2nd Law of Thermodynamics versus Life

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by 9anda1f, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    I've long wondered about the apparent paradox between the 2nd Law (everything tends from a high energy state to a low energy state ... entropy) and the evolution of life forms here on Earth that tend from low energy states to higher energy states (as in the increasing complexity of life from single cells to humans). Life seems to be the anti-thesis of the 2nd Law!!

    Just yesterday I found this article that attempt to address this seeming conundrum, if you enjoy this sort of thing check it out:

    https://aeon.co/magazine/science/stability-how-life-began-and-why-it-cant-rest/

     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thanks! very interesting.

    i wonder if Benjy will see this... i will link it for him... : )
     
  3. Topher

    Topher Junior Member

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    Life IS entropy.

    I think you are misunderstanding the second law of thermodynamics. Life is an expression of entropy, not the other way around. Increasing complexity is exactly what the second law says *must* happen. The Universe started as a tiny uniform point, (near zero complexity) it has been getting more and more complicated ever since. Life is a remarkably interesting way of increasing that complexity; that entropy. Life is the PROOF of the 2nd law (as in the proof in the pudding, not a mathematical proof). Nor are humans higher energy state than the energy they come from, namely the sun.

    Thank You Kindly,
    Topher
     
  4. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    You're right, even worse mis-representing it.
    For instance, by observation, stars increase elemental complexity (by fusion) whilst dissipating energy (gravity > compression > heat). Life was once defined to me as essentially an effective dissipator of energy, and evolution as the increasingly efficient capability to dissipate energy.
    Thank you for pointing this out!
     

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