The Second Law

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Helen, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. Helen

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    Is Asimov good enough for you evolutionists?

    "Another way of stating the second law then is, 'The Universe is constantly getting more disorderly' Viewed that way we can see the second law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses and machinery, and out own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself--- and that is what the second law is all about."

    [Isaac Asimov, "In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can't Even Break Even", Smithsonian Institution Journal (June 1970), p. 6

    ============

    Now I know that there were violent objections to my mentioning -- daringly -- a generalized law of entropy. However it seems Asimov thought nothing of calling it the Second Law of Thermodynamics all along!

    And if things are running down, wearing out, becoming disorganized as a general rule, then logic tells us they must have started out new, fresh, organized...

    That's what the Bible says, too, coincidently!
     
  2. Elena

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    EF And rightly so. Asimov's example is a colloquial expression of the second law.

    EF An argument from perceived authority? I say, who cares what Asimov thought nothing of?

    EF Local order can arise in general disorder. What exactly is your point here? Are you claiming that the start had to be new, fresh and completely organized (zero entropy)? del S Universe is increasing, but as far as I know, del S did not have to begin at zero! Most cosmological models argue that the big bang was 'low entropy' not necessarily zero entropy. In fact, what you need to show, quantitatively, is that the Big Bang is only possible in a zero entropy state. Can you do this? Since you don't believe it happened, you are in a tough position here.

    EF Technically speaking the bible says things 'were good', not perfect, but 'good'. Furthermore, I would love to be able to quote the biblical verses stating that the Universe was zero entropy in my bible study class.
     
  3. mdkluge

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    Helen wrote:
    Not for thermodynamics.

    A possibly apocryphal story about Asimov: He was a bright high school student. He knew he wanted to study some kind of science in college. During his freshman year he took a calculus class and earned a grade of B. Asimov's weren't supposed to get Bs. He majored in biochemistry where he didn't have to study mathematics.

    Whether the above story is actually true or not it is a fact that Asimov's explanations of virtually everything he explained were notoriously devoid of mathematics. Unfortunately thermodynamics is almost entirely mathematical. The physical definition of entropy is simply unintuitive. Even given the definition of entropy in terms of temperature and heating in reversible processes it is not obvious that there is such a thing as a system's entropy, or whether it (like heat or work) is a property of a system's history. (It is a state function, but the demonstration even for simple cases is difficult.)

    Is Asimov a bad science popularizer? I think not. The main function of a science popularizer is to make science interesting to the general public and to give a general idea what each scientific discipline is all about. One expects a certain amount of misinformation in any popularization. The trick is that popular science readers must always be open to the possibility that what they think they have learned through popular sources is either incorrect or misleading. That is, they must never consider themselves expert in any field of science that they have learned through popular reading unless they have also learned that field through nonpopular means. (That is, they should have read and understood at least a technical book on the subject.)
     
  4. Helen

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    I won that bet! If it doesn't agree with you folks it's wrong! Doesn't matter WHO says it!

    Thanks!
     
  5. Peter101

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    Helen,

    Asimov stated the 2nd law in a non-rigorous way for a non-technical audience. I am sure he would be the first to agree that his words should not be taken as a precisely accurate statement of the 2nd law. When the 2nd law is stated accurately, there is no barrier to evolution and you know that three experts, textbooks authors of thermodynamics textbooks, dispute the usual creationist claim.

    You are on record as having two different opinions about the 2nd law. You are on record as saying that the 2nd law strictly prohibits evolution. But recently, you have backed out of that claim and only say that the evolution conflicts with a "generalized statement of entropy" or some words to that effect. You are not at all consistent with your opinion on this point. In fact, there is no such thing a generalized law of entropy, whether you reference Asimov or anyone else. What is your real opinion now Helen? Why do you change your opinion so ofen on this point?
     
  6. mdkluge

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    Helen wrote:
    FINALLY! Science proceeds on the basis of argument, NOT PERSONALITY. It does not matter WHO says what. Authority belongs to him or her with the best, most rigorous arguments. Period. Unless you yourself are an authority, do not waste time quoting whom you think to be an authority against authority.
     
  7. Paul of Eugene

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    Asimov was a prolific and always interesting writer. He liked to speak at length on the subject of entropy and how overall even in a generalized, macro sense, the second law of entropy would seem to apply. And he believed in evolution. Would this seem a discrepancy? It might to some. But in his book VIEW FROM A HEIGHT, he shared his feelings on the subject. In pages 146, 147, and 148 he discusses how natural selection works to sift out order in a general fashion. He draws an anology; if a number of figurines are in a tray, all in order, and you shake the tray, the figurines will become randomly ordered. But if there are depressions in the tray, then the figurines, under the influence of the shaking, can settle into the depressions. In a like manner, species "settle into" the environmental nitches for which their behavior suits them.

    The notion of generalized entropy is interesting but not quantiziable, not amenable to scientific analysis; to Asimov, who reveled in thinking about it and writing about it, it represented no barrier to evolution. That's the facts, folks.
     
  8. Elena

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    EF Don't go to Vegas then! You made the cardinal mistake that permeates young earth creationism. The mistake is assuming that a scientist automatically accepts anything written by someone perceived to be an authority. Although part and parcel of yec, scientists are taught to be extremely skeptical and most of us will point out errors when they are obvious. In this case, you incorrectly assumed that we would disagree with Asimov because what he said seemed to go against what the scientific explanation of 2lot says (and hence you also perceived the statement as supporting the anti-evolution stance). Yet at least 3 people who disagreed with Asimov, pointed out that he was speaking of 2lot in a colloquial manner. Technically and scientifically speaking, he was wrong and each of us who pointed that out are quite justified to do so. Furthermore, the fact that we correct 'one of our own' has nothing whatsoever to do with the validity of the evolutionary argument.
     
  9. Paul of Eugene

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    Got to thinking more about this post. If it doesn't matter WHO says it, who are the "you folks" with whom it must agree? :eek:

    You've almost got the essense of science here. Substitute "experimental findings" for "you folks" and you'll be even closer.
     
  10. Helen

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    Folks, I have quoted an expert in the field (Atkins) rather extensively. Then I quoted a respected popularizer. Nothing flies with you. No, my thoughts have not changed, but it was just really interesting to watch the reactions here. ANYTHING other than creation. And, to my mind, anything other than reality as well.

    Have a good one.

    This is going to be the best ice cream I've ever eaten! My choice. Baskin-Robbins.
     
  11. Elena

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    EF LOL, enjoy your ice cream, far be it from us to sway you from you own delusions of victory.
     
  12. ColoradoFB

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    Helen's declaration of victory is akin to Bush stating 2 months ago that the war in Iraq is over and that the US & Britain won.

    Mwhahahahahaha

    Appeal to Authority is a classic logical fallacy.

    Where did Asimov say this? In what context? And you are right, Helen...if something is proven wrong, it doesn't matter WHO said it. Even Sagan's classic TV series "Cosmos" has been updated with new findings in its latest DVD version...highly recommended BTW!!
     
  13. Paul of Eugene

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    In the narrow sense of predicting the response from evolutionists, Helen won the bet fair and square. Enjoy the ice cream, Helen!

    Scientists have no shame; they'll abandon anybody who departs from the evidence.

    It would be like creationists abandoning Billy Graham if he suggested the Bible allowed for an evolutionary interpretation . . .
     
  14. Helen

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    Thank you Paul, -- the quote was referenced, by the way, Colorado. It is from the Smithsonian Journal. 1970.

    So now we have material from publications by both the Smithsonian and Scientific American declaring both the 2LOT and entropy to be universally applicable.

    And the evolutionists on Baptist Board denying the validity of either reference.

    That was my bet. and Paul is right, I won fair and square. I did not choose unknown people or questionable publishers.

    The point I wanted to drive home, and I think I did, was that there is no way some of you will back down regardless of the evidence.

    That makes what you are involved in actually a religious thing and not science at all. You are giving excellent evidence for the idea that evolution is the result of a religous preference and belief system -- one that may or may not include some kind of deity.
     
  15. Elena

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    EF LOL, the 'narrow' sense Paul referred to also went out the window! I suggest you read his entire post with an eye toward full comprehension before you take that first bite of ice cream. Otherwise, it might end up tasting like crow.
     
  16. Helen

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    from Jackson -- that's Jackson, Florida, right?
     
  17. john6:63

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    Now Helen, like all “good scientists” it’s always appropriate to withhold some information. :eek:
     
  18. Helen

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    Not if you are Joe Meert trying to use another name. He has been banned from this board. He has done this before -- tried to use another name. I think he is either Elena or a professor of hers who is doing this through her. I am also fairly sure Peter 101 is someone who has been banned, too... [​IMG]

    Just something about the words and styles used...
     
  19. Elena

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    EF Jackson, Michigan. 30 minutes south of lansing Michigan and 30 minutes west of Ann Arbor. Home of southern Michigan Prison.
     
  20. Helen

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    Thank you and I apologize. YOu sound an awful lot like Joe Meert in some of what you say and your attitude.
     

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