# Knowledge and subjectivity. Origin of life

In fact it is important to observe this phenomenon, because at the level of the entire universe, living organisms accelerate entropy and are hastening its decay toward (but never quite reaching) a state of complete disorganization.
I realized this at an early age. My mother was not impressed when I started using this as an excuse for not cleaning my bedroom.

Secondly, WHY are you amazed as how easily we say entropy of life or other subsystems can decrease?

The classic example is the unique folding of proteins. Proteins, such as enzymes, are easily denatured, held together with binding forces equivalent to only a few hydrogen bonds. Based on the thermal energy within the water and the assumption of random collisions in solution, it was assumed that proteins would fold into average folds following the classic bell curve. This variety implied folding entropy.

But as experimental equipment improved, it was demonstrated proteins fold into unique folds with probability equal to 1.0. There is zero entropy variation when the same protein is folded again and again, with this folding not governed by the laws of statistics. Entropy and statistics are sort of like cousins in that both have a connection to randomization. Life has a way to beat the odds by loading the dice and stacking the deck.

For example, say we begin with a six sided dice that is regulation. This dice behaves by classical laws of statistics/entropy. Say we add a weight to one side of the dice so it always falls on one side. This weight changes the classical odds and restricts the expected entropy. This loading of the dice, within life, that changes the classical odds, such as restricting structural entropy via unique folding of protein, is connected to water.

Entropy is reversible in many chemical and physical instances. For example, we can start with liquid water. If we freeze the liquid into ice, the entropy of the water will lower. We can then melt the ice and cause the entropy to rise back to the original level. We can do this again and again. The connecting valuable is based on energy, via the heat of fusion. For entropy to increase, it needs to absorb energy, which in the case of ice to water, is the heat of fusion. When we freeze water, we extract the same amount of the heat of fusion from the entropy. This cycling back and forth is not based on randomness but on reproducible results. Life can regulate entropy by reversible processes and energy. Life will build protein and recycle the same protein, to maintain an entropy balance.

Entropy is not reversible, like time is not reversible, or distance is not negative.

If you start with an amount of water at a specific temperature at a specific pressure, in order to freeze the water you have to remove heat. Removing heat requires energy. Refrigerators don't work unless you plug them in. Where do the wires lead to? The back yard, where there is a contraption that increases entropy by converting gasoline (mass) into energy (power*time).

Making silly claims of reversing entropy is akin to making the claim that the gas tank on the contraption will overflow if you operate the contraption for a great enough time.

wellwisher is obsessing over water so much because he attaches a religious significance to it. He thinks it would be just so awesome if this "pure" substance, so often utilized by the biblical character of God for activities that involved "cleansing" of one sort or another, somehow formed the very basis of the expression of life itself.

Of course it's not hard to figure out why we all started associating water with cleanliness at some point, is it? I mean what else could we have bathed in? Dirt?

(and if we had all evolved on Titan it would probably be liquid methane instead)

Making silly claims of reversing entropy is akin to making the claim that the gas tank on the contraption will overflow if you operate the contraption for a great enough time.

An easier example of decreasing entropy is connected to the mixing of water and oil. As an experiment, begin with a beaker of half water and oil. Next add energy and work via agitation. The added energy will cause the entropy of the system to increase to form an emulsion; more random. Next, let this set and watch the emulsion phase separate back into two layers, spontaneously, lowering the randomness/disorder/entropy.

In this case, the agitation energy added exceeded the entropy possible for the system. It will reverse back to a lower level.

The interaction of the water and oil is based on a more encompassing concept called free energy (G) which is both enthalpy (H) and entropy (S). In the water-oil system the enthalpy (H), will dominate the entropy. Note: Enthalpy, H, consists of internal energy, U, plus the product of pressure (P) and the volume (V) of the system, which are all functions of the state of the thermodynamic system, enthalpy is a state function. The internal energy is connected to the surface tension, between oil and water, getting so high. It will need to lower and will lower the entropy to do so.

wellwisher is obsessing over water so much because he attaches a religious significance to it. He thinks it would be just so awesome if this "pure" substance, so often utilized by the biblical character of God for activities that involved "cleansing" of one sort or another, somehow formed the very basis of the expression of life itself.

The only life, ever seen by humans and science, makes use of the water and oil/organic; G, H, S interaction mentioned above. Water and organics involve enthalpy considerations which makes it able to regulate entropy. If you used methane, all the organics of known life, like DNA, would dissolve instead of separate, increasing entropy making it difficult for life to get past random.

The bible did give me the water hint, and it turns out this was based on science even before there was science. Water is the most studied substance in science, with 70 known anomalies. Anomalous properties are properties that differ from the trends found in other similar materials. The pH effect of water, where water will self dissociated into stable acid and base is critical to life.

Another consideration for a solvent for life is methane is energy rich and therefore would eventually be used as fuel or food. Water does not burn, since it is a final product of methane combustion. If you have a solvent for life with as much or more energy value, than the structures of that life, that is not stable. The majority phase will catch fire, eventually, due to the direction of energy and entropy flow. Entropy needs energy and the potential energy in the methane will eventually be released to help increase entropy. Water is very stable this way, allowing entropy to fall via enthalpy H.

An easier example of decreasing entropy is connected to the mixing of water and oil. As an experiment, begin with a beaker of half water and oil. Next add energy and work via agitation. The added energy will cause the entropy of the system to increase to form an emulsion; more random. Next, let this set and watch the emulsion phase separate back into two layers, spontaneously, lowering the randomness/disorder/entropy.

The entropy increase was due to the work you did on the oil and water. Work/time=power and power*time=energy. Before you stirred the oil and water you ate food. The food energy was transferred to the oil/water mix, so you now have more than you started with in the oil and water mix. Are you saying that the transfer of energy to the oil and water was 100% efficient?

Entropy does not decrease! Time does not go in reverse!

The entropy increase was due to the work you did on the oil and water. Work/time=power and power*time=energy. Before you stirred the oil and water you ate food. The food energy was transferred to the oil/water mix, so you now have more than you started with in the oil and water mix. Are you saying that the transfer of energy to the oil and water was 100% efficient?

Entropy does not decrease! Time does not go in reverse!

Yes, he's looking at an OPEN system, i.e. one that is exchanging energy with its environment. There is no requirement for entropy to always increase in such a system, as there can be an increase in the entropy of the SURROUNDINGS that balances any decrease in entropy of the system under study. This happens every time ice forms: its entropy decreases compared to liquid water, but the latent heat given off heats the surroundings, increasing their entropy to a greater extent. So overall, as you rightly point out, entropy increases for the process when studied as a whole, i.e. closed, system.

In this case, the separate phases are a more stable state, so energy (enthalpy, H) is given out when the surface area of the water/oil interface is reduced. The energy given off heats the surroundings and……….etc etc.

Yes, he's looking at an OPEN system, i.e. one that is exchanging energy with its environment. There is no requirement for entropy to always increase in such a system, as there can be an increase in the entropy of the SURROUNDINGS that balances any decrease in entropy of the system under study. This happens every time ice forms: its entropy decreases compared to liquid water, but the latent heat given off heats the surroundings, increasing their entropy to a greater extent. So overall, as you rightly point out, entropy increases for the process when studied as a whole, i.e. closed, system.

In this case, the separate phases are a more stable state, so energy (enthalpy, H) is given out when the surface area of the water/oil interface is reduced. The energy given off heats the surroundings and……….etc etc.

Picture this. The universe is made up of pool balls of all different compositions of smaller pool balls. All pool balls are made of smaller pool balls. There is no ultimate pool ball that is not made up of smaller pool balls. Period.

So, there's an unimaginable large quantity of pool balls in space at any given time. All the pool balls are in motion in space. Some pool balls smash into other pool balls, creating sound, and light due to the impacts (explosions).

So anyway, as time elapses pool balls break apart (entropy), and the thing is...there is never a time when there is new pool balls being made, because the only possible thing is for pool balls to get smaller and a larger quantity of those smaller pool balls indeed! (dark matter).

Everything really just boils down to distance and time. Time elapses, and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do to change it one bit! Not one bit!

Picture this. The universe is made up of pool balls of all different compositions of smaller pool balls. All pool balls are made of smaller pool balls. There is no ultimate pool ball that is not made up of smaller pool balls. Period.

So, there's an unimaginable large quantity of pool balls in space at any given time. All the pool balls are in motion in space. Some pool balls smash into other pool balls, creating sound, and light due to the impacts (explosions).

So anyway, as time elapses pool balls break apart (entropy), and the thing is...there is never a time when there is new pool balls being made, because the only possible thing is for pool balls to get smaller and a larger quantity of those smaller pool balls indeed! (dark matter).

Everything really just boils down to distance and time. Time elapses, and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do to change it one bit! Not one bit!

Er, well, not quite the standard model of statistical thermodynamics! .

Er, well, not quite the standard model of statistical thermodynamics! .

No. My method lacks the luster of magic. In my method pool balls don't attract each other, they smash into each other and break apart. They grow in volume and become less dense. I have no idea where "attraction" AKA "magic" comes into play, do you? How do you suppose pool balls magically attract one another? You can certainly see how pool balls smash into each other and break apart into many more smaller pieces, no?

Entropy can be lowered locally, but you need to consider the whole system. Lowering entropy requires doing work, doing work produces waste heat, waste heat invariably increases the entropy elsewhere.

Entropy can be lowered locally, but you need to consider the whole system. Lowering entropy requires doing work, doing work produces waste heat, waste heat invariably increases the entropy elsewhere.

Or the heat leads to order

Entropy can be lowered locally, but you need to consider the whole system. Lowering entropy requires doing work, doing work produces waste heat, waste heat invariably increases the entropy elsewhere.

Precisely.

The question of whether organisms "reverse entropy" is a popular theme in Creation "Science". They sure hope so. It gives them another wedge to drive into science in their relentless attacks.

The only thing being reversed here is the assumption that maniacal religious nuts can speak to any topic with reasonable honesty. In order to arrive at their nonsense, they discard the essential requirement that "the whole system" in question, as Trippy noted immediately above and exchem ratified (also Origin has said something similar), has to be considered.

The easiest way to disprove the nonsense being spread by Creation "Science" is to consider a single cell. The logical place to draw a system boundary is at the cell wall or membrane. Add up all the matter and energy flowing out of the membrane, and subtract the amount going in, and in each and every case you will find that matter and energy were lost (obviously you have to choose an adequate period of time for the cell to cycle). Since matter and energy were lost, it's invalid to claim that entropy simply increased. You have to add the statement "at the expenditure of matter and energy taken from outside the system boundary".

The question of whether organisms "reverse entropy" is a popular theme in Creation "Science". They sure hope so. It gives them another wedge to drive into science in their relentless attacks.

The only thing being reversed here is the assumption that maniacal religious nuts can speak to any topic with reasonable honesty. In order to arrive at their nonsense, they discard the essential requirement that "the whole system" in question, as Trippy noted immediately above and exchem ratified (also Origin has said something similar), has to be considered.

The easiest way to disprove the nonsense being spread by Creation "Science" is to consider a single cell. The logical place to draw a system boundary is at the cell wall or membrane. Add up all the matter and energy flowing out of the membrane, and subtract the amount going in, and in each and every case you will find that matter and energy were lost (obviously you have to choose an adequate period of time for the cell to cycle). Since matter and energy were lost, it's invalid to claim that entropy simply increased. You have to add the statement "at the expenditure of matter and energy taken from outside the system boundary".

Agreed.

The bottom line is that every process increases the entropy of the universe. The problem comes down to boundries. If I fill up my car tire with air (and ONLY look at the tire as the system) then I could be fooled into saying that this is reverse entropy, but that would be wrong. What has happened is I decreased the entropy of the air in the tire but the overall process has increased the entropy of the universe.

When there is a frost if you only look only at the frost you could be fooled into thinking that this is reverse entropy. What has actually happened is that the water that made up the frost has decreased in entropy but the overall process has incresed the entropy of the universe.

The question of whether organisms "reverse entropy" is a popular theme in Creation "Science". They sure hope so. It gives them another wedge to drive into science in their relentless attacks.

The only thing being reversed here is the assumption that maniacal religious nuts can speak to any topic with reasonable honesty. In order to arrive at their nonsense, they discard the essential requirement that "the whole system" in question, as Trippy noted immediately above and exchem ratified (also Origin has said something similar), has to be considered.

The easiest way to disprove the nonsense being spread by Creation "Science" is to consider a single cell. The logical place to draw a system boundary is at the cell wall or membrane. Add up all the matter and energy flowing out of the membrane, and subtract the amount going in, and in each and every case you will find that matter and energy were lost (obviously you have to choose an adequate period of time for the cell to cycle). Since matter and energy were lost, it's invalid to claim that entropy simply increased. You have to add the statement "at the expenditure of matter and energy taken from outside the system boundary".

What always amuses me about this silly argument is it shoots at the wrong target. The process that reduces entropy of an organism is surely its development as an embryo, not any tiny difference between an adult and the DNA of its gametes? Nobody argues that embryonic development "violates the 2nd Law" or something, yet THAT is the step in the lifecycle of an organism in which order increases.

origin said:
Agreed.

The bottom line is that every process increases the entropy of the universe. The problem comes down to boundries. If I fill up my car tire with air (and ONLY look at the tire as the system) then I could be fooled into saying that this is reverse entropy, but that would be wrong. What has happened is I decreased the entropy of the air in the tire but the overall process has increased the entropy of the universe.

In that case (for the folks who don't quite understand) it's easy to see that there was energy spent not only compressing the air, but keeping the hose pressurized (say, at a gas station) until you drove up. (IOW it leaks out and has to be constantly repressurized.) IN any case it's plain to see that energy was spent developing that pressure in the hose. And since, as we know, there is no lossless machine, there will always be more energy spent than the energy given back to you in the form of pressurized air (which is ideally equal to the pressure you lost). Therefore there was a net loss "across the system boundary". So, like you say, even though those air molecules in your tire can be called "more orderly" (perhaps this just means that, on average, they are closer together) then certainly there was no entropy reversal.

When there is a frost if you only look only at the frost you could be fooled into thinking that this is reverse entropy. What has actually happened is that the water that made up the frost has decreased in entropy but the overall process has incresed the entropy of the universe.
That's a good one. I wouldn't have thought of this. Let's see if I can reason it out. (I mean I already know you're right because I know the laws of thermodynamics simply can't be violated.) What you're saying is that, at warmer conditions, the dew would simply settle as liquid water. But in the case where the leaf temp. is below freezing, that condensate will form ice crystals, which, like the case of pressurized air, is more "ordered" and seems to imply a reversal of entropy. However, the energy which was present at the system boundary (the surface of the leaf) is heat lost from the leaf as it dissipates into the cold air (radiates is probably a better word.) And the source of that heat is (a) the warmth of sunlight given to the plant during the day plus (b) the warmth of the ground water soaked up by the plant. So although the net energy of the larger system (sun/ground/atmosphere) is approx zero for this particular case of heat exchange, it's definitely a loss for the leaf; therefore the net energy across the system boundary is negative (a loss). Therefore the "order" added to the crystals came at a cost. Therefore entropy was not violated.

Both of those examples are good for talking about living cells (or tissues or whatever) since the air pressure case is analogous to gas exchange during respiration (per the law of partial pressures) and the "order" given to the water is analogous to the osmotic pressure across a semipermeable membrane (cell membrane).

Call this peer review (dope slapping the Creationists, heh heh), but all this is for the casual readers who never studied or don't remember this stuff.

What always amuses me about this silly argument is it shoots at the wrong target. The process that reduces entropy of an organism is surely its development as an embryo, not any tiny difference between an adult and the DNA of its gametes? Nobody argues that embryonic development "violates the 2nd Law" or something, yet THAT is the step in the lifecycle of an organism in which order increases.

I'm sure I brought that up before, in some other thread where wellwisher was no doubt railing about entropy reversal (continually ignoring system boundaries) and you could just hear a pin drop after I mentioned it.

Of course, the Creationists should have no problem accepting the flow of nutrients into the embryo. But the complexity that unfolds is another story. It's completely a systemic process related not only to the codes in the DNA or the stem cells, but also the hormones involved.

1)I wonder if the laws described in the theory of chaos can lead some random chemical reactions over time into something similar than what we call life. And before you hurry up to say no, i want to make clear that i mean if it can create something like life through the eyes (perspective) of its end results (e.g a sum of reactions inside the system).
2)Is entropy increasing or decreasing in such chaotic systems?

Having trouble seeing how knowledge is subjective. True faith isn't even subjective.

Nobody argues that embryonic development "violates the 2nd Law" or something, yet THAT is the step in the lifecycle of an organism in which order increases.
These people haven't read the entire law. It says only that entropy TENDS to increase over time. Spatially and temporally local reversals of entropy are perfectly okay--in fact there is no limit on their size, duration or complexity!

The Big Bang itself was a colossal, temporally local reversal of entropy. Nothing was created except order: the particles and antiparticles exactly balance each other.

And... throughout the existence of an organism, increases in order continue to occur. In fact, it can be said that the essence of life is reduction of order in the external environment (for example, killing animals or plants), resulting in an increase in order in the organism, by eating the animals or plants and scavenging their tissue for growth, repair of our own tissue, maintaining body heat, reproduction, moving to a more propitious location, etc.

Of course, this is overbalanced by the disorder we cause to the environment around us. The increased organization in a carnivore's body doesn't come close to balancing out the reduction of organization in the body of its prey.