Can Evolution be possible if Entropy is true; or rather, is Evolution possible because Entropy is true!

So what is Entropy?

To follow in the tradition of Maimonides. Entropy is NOT a tendency to disorder! I need to thank Joe Felsenstein for directing me to Frank L. Lambert’s insights on a previous thread probably best left alone. Here is a great site to elucidate Lambert’s insights:

http://entropysite.oxy.edu/

What about Evolution? Can complex systems arise naturally and spontaneously into higher tiers of complexity and order and opportunity—according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics— and all without divine intervention commonly described as Intelligent Design or Irreducible Complexity?

Sean Carroll has much to offer on this question:

Entropy and Complexity, Cause and Effect, Life and Time

Participants should refrain from arc-reflex boiler-plate diatribes echoing previously held opinion and first examine what Carroll has to say. Failure to do so will merit cyber-smack downs.

312 Replies to “Can Evolution be possible if Entropy is true; or rather, is Evolution possible because Entropy is true!”

  1. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    My titles are getting smaller… they no longer have a horizon!

  2. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    At the risk of a cyber smackdown I’d like to echo the argument against equating entropy with ‘disorder’. I once suggested to Larry Moran that that was a poor pedagological approach, but he gave me his own version of the cyber smackdown.

    Entropy can increase when a complex molecule is formed, when two bodies respond to gravity, or when distributed rainwaters flow into a lake – when ‘naive order’ actually increases. Of course, one can talk about the order of ‘the whole system’, including the evansecent photons of dissipated energy, but I do think it more understandable to talk of the irreversible distribution of energy from the system – energy that has to be reapplied from elsewhere to change the state.

  3. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:
    At the risk of a cyber smackdown I’d like to echo the argument against equating entropy with ‘disorder’. I once suggested to Larry Moran that that was a poor pedagological approach, but he gave me his own version of the cyber smackdown.

    Entropy can increase when a complex molecule is formed, when two bodies respond to gravity, or when distributed rainwaters flow into a lake – when ‘naive order’ actually increases. Of course, one can talk about the order of ‘the whole system’, including the evansecent photons of dissipated energy, but I do think it more understandable to talk of the irreversible distribution of energy from the system – energy that has to be reapplied from elsewhere to change the state.

    I am surprised Larry would insist on holding on to that notion.

    Larry is keen on rubbing the noses of IDiots into reality – and Larry’s reality just has to contradict the reality of IDiots. If IDiots subscribe to miraculous order and evident design, Larry will be inclined to emphasize disorder and randomness.

    Of course much randomness and disorder exists, especially at the genome level where much DNA is NOT functional…

    However on a different level; higher tiers of complexity and order and opportunity can exist according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics without subscribing to miraculous order and evident design. I appreciate Larry’s emphasis but I agree with you that sometimes he overstates his case (for example Neutral/Almost Neutral Theory) and diminishes thereby his effectiveness, much as I admire his contributions…

    … and admire him I do!

  4. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    What does it even mean, to say “entropy is true”?

  5. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert:
    What does it even mean, to say “entropy is true”?

    Good point – I was emulating the theistic vocabulary of the creationist crowd.

    I agree, the title was misphrased froma scientific POV

    https://www.livescience.com/21457-what-is-a-law-in-science-definition-of-scientific-law.html

    I also agree with how Stephan Jay Gould corrected such misconceptions from creationist corners

    http://wise.fau.edu/~tunick/courses/knowing/gould_fact-and-theory.html

  6. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Life cannot evolve to more complexity without entropy increase. I’ve posed this question many times to creationists in one form or another:

    Which has more entropy, a frozen dead rat or living adult human. Justify your computations from first principle which you learn in Chemistry, Physics and/or mechanical engineering.

    Answer: the living adult human has MORE entropy than a frozen dead rat.

    1. estimate the relative number of moles of water in each organism.
    2. use the standard molar entropy figures of 69.95 J/K/mol for water in the liquid state and 41 J/K/mol for water in the solid state.
    from:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_%28data_page%29

    3. compute an estimate of total entropy in each organism and see the adult living human has MORE entropy than a frozen dead rat

  7. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Tom,

    When Bill Nye had that “debate” with Ham, this question came from the public: How do you reconcile entropy with evolution? My answer would have been: there’s nothing to reconcile, evolution happens because of entropy. That’s not good enough though. Evolution has no option but to happen because of entropy.

    To understand that there’s lots of misconceptions to clarify.

    1. Entropy is not a tendency towards disorder, but the result of a tendency towards some kind of equilibrium.

    2. Because of this tendency towards equilibrium energy flows in one main direction, which makes work possible.

    3. Living things perform work (all life processes are work).

    4. Therefore, to perform that work living things make use of entropy. They run because of it, not against it.

    See? Answer one is right there. No entropy: no life; no life, no evolution.

    The evolution part doesn’t seem to be contained there, but it is. Evolution is not a single phenomenon, it’s a consequence of the way life works.

    For the second, stronger, answer:

    5. Part of life’s work is reproduction. Reproduction is work, it runs because of entropy.

    6. Because there’s no perfection in reproduction (which is also because of entropy), that ensues variety

    7. Because things change (energy naturally flows, remember? That means that change is inevitable), the variants produced in reproduction have different rates of success.

    8. So evolution cannot but happen because of entropy.

    Furthermore. Even without all that explanation, there’s no “intelligent designer” to infer from the “contradiction” that only exists in a poorly understood concept of entropy. Check carefully, and you’ll see that there’s no single instance where any of the “intelligent designers” we can actually point to (ourselves), have done anything against entropy. All the work, by nature and by intelligent designers (which are, actually, part of nature), has always been done in accordance to, and because of, entropy. Never against. I mentioned this last part once to some ID-creationist. Unfortunately for him he understood the point, which resulted in him exploding in insults against me with expletives that included the word “metaphysics” for some reason that I still cannot understand.

    There’s some imperfection and lack of detail in my explanation, but bottom line: no entropy: no work. It doesn’t matter if you’re intelligent or not.

  8. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    stcordova: Life cannot evolve to more complexity without entropy increase.

    Exactly.

  9. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Tom Mueller:

    I need to thank Joe Felsenstein for directing me to Frank L. Lambert’s insights on a previous thread probably best left alone.

    Oh, you mean this one. 🙂

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/in-slight-defense-of-granville-sewell-a-lehninger-larry-moran-l-boltzmann/

    Entropy is simply a quantitative measure of what the second law of thermodynamics describes: the dispersal of energy in a process in our material world. Entropy is not a complicated concept qualitatively. Most certainly, entropy is not disorder nor a measure of chaos — even though it is thus erroneously defined in dictionaries or pre-2002 sources.

    Frank Lambert

    Yeah, take that Keiths, Mung and DNA Jock. Frank Lambert is an entropy science stud.

  10. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    stcordova,

    Life cannot evolve to more complexity without entropy increase.

    That’s a bit of a red herring. It can’t evolve to more simplicity without entropy increase either.

  11. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy,

    Therefore, to perform that work living things make use of entropy. They run because of it, not against it.

    This is very much the case. Pumping protons against the electrochemical gradient in mitochondria and bacterial membranes is doing work; converting energy from one form into another, using serial electronegativity gradients and (sometimes) photons. Then the proton gradient is allowed to run ‘downhill’ – to equilibrate, like water over a mill wheel, and make ATP. Without entropy – without the tendency of systems to seek their lowest energy state, which necessarily involves shedding energy – this could not happen.

    In a sense, the 2nd Law is a corollary of the 1st. If energy cannot be destroyed, it must go ‘elsewhere’. It’s no use there.

  12. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    There is quite obviously no evolution preventing power present in entropy. Until everything evolves to equilibrium, lol.

    Heck, even a Creationist like Salvador could believe that things were created by God in a highly ordered state and that evolution is just the changing over time of these highly ordered initial beings into less ordered states. So again, no conflict with entropy required even for a YEC. Think Genetic Entropy Sal.

  13. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    This could give Tom an idea for another worksheet!

    Q1: What is the definition of entropy for a closed system that is not at equilibrium?

  14. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Tom, if you really, really want to learn about entropy you should read the books by Arieh Ben-Naim.

    They will keep you from making many foolish mistakes.

    He has a few new ones out, one of which is:

    The Four Laws That Do Not Drive the Universe

    And for entropy in biology it would be hard to beat this one:

    Molecular Driving Forces: Statistical Thermodynamics in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Nanoscience

  15. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Can complex systems arise naturally and spontaneously into higher tiers of complexity and order and opportunity…

    You’re asking the wrong question.

    From the perspective of life, we have to move from spontaneous processes to non-spontaneous processes. Living things do’t make use of entropy, they make use of energy. And of course, making use of energy is a completely teleological concept.

  16. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: If energy cannot be destroyed, it must go ‘elsewhere’.

    Why must energy go elsewhere, and where does it go?

  17. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    There is quite obviously no evolution preventing power present in entropy. Until everything evolves to equilibrium, lol.

    I think you may be confused about what ‘equilibrium’ means in relation to thermodynamics, and separately in population genetics.

    Heck, even a Creationist like Salvador could believe that things were created by God in a highly ordered state and that evolution is just the changing over time of these highly ordered initial beings into less ordered states. So again, no conflict with entropy required even for a YEC. Think Genetic Entropy Sal.

    But it’s not about order …

  18. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Why must energy go elsewhere

    Because it can’t stay where it is.

    and where does it go?

    Somewhere it is not presently at.

    Less flippant answers are available to less flippant questions, of course.

  19. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:Living things do’t make use of entropy, they make use of energy.

    Even that description is wrong. Living organisms are a manifestation of a dissipative thermodynamic structure. They don’t “make use of” energy any more than a hurricane or a boiling pot of water does. There is no in principle difference, from the perspective of thermodynamics, between life or any other dissipative structure.

  20. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    I take immediate issue with Carroll’s statement that low-energy entropy from the sun powers the biosphere. He’s the physicist, not me, but there seems to be something wrong with that statement. I don’t really see how the energy can have entropy, high or low – entropy is the property of the entire system, sun plus planet – and energy flow is how increase in entropy manifests itself: the whole system takes steps towards equilibrium.

    On slightly more secure turf for me, you don’t need solar energy to power a biosphere. Rich biospheres at oceanic vents are powered by chemotrophic bacteria; sunlight doesn’t come into it (although there are also photosynthetic bacteria that can use the weak glow down there from hot sources). The proximate energy source is the electronegativity of the chemical species they convert – often sulfur compounds. That itself does of course arise when elements are formed in suns, so in a roundabout way it’s not entirely wrong.

  21. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: Even that description is wrong. Living organisms are a manifestation of a dissipative thermodynamic structure. They don’t “make use of” energy any more than a hurricane or a boiling pot of water does. There is no in principle difference, from the perspective of thermodynamics, between life or any other dissipative structure.

    Rumraket is attempting to teach you something Mung… pay attention!

    FTR – “more ordered” and “less ordered” really are clumsy metaphors when discussing microstates and “Entropy”

    Perhaps a discussion of “Potential Energy’s” relation to Entropy should be discussed according to Lambert’s analysis

  22. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy:
    Tom,

    When Bill Nye had that “debate” with Ham, this question came from the public: How do you reconcile entropy with evolution? My answer would have been: there’s nothing to reconcile, evolution happens because of entropy. That’s not good enough though. Evolution has no option but to happen because of entropy.

    To understand that there’s lots of misconceptions to clarify.

    1. Entropy is not a tendency towards disorder, but the result of a tendency towards some kind of equilibrium.

    2. Because of this tendency towards equilibrium energy flows in one main direction, which makes work possible.

    3. Living things perform work (all life processes are work).

    4. Therefore, to perform that work living things make use of entropy. They run because of it, not against it.

    See? Answer one is right there. No entropy: no life; no life, no evolution.

    The evolution part doesn’t seem to be contained there, but it is. Evolution is not a single phenomenon, it’s a consequence of the way life works.

    For the second, stronger, answer:

    5. Part of life’s work is reproduction. Reproduction is work, it runs because of entropy.

    6. Because there’s no perfection in reproduction (which is also because of entropy), that ensues variety

    7. Because things change (energy naturally flows, remember? That means that change is inevitable), the variants produced in reproduction have different rates of success.

    8. So evolution cannot but happen because of entropy.

    Furthermore. Even without all that explanation, there’s no “intelligent designer” to infer from the “contradiction” that only exists in a poorly understood concept of entropy. Check carefully, and you’ll see that there’s no single instance where any of the “intelligent designers” we can actually point to (ourselves), have done anything against entropy. All the work, by nature and by intelligent designers (which are, actually, part of nature), has always been done in accordance to, and because of, entropy. Never against. I mentioned this last part once to some ID-creationist. Unfortunately for him he understood the point, which resulted in him exploding in insults against me with expletives that included the word “metaphysics” for some reason that I still cannot understand.

    There’s some imperfection and lack of detail in my explanation, but bottom line: no entropy: no work. It doesn’t matter if you’re intelligent or not.

    Sounds good to me

    Semper Fi

  23. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    A great link with some great embedded links:
    http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu/evolution.html

  24. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Q1: What is the definition of entropy for a closed system that is not at equilibrium?

    The same as a closed system that is at equilibrium, surely? The entropy of the latter is just higher.

  25. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: You’re asking the wrong question.

    From the perspective of life, we have to move from spontaneous processes to non-spontaneous processes. Living things do’t make use of entropy, they make use of energy. And of course, making use of energy is a completely teleological concept.

    That would not be accurate!

    I suggest you grapple with the terms spontaneous/nonspontaneous from a Delta G perspective

    http://2ndlaw.oxy.edu/gibbs.html

  26. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Anything is possible in the wishful thinking mind…far away from reality…

    The universe began with extremely, extremely, extremely low entropy (extremely organized) the whole universe was about the size of a tennis ball…. as per Dr. Maybe… I thoroughly enjoy the speculative science because anything is possible if you have an imagination… I call it speculative imagination… away from reality…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGs4C60FR68

  27. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket,

    Even that description is wrong. Living organisms are a manifestation of a dissipative thermodynamic structure. They don’t “make use of” energy any more than a hurricane or a boiling pot of water does. There is no in principle difference, from the perspective of thermodynamics, between life or any other dissipative structure.

    Is there a difference in a living system being able to store and use energy as needed for multiple functions such as mobility or self replication?

  28. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    Rumraket,
    Is there a difference in a living system being able to store and use energy as needed for multiple functions such as mobility or self replication?

    Only in the sense that instead of thinking of the life form as a single instance of energy dissipation, you have to think of it as several such instances. Thermodynamically speaking, it’s still work being performed because of the way energy flows.

  29. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Living things do’t make use of entropy, they make use of energy.

    Making use of energy is short for making use of the flow of energy, and the flow is what happens because of entropy. So, “making use of entropy” is short for the very same thing as “making use of energy.” You just changed one wording for another to describe the very same phenomenon.

    Mung: And of course, making use of energy is a completely teleological concept.

    Semantically speaking, we can twist almost any sentence into a “teleological concept.” That’s the nature of language. It’s pretty plastic.

    If you think that because we may use teleological metaphors (such as natural selection), or because you can twist some explanation or wording into a “teleological concept,” there’s some hidden “admission” that natural phenomena have “purposes,” and “aims,” and are “guided” by “intelligence,” then your discourse, and position, are based on poor semantics and deformation. That would make no dent in the positions you might be against, and you might end up ridiculing yourself.

    You’d be better off trying to understand the explanations than deforming them.

    Up to you, of course.

  30. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: Semantically speaking, we can twist almost any sentence into a “teleological concept.” That’s the nature of language. It’s pretty plastic.

    Looks like you’re getting to know Mung

    Entropy: You’d be better off trying to understand the explanations than deforming them.

    Good luck with that.

  31. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy,

    If you think that because we may use teleological metaphors (such as natural selection), or because you can twist some explanation or wording into a “teleological concept,” there’s some hidden “admission” that natural phenomena have “purposes,” and “aims,” and are “guided” by “intelligence,” then your discourse, and position, are based on poor semantics and deformation. That would make no dent in the positions you might be against, and you might end up ridiculing yourself.

    Succinctly put! 🙂

    TSZ is a rich seam of this particular sub-genre of discourse.

  32. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: If you think that because we may use teleological metaphors (such as natural selection), or because you can twist some explanation or wording into a “teleological concept,” there’s some hidden “admission” that natural phenomena have “purposes,” and “aims,” and are “guided” by “intelligence,” then your discourse, and position, are based on poor semantics and deformation. That would make no dent in the positions you might be against, and you might end up ridiculing yourself.

    No, the reason evolutionists use teleological terms, is because by using what they claim the theory of evolution ACTUALLY does to cause the diversity of life, it sounds completely unbelievable and foolish. And so instinctively they know this, so instead of saying a cornea accidentally mutated in just the right spot, and then it turned out to be useful, they turn it around and say, the cornea evolved to make images sharper and help organisms find their prey.

  33. TomMueller
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:
    Entropy,

    Succinctly put!

    TSZ is a rich seam of this particular sub-genre of discourse.

    AMEN!

  34. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo,

    Exhibit A.

  35. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller,

    So Dunning-Kruger!

  36. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:
    phoodoo,
    Exhibit A.

    Indeed.

  37. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Tom:

    I am surprised Larry would insist on holding on to that notion.

    I made Larry fess up when I criticized his biochemistry textbook:
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/in-slight-defense-of-granville-sewell-a-lehninger-larry-moran-l-boltzmann/comment-page-1/#comment-144684

    Textbook authors have been discussing this issue for decades. Most of us understand that there’s a statistical mechanistic definition of entropy and we understand that the simple metaphor of disorder/randomness is not perfect.

    However, we have all decided that it is not our place to teach thermodynamics in a biochemistry textbook. We have also decided that the simple metaphor will suffice for getting across the basic concepts we want to teach.

    I’ve talked about this with Cox and Nelson (the authors of the Lehninger textbook) and with Don and Judy Voet (the authors of another popular textbook). Sal may not like our decision but it was a very deliberate decision to dumb down a complex subject that doesn’t belong in biochemistry textbooks. It’s not because we don’t know any better.

    Larry Moran

    So Larry admitted what he was teaching wasn’t accurate. I suggest the proper dumbed down version of entropy is Lambert’s energy dispersal.

    I provided an example:
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/in-slight-defense-of-granville-sewell-a-lehninger-larry-moran-l-boltzmann/comment-page-12/#comment-146473

    Alan Fox asked “what is entropy”:

    For the fixed volume (isochoric case), entropy is a bit of an abstract mathematical concept describing the energy dispersed in a system at a given temperature.

    Example, it takes 6660 joules energy to melt a 20g ice cube at 273 kelvin, the change in entropy is:

    delta-S = delta-q/ T = 6660 Joules / 273 Kelvin = 24.4 J/K entropy

    Simple!

    We dispersed 6660 Joules at 273 Kelvin into an ice cube.

    For chemists, they use entropy change to estimate how likely a chemical reaction will go forward.

    I also gave an example of where and entropy increase is associated with a disorder decrease:
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/entropy-and-disorder-from-a-creationist-book-endorsed-by-a-nobel-laureate/

    “We noted earlier that entropy can be correlated-but not identified-with disorder. And we said, moreover, that this correlation is valid in only three cases-ideal gases, isotope mixtures, and crystals near zero degrees Kelvin. The truth of the matter is illustrated by considering the two chemically inert gases, helium, and argon.(7) In our mind’s eye we imagine two balloons, one filled with helium and the other with argon. First, we lower the temperature of both balloons to zero degrees Kelvin. This makes all the gas molecules stop moving in either balloon. Next, we get the molecules moving by heating both balloons to 300 degrees Kelvin (room temperature). Were we to mathematically calculate the increase in entropy, we would find that it was 20 percent higher in the argon balloon than in the helium balloon (154 v. 127 joules per mole per degree Kelvin). But since helium molecules are ten times lighter than argon molecules, they are moving three times faster and thus are more disordered. Here, then, is an example where higher entropy is accompanied by lower disorder, thereby demonstrating that we cannot identify one with the other.

  38. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    I related the Clausius Integral definition of entropy change to the Boltzman definition of Entropy in terms of microstates to even the misuse of entropy in ID information theory here:

    http://creationevolutionuniversity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=72#p449

  39. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo,

    I always know I’ve scored a point when I get a phrase I’ve used reflected back at me. I get an extra point when the concept is misapplied.

  40. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller,

    I would explain where you are wrong, but unfortunately, due to Dunning-Kruger you aren’t smart enough to understand.

    5 billion people believe in a God, nearly the entire planet, but no, no Allan knows better. Sooooo Dunning-Kruger! Totally.

  41. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: 5 billion people believe in a God, nearly the entire planet, but no, no Allan knows better.

    The entire planet also thought the sun orbited the earth at one point.

    But let’s say that you are correct, that the 5 billion people have it right.

    Give this dataset: http://news.gallup.com/poll/1690/religion.aspx
    it seems we can draw a line and see where it crosses the zero axis – i.e. nobody believes any more at some point in the future, and not too far off if you believe those figures – the downward trend is remarkable.

    Let’s say that at that point we still have 5 billion people on the planet and now nobody believes in a god, does that mean that you will accept their judgement as correct? If not, what does it matter how many people believe?

    phoodoo: Sooooo Dunning-Kruger! Totally.

  42. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    Today’s fallacy

    Argumentum ad populum

    Proudly presented by phoodoo

  43. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: I would explain where you are wrong

    First time for everything I suppose. Remind me how decisions are made in phoodoo world?

  44. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Regarding Bill Nye…

    I’ve vigorously argued creationists and IDists should drop the entropy argument altogether for reasons stated above. Unfortunately the idea is now enshrined in many creationist circles…

    That said, there is irreversibility in the organization or order of systems that can be related to energy and entropy concepts. But it is way too sophisticated for most involved in this debate.

    Take 500 fair coins that are numbered and treat each coin like bits. Let any specific bit pattern be the ideal state and lay it out on a table. Then paint the tops with a color like white. So the “all white state” will represent when all the coins are in the correct bit pattern. If a tornado or some other randomizing agent hits the coins and makes them disorganized, there is a minimum amount of energy need to flip them back in the proper configuration of “all white”.

    Landaur provided an estimate of this minimum energy at 0.017 electron volts at 20 degrees Celcius.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landauer%27s_principle

    Note, this is the minimum theoretical value, it probably will take more energy than than to flip a coin!!!!!!

    How this relates to the origin of life is that chiral molecules amino acids can racemize spontaneously due to random thermal energy. The natural tendency is toward the racemized state and it takes energy to put them in the homochiral state (analogous to the “all white” or “all heads” configuration of coins) and maintain the homochiral state.

    There is a minimum amount of energy needed to restore such molecular systems to the ordered state. The figure of Gibbs free energy change in this case agrees with the Landuar principle.

    Hence, entropy in this case must descrease for design to increase. But this is a specialized case, and really it’s an inelegant way of stating the design problem!!

    https://books.google.com/books?id=YEDTgkcNu_gC&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=free+energy+change+racemization&source=bl&ots=jhJ6BMLzsy&sig=LXWfIA_E1-6H-b8IZu54by6aqjk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiq296H5MrXAhXIbiYKHVPNBwIQ6AEIMzAC#v=onepage&q=free%20energy%20change%20racemization&f=false

    The free energy change per mole or even single amino acid is

    delta-G = RT ln 2
    delta-S = R ln 2

    R = 8.314 J/k/mol which can be converted to a single amino acid using Avogadro’s number

    avogadro’s number = 6.20 x 10^23

    Using the other data, one can plug and chug these figures into the above equations:
    20 Celcius = 293.15 Kelvin

    Joules’ /electron volt = 1.602 x 10^-19

    From the book referenced on racemization, the change in Gibbs free energy going from the homochiral state to racemized state per amino acid is: 0.0175 electron Volts using the formula delta-G = RT ln2

    0.0175 electron Volts is in good agreement with the wiki figure for the energy Landauer calculated at 0.0172 electron Volts. I haven’t figured out the discrepancy in the last significant figure….oh well.

    This change of energy per amino acid s in an increase of entropy of 0.175eV / 293.15 Kelvin = 9.57 x 10-25 J/K increase of entropy per amino acid.

    Thus one needs an entropy DECREASE in amino acids to based on the change in the Gibbs free energy to make life possible. So it is apparent in one sense (homochirality) entropy must DECREASE, but in the sense of living humans vs. dead frozen rats, entropy must INCREASE. So the analysis is subtle and it depends on the system in question.

    In the case of homochirality, this isn’t an entropy decrease associated with removing particles or lowering temperature, it is a chemical configuration issue which can’t be solved by appealing to the open thermodynamic system of the Earth. The problem of entropy is very subtle, and it goes deeper than just removing heat when the entropy is associated with a change in chemical configuration, it deals with the Gibbs free energy.

    Bill Nye gave a stupid answer. He should be ashamed of himself calling himself “the science guy”. On the other hand Ken Ham gave even more stupid answers so BIll Nye won the debate, and the YECs lost. Grrh!

  45. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    stcordova: Thus one needs an entropy DECREASE in amino acids to based on the change in the Gibbs free energy to make life possible.

    Sounds to me you know precisely what happened at the origin of life. Do tell.

  46. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: If you think that because we may use teleological metaphors (such as natural selection), or because you can twist some explanation or wording into a “teleological concept,” there’s some hidden “admission” that natural phenomena have “purposes,” and “aims,” and are “guided” by “intelligence,” then your discourse, and position, are based on poor semantics and deformation. That would make no dent in the positions you might be against, and you might end up ridiculing yourself.

    I’ll have to disagree with that.

    The reason we use teleological language, is because it works well.

    Suppose somebody wanted instructions on how to drive from Chicago to New York. With some effort, perhaps I could come up with a mechanical description:

    Drive at bearing 90.253 for 221.97 meters. Then veer left by 21.356 degrees.
    … and so on.

    Someone following those instructions would quickly lose their way. Any small deviation would throw it off.

    The teleological description works better. We assign a purpose of getting to New York. And we give instructions on how to follow the road signs to ensure that you are going in roughly the right direction to satisfy that purpose.

    And yes, some natural phenomenal have “purposes”. In particular, a homeostatic system has the “purpose” of remaining in homeostasis. And that seems to be what drives biological system, human intelligence, etc.

    For sure, we are not very consistent in our attributions of purpose.

  47. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    The problem with the creationist entropy argument is that it is bass-ackward!

    As in the case of homochirality or coin flips, one needs mechanical expectation of what will happen when a randomizing process (uncertainty inducing process) goes through a bunch components — like a tornado going through a junkyard, to get even a clue of the energy change needed to assemble a designed structure (like a 747 or 500 fair coins all heads). Even then, if one were to reduce this to bits counts, the MINIMUM energy per bit expended to is almost negligble according to the Landaur principle. It’s laughable then to even invoke thermodynamics with such miniscule amounts of energy.

    Secondly, it’s the mechanical issues that inform the change in entropy values, not entropy values informing the change in mechanical configuration.

    For example, I can say the entropy change was a reduction of 1 joule/K. Was that because of a phase change (like water freezing) or a chemical change (like homochirality induced from a previous state of racemization, or the ordering of the sequence of a protein)?

    You start with mechanical considerations first, then maybe, if you like being tortured with irrelevant considerations, express it in terms of entropy change. But this is like trying to kill a fly with a bull dozer.

    One could, in principle estimate the entropy change needed to build a house of cards, but it’s not a very good argument nor clear argument for design. Brute mechanical arguments akin to the law of large numbers are far superior.

  48. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: I’ll have to disagree with that.

    [followed by some stuff about how using teleological language might save time and help get a point across, redefining “purpose” from what a creationist would make of it, to include a tendency, all of which has nothing to do with my comment]

    I think you didn’t read the paragraph that you quoted carefully enough.

  49. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Just for the benefit of those who are recent participants at TSZ, this is not the first time by any means that entropy has figured in a thread. Here’s just one example, authored by Oleg Tchernyshyov with comments from Mike Elzinga, Doug Theobald, Bob Lloyd and others.

    Google site search “site:theskepticalzone.com entropy” brings up a fair bit of material.

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