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View Diary: Everything you wanted to know about sex and more: Review of Dorion Sagan's book "Sex" (67 comments)

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  •  Again turning it around (0+ / 0-)

    You are repeating Sagan's point.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:04:31 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  No, I'm not, actually. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger

      He's gaping at wonder at the fact that life works at all given that it violates the second law.... which is an admirable position, in itself.  The problem is, 'all things tend to disorder' isn't the second law at all.  There is no physical law that says 'all things tend to disorder.'  The idea that life could arise isn't at all hard to believe when you realize just how common order is in the universe.

      •  Life violates the second law? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, Bob Love, bvig

        No, it does not.

        The order of life on Earth is at the expense of increasing entropy of the sun.

        A better way to say it is that the entire system is moving towards a position of thermodynamic equilibrium...eventually.

        --Austin Texas Democrat -9.12,-8.67

        by pdrap on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:26:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That still has nothing to do.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badger, Bob Love

          ...with order or chaos.  The idea that 'everything tends toward disorder' is a misstatement of a bad paraphrasing of the second law:  'Everything tends toward entropy.'  (And even that isn't actually the second law, nor is it even always true.)

          The second law of thermodynamics is 'in a closed system, energy always moves from greater amounts to lesser until equilibrium is achieved.'  The idea that this involves order or disorder is an old creationist argument.  Nothing more.

          •  the way you phrase it doesn't help any either (0+ / 0-)

            you're missing the point.  Mammals are higher energy than bacteria.  It's not a creationist trick this question it's saying look at the bigger picture lik pdrap suggested.  

            Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

            by bvig on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:40:33 PM PST

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            •  Only because.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger, don mikulecky

              ...we're larger.  We have more matter as well.  None of this has anything to do with the point Sagan is trying to make.  He's still focusing on a creationist misinterpretation of the second law.

              •  then why does he say (0+ / 0-)

                Our organization, far from violating the second la, helps to illustrate how nature accomplishes its unconscious purpose, to come to equilibrium, spread energy, and promote atomic and molecular chaos - even if it means temporarily creating complex materially cycling, energy spreading structures to do so

                Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

                by bvig on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:47:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But above that he says (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bob Love, pdrap, Corwin Weber

                  "the tendency of all systems,m as described by the second law of thermodynamics, is towards randomness", and that's simply not true.

                  Worse, it's a pretty serious error.

                  Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

                  by badger on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:50:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  eventually (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pdrap

                    that's what it would predict.  Not that complexity can't temporarily result and you don't have to take into account energy input but he does say 'from a cosmic perspective' so I took that to be looking at the universe as a whole.  I've seen plenty of scientists interchange entropy and randomness, not sure if that's too much of a goof.

                    Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

                    by bvig on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:58:31 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well yeah, the heat death of the universe (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Corwin Weber

                      is likely, but he's trying to create some mystery about "organization" where there isn't any. In fact all kinds of things self-organize (like this blog, or even this discussion) - it just takes external energy inputs to accomplish that.

                      The excerpt reads like pseudo-scientific nonsense to me, no matter who his parents were.

                      Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

                      by badger on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:21:07 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Because he believes it to be true. (0+ / 0-)

                  Into the Cool is an entire book devoted to proving it to be true.

                  An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                  by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:15:24 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Amen! (0+ / 0-)

                An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:13:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  And the key words are (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Corwin Weber, don mikulecky

            "closed system".

            To claim that our "organization" violates the second law is to claim that we live in a closed system. Maybe that's true about the universe, but it certainly isn't true of earth which is continually bombarded with matter and energy from outside the earth.

            A mechanical clock will run down if you don't wind it, because it's a closed mechanical system with a winding stem that interfaces to the outside. If you wind it, it keeps on ticking. That's what the second law says: there's no free lunch - it doesn't say nobody gets to eat.

            I expect the sun will rise tomorrow, and Sagan, apparently, doesn't.

            Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

            by badger on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:47:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  read above comment (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              don mikulecky

              he is not arguing it violates the second law.

              Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

              by bvig on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:48:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Read my answer to the above comment (0+ / 0-)

                He says "all" systems, not "closed" systems, and that's just plain wrong.

                Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

                by badger on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:51:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  All systems are open. (0+ / 0-)

                  In thermodynamics we create virtual closed and isolated systems.  They can not really exist except as approximations.

                  An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                  by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:13:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Then you're agreeing with what's being said (0+ / 0-)

                    in this thread? Because the quote from Sagan begins with a statement that's only true about closed systems. If they no longer exist, he's writing gibberish.

                    Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

                    by badger on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:29:06 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If it is taken out of context and then (0+ / 0-)

                      distorted anything can be called gibberish.  You have your straw man.  Try dealing with Sagan's position next time.

                      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                      by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:34:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Real systems are open. (0+ / 0-)

              You can only approach a closed system in a laboratory.  Even then it is only an approximation over the short term.

              An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

              by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:11:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Entropy (0+ / 0-)
            But entropy is a measure of disorder. Increasing entropy means that there are more possible random states for the system to be in - that's increasing disorder.

            The creationist argument is that life is disobeying the second law, because living things obviously have lower entropy.

            That argument is wrong, because living things take in energy (food) to maintain their lower entropy, and the energy comes from another thing that increases in entropy to compensate (the sun). That means that the entire system is increasing entropy.

            Disorder is not precisely entropy, because entropy is a very specific kind of thermodynamic disorder.

            But, entropy is a kind of disorder, so it's correct, though not as precise, to say that increasing entropy is increasing disorder.

            --Austin Texas Democrat -9.12,-8.67

            by pdrap on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:19:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Completely wrong. (0+ / 0-)

              Entropy is a loss of energy.  That's it.  Lots of low energy systems are highly ordered.  (Look at the molecular structure of ice.)  The idea that entropy has anything to do with disorder is a very common misconception.... but being very common doesn't make it any less wrong.

              •  Energy is conserved, That's the first law n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pdrap

                An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:35:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Universally, yes. (0+ / 0-)

                  Within the system you're looking at at the moment?  Not so much.

                  Look at it this way.... a car burns fuel to produce energy.  Where does all of that energy go?  It's not in the car anymore.  It's been conserved from the universe's perspective, it's radiated off as heat, sound, kinetic energy and the like.... but from the car's perspective there has been entropy.  That energy isn't there anymore.

                  •  Look at it any way you want (0+ / 0-)

                    The issue was settled hundreds of years ago.  Energy is conserved.  That's the first law of thermo and an even more fundamental first principle of basic physics.

                    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                    by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 06:15:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Wikipedia (0+ / 0-)
                These references, numbered 4-10, are listed on Wikipedia as supporting the statement I gave.

                # ^ Baierlein, Ralph (2003). Thermal Physics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65838-1.
                # ^ Schroeder, Daniel, R. (2000). Thermal Physics. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. ISBN 0-201-38027-7.
                # ^ Chang, Raymond (1998). Chemistry, 6th Ed.. New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-115221-0.
                # ^ a b McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Chemistry, 2004
                # ^ Barnes & Noble's Essential Dictionary of Science, 2004
                # ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of Science, 2005
                # ^ a b Sethna, J. Statistical Mechanics Oxford University Press 2006 p78

                Where's yours?

                Entropy is a loss of energy.  That's it.

                You are completely wrong. When ice melts, its entropy increases. The number of possible random states that the individual particles can assume increases at that point.

                --Austin Texas Democrat -9.12,-8.67

                by pdrap on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 07:56:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Try an elementary physics text. You don't even (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Corwin Weber

                  understand your own references.  That is sad.

                  An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                  by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:39:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Check the attributions (0+ / 0-)

                    Go on over to Wikipedia and change the place where it says that the entropy of melting ice is increasing.

                    I dare you.

                    The big picture right on the side of the Entropy article even says:

                    "Ice melting is a common example of "entropy increasing",[1] described in 1862 by Rudolf Clausius as an increase in the disgregation of the molecules of the body of ice.[2]"

                    Go fix that crap right away! I am certain that the maintainers of the entropy article would be extremely happy to have your contribution.

                    NOT.

                    --Austin Texas Democrat -9.12,-8.67

                    by pdrap on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 02:02:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Let me try to help you understand. (0+ / 0-)

                  Entropy is a degradation of energy.  You are confusing that with loss.  The energy is conserved but less useful.The loss is in exergy or the utility of the conseved energy.  One way of stating the second law is that you can not run a heat engine as a perpetual motion machine.  Whatever device you devise it must run the heat energy from a warmer to a cooler reservoir.  The energy in the cooler reservoir can't be used in that device now.  It is still there but you lost its use. Melting ice requires adding heat energy.  It does not melt if the surrounds are cooler than the ice.  Think about it before you confuse yourself further.

                  An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                  by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 08:49:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Read me more accurately (0+ / 0-)

                    Entropy is a degradation of energy.  You are confusing that with loss.

                    No, I wasn't.

                    I was quoting someone else when I said that.

                    I think I clearly write that entropy is NOT a loss of energy, but a degradation of energy.

                    Think about it before you confuse yourself further.

                    Looks like attributions are confusing you.

                    Corwin is the one who got it wrong, not me. He's the one who wrote "Entropy is a loss of energy.  That's it."

                    --Austin Texas Democrat -9.12,-8.67

                    by pdrap on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 01:59:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  On the contrary...Only if the sun gives out (0+ / 0-)

          That's Sagan's thesis...the spontanious ordering prevents the approach to equilibrium...that is what complex reality is all about.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:09:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Stop creating straw men,,,, (0+ / 0-)

        Please read the diary...He does NOT

        He's gaping at wonder at the fact that life works at all given that it violates the second law....

         He has an entire book devoted to showing that life does not violate the second law  Why do you read your own bias into it?

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:07:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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