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The 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics


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#1 deadlock

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 04:33 PM

I´d like to make a question :

If we have a dead body as a open system , receiving energy from the sun.Will the entropy of the dead body decrease ?





< Edit = Adam - This OP was a reply inserted originally after this post: http://www.evolution...indpost&p=36117 >

#2 A.Sphere

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 04:57 PM

I´d like to make a question :

If we have a dead body as a open system , receiving energy from the sun.Will the entropy of the dead body decrease ?

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In order for there to be a decrease in entropy there must be a mechanism that converts energy into work. Without that mechanism there could only be work done on the system by its environment rather than work done by the system on its environment.

#3 deadlock

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 06:02 PM

In order for there to be a decrease in entropy there must be a mechanism that converts energy into work.  Without that mechanism there could only be work done on the system by its environment rather than work done by the system on its environment.

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So, what was the mechanism that converted energy into work in the pre-biotic earth ?

#4 A.Sphere

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 07:02 PM

So, what was the mechanism that converted energy into work in the pre-biotic earth ?

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I don't understand your question. There are many thermodynamic processes that can convert energy to work. Almost all of them are non-living processes.

#5 CTD

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 07:31 PM

I don't understand your question.  There are many thermodynamic processes that can convert energy to work.  Almost all of them are non-living processes.

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All man-made things are non-living.

#6 A.Sphere

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 07:48 PM

All man-made things are non-living.

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I agree. But I am not sure what this has to do with a "pre-biotic" earth.

#7 CTD

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 07:55 PM

I agree.  But I am not sure what this has to do with a "pre-biotic" earth.

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Absolutely nothing. By definition "pre-biotic" excludes mankind from being present.

#8 deadlock

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:43 AM

I don't understand your question.  There are many thermodynamic processes that can convert energy to work.  Almost all of them are non-living processes.

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First, You said that when a system is open and it receives energy, its entropy decreases. So, I asked you if a dead body which is a open system, receiving energy from the sun will have its entropy decreased.So, you changed your definition, saying that it receiving input energy is not enough, it needs a mechanism for converting energy into work.I want to know what was the mechanism for converting energy into work, used by abiogenesis. I know it´s off-topic but it has to do with second law.

#9 Ibex Pop

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:13 PM

I´d like to make a question :

If we have a dead body as a open system , receiving energy from the sun.Will the entropy of the dead body decrease ?

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Notions of what you perceive as order aside, the body would be heated and gain the capacity for thermodynamic work. Now, what that work would amount to would be precious little, seeing as how the support system for all the cells and the complex molecular pathways would have been destroyed, the cells long since having destroyed themselves. Early life does not require a complex support system, but asking whether a body will decay in sunlight, which that body cannot do much work with (it couldn't do much with it while it was alive, either), while it is surrounded and covered in functional micro-organisms hardly demonstrates a problem with the second law of thermodynamics, but a lack of understanding on the part of the person asking the question. Our notions of order aren't even valid when placed up against the actual law, as a body at 9000 degrees has a very high work potential but it does not function as a human. We consist of many areas of lesser and greater energy (and it is not all thermal energy, and thermal energy applied directly back to our body will not regenerate the electrical or chemical activity) and entropy, it is how we function, consuming food for energy, burning phosphorous to keep warm, using oxygen to catalyze sugar into adenosine triphosphate, and a billion other small details. Just heating a human body isn't going to regenerate cell walls or immune systems, the body would not come alive again even if its order increased. Hypothetically, we could turn it into a diamond, which possesses a great deal of order, but it would not be a living human being again. We could turn a diamond into a human, at the cost of order but at a massive gain in complexity. Popular notions of order and entropy are best left to simple domains where complexity is not required. Trying to apply your impression of what an ordered human is against a dead simulacrum possessing a high heat gradient is just silly.

#10 deadlock

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 04:21 PM

Someone needs to take a physics class.  A living human has everything you mentioned above, and if they stand in the sun the same thing will happen to them that happens to a dead person.  A human is an open system only if they eat(though the sun provides this energy indirectly).  If you don't eat, you become essentially a closed system.  You burn your energy reserves and your entropy increases.

Are you asking what process led to molecules organizing themselves into more complex structures???  I'll be the 1st to say I don't know the answer to that one.

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Exactly. So, an outsource of energy is not enough to make a system open.A human receives energy from the sun but it hasnt the mechanism to handle it and store it like a plant.

#11 mandel

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:43 AM

Exactly. So, an outsource of energy is not enough to make a system open.A human receives energy from the sun but it hasnt the mechanism to handle it and store it like a plant.

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It has. Its called heat capacity.

#12 deadlock

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 04:45 PM

It has. Its called heat capacity.

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So in your opinion, a human body receiving energy from the sun doesnt increase entropy.

#13 mandel

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 01:24 AM

So in your opinion, a human body receiving energy from the sun doesnt increase entropy.

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I don't know what twisted understanding of thermodynamics you have got, but when heat is added to a system its entropy will increase.

From wikipedia: When heat is added to a system at high temperature, the increase in entropy is small. When heat is added to a system at low temperature, the increase in entropy is great.

#14 Adam Nagy

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 05:25 AM

I don't know what twisted understanding of thermodynamics you have got, but when heat is added to a system its entropy will increase.

From wikipedia: When heat is added to a system at high temperature, the increase in entropy is small. When heat is added to a system at low temperature, the increase in entropy is great.

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Entropy is a funny word and for all of our sakes, because of it's nature, let's not try to come down on people for inverting its usage (For the sake of argument, you're the one screwing it up here, mendal. :lol: ). I've seen it used backwards and forwards so many times. It's an easy thing to screw up because entropy accomplishes the unusual task of describing a negative. This is highly unusual in speech which makes the matter of increasing or decreasing entropy easy to transpose.

http://dictionary.re.../browse/entropy

Entropy - (on a macroscopic scale) a function of thermodynamic variables, as temperature, pressure, or composition, that is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process. A closed system evolves toward a state of maximum entropy.


An increase in entropy is a decrease in available energy to do work.

A decrease in entropy is an increase in available energy to do work.

It's nutty. I know. :)

This has already been addressed on this thread and I believe I was the one getting corrected so I'm guilty of talking about it incorrectly too.

#15 mandel

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:12 PM

So let me get this straight. If a human body for example receives heat for example its entropy will decrease?

What happens when, say an ice cube receives heat and melts. Does the icecubes (now water) entropy increase or decrease?

#16 Ron

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:19 PM

What happens when, say an ice cube receives heat and melts. Does the icecubes (now water) entropy increase or decrease?

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I suppose it depends upon the amount of heat, and whether or not it has become steam :P

#17 Adam Nagy

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 06:49 PM

Ron's statement above is more relevant than you realize. Entropy is a little more dynamic than people realize but for an example something as linear as possible is a better starting point...

So let me get this straight. If a human body for example receives heat for example its entropy will decrease?

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Let's use a different example to start with, so we can examine entropy on a more direct relationship between energy and capacity to do work.

A car driving down the road is subject to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. To move, it burns fuel. A violation of the 2nd law would be the gas tank magically getting filled with fuel rather than consuming fuel while going down the road.

As a car goes along between fillings its entropy is increasing because it is running out of fuel. The moment that you refuel, its entropy is decreased.

What happens when, say an ice cube receives heat and melts. Does the icecubes (now water) entropy increase or decrease?

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A cup of water with an ice cube melting in it is melting because the entropy of that system is increasing.

Here is an example where melting ice is an intricate part of the work being done:

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In that system, the ice in it's state as ice, decreases the entropy of that system as it melts the entropy increases.

Now toss some ice in to a pot of boiling water on the stove and that systems entropy will be increased but as it melts the entropy will decrease as the water commences to boil. But what decreased the entropy of that system? The burner right? Which itself is consuming energy from a source which is doing work in a system which is increasing in entropy until it is refueled, which decreases entropy but as it does more work the entropy will continue to increase until it is refueled.

The kicker is this. You can always trace energy transfers back, in the material world, to a source that is always going towards a maximum state of entropy. The universe is winding down.

Consider this; The earth and the moon are both within the same proximity to the sun but the moon's state on the surface is clearly at a state near maximum entropy compared to the earth. What does this tell us?

The amount of blind faith it takes to believe that the living systems, that are capable of taking the sun's energy (which is coming from an object that is itself is heading towards a state of maximum entropy) to do work the way it is accomplished on this planet, by billions of years of random haphazard events that only have the illusion of intelligent design is beyond me.

#18 mandel

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:33 AM

So my statement before was correct. The human body receiving heat from will have its entropy increased. I know very well that the whole system (the body and the heat source) will have its entropy increased when the process happens.

#19 Adam Nagy

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 06:31 AM

So my statement before was correct. The human body receiving heat from will have its entropy increased. I know very well that the whole system (the body and the heat source) will have its entropy increased when the process happens.

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So what is your problem with what deadlock said and asked? You accused him of not understanding thermodynamics, please elaborate.

#20 mandel

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:55 AM

Because he asked me whether it was my opinion that it would increase. That made me jump to the conclusion that he was of another opinion. Sorry i was too fast!




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