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Bzrd, Your Misconceptions Persist

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Posted by S.H. Le on November 15, 1999 21:39:56 UTC

"The 2nd Law is invoiable. It is as sure as gravity; and it applies to information systems." bzrd

Again it's necessary to point out that confidence in the 2nd law is high only because of it's sucess rate in prediction. And second, the 2nd law in fact does not apply directly to information systems. If you wish to use an analogy as a tool for explanation, then by all means that is a valid method to do so. But understand that once you try to use analogies as apparent proofs for certain phenomena, the reliability is hampered, since the whole point of an analogy is a comparison of the more familiar to the less, to teach or explain. It is not a reliable method for proof. The second law was originally derived as movement of energy flow from a hot body to cool one. From that we derived the idea of entropy (also known as a measurement of disorder, or unusable energy), could not increase in a closed system. These are values that are quantifiable. I don't see how entropy is directly comparable to information, to the extent where you could use it as a proof. You attribute false properties to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. THERMODYNAMICS DOESN'T APPLY TO EVERYTHING. You would do well to understand that.

"In order for an information system to overcome the 2nd Law, it must aquire informational inputs; again, simply supplying an information system with more energy does not qualify. For ex., my PC is a digitally encoded information system; it runs quite well off a 110 circut, if I plug it into a 220 volt circut [I'm not reccomending this] there would be several possible scenarios, none of which I am confident, would include increasing the memory on my hard-drive. Protein synthesis, requires the use of a digitally encoded information system; the DNA is analogous to a CD rom and the ribosome is analogous to a hard-drive. If one leaves a computer disk in the sun for 10 billion yrs does the information content increase? Why would a biological digitally encoded information system behave differently than a man-made one?" - bzrd

It's a weak argument. Again, you are attributing false properties of the 2nd law, to information. First you say that the 2nd law is analagous to the use of information, then you revert back to energy by saying that energy doesn't increase information, and finally illustrate this with an artificial example comparing it to a natural one. Many inconsistencies here. It's basicially a modified "design argument" that inaccurately uses the 2nd law in the wrong context. You're right about one thing. The validity of the 2nd law has been proven many times over through mathematics and experimentation. It's conclusions are quantifiable, not be applied to just anything you want it to.

You would replace mathematics with metaphors. Metaphors may or may not serve to illustrate a fact, but they are not the fact itself. One thing is certain: metaphors are completely useless when it comes to the thermodynamics of calculating the efficiency of a heat engine, or the entropy change of free expansion of a gas, or the power required to operate a compressor. This can only be done with mathematics, not metaphors. This in order to convince those not familiar with real thermodynamics that their sectarian religious views have scientific validity. Understand this bzrd, thermodynamics does not deal with situations requiring human thought and effort in order to create order from disorder. Thermodynamics is limited by the equations and mathematics of thermodynamics. If it can't be expressed mathematically, it isn't thermodynamics!

"If your definition of evolution does not include abiogenesis it most certainly predicts it. I read of a empirical study which showed that the probability of single functional protein forming through random process is one 10/65th. Complex bio-molecules tend to dissociate in water [consistent with the laws of chemical equilbrium] and all known abiogenesis experiments produce racemic mixtures of amino-acids [leathal to all known life forms]."

Actually, no it doesn't predict abiogenesis. All it predicts is the change in the gene pool over time. Abiogenesis is indeed separate. Example: Certain astrobiologists have suggested that life may have come full blown from mars. I'm not saying this is true or not, but evolution will still provide an explanation as to how those microbes could have evolved into us (if it is in fact true). See? Evolution is independent of abiogenesis, and doesn't say anything about life arising from inert matter. ABIOGENESIS IS A SEPARATE THEORY.

And about abiogenesis, you would do well to understand that this is also not a random process. The formation of biological polymers from monomers is a function of the laws of chemistry and biochemistry - not random.

Secondly, the entire premise is incorrect to start off with, because in modern abiogenesis theories the first "living things" would be much simpler than what we see today. Ex) not even a protobacteria, or a preprobacteria (what Oparin called a protobiont and Woese calls a progenote), but one or more simple molecules probably not more than 30-40 subunits long. These simple molecules then slowly evolved into more co-operative self replicating systems, then finally into simple organisms. Your view of abiogenesis is very oversimplified. Biochemists do not suggest that through mixing up a bunch of simple chemicals, boom - life emerged. There were various sucessive steps to the first example of abiogenesis. First came simple chemicals, then polymers, then replicating polymers, then hypercycle, then protobiont, then bacteria. All these were predicted to follow from laws of biochemistry.

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