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The Laws Of Thermodynamics


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#41 Fred Williams

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 09:44 PM

Method wrote: “And the entropy increase in the sun far outweighs the decrease of entropy on earth”

If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard this argument, I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams! :) This is a just-so statement, and never once have I seen it backed up with a thermodynamic analysis.

One must take into account all agents of entropy, and most evolutionists fail to account for the earth’s thermal radiation (called “blackbody” radiation). The earth radiates energy back out into space. If subsurface and solar energy were the only means the surface exchanged energy with its surroundings, we’d all be fried chicken! In fact, solar radiation alone increases entropy, it *must*!

I am not saying that the earth’s surface is experiencing entropy gain, though it likely is. What I am saying is that evolutionist’s oft claim that earth is experiencing entropy loss is unsubstantiated by facts and is merely an assumption.

All that being said, I have never been a big proponent of 2LOT as an argument against evolution, only because low-entropy states can persist, provided the total entropy of the system is a non-decreasing function of time. But 2LOT is counter-intuitive to evolution and certainly no friend to the theory.

Here is an interesting paper by a professor at UTEP. His conclusion is apropos:

“The development of intelligent life on Earth may have violated only one law of science, but that was the “supreme” law of Nature, and it has violated that law in a most spectacular way”.

http://www.iscid.org...mics_102802.pdf

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#42 chance

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 10:39 PM

Fred Williams

Method wrote: “And the entropy increase in the sun far outweighs the decrease of entropy on earth”

If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard this argument, I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams!  This is a just-so statement, and never once have I seen it backed up with a thermodynamic analysis.

As the earth is thermal equilibrium (within certain parameters) I think we can safely assume that it is in fact so. The sun heats the surface during the day and most is radiated away at night. If this were not so we would indeed either freezes (Mars) or thermal run-away (Venus), both planets also achieve thermal equilibrium but at different temperatures. Maybe we are talking about different things.

In fact, solar radiation alone increases entropy, it *must*!

(Ah I think I see the problem) - Yes, Solar entropy is increasing, but as it is collected by the earth, that energy can be used to sustain life, locally. So if one were to view the entire solar system entropy is increasing, but life on earth is using that loss to fuel it’s own losses, because there is still energy in solar radiation, it has not reached zero energy.

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 06:11 AM

I really don't understand this argument. Is someone trying to claim that the LoT disallow evolution, yet still somehow allow individual organisms to exist?

~~ Paul

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 06:27 AM

Sewell says he asserts that the underlying principle of the Second Law of Thermodynamics is that natural forces do not do extremely improbable things.

Recently, a number of molecules of water evaporated from the gulf of Mexico. Prevailing winds moved them north, where they mixed with some other molecules that had evaporated from the land over South Texas. These particular molcules and only these, were aggregated into a hailstone that fell from the sky, directly into a small metal container on my patio.

I invite the professor or any of his supporters to calculate the probability of that happening, or to show me that it was not by natural forces.

And these stupendously improbable things happen everywhere on Earth, constantly, and every day.

"All right," he might say, "I mean only the sorts of improbable things that lead to highly ordered systems."

Like hurricanes, or primitive market economies, where no one really understands what's happening?

"All right," he might say "you know the difference. I mean the evolution of people from nothing but dirt."

But we already know that complex organic materials form naturally.

"All right," he might say "I mean only living things."

And, of course, although we know how living things evolve, we don't yet know for sure how the first living things got here. Evolution is indifferent to that, only describing how living things evolve.

(Hand slapping by the professor and his students)

#45 Random

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 06:54 AM

One must take into account all agents of entropy, and most evolutionists fail to account for the earth’s thermal radiation (called “blackbody” radiation). The earth radiates energy back out into space. If subsurface and solar energy were the only means the surface exchanged energy with its surroundings, we’d all be fried chicken! In fact, solar radiation alone increases entropy, it *must*!

I am not saying that the earth’s surface is experiencing entropy gain, though it likely is. What I am saying is that evolutionist’s oft claim that earth is experiencing entropy loss is unsubstantiated by facts and is merely an assumption.


Allow me to show, through the use of thermodynamics, that Earth's entropy certainly may decrease.

From our beloved (by some) sun the Earth absorbs sunlight on the illuminated side, i.e. it absorbs energy. Most of this energy comes in the form of visible light. Because there hasn't been any dramatic temperature increase over geological timescales (we're not as hot and nasty as Venus) the energy must, obviously, be radiating away at pretty much the same rate it's recieved. The energy radiated away by the Earth is, however, is mostly in the infrared part of the spectrum. To summarize, as a first approximation, we have:

energy from sun as visible radiation = energy out from earth as infrared radiation

Now, we approximate the radiation from both the sun and the Earth as blackbody radiation (as mentioned). We may now say that not only does the radiation have an energy density, but it also has an entropy density (i.e. entropy pr. volume). Furthermore, we have the general term for change in entropy

DS >= q/T

In words: the change in entropy is always larger than, or equal to, the energy input by heating divided by the temperature (i.e. this is a constant temperature process, but as we approximated, the average temperature of the Earth on geological timescales has remained the same). We can now express this in terms of the entropy from the incoming and outgoing radiation, so that

(entropy change on Earth) >= [(entropy in from the sun) - (entropy out from Earth)]

This doesn't tell us anything interesting, we need to know which of the terms on the right hand side dominates. Looking at the radiation from the sun and from Earth we know that the sun's surface temperature is approximately 6000 K, whereas Earth radiates at about 300 K. This is a difference by a factor of 20. Now, the energy of a typical blackbody photon is 2.7kT, where k is Boltzmann's constant, and T is temperature (for more information see source). Thus the energy of a typical infrared photon is only 1/20 that of a photon of the visible light. This means that for every photon arriving from the sun, the Earth will emit about 20 infrared photons. That's an increase in number that suggests higher multiplicity and thus higher entropy.

Now, I would just like to make a quick digression. As the observant reader noticed I used a word called "multiplicity". In thermodynamics entropy is DEFINED by multiplicity (mathematically: S = k*ln(M), where S is entropy, k Boltzmann's constant and M the multiplicity, usually denoted by capital omega). Without considering multiplicity, any "analysis" using entropy can quickly become meaningless. It therefore amazes me that I've never encountered the term multiplicity when reading creationist arguments involving thermodynamical entropy. Maybe it just slipped past me, but it ought to be such a major part of the argument, that it shouldn't slip past me. Now, this is, if nothing else, a serious image problem for people using thermodynamics as arguments against evolution. But that was a digression, back to the argument.

Furthermore we have that (see source for more details) the entropy pr. blackbody photon has a constant value of 3.60k (k again being Boltzmann's constant), independent of temperature. Because we have equal flow of energy in and out and because 20 photons leave for every that enters, this suggests that 20 times as much entropy leaves as arrives! Thus it ought to be clear that the dominant term in the above inequality is the last term: (entropy out from Earth), and so we have that

(entropy change on Earth) >= some negative value

That is the entropy change on earth can indeed be negative, i.e. we can indeed have a decrease in entropy here on Earth. Thus, from a thermodynamical point of view life is certainly permitted to arise and evolve.

Forgot my source there...My argument is from the book "Thermal Physics" by Ralph Baierlein, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-65838-1, p. 128-130.

#46 Random

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:08 AM

Ok, lemme lay this out.....

If our universe is ruled only by natural law, then many millions of years in the future, the sun will expand until the Earth is vaporized; and after more millions of years the sun will use up all its fuel and burn out, becoming a cold dark cinder; and then after many more billions of years the entire universe will die, either when all the stars are burned out or when the universe collapses, becoming a giant black hole.  Then, when there are no more humans, and the universe itself is dead; all will be forgotten.  That is what natural law says.


I'd just like to add some numbers to give some perspective, and add some (personal) speculations. The heat death is indeed a scenario under consideration. The reason for this is the accelerating expansion of the universe which may rule out a "Big Crunch". Assuming that expansion continues indefinitely the heat death may indeed be where we are heading. Allow me to lay down some numbers for you.

In appr. 100 billion years the galaxies will be so far apart they will no longer be visible.

Within 1000 billion (1 trillion) years, the energy production from the last stars will end.

Then comes the degenreate period, lasting until about 10^37 years. During this period most of the mass is found in black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs and such. The only energy comes from proton decay and particle annihilation.

The next period will be the black hole period where only black holes of varying masses are left. They will slowly vaporize until about 10^101 years.

After that, only neutrinos, electrons, positrons and extremely redshifted photons will be left. There will be only darkness left.

Allowing myself to speculate a bit, this may not necessarily be the end. One possibility is that we live in a "false vacuum", that is, the vacuum of space is not in it's lowest possible state of energy. If that is in fact so, there is a possibility that the vacuum decays into a lower state of energy, possibly even the ground state - true vacuum. (This may then of course happen anytime from now and onwards.) If such a decay were to take place, say, in the distant future, and small areas of the false vacuum remain after the decay, these pockets may collapse into black holes (or other exotic quasi-black hole objects). Furthermore, if our universe exists as part of a (possibly) higher-dimensional manifold of some sorts, then theses black holes from the vacuum collapse may form new universes on the manifold. Now, depending on how the manifold is connected to the universes, strange and wondeful things might happen, things far beyond our dreams.

*Phew* Science truly holds a lot of wonders for those who dear dream! I know this was a bit off-topic, but I hope it could contribute to a perspective of things that otherwise might get lost in these debates. Theres just so much more than us...we should be humble...

#47 Method

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 09:35 AM

Method wrote: “And the entropy increase in the sun far outweighs the decrease of entropy on earth”

If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard this argument, I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams!  :) This is a just-so statement, and never once have I seen it backed up with a thermodynamic analysis.


Plants use very little of the incoming radiation to make carbohydrates, the fuel that powers earth's ecosystem. That being said, we now move to how this energy moves through the ecosystem. In ecology, the effeciency of energy transfer from each level is considered to be 10%. That is, 10% of the chemical energy is transferred from plants to herbivores, 10% of that energy is transferred to the animals who prey on those herbivores, 10% of that energy is then transferred to the top predators. Decomposers at each level take also see a 10% effeciency in energy transfer.

So, we have plants using a tiny fraction of the solar radiation coming in. We then see a pretty sloppy transfer of energy up the food chain. This is still enough energy to fuel the entropic decrease that we see on earth. I think it is very silly to think that the sun is not increasing in entropy more than the Earth is decreasing, given that the life on Earth uses so little energy to produce the diversity we see today.

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 02:12 PM

But it is not used as an analogy by Gitt and others.  They directly conflate information and entropy.


I know for a fact that Dr. Gitt does connect the two ideas, and he states clearly in "in the Beginning was Information" that its unfortunate that people do so.

So in the absense of a reliable quote, I think its irresponsible not to retract that statement.

Terry

#49 Method

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 02:57 PM

I know for a fact that Dr. Gitt does connect the two ideas, and he states clearly in "in the Beginning was Information" that its unfortunate that people do so.

So in the absense of a reliable quote, I think its irresponsible not to retract that statement.

Terry

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Sorry, I'm a little confused by your post. Are you saying that Gitt does or does not directly compare entropy and information.

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:10 PM

Sorry, I'm a little confused by your post.  Are you saying that Gitt does or does not directly compare entropy and information.

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In his book, he said that it was unfortunate that people confused the 2nd law of thermodynamics with entropy as defined in information theory.

Terry

#51 Method

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:53 PM

In his book, he said that it was unfortunate that people confused the 2nd law of thermodynamics with entropy as defined in information theory.

Terry

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Ok, thanks for the clarification. We are starting to draw the topic off course, so we can discuss this further at a different time. I'm not giving orders, but we should probably get back to energy instead of going into information.

#52 fishbob

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 03:51 PM

.....
Now, to deal with the "heat death of the universe"

            So the level of order in the universe will reach a minimum  when the universe reaches a uniform temperature throughout.  This is called the heat death of the universe.  When the universe arrives at its heat death, then all the heat energy of the universe will be completely dissipated, it will be spread uniformly throughout the universe.  Every celestial body in the entire universe then reaches the same temperature on its surface and throughout.  Then heat energy will no longer go from hot places to cold places, for there will be no more hot places, and there will be no more cold places, everything will be at the same uniform temperature.  Then the universe will no longer be losing order.

            In a heat dead universe these principles also tell us that
there will be some remaining order.  The remaining order will be:

            1) In the arrangement-organization of matter, e.g. solids;
            2) In the orbital and rotary motions of objects (which would continue moving because of inertia);
            3) In the remaining microscopic thermal motions of atoms,
            4) In the motions going on inside of atoms. 

            Natural law predicts that the order remaining in a heat dead universe will continue unchanged indefinitely.  In a heat dead universe there will be no living things, for life needs food, a form of concentrated available energy and that will no longer be.

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As long as there is orbital and rotary and thermal and atomic motion - kinetic energy, we won't be at 'heat death' yet. Any moving mass whacking into another mass transfers energy. There can't be a uniform temperature until all this motion stuff stops.

#53 DonH

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 12:31 PM

Oh geeeeeez. I have never seen the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics so misused and abused as I am seeing it here.

It would appear that most people here are clueless about 2LoT.

Answer this question: Why do we define systems as open and closed?

#54 Method

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 01:16 PM

Oh geeeeeez.  I have never seen the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics so misused and abused as I am seeing it here.

It would appear that most people here are clueless about 2LoT.

Answer this question:  Why do we define systems as open and closed?

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Because entropy can decrease in an open system without violating the 2nd Law. However, net entropy can not decrease in a closed system.

#55 Method

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 02:47 PM

Not even close.  Try again.

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Energy and matter can flow into an open system. In a closed system no energy or matter enters the system.

#56 DonH

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:50 PM

Energy and matter can flow into an open system.  In a closed system no energy or matter enters the system.

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Hmmmmm Let me see, you are closer to WHAT open and closed systems are. How about RTFQ tho.

WHY do we define open and closed systems? If you take your last answer here you can probably figure it out.

#57 DonH

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 06:30 PM

DonH- is there a point to any of this?

Just say what you have to say.

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Sure there is a point. First point is that most people are clueless about systems in general and I get tired of hearing this clap trap about how because an arbitrary assignment was made in type of system, the 2LoT no longer applies.

A sub point is making people think instead of just regurgitating what has been fed to them.

#58 st_dissent

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 07:03 PM

Sure there is a point.  First point is that most people are clueless about systems in general and I get tired of hearing this clap trap about how because an arbitrary assignment was made in type of system, the 2LoT no longer applies.

A sub point is making people think instead of just regurgitating what has been fed to them.

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So how do you wish to define a closed system? The most simple definition of a closed system is on that is isolated from its environment. The Earth does not fit this description because it is definately not isolated from its environment.

Here are some qualitative statements about 2LOT:

http://hyperphysics....ase/hframe.html

and 2LOT and entropy:

http://hyperphysics....ase/hframe.html

and Energy and Order in Bio systems:

http://hyperphysics....ase/hframe.html

A quote from the same website above (Hyperphysics):

Any system which is free of external influences becomes more disordered with time. This disorder can be expressed in terms of the quantity called entropy.


Cheers,

st_dissent

#59 Method

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 11:31 AM

Sure there is a point.  First point is that most people are clueless about systems in general and I get tired of hearing this clap trap about how because an arbitrary assignment was made in type of system, the 2LoT no longer applies.


I get tired of the clap trap about the link between evolution and entropy. The two are not tied together outside of the metabolism of the individual organism.

Secondly, the earth is an open system because it recieves matter and energy from the sun. Therefore, entropy is allowed to decrease on earth. Even without life, the fresh water cycle is a decrease in entropy driven by the energy recieved from the sun. If the earth were a closed system then the salinity of all water on earth would be trying to equilibrate and would have by now if not for the energy from the sun.

#60 DonH

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 12:08 PM

I get tired of the clap trap about the link between evolution and entropy.  The two are not tied together outside of the metabolism of the individual organism. 

Secondly, the earth is an open system because it recieves matter and energy from the sun.  Therefore, entropy is allowed to decrease on earth.  Even without life, the fresh water cycle is a decrease in entropy driven by the energy recieved from the sun.  If the earth were a closed system then the salinity of all water on earth would be trying to equilibrate and would have by now if not for the energy from the sun.

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You don't know about entropy then or even systems.

Let me take your example of the earth as an open system. If I now set the boundaries of the system to include the sun, it is a closed system. Does this mean everything you have just said changes?

It sounds like you are saying "There is a thermodynamic god out there who changes everything when we define a system as open or closed and then change it"

Humans define whether a system is open or closed. Nothing else. It all depends on the boundaries we set for the system.

But back to the question everyone is dodging. Why do we have open and closed systems?

If that is too hard, how about how many types of entropy are there and which apply to organic systems such as life?

How about a formula defining entropy?




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