy in surrounding systems. For every cell, tissue and organ we build, we expend energy that cannot be recovered, ingest water which we transfer heat into, eat food of which most is reduced to a less material- and less energy-rich state. We dig up minerals and metals and stone, eroding the planet's surface more rapidly than wind and water ever could. We pile these things up into structures, perhaps hundreds of meters high which, in the grand scheme of things, exist for a cosmological second before collapsing into chaos. We pull ancient decayed organics from deep underground and burn them, reducing the available energy and releasing simpler molecules into the air. It is even conceivable that life slightly accelerates the increase of entropy in the universe, though that is speculation on my part.

    In short, we are not in defiance of entropy- we are agents of entropy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Meanwhile in cosmology they're saying the universe must be a finite (closed) system because entropy must be increasing...

    because evolution doesn't exist in their universe model. :?
    Sure it does.
    Um, no it doesn't. You yourself illustrated evolution insignificant "in the grand scheme of things". Find me a cosmological model where evolution is explicitly necessary, or accept that evolution simply does not exist in out models.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Meanwhile in cosmology they're saying the universe must be a finite (closed) system because entropy must be increasing...

    because evolution doesn't exist in their universe model. :?
    Sure it does.
    Um, no it doesn't. You yourself illustrated evolution insignificant "in the grand scheme of things". Find me a cosmological model where evolution is explicitly necessary, or accept that evolution simply does not exist in out models.
    Sorry, I took your comment to mean that cosmologists/physicists simply haven't considered life and evolution with respect to their impact on the second law. My point was simply that they're well aware of it and see nothing to be concerned about. It's clearly not an element of the models cosmologists use. Whether it ever needs to be built into such large scale models depends on what we learn about the extent and nature of life in the universe. Obviously, if it were restricted to Earth alone, it's hard to imagine the need to do so. Even if it's an element of most planetary systems, it's probably not a significant factor.

    But what did you think about the rest of my post? That more sort of addresses your question about life being some sort of exception.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    But what did you think about the rest of my post? That more sort of addresses your question about life being some sort of exception.
    Thanks. You mentioned space and time. Life redistributes entropy in space - less over here for more over there. So if life exists in one place, surrounded by a dead universe, then it must make its dead surroundings more entropic. In time, you say, life exists for just a cosmological second.

    I think those fates make perfect sense if the universe is bounded in space and finite in duration... a container bracketed by Big Bang and Big Crunch. And those brackets make perfect complimentary sense if the universe is effectively dead and therefore growing entropic: Bang caused gradients, Crunch heralds final entropy; evolution has nothing to do with it. You see the circle?

    You can tell I'm biased against finite models. Topical to mention that the author of Big Bang (that replaced Steady State) was Catholic priest openly supportive of Unique Earth and Intelligent Design. Metaphysical stalemate?



    How could I forget the magnitude of things? I mean the difference between an artery and a highway. Evolution is also emergent in that direction. What does the 2nd law say about emergence?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    I think the standard way to look at it is that life uses energy from the sun to drive reproduction, which is essential to evolution, and therefore light energy drives the increase in complexity.

    Another idea I've come across is that natural selection is actually driven by thermodynamics (rather than simply compatible with it). In this scenario the organisms that die increase the entropy of the system, thus allowing the others to increase in complexity. However I find this explanation not that satisfying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    I think the standard way to look at it is that life uses energy from the sun to drive reproduction, which is essential to evolution, and therefore light energy drives the increase in complexity.

    Another idea I've come across is that natural selection is actually driven by thermodynamics (rather than simply compatible with it). In this scenario the animal that die increase the entropy of the system, thus allowing the others to increase in complexity. However I find this explanation not that satisfying.
    That's an idea that I feel (and I stress feel rather than know) makes sense. I'd suggest that perhaps the increase in complexity (and thus evolution and life) may be driven by thermodynamics if that complexity actually ultimately represents a quicker path to entropy. Life would thus be the path of least resistance, or maybe simply a path with greater reward, within some contexts. An optimal path to entropy in lower energy systems such as the surface of planets.
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    it only makes sense if you postulate that the system strives for higher efficiency, and that could be also a creationist statement, since it could be interpreted as a goal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    it only makes sense if you postulate that the system strives for higher efficiency, and that could be also a creationist statement, since it could be interpreted as a goal.
    Granted, the "reward" argument suggests teleology, which is not what I was suggesting. The "path of least resistance" doesn't though. It'd be no more teleological than water eroding a complex path through softer stone or electricity taking the shortest route to ground.
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    Can goals be retroactive?
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    it only makes sense if you postulate that the system strives for higher efficiency, and that could be also a creationist statement, since it could be interpreted as a goal.
    But an increase in entropy is not the same thing as an increase in efficiency. Increase in entropy just means that the probabilities for each state (determined by an objects position and momentum) become more equal, which is expected not by teleology but by statistics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    it only makes sense if you postulate that the system strives for higher efficiency, and that could be also a creationist statement, since it could be interpreted as a goal.
    But an increase in entropy is not the same thing as an increase in efficiency. Increase in entropy just means that the probabilities for each state (determined by an objects position and momentum) become more equal, which is expected not by teleology but by statistics.
    It seems to me that those who argue the counterpoint to the entropy and life argument miss the point entirely, and is seems entirely intentional on metaphysical grounds. Certainly those who wrote these these two articles did. When I read a well articulated argument against origin of life and evolution driven by random chance and selection based on "entropy" it is from the theoretical root of entropy, namely the probability states as opposed to the thermodynamic application of entropy with respect to energy availability as these two articles and the majority of this thread has discussed. Probability based on random distribution dictates a trend to even energy distribution, but the same concept applies to order in all forms, including order of molecular structures.

    As such, a more relevant question would be, can highly ordered energy states (radiant energy from the sun) provide sufficient probabilistic resources to generate highly ordered molecular states? This question was not addressed by these articles and has not been discussed in this thread.

    On this particular point about the relationship between efficiency and entropy (probability states), there is also more than meets the eye. Random chance and deterministic systems don't seem to direct processes toward high efficiency exchanges where entropy changes very little, whereas designed systems often do involve high efficiency. It would be interesting to see an example where non-teleological process involve and isoenthalpic process. Does anyone have such an example?
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    The entropy v. evolution argument is based entirely on misunderstandings of thermodynamics and requires one to willfully ignore the obvious. The development of sperm and egg to zygote and then to fully grown adult would also be a gross violation of the 2nd Law if you followed the logic of this argument through. The development of a single cell to a large complex organism is not a violation of thermodynamics and neither is evolution (for the exact same reasons). Since we do exist and understand the energetics of the process, then there are only two possible solutions: the entropy-evolution/life argument is flawed or there is something seriously wrong with the 2nd Law. That life and evolution are impossible is not a valid conclusion to reach, since our own existence rules out that line of reasoning. You can't distinguish between genome evolution and organismal development - if the former violates the 2nd Law, then so does the latter.

    This confusion arises because physicists like to talk about idealised scenarios where you have closed systems inhabited by spherical cows. The biological world is quite different.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    ...can highly ordered energy states (radiant energy from the sun) provide sufficient probabilistic resources to generate highly ordered molecular states?
    Photosynthesis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    As such, a more relevant question would be, can highly ordered energy states (radiant energy from the sun) provide sufficient probabilistic resources to generate highly ordered molecular states?
    Happens a million times a year, in every snowstorm.
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Random chance and deterministic systems don't seem to direct processes toward high efficiency exchanges where entropy changes very little
    Hence the importance and difficulty of the problem solved by Darwinian evolutionary theory, and its central place in biological theory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    As such, a more relevant question would be, can highly ordered energy states (radiant energy from the sun) provide sufficient probabilistic resources to generate highly ordered molecular states?
    Happens a million times a year, in every snowstorm.
    That's not a serious argument ice. The probability of ice molecules ordering themselves in any other way is near zero. Very few probabilistic resources are required to generate a snowflake. I suppose it is my mistake for assuming you would address biological molecules and the near endless distinct permutations they take on.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Random chance and deterministic systems don't seem to direct processes toward high efficiency exchanges where entropy changes very little
    Hence the importance and difficulty of the problem solved by Darwinian evolutionary theory, and its central place in biological theory.
    Yet it is not solved if you can't provide an example. Science is nothing more that metaphysics if we simply proclaim it true without confirmation as you have just done. Science requires repeated confirmation by testing predictions. A clever theory does not solve a problem if it can't confirm the prediction. Where is the confirming example?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    The entropy v. evolution argument is based entirely on misunderstandings of thermodynamics and requires one to willfully ignore the obvious. The development of sperm and egg to zygote and then to fully grown adult would also be a gross violation of the 2nd Law if you followed the logic of this argument through. The development of a single cell to a large complex organism is not a violation of thermodynamics and neither is evolution (for the exact same reasons).
    No, this is not the problem at all. The argument does not take on this form and does not make this mistake. To claim that it does is the most popular red herring cast against it.

    Since we do exist and understand the energetics of the process, then there are only two possible solutions: the entropy-evolution/life argument is flawed or there is something seriously wrong with the 2nd Law.
    Nonsense, there are other possibilities. The closed system generally being argued is a system of only inanimate components. The argument is that transitioning from inanimate to animate in such a closed system would violate the principles of entropy unless other resources were added. The resource they most often argue for is teleological (aliens, god, etc). Likewise they make the same argument for evolution in the absence of additional resources that would overcome the scarcity of probabilistic resources required to generate evolutionary change. Don't misunderstand me. I am not arguing they are correct, I am simply describing the argument more accurately.

    That life and evolution are impossible is not a valid conclusion to reach, since our own existence rules out that line of reasoning.
    Agreed, that is a second red herring argument. Careful analysis of the point being made, whatever flaws it may have, reveals that this is not one of them.


    This confusion arises because physicists like to talk about idealised scenarios where you have closed systems inhabited by spherical cows. The biological world is quite different.
    No, this is simply incorrect. The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    ...can highly ordered energy states (radiant energy from the sun) provide sufficient probabilistic resources to generate highly ordered molecular states?
    Photosynthesis.
    Photosynthesis provides the energy to cause previously generated ordered molecules to switch from one of its predetermined states to another but that process has not been shown to have provided the resources required to generate either the molecules or the process. The molecules were of course generated by the process of creating protein from genetic instructions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    No, this is simply incorrect. The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument.
    Wait a second, are you suggesting we should entertain non-materialistic explanations?

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Photosynthesis provides the energy to cause previously generated ordered molecules to switch from one of its predetermined states to another but that process has not been shown to have provided the resources required to generate either the molecules or the process.
    How was the new state "pre-determined", aside from by the laws of physics and chemistry?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    No, this is simply incorrect. The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument.
    Wait a second, are you suggesting we should entertain non-materialistic explanations?
    Not at all. I am suggesting you should stop switching up the argument and making it into something it is not. Rather than creating straw man arguments about closed systems and energy availability, demonstrate how material processes do provide the probabilistic resources demanded by principles of entropy.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Photosynthesis provides the energy to cause previously generated ordered molecules to switch from one of its predetermined states to another but that process has not been shown to have provided the resources required to generate either the molecules or the process.
    How was the new state "pre-determined", aside from by the laws of physics and chemistry?
    Relevance? I don't see how chemic behavior of a now existing molecule informs us of where the probabilistic resources originated that would be required to generate it in the beginning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    No, this is simply incorrect. The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument.
    Wait a second, are you suggesting we should entertain non-materialistic explanations?
    Not at all.
    Then why attribute this characteristic specifically to those who have a prior commitment to materialism?

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I am suggesting you should stop switching up the argument and making it into something it is not. Rather than creating straw man arguments about closed systems and energy availability, demonstrate how material processes do provide the probabilistic resources demanded by principles of entropy.
    When did I switch the argument? The OP asked if evolution violates the 2nd Law. On topic we variously stated that we see no evidence that it does. The OP never came back, so we started a little off-topic but related speculation. If you want to go back on-topic, then the question is whether evolution violates the 2nd Law, not whether material processes can account for some observed phenomena.

    What is your view on the OP's question?
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    The argument takes many forms, cypress, and its basic underlying principles can, and are, applied in other ways that you are simply ignorant of. You are referring to the "entropy and origin of life" argument. There is also the argument that evolution itself can not happen at all due to the 2nd Law - this is what the original poster is talking about, it's what many creationists talk about. Read the thread.

    Life is not a closed system, so your arguments fall at the first step. That is not the argument at all. As I said: spherical cows and closed systems.

    The 2nd Law allows evolution. It's a local phenomenon. There is no violation. It's thermodynamics in action.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    The argument takes many forms, cypress, and its basic underlying principles can, and are, applied in other ways that you are simply ignorant of. You are referring to the "entropy and origin of life" argument. There is also the argument that evolution itself can not happen at all due to the 2nd Law - this is what the original poster is talking about, it's what many creationists talk about. Read the thread.
    I did and I disagree. Those who provide thoughtful arguments along this line do not form the argument the way your describe. I see that you being the first to respond, alluded to the source of the controversy.

    Life is not a closed system, so your arguments fall at the first step. That is not the argument at all. As I said: spherical cows and closed systems.

    The 2nd Law allows evolution. It's a local phenomenon. There is no violation. It's thermodynamics in action.
    There you go building the straw man once again. At least you are consistent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    The probability of ice molecules ordering themselves in any other way is near zero
    oh baloney. You wanted a highly ordered, complex state generated by solar energy - I handed you a billion snowflakes, all different, and you tell me the odds on a given snowflake being the shape it is are near unity? Please. They are billions to 1 against.
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I suppose it is my mistake for assuming you would address biological molecules and the near endless distinct permutations they take on.
    Why get complicated, when simple counterexamples are ready to hand?
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    A clever theory does not solve a problem if it can't confirm the prediction.
    No theory confirms predictions. Hypotheses generate predictions, which if confirmed by event eventually raise the hypothesis to the level of a theory- in the case of Darwinian evolution, thousands of times over in widely varied and disconnected arenas, with no counterexamples as yet, a very successful theory.

    For example, it survived the discovery of the mechanism of inheritance - which ware shown to have exactly the properties necessary to evolve as Darwinian theory required (digital, exclusionary, isolated from the environment, etc).

    Widely applicable, even far beyond the bounds of biology, Darwinian evolutionary theory is a fundamental advance in the ability of humans to analyze event and describe the world - and create order themselves, very complex, from simple antecedents and an energy input.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    The probability of ice molecules ordering themselves in any other way is near zero
    oh baloney. You wanted a highly ordered, complex state generated by solar energy - I handed you a billion snowflakes, all different, and you tell me the odds on a given snowflake being the shape it is are near unity? Please. They are billions to 1 against.
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I suppose it is my mistake for assuming you would address biological molecules and the near endless distinct permutations they take on.
    Why get complicated, when simple counterexamples are ready to hand?
    Because your simple example is a straw man entirely different from the context. Ice crystals form by deterministic chemic processes and in the process increase entropy as they form. They are in no way an example of what I was speaking of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    No, this is simply incorrect. The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument.
    Wait a second, are you suggesting we should entertain non-materialistic explanations?
    Not at all.
    Then why attribute this characteristic specifically to those who have a prior commitment to materialism?
    It is my observation that those who have a prior commitment to materialism make these arguments.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I am suggesting you should stop switching up the argument and making it into something it is not. Rather than creating straw man arguments about closed systems and energy availability, demonstrate how material processes do provide the probabilistic resources demanded by principles of entropy.
    When did I switch the argument?
    I used the term "you" as in the "group of you" to be consistent with your use of the word "we".

    The OP asked if evolution violates the 2nd Law. On topic we variously stated that we see no evidence that it does. The OP never came back, so we started a little off-topic but related speculation. If you want to go back on-topic, then the question is whether evolution violates the 2nd Law, not whether material processes can account for some observed phenomena.

    What is your view on the OP's question?
    I don't find it interesting, but I do find the topic from which this is based interesting and that is why I wanted to protray it accurately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Ice crystals form by deterministic chemic processes and in the process increase entropy as they form. They are in no way an example of what I was speaking of.
    They are exactly what you spoke of.
    highly ordered energy states (radiant energy from the sun) provide sufficient probabilistic resources to generate highly ordered molecular states?
    If you intended to speak of something else, feel free to respeak differently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Because your simple example is a straw man entirely different from the context. Ice crystals form by deterministic chemic processes and in the process increase entropy as they form. They are in no way an example of what I was speaking of.
    What does determinism have to do with it? Labelling a process as deterministic does not exempt it from thermodynamic laws. Life forms by a process which increases entropy, so aside from your weird requirement for a probabilistic example, iceaura's example is not at all "entirely different".

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Then why attribute this characteristic specifically to those who have a prior commitment to materialism?
    It is my observation that those who have a prior commitment to materialism make these arguments.
    So, scientists? Scientists, and scientists alone, are confused about entropy, the second law and life? Scientists alone are unwilling to engage with the argument? I'm just trying to figure out what you're actually saying here with this materialism comment.
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    assume these 2 premises :

    1. the 2nd law of thermodynamics is true, i.e. the overall tendency of a closed system is for entropy to increase
    2. evolution is true - organisms change into other organisms over time

    if these 2 premises are assumed to be true, then any perceived contradiction between the two is just that: a perception, and a false one at that, of the person attempting to reconcile entropy and evolution
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Because your simple example is a straw man entirely different from the context. Ice crystals form by deterministic chemic processes and in the process increase entropy as they form. They are in no way an example of what I was speaking of.
    What does determinism have to do with it? Labelling a process as deterministic does not exempt it from thermodynamic laws. Life forms by a process which increases entropy, so aside from your weird requirement for a probabilistic example, iceaura's example is not at all "entirely different".
    Seems quite clear to me that both you and iceaura don't understand the formulation and principles of entropy.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Then why attribute this characteristic specifically to those who have a prior commitment to materialism?
    It is my observation that those who have a prior commitment to materialism make these arguments.
    So, scientists? Scientists, and scientists alone, are confused about entropy, the second law and life?
    I don't recall claiming they were confused.

    Scientists alone are unwilling to engage with the argument? I'm just trying to figure out what you're actually saying here with this materialism comment.
    Why is this so difficult for you? I observe that people who have a prior commitment to materialism often make straw man arguments against the claim that life from non-life and presumed evolutionary processes appear to require outside interference to overcome the principles of entropy as applied to ordered systems including encoded processes. The argument against this that relies on the sun for example would be to demonstrate that energy from the sun or some other material source is sufficient to create the ordered systems observed in biology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    assume these 2 premises :

    1. the 2nd law of thermodynamics is true, i.e. the overall tendency of a closed system is for entropy to increase
    2. evolution is true - organisms change into other organisms over time

    if these 2 premises are assumed to be true, then any perceived contradiction between the two is just that: a perception, and a false one at that, of the person attempting to reconcile entropy and evolution
    It is either a false perception, or you have neglected one or more important additional conditions or one of your assumed premises is false. Perhaps this is the reason that those with a prior commitment to materialism have difficulty engaging this argument without constructing a straw man. Perhaps they assume that these two premises are true and they assume that there are no other factors to consider.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    assume these 2 premises :

    1. the 2nd law of thermodynamics is true, i.e. the overall tendency of a closed system is for entropy to increase
    2. evolution is true - organisms change into other organisms over time

    if these 2 premises are assumed to be true, then any perceived contradiction between the two is just that: a perception, and a false one at that, of the person attempting to reconcile entropy and evolution
    To me, the error would be in "closed system". Is the Universe really a closed system? How one answers that depends on one's concept of infinity. Does infinity mean "everything in a container" or does it mean "boundless"?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    assume these 2 premises :

    1. the 2nd law of thermodynamics is true, i.e. the overall tendency of a closed system is for entropy to increase
    2. evolution is true - organisms change into other organisms over time

    if these 2 premises are assumed to be true, then any perceived contradiction between the two is just that: a perception, and a false one at that, of the person attempting to reconcile entropy and evolution
    To me, the error would be in "closed system". Is the Universe really a closed system? How one answers that depends on one's concept of infinity. Does infinity mean "everything in a container" or does it mean "boundless"?
    Actually the 2nd law does not refer to a "closed" system, where no there is no matter exchange, but an "isolated" system, where there is no matter or energy exchange.

    Cypress, I do not think people are presenting a straw man, I think it is consistent with what most creationists believe. Now it may be a straw man for you. Are you saying that outside energy is not sufficient for evolution?

    Let's explore another possibility, evolution works by eliminating the weak, these are the ones that are two simple to survive in a certain condition. This allows the fitter to leave offspring. Hence there is only enough energy for the fittest, hence natural selection guarantees there is enough resources for more complex lifeforms (due to the reduction in numbers of less fit individuals). Unless there is not enough even for them, and they go extinct.

    And to probability, when two isolated (or almost isolated in this case) systems come into contact, they tend to go to equal probability. Let's consider the sun, gravity is a good example of something that decreases entropy (and is independent and in many ways contradictory to thermodynamics in that no increase in entropy is needed). As gravity pulls together a nebula, it begins to form our sun, with very low entropy. At this point it is closed. As fusion begins to occur entropy begins to be gained and thrown off as energy (since probability also applies to the energy of the particles) and reaches the earth where it lowers the entropy. As time, if we view the sun and the earth as one isolated system, the earth will decrease in entropy and the sun will increase in entropy. As this happens the probabilities of particles being in the same state will be closer and closer to equal. Energy transfer is based on the probabilistic theory of thermodynamics (its just a simplification for chemists and biologists). Thermodynamics is basically diffusion of matter and diffusion of energy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Because your simple example is a straw man entirely different from the context. Ice crystals form by deterministic chemic processes and in the process increase entropy as they form. They are in no way an example of what I was speaking of.
    What does determinism have to do with it? Labelling a process as deterministic does not exempt it from thermodynamic laws. Life forms by a process which increases entropy, so aside from your weird requirement for a probabilistic example, iceaura's example is not at all "entirely different".
    Seems quite clear to me that both you and iceaura don't understand the formulation and principles of entropy.
    Quite possibly true, and I'll make no claim to understand thermodynamics well. But this doesn't answer my question. You haven't properly explained how evolution as a set of reactions is sufficiently different from ice crystal formation for that simpler example to serve as an analogy. If I am missing something obvious, perhaps try to explain it rather than being dismissive.

    Incidentally, an analogy that is false by misapprehension is not a "straw man" argument. You'd be better off explaining the misapprehension, if there is one, rather than crying fallacy at every turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Then why attribute this characteristic specifically to those who have a prior commitment to materialism?
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is my observation that those who have a prior commitment to materialism make these arguments.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    So, scientists? Scientists, and scientists alone, are confused about entropy, the second law and life?
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I don't recall claiming they were confused.
    I do. You said:

    "The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument."


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Scientists alone are unwilling to engage with the argument? I'm just trying to figure out what you're actually saying here with this materialism comment.
    Why is this so difficult for you? I observe that people who have a prior commitment to materialism often make straw man arguments against the claim that life from non-life and presumed evolutionary processes appear to require outside interference to overcome the principles of entropy as applied to ordered systems including encoded processes. The argument against this that relies on the sun for example would be to demonstrate that energy from the sun or some other material source is sufficient to create the ordered systems observed in biology.
    Honestly I think it is you who is misrepresenting both creationist arguments and the scientific rebuttals. Creationists, generally speaking, are not taking the nuanced approach that you are. "Materialists", in response, are not making straw man arguments and certainly have no need to do so.

    Many creationists make the claim that evolution specifically is prohibited by the second law, mostly stemming from arguments made by Henry Morris over 30 years ago. His main argument is naieve, as I am sure you will agree, but it is presented rather unmodified by a great many creationists even today. It runs rather simply that evolution (which to them typically means abiogenesis plus evolution) and entropy are in some manner contradictory and that further, the second should thus entirely prohibit the first unless there is intelligent interference.

    In rebuttal, we're not making the positive argument that energy from the sun is sufficient to whatever. Our argument is far simpler than that. First, that the second law does not prohibit localised increases in complexity. Second, that the Earth is not an isolated system. The sun is brought in to illustrate that second point. It is not necessary to then show that this energy input can perform some task, because once again we are not making that argument. We are merely pointing out the flaws in the usual creationist argument. If you have a more advanced argument for us, preferably a proposition rather than yet another "x cannot y" claim, then please post it. You certainly made reference to such an argument, but you didn't link us to it or make the argument in much detail. Instead you simply told us that we haven't shown some phenomenon and then asked us to show it. Being honest, I'm not actually sure what it is you're asking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Let's explore another possibility, evolution works by eliminating the weak, these are the ones that are two simple to survive in a certain condition. This allows the fitter to leave offspring. Hence there is only enough energy for the fittest, hence natural selection guarantees there is enough resources for more complex lifeforms (due to the reduction in numbers of less fit individuals). Unless there is not enough even for them, and they go extinct
    I'd modify that slightly- selection may allow for an increase in complexity but alternatively the solution that survives may be the simpler one. It doesn't really negate your main point but is an important consideration.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian

    Actually the 2nd law does not refer to a "closed" system, where no there is no matter exchange, but an "isolated" system, where there is no matter or energy exchange.

    Cypress, I do not think people are presenting a straw man, I think it is consistent with what most creationists believe. Now it may be a straw man for you. Are you saying that outside energy is not sufficient for evolution?
    No, the argument properly formulated is not about available engergy (in thermodynamics the most common form of entropy is a measure of energy available to accomplish some process). The argument is cast in the general, considering all forms of order. Entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder and the law states that closed systems cannot increase order from disorder.

    Let's explore another possibility, evolution works by eliminating the weak, these are the ones that are two simple to survive in a certain condition. This allows the fitter to leave offspring. Hence there is only enough energy for the fittest, hence natural selection guarantees there is enough resources for more complex lifeforms (due to the reduction in numbers of less fit individuals). Unless there is not enough even for them, and they go extinct.
    relevance?

    And to probability, when two isolated (or almost isolated in this case) systems come into contact, they tend to go to equal probability. Let's consider the sun, gravity is a good example of something that decreases entropy (and is independent and in many ways contradictory to thermodynamics in that no increase in entropy is needed). As gravity pulls together a nebula, it begins to form our sun, with very low entropy. At this point it is closed. As fusion begins to occur entropy begins to be gained and thrown off as energy (since probability also applies to the energy of the particles)
    If you put your description in equation form and did an entropy balance you would see that gravity does not decrease entropy in a closed/isolated system.

    and reaches the earth where it lowers the entropy. As time, if we view the sun and the earth as one isolated system, the earth will decrease in entropy and the sun will increase in entropy. As this happens the probabilities of particles being in the same state will be closer and closer to equal. Energy transfer is based on the probabilistic theory of thermodynamics (its just a simplification for chemists and biologists). Thermodynamics is basically diffusion of matter and diffusion of energy.
    Once again you are now only considering energy availability in your measure of entropy(energy availability or energy distribution is one measure of order). Biological systems are made up of very highly ordered molecules with multiple layers of higher degrees of order required to function in concert. This order is not dictated by physical properties. At every level there a multitudes of other combinations possible. At the DNA level there are over 10^1000 possibilities. Entropy is a measure of probability and permutations. Laws of entropy requires that this order be substituted with equal amounts of disordering occurring in concert so that the law of entropy is not violated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista

    Quite possibly true, and I'll make no claim to understand thermodynamics well. But this doesn't answer my question. You haven't properly explained how evolution as a set of reactions is sufficiently different from ice crystal formation for that simpler example to serve as an analogy. If I am missing something obvious, perhaps try to explain it rather than being dismissive.
    OK, fair point. Crystalline structures form by deterministic properties of the molecules and the physical laws. Since there are very few permutations to the molecular level configurations, the formation in a closed system with only those molecules would take on one form, and there would be no change in entropy. In an isolated system of mixed molecules more permutations are possible so snowflakes take on many interesting shapes. to test iceaura's claim we could take a single flake and the air around it and repeatably thaw and refreeze it. If iceaura is correct, each time we do this a more complex and more structured flake would form. However, in reality the flake would become more and more numerous smaller and less elaborate flakes until they simply form numerous small chunks of ice all the while disorder increases.

    Then consider the difference though between forming a crystal with very few or even one permutations and a functional protein with 10^300 permutations in terms of entropy is astronomical.

    Incidentally, an analogy that is false by misapprehension is not a "straw man" argument. You'd be better off explaining the misapprehension, if there is one, rather than crying fallacy at every turn.
    OK I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Then why attribute this characteristic specifically to those who have a prior commitment to materialism?
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is my observation that those who have a prior commitment to materialism make these arguments.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    So, scientists? Scientists, and scientists alone, are confused about entropy, the second law and life?
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I don't recall claiming they were confused.
    I do. You said:

    "The confusion seems entirely limited to those who have a prior commitment to materialism and seem unwilling to engage the actual argument."
    I believe that is a metaphorical statement which means that they intend to confuse the argument by unwillingness to address the actual point. But by all means take your victory if you wish.


    Honestly I think it is you who is misrepresenting both creationist arguments and the scientific rebuttals. Creationists, generally speaking, are not taking the nuanced approach that you are. "Materialists", in response, are not making straw man arguments and certainly have no need to do so.
    Nonsense. While it may be that some people make incorrect arguments addressing only energy availability, the articles I have read on this topic address entropy in its general form. More sophisticated arguments extend the concept to cosmological information.. the most interesting discuss it in quantum terms relative to black holes. My approach is simplistic in that sense.

    Many creationists make the claim that evolution specifically is prohibited by the second law, mostly stemming from arguments made by Henry Morris over 30 years ago. His main argument is naieve, as I am sure you will agree, but it is presented rather unmodified by a great many creationists even today. It runs rather simply that evolution (which to them typically means abiogenesis plus evolution) and entropy are in some manner contradictory and that further, the second should thus entirely prohibit the first unless there is intelligent interference.

    In rebuttal, we're not making the positive argument that energy from the sun is sufficient to whatever. Our argument is far simpler than that. First, that the second law does not prohibit localised increases in complexity. Second, that the Earth is not an isolated system. The sun is brought in to illustrate that second point. It is not necessary to then show that this energy input can perform some task, because once again we are not making that argument. We are merely pointing out the flaws in the usual creationist argument.
    I understood this from the beginning and I find both the claim and the rebuttal uninteresting.

    If you have a more advanced argument for us, preferably a proposition rather than yet another "x cannot y" claim, then please post it. You certainly made reference to such an argument, but you didn't link us to it or make the argument in much detail. Instead you simply told us that we haven't shown some phenomenon and then asked us to show it. Being honest, I'm not actually sure what it is you're asking for.
    If not for past history on this site, I might. My experience is that detailed arguments against materialistic prior commitments get labeled unscientific. Since I am interested in discussing science, I am forced to couch my arguments as you describe. I am actually open to and favor material explanations but at the same time I recognize where materialism has severe weaknesses and I am not unwilling to discuss them on a fair and level playing field. My experience is that this site is unwilling. So I will continue to point out the errors made where and when I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by biologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Let's explore another possibility, evolution works by eliminating the weak, these are the ones that are two simple to survive in a certain condition. This allows the fitter to leave offspring. Hence there is only enough energy for the fittest, hence natural selection guarantees there is enough resources for more complex lifeforms (due to the reduction in numbers of less fit individuals). Unless there is not enough even for them, and they go extinct
    I'd modify that slightly- selection may allow for an increase in complexity but alternatively the solution that survives may be the simpler one. It doesn't really negate your main point but is an important consideration.
    Yes, but it completely sidesteps the difficulty of explaining the apparent violation of the law of entropy as it applies to order and structure, and therefore is irrelevant to this discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian

    Actually the 2nd law does not refer to a "closed" system, where no there is no matter exchange, but an "isolated" system, where there is no matter or energy exchange.

    Cypress, I do not think people are presenting a straw man, I think it is consistent with what most creationists believe. Now it may be a straw man for you. Are you saying that outside energy is not sufficient for evolution?
    No, the argument properly formulated is not about available engergy (in thermodynamics the most common form of entropy is a measure of energy available to accomplish some process). The argument is cast in the general, considering all forms of order. Entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder and the law states that closed systems cannot increase order from disorder.

    Let's explore another possibility, evolution works by eliminating the weak, these are the ones that are two simple to survive in a certain condition. This allows the fitter to leave offspring. Hence there is only enough energy for the fittest, hence natural selection guarantees there is enough resources for more complex lifeforms (due to the reduction in numbers of less fit individuals). Unless there is not enough even for them, and they go extinct.
    relevance?

    And to probability, when two isolated (or almost isolated in this case) systems come into contact, they tend to go to equal probability. Let's consider the sun, gravity is a good example of something that decreases entropy (and is independent and in many ways contradictory to thermodynamics in that no increase in entropy is needed). As gravity pulls together a nebula, it begins to form our sun, with very low entropy. At this point it is closed. As fusion begins to occur entropy begins to be gained and thrown off as energy (since probability also applies to the energy of the particles)
    If you put your description in equation form and did an entropy balance you would see that gravity does not decrease entropy in a closed/isolated system.

    and reaches the earth where it lowers the entropy. As time, if we view the sun and the earth as one isolated system, the earth will decrease in entropy and the sun will increase in entropy. As this happens the probabilities of particles being in the same state will be closer and closer to equal. Energy transfer is based on the probabilistic theory of thermodynamics (its just a simplification for chemists and biologists). Thermodynamics is basically diffusion of matter and diffusion of energy.
    Once again you are now only considering energy availability in your measure of entropy(energy availability or energy distribution is one measure of order). Biological systems are made up of very highly ordered molecules with multiple layers of higher degrees of order required to function in concert. This order is not dictated by physical properties. At every level there a multitudes of other combinations possible. At the DNA level there are over 10^1000 possibilities. Entropy is a measure of probability and permutations. Laws of entropy requires that this order be substituted with equal amounts of disordering occurring in concert so that the law of entropy is not violated.
    Gravity reduces entropy by bringing together particles, entropy decreases when particles are brought together because that makes the probability in one region (near the center of the body) lower than the probabilities of them being farther away. Where an increase in entropy works by making those probabilities more equal

    And why do you say I've gone back to energy? Of course I did, because that is a consequence (as I explained) of the probabilities.

    The probabilities in thermodynamics apply to only two things, energy and position. When an isolated system goes to equilibrium the positions and energies of particles spread out so that the probability of having a certain position and a certain energy become equal to the probability of having a different position or energy. Since the sun's energy is decreasing it must spread to create complex possibilities on earth, since complexity has been shown to be a byproduct of energy, such as in the Miller-Urey experiment, whether you think it sheds light on the origin of life or not, it still repudiates your claim.

    And to say "At every level there a multitudes of other combinations possible" just shows your complete ignorance of natural selection and how it repudiates the probability argument against evolution, since natural selection works exactly by eliminating those possibilities. Thermodynamics explains how complexity is formed, natural selection shows how that complexity is adaptive.

    Here are some equations:

    entropy=k*ln(Ω)

    Where k is some constant. Ω represents the number of available microstates. A microstate is a state specifying a position and a momentum, the possibilities are finite in an isolated system (due to the uncertainty principle). Gravity reduces Ω by restricting the possible positions and momenta of particles since they must obey the laws of physics which depend on the potential energy of gravity. Therefore as gravity reduces Ω it also reduces entropy.

    G = H - TS

    Where G is Gibb's free energy (which is conserved), H is enthalpy, T is temperature and S in entropy. What this says is that a change in heat (an enthalpy change) can change the amount of entropy by

    S = (1/T)(H)

    in an isolated system this is the maximum entropy.

    These are things worked out by researchers in thermodynamics, energy and probability (entropy) ARE related.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian

    Gravity reduces entropy by bringing together particles, entropy decreases when particles are brought together because that makes the probability in one region (near the center of the body) lower than the probabilities of them being farther away. Where an increase in entropy works by making those probabilities more equal.
    While it is true that entropy generally increases by expansion, it is not true that entropy decreases by gravitational compression. While contracting as potential energy is converted to kenetic energy and while the forms are unaltered in configuration entropy is constant, but when they contact, entropy increases. I realize there are probably hundreds of thought experiments on gravity and entropy, but put to the test they fail.

    And why do you say I've gone back to energy? Of course I did, because that is a consequence (as I explained) of the probabilities.
    When you only consider entropy in terms of energy availability your argument is incomplete.

    The probabilities in thermodynamics apply to only two things, energy and position. When an isolated system goes to equilibrium the positions and energies of particles spread out so that the probability of having a certain position and a certain energy become equal to the probability of having a different position or energy.
    Sure but the principle of entropy applies generally to all probability states not just energy and macro-particle distribution.

    Since the sun's energy is decreasing it must spread to create complex possibilities on earth, since complexity has been shown to be a byproduct of energy, such as in the Miller-Urey experiment, whether you think it sheds light on the origin of life or not, it still repudiates your claim.
    Can you show me how the sun's energy generates complexity of molecular configurations beyond the randomness of chemic equilibrium and reaction principles? A well researched paper will do, or explanation and equations.

    I think we both know that Miller's generation of amino acids fall well within the boundaries of random processes, chemic equilibrium and reaction kinetics and very little entropy increase required. Can you make the same claim for life from non-life? Clearly not at this time. It is naive to claim that generation of amino acids increases the odds that generating self replicating and ever more effective biomolecules can occur by random combinations of chemicals and physical configurations and events. Humans of course are very good at finding efficient mechanisms to conserve entropy in generating new and effective configurations. The question is do are there natural processes that possess the same characteristic? If not, then it seems this argument from entropy is quite reasonable.

    And to say "At every level there a multitudes of other combinations possible" just shows your complete ignorance of natural selection and how it repudiates the probability argument against evolution, since natural selection works exactly by eliminating those possibilities. Thermodynamics explains how complexity is formed, natural selection shows how that complexity is adaptive.
    I am quite aware of the predictions of natural selection. The problem is that demonstrated accomplishment does not match predictions. It too has not been demonstrated ability to overcome this challenge either. Selection can only select what exists. It generates nothing. Selection seems quite able to select from a variety of traits, those that are currently more useful. It also selects advantageous broken function when that broken function prevents chemical attack. Natural selection clears out the trash too, but if does not offer a process to generate functional complexity as it does not, it is irrelevant to this discussion.

    Here are some equations:

    entropy=k*ln(Ω)

    Where k is some constant. Ω represents the number of available microstates. A microstate is a state specifying a position and a momentum, the possibilities are finite in an isolated system (due to the uncertainty principle). Gravity reduces Ω by restricting the possible positions and momenta of particles since they must obey the laws of physics which depend on the potential energy of gravity. Therefore as gravity reduces Ω it also reduces entropy.
    But here you seem to fail to consider that in real situations, compression raises the internal energy of the material without (eventually) generating useful work, so entropy increases. This occurs when the particles begin to collide with each other. Since you failed to address this, the rest of the equations are irrelevant. In the absence of a reversible process to recover these energy states, entropy increases.

    At best compression is isenthalpic but only if the particles don't collide with each other and exchange kinetic energy or alter configuration.
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    cypress, can you demonstrate how exactly the 2nd Law is violated? Describe the energetics of the system in simple terms so that I can see the hole in the balance sheet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    cypress, can you demonstrate how exactly the 2nd Law is violated? Describe the energetics of the system in simple terms so that I can see the hole in the balance sheet.
    Don't hold your breath. Cypress is pretty good at denying propositions, but not so hot on making them.
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    Cypress, natural selection builds complexity by allowing the slightly more complex (through the means of mutation) to thrive and leave more offspring. This in turn increases the probability of having yet more complex variants (of course only when natural selection favors complexity). Therefore all thermodynamics needs to provide is the slight increase in complexity from the mutation, natural selection increases its distribution and probability (thus decreasing the amount of energy needed).

    Examples of this include:

    Increases in drug resistance in bacteria
    Accumulated mutations in cancer cells
    The soapberry bug as it colonizes new plant species in its range
    The Long Term Evolution Experiment that showed E. Coli developing various traits to deal with new circumstances
    Protein-Protein interactions have been restored: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten.../278/5340/1125

    An increase in internal energy does NOT increase entropy. It only further reduces the number of available microstates decreasing entropy further, as I said the laws of physics reduce the entropy in the system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    And if it would violate the second law of thermodynamics than clearly the second law would be wrong. Considering the vast amount of data supporting evolution.

    duh.
    Besides thermodynamics is only true over short term time scales, as there is no such thing as a truly isolated system.
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    True.

    I guess a system that would isolate some part of the universe would be subject to the second law itself and eventually fall apart into chaos.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    If iceaura is correct, each time we do this a more complex and more structured flake would form.
    No. Each time you do it a different complex structure of the billions possible will form, some more complex and some less, at random, would be my argument, and each will form from a more disordered state, the 2nd Law met by the thawing and refreezing energy input and discard.

    That sets the stage for selection, which could boost the complexity very easily via selective melting etc. But the selection ratchet is not necessary for the initial example: a highly improbable, highly ordered state emerging spontaneously from disorder under the influence of an input of energy. Routinely. Clearly there are great "probabilistic resources" available all over the place.
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  50. #49  
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    I've decided to put my gravity hypothesis more clearly.

    1) Gravity decreases the entropy of a star
    2) Radiation is thrown off of the star so that overall entropy is equal

    The first two assumptions are supported by this article:
    http://prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v27/i10/p2271_1

    3) This radiation reaches the earth where it proceeds to increase the entropy there (in the form of heat, mutations, etc.)
    4) Evolution (and development) use this increase in entropy to power their corresponding decrease in entropy

    Of course some of the radiation remains in the star or does not reach earth, but the point is that SOME does, and even though that might be a small fraction of that generated by the star, it is still A LOT of entropy.
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  51. #50  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thread Starter
    So, we have peer-reviewed papers that are making totally opposite claims.
    It happens alot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    If iceaura is correct, each time we do this a more complex and more structured flake would form.
    No. Each time you do it a different complex structure of the billions possible will form, some more complex and some less, at random, would be my argument, and each will form from a more disordered state, the 2nd Law met by the thawing and refreezing energy input and discard.

    That sets the stage for selection, which could boost the complexity very easily via selective melting etc. But the selection ratchet is not necessary for the initial example: a highly improbable, highly ordered state emerging spontaneously from disorder under the influence of an input of energy. Routinely. Clearly there are great "probabilistic resources" available all over the place.
    Try the experiment, ice. You will find that entropy will rise (and complexity will decline) rapidly. Your description is nothing more than wishful thinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    cypress, can you demonstrate how exactly the 2nd Law is violated? Describe the energetics of the system in simple terms so that I can see the hole in the balance sheet.
    As I explained previously, detailed descriptions that contradict the the prior commitments of site administration and moderators are unwelcome. I am sorry, I can point out errors in the arguments presented but am unable to provide the contrapositive. Perhaps Google will be more kind to you.
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  54. #53  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    cypress, can you demonstrate how exactly the 2nd Law is violated? Describe the energetics of the system in simple terms so that I can see the hole in the balance sheet.
    As I explained previously, detailed descriptions that contradict the the prior commitments of site administration and moderators are unwelcome. I am sorry, I can point out errors in the arguments presented but am unable to provide the contrapositive. Perhaps Google will be more kind to you.
    At least try, creationism and ID are not welcome since you cannot test the divine. But these so called 'balance sheets' are perfectly testable, if they indeed exist at all.
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  55. #54  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    cypress, can you demonstrate how exactly the 2nd Law is violated? Describe the energetics of the system in simple terms so that I can see the hole in the balance sheet.
    As I explained previously, detailed descriptions that contradict the the prior commitments of site administration and moderators are unwelcome.
    Pseudoscience is unwelcome. But since you're suggesting a contradiction between two pieces of accepted science then, logically speaking, exposing that should not require that you stray into any area outside of accepted science.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    I am sorry, I can point out errors in the arguments presented but am unable to provide the contrapositive.
    Mod mode:

    Feel free to give as rigorous a description of the manner in which abiogenesis and/or evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics as you wish. I will not interfere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thread Starter
    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?
    I think it helps to understand how unreliable the scientific community actually is. Two conflicting views in science is the norm, its all about who publishes who. Really which publisher has the most money.
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  57. #56  
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    Quote Originally Posted by blood_pardon
    Quote Originally Posted by Thread Starter
    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?
    I think it helps to understand how unreliable the scientific community actually is. Two conflicting views in science is the norm, its all about who publishes who. Really which publisher has the most money.
    Ya because scientific journals are just rolling in cash

    Besides the fact that the two papers presented by the OP don't actually contradict each other.
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    I have read this entire thread, and im struggling to see where the controversy is?
    I didnt know there was any outside of the creationist/science flare up?

    Cypress can you explain what the problem is please? I keep re-reading your threads but i cant work out what your saying except 'its wrong'.

    Besides typing 'evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics' into google of course. which i just tried, and couldnt find anything informative amongst the usual creationist/science fight to the death crap.

    Im not having a go at you. i am interested to read these counter arguments you speak of.
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  59. #58 Re: Entropy and evolution controversy 
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    Quote Originally Posted by raimo lonka

    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?
    The controversy is possible because what you have described is speculation, not solid science.

    Unless the authors can produce real calculations, based on real data, they are just speculating.

    Publication in a perr-reviewed scientific hournal does NOT mean that the conclusions in the paper are correct. All that it means is that the paper is of interest to the community and that the methods and conclusions are probably not fantastic or delusional -- and even that depends a bit on the specirfic journal, editor and referees.

    If you are going to argue the point, then produce actual calculations and the basis for those calculations.
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  60. #59  
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    Quote Originally Posted by blood_pardon
    Quote Originally Posted by Thread Starter
    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?
    I think it helps to understand how unreliable the scientific community actually is. Two conflicting views in science is the norm, its all about who publishes who. Really which publisher has the most money.
    If you read the two papers there's no actual conflicting data.

    As to who publishes who, that has nothing to do with money. Never have I heard of a research group who failed to get a paper into the journal they wanted on the basis of publication fees being too high. Always it's because they failed to pass peer-review, fairly or unfairly, and had to go for a less prestigious journal.
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  61. #60  
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    Publication fees can in many journals be diminished to a degree or totally for researchers without the necessary funds.

    Mind you, that is usually aimed at researchers in 3rd world nations.

    We are talking about a publication fee that never really exceeds a few thousand euros. Usually a lot less.

    The highest I ever paid was 1500$ for PLoS One. But that is open access and you pay for that.

    You have the option for this journal not to pay the fee, and the reviewers cannot see if you pay or not pay.
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  62. #61  
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    As I explained previously, detailed descriptions that contradict the the prior commitments of site administration and moderators are unwelcome.
    You are being ridiculous. Are you claiming you don't have a prior commitment to devine powers, i.e. magic forming life? Do you really think you are still fooling anyone? Your claims are as baseless as always cypress.

    As I explained previously, detailed descriptions that contradict the the prior commitments of site administration and moderators are unwelcome. I am sorry, I can point out errors in the arguments presented but am unable to provide the contrapositive. Perhaps Google will be more kind to you.
    Absolutely typical, pathetic and transparent. Play the victim, the chastised warrior for your cause. Go ahead. In the mean time, the moderator has given you a full green light to present your case. Will you oblige?


    I observe that people who have a prior commitment to materialism often make straw man arguments against the claim that life from non-life and presumed evolutionary processes appear to require outside interference to overcome the principles of entropy as applied to ordered systems including encoded processes.
    It does not "appear" to require such interference according to the vast majority of qualified researchers in the field. Only to people like you who lack said qualifications and are doing their damnedest to try and demonstrate their preformed conclusions with all the tricks in the book. How can you live with yourself, knowing you are being so deceitful and/or willfully ignorant? Is it really possible that you don't see what you are doing?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  63. #62  
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    In order to say that the continual addition of energy from the sun overcomes our concerns over entropy, that means we're saying that new energy, at a lower level of entropy is constantly entering the system, and then leaving the system at a higher level of entropy than it arrived.

    That means we're saying that sunlight does not represent the lowest possible level of entropy, even though that sunlight is mostly black body radiation created by the Sun's internal temperature. Should we take this to mean that converting heat into black body radiation decreases a system's entropy?

    Would this have applications in the generation of electrical power? If we heat an object to the point where it starts to emit light, and then captured to light could we defeat Carnot's Law?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_heat_engine
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  64. #63  
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    Well, as I said in my last post, cypress is free to fire away. He says that two pieces of established science are contradicting one another. Logically, he should be able to show that without invoking fringe science. Otherwise it would just be fringe science contradicting established, which is not his claim. Only the outcome will be controversial, but my hands would be tied in that case. There can be no moderator action against this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Try the experiment, ice. You will find that entropy will rise (and complexity will decline) rapidly.
    I have done the experiment a billion times, right outside my front door. Every time, highly improbable complexities of form arise from disordered states of water vapor amid disordered masses of air molecules, and fall by the millions on my driveway. They then sublimate into the air, joining the vapor already present. Then from that disorderly vapor-laden air new ones form. Repeatedly, all fucking winter long, by the ton.

    Also, complex forms originally deposited on the inside of my car windows, reduced to disorderly vapor by the procedure of "defrost", reform in their original or greater complexity from that vapor. The complexity of the forms generated does not decrease over time or repetition.

    Related experiments, involving the repeated evaporation and refreezing of water, occur in my refrigerator, forming anew improbable and complex shapes over and over again.

    Another location of my diligent and industrious experimentation in this matter has been the jars of alcohol in a nearby museum, in which over years of hardworking vicinity stroll I have observed glass dissolved into disorder in the alcohol precipitating in quite improbable shapes on the items preserved therein.

    My career in this groundbreaking investigation began quite young: as a prodigy, I several times dissolved highly ordered crystals of sugar and other substances in disorderly water and other liquids, and during slow evaporation saw the sugar restored to highly complex and orderly arrangements - often considerably more orderly and complex than the original grain-pile.

    And so forth.
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    That's funny iceaura... Nice try.

    Biologista, forgive me. Although I find you fairly reasonable and believe you would be good to your word, the history of this site is not so reliable. Skinwalker, the site admin just tossed out a thread about GISS data and processing methods even though the statements made were all factually correct, presumably because he didn't care for the explanation, the messengers or the implications even though he acknowledged that he did not know exactly what the facts were. On this site, there is a strong bias against fact based challenges to moderator and site admin prejudice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    That's funny iceaura... Nice try.
    That also blows your assertions of impossible improbability and conflicts with the 2nd Law and so forth out of the water.

    What you have asserted is unlikely to the point of impossible is routine. The only remaining step is reproduction with variation - and certain clays, etc, provide that, if the sugar crystals aren't good enough inorganics for you.
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    Just for the record, I note the Cypress has... yet again... evaded a request for him to present his case. It's par for the course, I suppose, but it should be noted that he has refused to address the request put to him repeatedly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Just for the record, I note the Cypress has... yet again... evaded a request for him to present his case. It's par for the course, I suppose, but it should be noted that he has refused to address the request put to him repeatedly.
    It's not my case so I don't feel compelled to explain it.... My case is that the arguments in this thread don't address the actual points made against abiogenesis and evolution. My purpose is to correct the argument. I have learned that positive arguments against hypotheses favored by the admin and moderators get tossed out and so I no longer waste my time attempting to articulate them especially when I don't have a lot of energy about them. Biologista is asking me to articulate someone else's position in a way that tends to get the thread tossed out. I'm tired of playing that game, I just had another fact based thread tossed out two days ago that did not make any unsupported claim simply because the administrator didn't care for the implications.
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  70. #69 Re: Entropy and evolution controversy 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by raimo lonka

    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?
    The controversy is possible because what you have described is speculation, not solid science.

    Unless the authors can produce real calculations, based on real data, they are just speculating.

    Publication in a perr-reviewed scientific hournal does NOT mean that the conclusions in the paper are correct. All that it means is that the paper is of interest to the community and that the methods and conclusions are probably not fantastic or delusional -- and even that depends a bit on the specirfic journal, editor and referees.

    If you are going to argue the point, then produce actual calculations and the basis for those calculations.
    With that point has anyone seen any calculations on the increase of entropy due to evolution and decrease do to gravitational fields, waste products, etc.?
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  71. #70 Re: Entropy and evolution controversy 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by raimo lonka

    How is this controversy possible? We have a situation equal to a situation where some peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pulling masses together while some other peer-reviewed papers would claim that gravity is pushing masses apart. What kind of science is this? Should we believe in Styer & Bunn and say that evolution is decreasing entropy or should we believe in Annila et. al and say that evolution is increasing entropy?
    The controversy is possible because what you have described is speculation, not solid science.

    Unless the authors can produce real calculations, based on real data, they are just speculating.

    Publication in a perr-reviewed scientific hournal does NOT mean that the conclusions in the paper are correct. All that it means is that the paper is of interest to the community and that the methods and conclusions are probably not fantastic or delusional -- and even that depends a bit on the specirfic journal, editor and referees.

    If you are going to argue the point, then produce actual calculations and the basis for those calculations.
    With that point has anyone seen any calculations on the increase of entropy due to evolution and decrease do to gravitational fields, waste products, etc.?
    If I understand the problem right, there is no decrease in entropy. Sunlight has some basic order to it, which a plant is able to tap into in order to organize itself. From there, it's all downhill. The order continually decreases, but more of this organized sunlight is arriving every day. So, the system as a whole gains order from that, but entropy itself is still a one way street.
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  72. #71  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Just for the record, I note the Cypress has... yet again... evaded a request for him to present his case. It's par for the course, I suppose, but it should be noted that he has refused to address the request put to him repeatedly.
    It's not my case so I don't feel compelled to explain it.... My case is that the arguments in this thread don't address the actual points made against abiogenesis and evolution. My purpose is to correct the argument. I have learned that positive arguments against hypotheses favored by the admin and moderators get tossed out and so I no longer waste my time attempting to articulate them especially when I don't have a lot of energy about them. Biologista is asking me to articulate someone else's position in a way that tends to get the thread tossed out. I'm tired of playing that game, I just had another fact based thread tossed out two days ago that did not make any unsupported claim simply because the administrator didn't care for the implications.
    Yeah, have fun with your little "I am being a martyr for my faith and am the victim of atheist prejudice" spiel. TheBiologista and others have repeatedly made the point that if you produce science he can have no cause to do anything with the thread. Your refusal to oblige his request can only mean that your alternative is yet another pile of pseudo doo-doo excreted by some non-scientist under the guise of "ignored facts". Pathetic and let me make this clear again: TRANSPARENT.
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  73. #72  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Yeah, have fun with your little "I am being a martyr for my faith and am the victim of atheist prejudice" spiel. TheBiologista and others have repeatedly made the point that if you produce science he can have no cause to do anything with the thread.
    I am just describing what actually occurs. It's not a complaint, I don't run the site and don't set the policy. Biologista can make whatever claim he wishes and I don't even doubt he means it, however, actions speak louder than words. Even biologista has tossed out a thread on the basis that the argument that he personally found it tiresome and no longer wished to discuss it.


    Your refusal to oblige his request can only mean that your alternative is yet another pile of pseudo doo-doo excreted by some non-scientist under the guise of "ignored facts". Pathetic and let me make this clear again: TRANSPARENT.
    As a point of fact, it can mean many things.

    I have provided enough details already that could easily be countered if, as you claim this entropy argument is baseless. If it is as you claim it would be an easy matter to provide process and calculations to show that generation of functional self-ordering biolmolecules from nonfunctional organic molecules by chemic process does not reduce entropy. Likewise, if one could also show that generating new and different functional DNA sequences through existing biological processes, random mutation and then selection also is consistent with the principles of entropy as it applies in the general sense of probability then you would have succeeded in falsifying the argument these others are making, and there would be no need to explain the contrapositive position. The request for the contrapositive position is interesting but optional since if it is as you say, you could easily dispatch it with the information you have.

    The point is that one does not dispatch this argument in the way described by either of these two papers nor by any of the ways described by the posts I took issue with.
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  74. #73  
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    Oh, for the love of Thor. How much better our world would be if people like you used your debate skill to argue in favor of truth instead of bullshit.


    The below addresses every major point made in this thread and then some:

    http://www.google.com/custom?q=entro...alkorigins.org
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  75. #74  
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    KALSTER - Although i agree that Cypress is making baseless points and evading explaining his reasons, i think you are being unnecessarily rude and out of line, especially for a moderator?
    Perhpaps he is a man of faith, but that doesnt give you a green light to be so offensive.

    Cypress hasnt used a single insult that i can see, so your only confirming his point about people/moderators being hostile on the forum, and your doing nothing to further the discussion by calling him "pathetic", and asking how can he "live with himself" etc etc

    I know your a veteran of the forum and im a mere speck, but i felt strongly enough that you were being rude and just proving his point.

    on the other hand, i dont think the discussion with cypress is going to yeild anything but more evasions. He would make a good politician i believe.
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  76. #75  
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    i think you are being unnecessarily rude and out of lin
    I am going a bit overboard aren't I? You are right, I am not behaving properly. I just get terribly frustrated when a large part of this forum is being taken up by cypress' brand of debate. I find it similarly offensive that he has been dishonest about his intentions on this forum, his allegations of suppression and unwarranted censorship and his frankly typical characterizations of those who do not pander to his notions.


    Perhpaps he is a man of faith, but that doesnt give you a green light to be so offensive.
    It is not that he is a man of faith per se. I have lots of respect for a lot of religious people. It is the particular brand of propaganda and debate tactics that he subscribes to that gets me.

    Cypress hasnt used a single insult that i can see, so your only confirming his point about people/moderators being hostile on the forum, and your doing nothing to further the discussion by calling him "pathetic", and asking how can he "live with himself" etc etc
    Look, all I know about cypress is his persona on this forum. I have no idea what kind of person he is in day to day life and I don't speak to that. He could be the nicest guy, loving father and caring person imaginable and it would not surprise me that much.It is the manner he has been presenting his case that bugs me. I describe his attempts as pathetic (i.e. not very convincing at all). I ask how he can live with himself, because it seems that he is not an unintelligent guy by any means and, yes, he has been largely civil in his responses. That makes it hard for me to imagine that he does not know what he is doing.

    I know your a veteran of the forum and im a mere speck, but i felt strongly enough that you were being rude and just proving his point.
    That shouldn't mean anything and I don't think about it that way. There are many newcomers that have far better grasps of their fields of interest than I could ever hope to achieve. You are quite welcome to express your views.

    on the other hand, i dont think the discussion with cypress is going to yeild anything but more evasions. He would make a good politician i believe.
    I hate politicians. :wink:

    Despite the description of my perception of cypress' conduct on this forum, you are quite correct that I went a bit too far and I apologize for that.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  77. #76  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    ...it would be an easy matter to [...] show that generation of functional self-ordering biolmolecules from nonfunctional organic molecules by chemic process does not reduce entropy.
    Why would anybody want to do that? It's not what's being argued since decreases in entropy are allowed in thermodynamics. As long as a process results in a net change in entropy of the universe that is positive then there can be no violation of thermodynamic principles. Hence, my earlier question asking you to point out where the violation was. Systems that are continually receiving, transforming and dissipating energy can't be described using the closed-system and statistical mechanics approach that you are using.

    Not witnessing abiogenesis happening today is not evidence that abiogenesis would be, without "assistance", a violation of the 2nd Law. It is only evidence that abiogenesis is not occurring (or recognised) in this location, under these conditions and in the presence of pre-existing life. It'd be a lot more interesting to see a calculation showing that such processes where indeed violating thermodynamic principles rather than asking for someone to prove that they aren't. As you said, it'd be easy to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Despite the description of my perception of cypress' conduct on this forum, you are quite correct that I went a bit too far and I apologize for that.
    im not that aware of his previous conduct, maybe why i was more perceptive to the hostility.
    In the words of Walter sobchak, a man much greater than i;
    "I did not know that. Well, it's all water under the bridge. And we do enter the next round-robin, am I wrong?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by harvestein
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Despite the description of my perception of cypress' conduct on this forum, you are quite correct that I went a bit too far and I apologize for that.
    im not that aware of his previous conduct, maybe why i was more perceptive to the hostility.
    Apology accepted, KALSTER.

    My conduct and practices here are a product of adapting to the policies and actions of moderators and site administration. It is most unfortunate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    ...it would be an easy matter to [...] show that generation of functional self-ordering biolmolecules from nonfunctional organic molecules by chemic process does not reduce entropy.
    Why would anybody want to do that? It's not what's being argued since decreases in entropy are allowed in thermodynamics. As long as a process results in a net change in entropy of the universe that is positive then there can be no violation of thermodynamic principles.
    I believe we are both making the same point. I am also speaking of a net decrease in entropy. I feel it is a very relevant demonstration, and one that so far has not been accomplished.

    Hence, my earlier question asking you to point out where the violation was. Systems that are continually receiving, transforming and dissipating energy can't be described using the closed-system and statistical mechanics approach that you are using.
    Agreed, thus the requirement to include all relevant probabilistic resources. To make a weak argument that the sun provides sufficient resources as others have done misses the point. I appreciate that you have not traipsed this path.

    Not witnessing abiogenesis happening today is not evidence that abiogenesis would be, without "assistance", a violation of the 2nd Law. It is only evidence that abiogenesis is not occurring (or recognised) in this location, under these conditions and in the presence of pre-existing life.
    Agreed. Perhaps you misunderstood. The challenge is to demonstrate mathematically a net entropy increase through theoretical chemic formation of a functional self-replicating biomolecule. As I understand it, this demonstration would be terribly difficult because the only chemic processes we are aware of, rely on reaction kinetics, equilibrium constants and random Brownian motion meaning this boils down to a probability game that exhausts all available probabilistic resources long before any self-replicating molecules are formed and thus would require entropy to decrease in order to succeed.

    It'd be a lot more interesting to see a calculation showing that such processes where indeed violating thermodynamic principles rather than asking for someone to prove that they aren't. As you said, it'd be easy to do so.
    It is doable, but it would not be easy. Forgive me for not spending the effort to provide it, as I truly do feel it would be a wasted effort on my part. There are a few articles out there somewhere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    ...it would be an easy matter to [...] show that generation of functional self-ordering biolmolecules from nonfunctional organic molecules by chemic process does not reduce entropy.
    Why would anybody want to do that? It's not what's being argued since decreases in entropy are allowed in thermodynamics. As long as a process results in a net change in entropy of the universe that is positive then there can be no violation of thermodynamic principles.
    I believe we are both making the same point. I am also speaking of a net decrease in entropy. I feel it is a very relevant demonstration, and one that so far has not been accomplished.

    Hence, my earlier question asking you to point out where the violation was. Systems that are continually receiving, transforming and dissipating energy can't be described using the closed-system and statistical mechanics approach that you are using.
    Agreed, thus the requirement to include all relevant probabilistic resources. To make a weak argument that the sun provides sufficient resources as others have done misses the point. I appreciate that you have not traipsed this path.

    Not witnessing abiogenesis happening today is not evidence that abiogenesis would be, without "assistance", a violation of the 2nd Law. It is only evidence that abiogenesis is not occurring (or recognised) in this location, under these conditions and in the presence of pre-existing life.
    Agreed. Perhaps you misunderstood. The challenge is to demonstrate mathematically a net entropy increase through theoretical chemic formation of a functional self-replicating biomolecule. As I understand it, this demonstration would be terribly difficult because the only chemic processes we are aware of, rely on reaction kinetics, equilibrium constants and random Brownian motion meaning this boils down to a probability game that exhausts all available probabilistic resources long before any self-replicating molecules are formed and thus would require entropy to decrease in order to succeed.

    It'd be a lot more interesting to see a calculation showing that such processes where indeed violating thermodynamic principles rather than asking for someone to prove that they aren't. As you said, it'd be easy to do so.
    It is doable, but it would not be easy. Forgive me for not spending the effort to provide it, as I truly do feel it would be a wasted effort on my part. There are a few articles out there somewhere.
    Cypress, are you saying that both (creationist and evolutionist) views about entropy are baseless because no one provides the actual balance sheet?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian

    Cypress, are you saying that both (creationist and evolutionist) views about entropy are baseless because no one provides the actual balance sheet?
    I'm not sure I completely understand your question. Let me review what I have said.

    First and foremost I have said that by only considering thermal entropy, those (including the articles provided) who have argued the sun's radiation imports sufficient thermal order into the biosphere to account for abiogenesis and diversification of life by random mutation and selection are completely missing the point. The concept of entropy does not only apply to probability distribution of thermal energy, it applies to probability distribution of every kind. Those who make an entropy argument against abiogenesis and/or evolution are speaking of probability distribution in general and thus a discussion of only the probability distribution of heat energy fails because it is incomplete unless one can show that thermal order can substituted as a source of probabilistic resources to construct molecular order. this demonstration seems quite far fetched but I welcome an attempt.

    Second I have said that I have never seen anyone adequately describe how any known natural processes can or does import sufficient molecular order (biomolecules contain primary, secondary and tertiary order and structures that account for their functional characteristics) into the earth's collection of molecular configurations to overcome the nearly unimaginable probability of generating a coherent and functional collection of self-replicating biomolecules. The mathematical form of this explanation is based on the general form of entropy equations in an open system which would require that a more ordered molecular system would have to have been imported into the earth's collection of molecular configurations than the sum total of all the order contained in the entire biosphere.

    But it actually gets much more difficult than even that. One would also have to demonstrate that the deconstruction of an extremely improbable configuration of molecules (a highly ordered molecular system) somehow overcomes the improbability of spontaneous construction by natural processes of a slightly more probable configuration. As an example one would have to demonstrate that it is possible for spontaneous assembly of say a steel structure like the Eiffel Tower in a system that simultaneously allows for destruction of one or more of the same.

    When a paper is published that demonstrates these capabilities (of natural processes) through the principle of entropy (thermal and molecular), then they will have made the proper point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress

    I have provided enough details already that could easily be countered if, as you claim this entropy argument is baseless. If it is as you claim it would be an easy matter to provide process and calculations to show that generation of functional self-ordering biolmolecules from nonfunctional organic molecules by chemic process does not reduce entropy. Likewise, if one could also show that generating new and different functional DNA sequences through existing biological processes, random mutation and then selection also is consistent with the principles of entropy as it applies in the general sense of probability then you would have succeeded in falsifying the argument these others are making, and there would be no need to explain the contrapositive position. The request for the contrapositive position is interesting but optional since if it is as you say, you could easily dispatch it with the information you have.

    The point is that one does not dispatch this argument in the way described by either of these two papers nor by any of the ways described by the posts I took issue with.

    Entropy has really very little to do with complexity. It's not a measure of complexity, only the degree of uniformity. For example: an AC electrical current has a high degree of uniformity (so a low entropy). As that current passes through a resistor, and the resistor converts some of it into heat, that uniformity diminishes. (so the entropy is increasing)

    A complex life form, like a squid for example, doesn't have a higher degree of uniformity than the sunlight that has been synthesized by the plants that have been eaten by the creatures the squid kills and eats. So, the squid still has higher entropy than sunlight. The average degree of order or regularity inside the squid's body is what's important. It's weird to think that a thing like sunlight could actually have more order, despite being much simpler, but it does.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress

    First and foremost I have said that by only considering thermal entropy, those (including the articles provided) who have argued the sun's radiation imports sufficient thermal order into the biosphere to account for abiogenesis and diversification of life by random mutation and selection are completely missing the point. The concept of entropy does not only apply to probability distribution of thermal energy, it applies to probability distribution of every kind. Those who make an entropy argument against abiogenesis and/or evolution are speaking of probability distribution in general and thus a discussion of only the probability distribution of heat energy fails because it is incomplete unless one can show that thermal order can substituted as a source of probabilistic resources to construct molecular order. this demonstration seems quite far fetched but I welcome an attempt.
    A plant only harvests a narrow range of the spectrum of light emitted by the sun. Compared with a hot object, the effects of that sunlight have an extremely low probability distribution. A light wave is incredibly regular and predictable while it's being emitted. Some things can vary, like polarity, or brightness, and etc, but most of its traits are static and consistent.



    Second I have said that I have never seen anyone adequately describe how any known natural processes can or does import sufficient molecular order (biomolecules contain primary, secondary and tertiary order and structures that account for their functional characteristics) into the earth's collection of molecular configurations to overcome the nearly unimaginable probability of generating a coherent and functional collection of self-replicating biomolecules. The mathematical form of this explanation is based on the general form of entropy equations in an open system which would require that a more ordered molecular system would have to have been imported into the earth's collection of molecular configurations than the sum total of all the order contained in the entire biosphere.
    Over time, there has been enough sunlight absorbed to do this. Yes. You could look at sunlight as a drum that everything else is synchronizing itself to. That drum has been beating for several billion years with the same rythm. We might expect that a number of otherwise random chemical reactions have managed to resonate with it over the years, and some of them keep resonating.


    But it actually gets much more difficult than even that. One would also have to demonstrate that the deconstruction of an extremely improbable configuration of molecules (a highly ordered molecular system) somehow overcomes the improbability of spontaneous construction by natural processes of a slightly more probable configuration. As an example one would have to demonstrate that it is possible for spontaneous assembly of say a steel structure like the Eiffel Tower in a system that simultaneously allows for destruction of one or more of the same.
    But, it doesn't simultaneously allow for deconstruction, at least not with the same probability, because construction of the tower is a component of a system that resonates with Sunlight. Sunlight encourages things to resonate with it by imparting energy to them, and exerting energy against them if they begin to fall out of step.

    Indirectly, the Eiffel Tower is playing a role in an agricultural society, one that deliberately fosters and nurtures fields of plants, which contain chlorophyll, which absorbs sunlight. It's that singular goal of absorbing sunlight which guides the whole process. Everything else is peripheral.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax


    Entropy has really very little to do with complexity. It's not a measure of complexity, only the degree of uniformity. For example: an AC electrical current has a high degree of uniformity (so a low entropy). As that current passes through a resistor, and the resistor converts some of it into heat, that uniformity diminishes. (so the entropy is increasing)
    Perhaps you and I are parsing words. I see complexity as way to express the number of permutations and therefore probability and probability distribution. Entropy is an expression of probability. When formally stated, the law of entropy for a closed system states that the system will over time advance to the state of highest probability (lowest complexity) and cannot, on its own, advance toward a state of lower probability (higher complexity).

    It is also important to note that generally the measure of entropy is relative. In your example you describe an established AC current as "low entropy" however it is much higher in entropy than a state where all the electron charge is concentrated in a small area of the apparatus rather than evenly distributed.

    A complex life form, like a squid for example, doesn't have a higher degree of uniformity than the sunlight that has been synthesized by the plants that have been eaten by the creatures the squid kills and eats. So, the squid still has higher entropy than sunlight. The average degree of order or regularity inside the squid's body is what's important. It's weird to think that a thing like sunlight could actually have more order, despite being much simpler, but it does.
    This is the heart of the debate. It is easy for you to make the claim you made, but apparently it is quite difficult to provide scientific support for it. Sunlight has lower thermal entropy than the squid as demonstrated by the paper offered by the original post, but so far it has not been demonstrated that sunlight is an effective importer of all required forms of entropy in the general case.

    Thermal entropy describes the probability distribution of thermal energy, but uranium entropy might, for example, describes the probability distribution of uranium atoms diffused in the earths mantle. The distribution of atoms and molecules are all components of the general entropy formulation.

    You would have to show that sunlight provides the required probabilistic resources to overcome the improbability of ordering molecular systems by chemic processes in one of the relatively few ways required to obtain a self-replicating system. Our uniform experience with chemic systems is that they require thermal entropy which the sun provides and molecular entropy which human intelligence and experience provides, in order to accomplish such things. The challenge is to discover and validate the source of entropy in this general case.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    First and foremost I have said that by only considering thermal entropy, those (including the articles provided) who have argued the sun's radiation imports sufficient thermal order into the biosphere to account for abiogenesis and diversification of life by random mutation and selection are completely missing the point. The concept of entropy does not only apply to probability distribution of thermal energy, it applies to probability distribution of every kind. Those who make an entropy argument against abiogenesis and/or evolution are speaking of probability distribution in general and thus a discussion of only the probability distribution of heat energy fails because it is incomplete unless one can show that thermal order can substituted as a source of probabilistic resources to construct molecular order. this demonstration seems quite far fetched but I welcome an attempt.
    A plant only harvests a narrow range of the spectrum of light emitted by the sun. Compared with a hot object, the effects of that sunlight have an extremely low probability distribution. A light wave is incredibly regular and predictable while it's being emitted. Some things can vary, like polarity, or brightness, and etc, but most of its traits are static and consistent.
    I don't see the relevance of your statement. I am also not certain it is even correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    The mathematical form of this explanation is based on the general form of entropy equations in an open system which would require that a more ordered molecular system would have to have been imported into the earth's collection of molecular configurations than the sum total of all the order contained in the entire biosphere.
    Over time, there has been enough sunlight absorbed to do this. Yes. You could look at sunlight as a drum that everything else is synchronizing itself to. That drum has been beating for several billion years with the same rythm. We might expect that a number of otherwise random chemical reactions have managed to resonate with it over the years, and some of them keep resonating.
    Once again you have provided an elegant narrative, but you have not demonstrated that your narrative is correct or even probable. You are claiming that sunlight imports probabilistic resources sufficient to generate enough random chemic events to test enough permutations to eventually generate the kind of molecular order that we now see in biological systems.

    But it actually gets much more difficult than even that. One would also have to demonstrate that the deconstruction of an extremely improbable configuration of molecules (a highly ordered molecular system) somehow overcomes the improbability of spontaneous construction by natural processes of a slightly more probable configuration. As an example one would have to demonstrate that it is possible for spontaneous assembly of say a steel structure like the Eiffel Tower in a system that simultaneously allows for destruction of one or more of the same.
    But, it doesn't simultaneously allow for deconstruction, at least not with the same probability, because construction of the tower is a component of a system that resonates with Sunlight. Sunlight encourages things to resonate with it by imparting energy to them, and exerting energy against them if they begin to fall out of step.

    Indirectly, the Eiffel Tower is playing a role in an agricultural society, one that deliberately fosters and nurtures fields of plants, which contain chlorophyll, which absorbs sunlight. It's that singular goal of absorbing sunlight which guides the whole process. Everything else is peripheral.
    To accept your response we would have to believe that we could some day design and construct a computer simulator that when input with all the possible beginning atomic configurations of this earth system would predict the biological life, and roads, and dams, and buildings, and airplanes, and computers, including itself, and every other atomic configuration that has existed since the beginning, solely on the physical and chemical principles in play.

    The key here is the the word "believe" because while you and others may have a belief that the universe actually works the way you describe, it is, at present not a scientific concept. It is a metaphysical opinion currently without support from evidence or understanding of any physical principle.

    This is not to say that one cannot eventually find scientific support for this belief. I previously mentioned a way to validate it. If one remains focused on the sun as the importer of order into the earth's system, then one would need to show that high energy radiation provides sufficient probabilistic resources to drive chemic systems to generate sufficient permutations to overcome entropy requirements of the highly ordered functional biological molecular systems. In other words, one would need to show that abiogenesis and biodiversity does not violate entropy principles. I do not doubt this demonstration is possible, I do however claim it has not been successful yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax


    Entropy has really very little to do with complexity. It's not a measure of complexity, only the degree of uniformity. For example: an AC electrical current has a high degree of uniformity (so a low entropy). As that current passes through a resistor, and the resistor converts some of it into heat, that uniformity diminishes. (so the entropy is increasing)
    Perhaps you and I are parsing words. I see complexity as way to express the number of permutations and therefore probability and probability distribution. Entropy is an expression of probability. When formally stated, the law of entropy for a closed system states that the system will over time advance to the state of highest probability (lowest complexity) and cannot, on its own, advance toward a state of lower probability (higher complexity).
    Suppose that an electrical AC current were constantly being fed into the system from outside the system. Let's assume that it's not perfectly consistent, but it's approximately consistent, and it is unchanging over time, which is a form of perfection. Because it originates from an outside source, and doesn't change, the laws of entropy simply don't apply to it.

    Over time, the system that's accepting the AC current also would not experience any net positive change in entropy (would not move toward disorder), not unless
    it were radiating energy away from itself with a low entropy. As long as the energy it is radiating away from itself has a higher entropy than the energy it is taking in, the degree of order present throughout the system will continue to climb, until it drops to the level of entropy of the AC current. (And it will probably never quite reach that point. )



    It is also important to note that generally the measure of entropy is relative. In your example you describe an established AC current as "low entropy" however it is much higher in entropy than a state where all the electron charge is concentrated in a small area of the apparatus rather than evenly distributed.

    A complex life form, like a squid for example, doesn't have a higher degree of uniformity than the sunlight that has been synthesized by the plants that have been eaten by the creatures the squid kills and eats. So, the squid still has higher entropy than sunlight. The average degree of order or regularity inside the squid's body is what's important. It's weird to think that a thing like sunlight could actually have more order, despite being much simpler, but it does.
    This is the heart of the debate. It is easy for you to make the claim you made, but apparently it is quite difficult to provide scientific support for it. Sunlight has lower thermal entropy than the squid as demonstrated by the paper offered by the original post, but so far it has not been demonstrated that sunlight is an effective importer of all required forms of entropy in the general case.

    Thermal entropy describes the probability distribution of thermal energy, but uranium entropy might, for example, describes the probability distribution of uranium atoms diffused in the earths mantle. The distribution of atoms and molecules are all components of the general entropy formulation.

    You would have to show that sunlight provides the required probabilistic resources to overcome the improbability of ordering molecular systems by chemic processes in one of the relatively few ways required to obtain a self-replicating system. Our uniform experience with chemic systems is that they require thermal entropy which the sun provides and molecular entropy which human intelligence and experience provides, in order to accomplish such things. The challenge is to discover and validate the source of entropy in this general case.

    So, what you're saying is that the heart of the debate is the question: "How much order does sunlight contain?" Does it contain near infinite amounts of order?

    When you consider how much information can be encoded into a radio signal, and then look at sunlight as a very complicated radio signal, with repeating patterns over time, some statistical and some reliable, and then consider how long that signal has been being sent, I think you'll find it contains all the order you need it to contain. Even things like sunspots or the Sun's internal rotation have patterns to them if you measure over a long enough period of time, and the fact those patterns are very consistent adds to the effect.

    The rotation of the Earth, and Moon, and consistency of the Earth's orbit can also be considered part of the encoded pattern because they affect the signal in predictable ways and are consistent in their repetitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    First and foremost I have said that by only considering thermal entropy, those (including the articles provided) who have argued the sun's radiation imports sufficient thermal order into the biosphere to account for abiogenesis and diversification of life by random mutation and selection are completely missing the point. The concept of entropy does not only apply to probability distribution of thermal energy, it applies to probability distribution of every kind. Those who make an entropy argument against abiogenesis and/or evolution are speaking of probability distribution in general and thus a discussion of only the probability distribution of heat energy fails because it is incomplete unless one can show that thermal order can substituted as a source of probabilistic resources to construct molecular order. this demonstration seems quite far fetched but I welcome an attempt.
    A plant only harvests a narrow range of the spectrum of light emitted by the sun. Compared with a hot object, the effects of that sunlight have an extremely low probability distribution. A light wave is incredibly regular and predictable while it's being emitted. Some things can vary, like polarity, or brightness, and etc, but most of its traits are static and consistent.
    I don't see the relevance of your statement. I am also not certain it is even correct.

    Yeah, and I didn't phrase it very well. Here's a link that describes more or less the behavior of chlorophyll and what spectrum of light it absorbs.

    http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/chlor...orophyll_h.htm




    What I am saying is that any chemical system that resonates with light will be pushed by the light to continue resonating with it, or to resonate more and more. You could say that sunlight exerts a very complicated kind of force in this sense, not unlike the force of gravity, except much more complicated.




    But it actually gets much more difficult than even that. One would also have to demonstrate that the deconstruction of an extremely improbable configuration of molecules (a highly ordered molecular system) somehow overcomes the improbability of spontaneous construction by natural processes of a slightly more probable configuration. As an example one would have to demonstrate that it is possible for spontaneous assembly of say a steel structure like the Eiffel Tower in a system that simultaneously allows for destruction of one or more of the same.
    But, it doesn't simultaneously allow for deconstruction, at least not with the same probability, because construction of the tower is a component of a system that resonates with Sunlight. Sunlight encourages things to resonate with it by imparting energy to them, and exerting energy against them if they begin to fall out of step.

    Indirectly, the Eiffel Tower is playing a role in an agricultural society, one that deliberately fosters and nurtures fields of plants, which contain chlorophyll, which absorbs sunlight. It's that singular goal of absorbing sunlight which guides the whole process. Everything else is peripheral.
    To accept your response we would have to believe that we could some day design and construct a computer simulator that when input with all the possible beginning atomic configurations of this earth system would predict the biological life, and roads, and dams, and buildings, and airplanes, and computers, including itself, and every other atomic configuration that has existed since the beginning, solely on the physical and chemical principles in play.
    No. This is not true. A substantial portion of what happens is truly random.

    If you pass an electron through a double slit apparatus, it will land in any of a number of possible locations. Which location it specifically chooses is truly random. No predictive model could ever nail the specifics. All we can be sure of is that it won't choose locations that fall outside the range of the possibilities.

    Now, suppose you apply a weak electromagnetic force that pushes it slightly toward one direction over another. The range of possible locations it can end up changes, but it still chooses perfectly randomly among the possibilities.

    Similarly, the very complex force exerted by sunlight influences the range of possibilities that emerge from the perfectly random interactions of matter, but it will not choose any specific outcome. The specifics are totally undetermin-able by any model. At most, we could construct a model that makes very vague predictions. It wouldn't give us a time line for intelligent life to develop, but maybe we could hope that it would at least predict it arriving in some way that can be tested against.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    As I understand it, this demonstration would be terribly difficult because the only chemic processes we are aware of, rely on reaction kinetics, equilibrium constants and random Brownian motion meaning this boils down to a probability game that exhausts all available probabilistic resources long before any self-replicating molecules are formed
    Hence the respect earned by evolutionary theory, which describes a mechanism that routinely overcomes the apparent obstacles described there.

    Check it out sometime- it really is an elegant approach.
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    Do all cave fish, when exposed to light, develop the ability to see?
    I'm not going to explain all of them. Really, I'm not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    As I understand it, this demonstration would be terribly difficult because the only chemic processes we are aware of, rely on reaction kinetics, equilibrium constants and random Brownian motion meaning this boils down to a probability game that exhausts all available probabilistic resources long before any self-replicating molecules are formed
    Hence the respect earned by evolutionary theory, which describes a mechanism that routinely overcomes the apparent obstacles described there.

    Check it out sometime- it really is an elegant approach.
    It's an elegant narrative, but so too are Aesops Fables. It is respected by those with a metaphysical prior commitment not because it has been shown to be valid but because it conforms to their world view. The narrative does not even describe a mechanism that has a probable chance of generating novel organisms. Experimental biology indicates the opposite. One must suspend logical reliance on the principles of probability distribution in order to remain faithful to the narrative. One must ignore our current understanding of the principles of entropy.

    I don't doubt that there are processes that explain the origin and diversification of life, but it seems quite clear that they are not the ones you describe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is respected by those with a metaphysical prior commitment not because it has been shown to be valid but because it conforms to their world view.
    That is false. For most people, acquiring a world view in conformity with the reality revealed by Darwinian theory is only possible through considerable effort. The single greatest obstacle to comprehending Darwinian evolution is the metaphysical prior commitment of almost everyone first encountering the theory.

    There is a reason it took two thousand years to come up with evolutionary theory, despite every curious human being considering the matter being surrounded by the evidence for it. It's not a natural, easy, or commonly acquired view of things.

    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    The narrative does not even describe a mechanism that has a probable chance of generating novel organisms
    It does. You are not calculating the probabilities correctly. Your intuition is playing you false.

    As has been demonstrated to you in fact, by observation, events you hold to be so improbable as to be impossible are common.
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    One must ignore our current understanding of the principles of entropy.
    Your simple errors of comprehension regarding entropy are not invisible to anyone except yourself.
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    It is respected by those with a metaphysical prior commitment not because it has been shown to be valid but because it conforms to their world view.
    Are you refuting the existence of people that came to it from the other direction? What prior commitment did they have?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is respected by those with a metaphysical prior commitment not because it has been shown to be valid but because it conforms to their world view.
    That claim is easy to make without evidence, and nearly impossible to refute, because it requires us to know each and every person's intentions. Something that can't be determined scientifically.

    The narrative does not even describe a mechanism that has a probable chance of generating novel organisms.
    Isn't it one of those things Sherlock Holmes says? "Once you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the solution.”

    A re-articulation of the same concept would be to suggest that, once you have eliminated all of the non-novel organisms, the only organisms that remain will be novel. I had strep throat once, and stopped taking my penecillin when my symptoms had stopped (I know strep is a virus and not a bacteria, but penicillin still helps for some reason.) So, the virus came back worse. How does that make sense in your world? Shouldn't the virus have been weaker the second time, due to entropy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    A re-articulation of the same concept would be to suggest that, once you have eliminated all of the non-novel organisms, the only organisms that remain will be novel. I had strep throat once, and stopped taking my penecillin when my symptoms had stopped (I know strep is a virus and not a bacteria, but penicillin still helps for some reason.) So, the virus came back worse. How does that make sense in your world? Shouldn't the virus have been weaker the second time, due to entropy?
    Just an aside, strep throat is definitely a bacterial disease, caused usually by streptococcus pyogenes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    A re-articulation of the same concept would be to suggest that, once you have eliminated all of the non-novel organisms, the only organisms that remain will be novel. I had strep throat once, and stopped taking my penecillin when my symptoms had stopped (I know strep is a virus and not a bacteria, but penicillin still helps for some reason.) So, the virus came back worse. How does that make sense in your world? Shouldn't the virus have been weaker the second time, due to entropy?
    Just an aside, strep throat is definitely a bacterial disease, caused usually by streptococcus pyogenes.
    Oh. Thanks. That explains a lot. I always wondered why penicillin was effective against it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax


    Entropy has really very little to do with complexity. It's not a measure of complexity, only the degree of uniformity. For example: an AC electrical current has a high degree of uniformity (so a low entropy). As that current passes through a resistor, and the resistor converts some of it into heat, that uniformity diminishes. (so the entropy is increasing)
    Perhaps you and I are parsing words. I see complexity as way to express the number of permutations and therefore probability and probability distribution. Entropy is an expression of probability. When formally stated, the law of entropy for a closed system states that the system will over time advance to the state of highest probability (lowest complexity) and cannot, on its own, advance toward a state of lower probability (higher complexity).
    Suppose that an electrical AC current were constantly being fed into the system from outside the system. Let's assume that it's not perfectly consistent, but it's approximately consistent, and it is unchanging over time, which is a form of perfection. Because it originates from an outside source, and doesn't change, the laws of entropy simply don't apply to it.
    They do apply but one must integrate over the additional range of states provided by the inflow and outflow of this current. In the general case, the law states that for any system, the degree of order cannot exceed that which exists and is imported into the system. Your elaboration below, I believe conforms to the general case.

    Over time, the system that's accepting the AC current also would not experience any net positive change in entropy (would not move toward disorder), not unless
    it were radiating energy away from itself with a low entropy. As long as the energy it is radiating away from itself has a higher entropy than the energy it is taking in, the degree of order present throughout the system will continue to climb, until it drops to the level of entropy of the AC current. (And it will probably never quite reach that point. )
    I believe this is generally correct. The question though is can thermal order be substituted for molecular order? If so, how has this been demonstrated? Iceaura attempted to describe the ordering of crystalline structures in snowflakes, but nobody knowledgeable in entropy principles would accept that example. I offered an illustration of how it failed.




    Quote Originally Posted by kojak
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    You would have to show that sunlight provides the required probabilistic resources to overcome the improbability of ordering molecular systems by chemic processes in one of the relatively few ways required to obtain a self-replicating system. Our uniform experience with chemic systems is that they require thermal entropy which the sun provides and molecular entropy which human intelligence and experience provides, in order to accomplish such things. The challenge is to discover and validate the source of entropy in this general case.
    So, what you're saying is that the heart of the debate is the question: "How much order does sunlight contain?" Does it contain near infinite amounts of order?
    Fair, and when we consider that each unit of light, each photon is manifest as a macro atomic event we can estimate the maximal opportunities for generating new ordered combinations. Given the estimated mass of the sun and the age and the maximal rate of atomic interactions, we don't get a near infinite number, we get about 10^140 or so.

    When you consider how much information can be encoded into a radio signal, and then look at sunlight as a very complicated radio signal, with repeating patterns over time, some statistical and some reliable, and then consider how long that signal has been being sent, I think you'll find it contains all the order you need it to contain. Even things like sunspots or the Sun's internal rotation have patterns to them if you measure over a long enough period of time, and the fact those patterns are very consistent adds to the effect.

    The rotation of the Earth, and Moon, and consistency of the Earth's orbit can also be considered part of the encoded pattern because they affect the signal in predictable ways and are consistent in their repetitions.
    I think you are on the right track now. I suspect those who attempt to dispose of this entropy argument begin in this direction but abandon it quickly when they start putting numbers to it and then they return to the straw man thermal argument. The random patterns contained in solar and cosmic radiation don't convey much information or order because it is, well random. They certainly have the ability to be highly ordered. Humans are exceptional at generating ordered radio signals rich in information. Thus far, it has been shown that random and natural processes do not contain or generate much in the way of ordered information that is sufficient to decode and construct a meaningful and functional ordered structure of any significance. A practical limit of about 500 bits has been suggested for any random process.

    What I am saying is that any chemical system that resonates with light will be pushed by the light to continue resonating with it, or to resonate more and more. You could say that sunlight exerts a very complicated kind of force in this sense, not unlike the force of gravity, except much more complicated.
    To be complete though you must note that the chemical system is very unique and must previously exist in order to accomplish what it does. There is no evidence that the sunlight caused this system to come into existence. What is the source of this chemic system? By laws of entropy it seems unreasonable to presume the chemic system is a result of random ordering by solar radiation since the chemic system requires far far more than 500 bits of ordered information to construct the process and its supporting molecular systems.



    To accept your response we would have to believe that we could some day design and construct a computer simulator that when input with all the possible beginning atomic configurations of this earth system would predict the biological life, and roads, and dams, and buildings, and airplanes, and computers, including itself, and every other atomic configuration that has existed since the beginning, solely on the physical and chemical principles in play.
    No. This is not true. A substantial portion of what happens is truly random.

    If you pass an electron through a double slit apparatus, it will land in any of a number of possible locations. Which location it specifically chooses is truly random. No predictive model could ever nail the specifics. All we can be sure of is that it won't choose locations that fall outside the range of the possibilities.

    Now, suppose you apply a weak electromagnetic force that pushes it slightly toward one direction over another. The range of possible locations it can end up changes, but it still chooses perfectly randomly among the possibilities.

    Similarly, the very complex force exerted by sunlight influences the range of possibilities that emerge from the perfectly random interactions of matter, but it will not choose any specific outcome. The specifics are totally undetermin-able by any model. At most, we could construct a model that makes very vague predictions. It wouldn't give us a time line for intelligent life to develop, but maybe we could hope that it would at least predict it arriving in some way that can be tested against.
    Once again the concept may be logically sound, but when you put the numbers to it, it fails. One can easily demonstrate that random processes are limited by probability from generating coherent order greater than 500 bits equivalent to about 10^150 opportunities to generate meaningful permutations. To accept that sunlight can overcome these limits is essentially saying the outcome was determined within a very narrow range of possibilities which we then could predict by a sophisticated computer system.

    The fact that you accept that random processes and the sheer number of permutations possible prevents us from ever predicting what might happen but then at the same claim that these random processes are likely capable of generating the degree of order and coherence we see (despite the reality that very very few permutation contain much in the way of coherence or order) is grossly inconsistent.

    To see that recall that 10^150 random attempts at order is likely to generate less than 500 bits of coherent or ordered systems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    It is respected by those with a metaphysical prior commitment not because it has been shown to be valid but because it conforms to their world view.
    That claim is easy to make without evidence, and nearly impossible to refute, because it requires us to know each and every person's intentions. Something that can't be determined scientifically.
    Quite right. It is my opinion of why others behave unscientifically and bring in metaphysical commitments.

    The narrative does not even describe a mechanism that has a probable chance of generating novel organisms.
    Isn't it one of those things Sherlock Holmes says? "Once you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the solution.”
    I don't think so. The reason is that in this case, the "impossible", that is other explanations have not yet been eliminated. It gets back to the opinion I expressed above. Those who take the view you seem to be expressing have a prior commitment to the improbable narrative often described by you and others. This prior commitment is not scientifically based but it causes you to presume that the alternatives have all been eliminated. The rest of Sherlock's statement then follows from and in your mind confirms your prior commitment.

    Allow me to correct your analogy below because the minor error does not diminish your point and I find it interesting.

    A re-articulation of the same concept would be to suggest that, once you have eliminated all of the non-novel organisms, the only organisms that remain will be novel. I had strep throat once, and stopped taking my penecillin when my symptoms had stopped (... strep is a ... bacteria, [and] penicillin helps.) So, the [strep] came back worse. How does that make sense in your world? Shouldn't the [infection] have been weaker the second time, due to entropy?
    Except for the random errors that occur in replication... Offspring are versions of duplications of the order that previously existed. Duplication does not generate new order and thus does not decrease entropy or increase total order. Just as photo copies don't generate new construction plans or plagiarizing an essay does not generate a new essay. When one stops taking antibiotics, the infection comes back stronger because the damage done previously plus the bodies own response has been influenced by the presence of the antibiotic allowing duplicated pathogens that are not weak to flourish for a time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    When you consider how much information can be encoded into a radio signal, and then look at sunlight as a very complicated radio signal, with repeating patterns over time, some statistical and some reliable, and then consider how long that signal has been being sent, I think you'll find it contains all the order you need it to contain. Even things like sunspots or the Sun's internal rotation have patterns to them if you measure over a long enough period of time, and the fact those patterns are very consistent adds to the effect.

    The rotation of the Earth, and Moon, and consistency of the Earth's orbit can also be considered part of the encoded pattern because they affect the signal in predictable ways and are consistent in their repetitions.
    I think you are on the right track now. I suspect those who attempt to dispose of this entropy argument begin in this direction but abandon it quickly when they start putting numbers to it and then they return to the straw man thermal argument. The random patterns contained in solar and cosmic radiation don't convey much information or order because it is, well random. They certainly have the ability to be highly ordered. Humans are exceptional at generating ordered radio signals rich in information. Thus far, it has been shown that random and natural processes do not contain or generate much in the way of ordered information that is sufficient to decode and construct a meaningful and functional ordered structure of any significance. A practical limit of about 500 bits has been suggested for any random process.
    The question is 500 bits per what length of time?

    Right now, the Navy has been doing a lot of work with "ELF" or "Extremely Low Frequency" transmissions. The only way to communicate intelligible information at a low frequency is to spread it out over a long time. Similarly: I'm thinking that some portions of the information sent by the Sun might take thousands of years to communicate. Others take a day, an hour, or a month, ... etc. Some might take microseconds.

    Most of the order in the non-living part of our environment derives from the effects of the Sun. Absent any life on Earth at all, there would still be rivers, changing seasons, and weather patterns. I think the Sun creates most of that. These things could be interpreted as receiving a signal that took millions of years to send, and then retransmitting it in a shorter amount of time to a chemical process. They're kind of an intermediary.


    Quote Originally Posted by cypress

    Except for the random errors that occur in replication... Offspring are versions of duplications of the order that previously existed. Duplication does not generate new order and thus does not decrease entropy or increase total order. Just as photo copies don't generate new construction plans or plagiarizing an essay does not generate a new essay. When one stops taking antibiotics, the infection comes back stronger because the damage done previously plus the bodies own response has been influenced by the presence of the antibiotic allowing duplicated pathogens that are not weak to flourish for a time.
    This might be a problem of scale. Suppose a carpenter randomly makes mistakes in measuring boards by amounts of about 1/16 an inch. You can build a whole house with errors that small all throughout, and the house will be fine. (Most carpenters do only measure to about that level of accuracy.)

    So, the question is: how big are these mistakes? Are they small enough that the Sun can gradually correct them? If enough birth defects pile up so that they are introduced into a single infant, that infant dies. Inbreeding almost always leads to a high frequency of these happening, but breeding within a properly sized population doesn't. That should tell us something about the way entropy works. The Sun/Environment make large scale corrections to fix our small scale mistakes.
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    Except for the random errors that occur in replication... Offspring are versions of duplications of the order that previously existed. Duplication does not generate new order and thus does not decrease entropy or increase total order. Just as photo copies don't generate new construction plans or plagiarizing an essay does not generate a new essay. When one stops taking antibiotics, the infection comes back stronger because the damage done previously plus the bodies own response has been influenced by the presence of the antibiotic allowing duplicated pathogens that are not weak to flourish for a time.
    One the duplication allows the possibility of new order arising, since it does not affect the original 'plan'. And second how do you explain the fact that infections come out stronger in OTHER people.
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    Still waiting for even one specific example of a contradiction between evolution and thermodynamics... but of course if I'll squash any new ideas or controversial evidence presented here.
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    Perhaps you haven't been following the thread closely. The mechanisms and processes proposed by evolutionary theory do not offer a source of molecular order required in the encoded plans and completed form to satisfy the general case of entropy in open systems. The sun is most often cited as a source for this order and the paper presented by the OP demonstrated that solar radiation provides sufficient thermal entropy but it did not address entropy in the general case.

    kojak and Golkarian are raising points that have been investigated for an eventual explanation of this required molecular order but thus far the biggest limitation seems to be partial reliance on random processes as the source for variation in ordered systems. Modern evolutionary theory has a deterministic process selecting from variations in the genetic code by random processes. As long as random processes are the source of variation, the challenge is to show that any random process is capable of dramatically increasing coherent molecular order beyond that predicted by application of probabilistic resources to random processes and thus does not violate the principles of entropy.
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    I'll just note... We still have yet to receive from Cypress even one specific example of a contradiction between evolution and thermodynamics.
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