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Forgotten Creationist/ID Book endorsed by Nobel Prize Winner in Physics

There is a forgotten creationist book by engineer and physicist Robert Gange, PhD: Origins and Destiny that was published in 1986. It is available for free online, but for how long, I do not know. It was pioneering, and anticipated arguments that would be found in ID for the next 27 years, and likely beyond.

Gange worked in the field of cyrophysics, so it is no surprise he writes with incredible insight regarding thermodynamics. His book is the only book written by a creationist that I agree with on the subject of thermodynamics, and he uses the so-called “New Generalized 2nd Law” to make his case. [the Kelvin-Plank version of the 2nd Law is a special case of the "New Generalized 2nd Law"].

I’ve argued vigorously at UD that the Kelvin-Plank version (which measures thermal entropy in Joules/Kelvin) is insufficient to support ID arguments, but I provisionally support the “New Generalized 2nd Law” (which measures generalized entropy in bits) to support ID arguments.

I’m posting this to get the discussion going, and I don’t expect resolution any time soon, but we have to start somewhere. I’m hopeful, as rigor and debate take place over Gange’s work, that novel ID arguments can be successfully formulated in the territory of physics (rather than just chemistry and biology).

The book got an endorsement by Eugene Wigner, an ID-sympathetic Nobel Laureate in Physics.

“I was particularly pleased with Dr. Gange’s refusal of the idea of materialism, and the convincing arguments supporting that refusal. In fact, the book will be a welcome response to materialism. Good luck, for a good book!”

Eugene P. Wigner
Nobel prize in physics

Gange expresses my views about the Kelvin-Plank version of the 2nd Law, but then sketched out a very interesting argument from the Generalized version of the 2nd Law by Jaynes in favor of ID. Unfortunately Gange did not put forward a rigorous argument, but it might be a future project for research for the ID community.

What Is the Second Law?

I’ve studied the Second Law for over twenty-five years and I am convinced that it’s the most misunderstood and misused law in all of science. Creationists (wrongly) use it to say that evolution is impossible, and evolutionists (wrongly) use it to show that natural processes are equivalent to the activity of intelligence. With the discovery of new knowledge, the Second Law underwent revision, and was replaced by the New Generalized Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law is a special case of the New Generalized Second Law.

In the words of the New Generalized Second Law, an observer functioning within a closed system will lose, but never gain, information.


Entropy is this uncertainty. These simple words come from some rather deep physics, parts of which are outlined in simplified ways in other chapters. (For further discussion of the more technical aspects of entropy and its relationship to the Second Law, see Appendix 2.)

In summary, entropy is a mathematical expression that allows scientists to assign numbers measuring the degree to which energy deteriorates into less useful forms with the passage of time. This decay corresponds to the progressive decline of an observer’s ability to extract useful work from the system due to his growing uncertainty of the whereabouts of the physical objects described by him at an earlier time.

When rigorously formulated with all of the “bells and whistles” the observer must be included as part of the system that is described. The mathematical expression that assigns numbers is found to measure also the observer’s uncertainty of the location and velocity of every object within the system, and at each instant of time. The New Generalized Second Law is a formal mathematical statement showing that the decline on average of an observer’s information is an inevitable result of the passing of time, and that the total information available to an observer cannot exceed what exists in the system’s overall description.

These considerations impose important constraints on the theory of the chemical origin of life, and the commonly held belief that natural laws can energize biological structures into increasing levels of complexity. Virtually all attempts to justify these ideas have focused upon the thermodynamic flow of energy in an organism, rather than on the genetic blueprint by which the flow is controlled. This unfortunate confusion has created the false impression that living organisms sprang from dead chemicals, and that their progeny prospered under processes which, under any other circumstance, would be regarded as the inspired product of intellect.

http://www.ccel.us/gange.ch7us.html

Here is my extrapolation of Gange’s argument. Life is made of software written in the universal language of physics for self-replicating machines. Only a vanishingly small fraction of alphabetic strings make syntactically correct English language sentences, and only a vanishingly small number of physical constructs will make syntactically correct self-replicating machines within the laws of physics. We intuitively know this — computers and software don’t spontaneously emerge, but proving it from the laws of physics isn’t quite so easy.

If uncertainty increases in a closed system, the software of life over time will deteriorate, hence, the system will lose cohesive information, hence the software inside the system will deteriorate. Open systems are of no help since the uncertainty is even higher for open systems. Connecting a closed system to an open system will only invite more uncertainty and opportunities to scramble the software that was in the closed system. Hence, life will not spontaneously evolve into more extravagantly complex self-replicators. Hence, the phrase “Clausius and Darwin don’t mix” actually might have more force than previously supposed. Unfortunately this argument isn’t rigorous yet, but it will be, God willing, someday. :-)

It is not surprising Wigner showed interest in Gange’s book. Wigner used von Neumann’s proof of the 2nd law from Quantum Mechanics to attempt to argue for the existence of special laws of physics for living organisms since the organisms seemed to be in violation of the increasing generalized entropy that Gange refers to. Wigner’s arguments were referenced and criticized here by John Baez: Is Life Improbable?. I think Wigner was headed in the right direction, and so was Gange. The arguments just need a little reworking.

When thermal entropy is expressed in Joules/Kelvin, it cannot be used to support ID, however, if as Gange asserts, generalized entropy can be expressed in terms of bits, then it is a whole new ballgame. There is thermal entropy (measured in Joules/Kelvin) and then according to Gange there is generalized entropy (measured in bits).

Though I do not believe the Kelvin-Planck version of the 2nd law supports ID, I believe the Jaynes version holds much promise. Not only does it have theoretical promise, but I believe there is already substantial field observation and lab evidence of Gange’s claims.

Here is another compelling passage of Gange’s book:

Maxwell’s Mysterious “Demon”

The organizational intricacies of protein reflect information on a scale that a Supreme Intelligence can produce, but that nature cannot. To see why this is true, let’s think about a small imp who became known as “Maxwell’s Demon.”3 We will allow the imp to control a tiny window that connects two adjoining compartments. In your mind’s eye, imagine two boxes joined by a common wall. In the middle of the wall, picture a tiny window that connects one box to the other. On one side of the window there’s a shelf where the imp is perched.

The imp is able to open or close the window at will, and without effort. Both boxes contain air and from time to time, as a result of this air, a gentle breeze blows against either side of the window. The imp is told, “Open the window if the breeze on your side is strong; otherwise keep it shut.”

Now this may seem like a simple request, but the question is, can the imp obey the instruction? Although it may seem like something he can do, it turns out that were he to successfully perform the required task, he would violate one of the most fundamental laws of science. It’s worthwhile to learn why this is so, because we will not only uncover a fascinating insight regarding the origin of life, but we will also discover the answer to something that stumped the whole world for over half a century regarding Maxwell’s demon.

We’ve said that each of the two boxes contains air. But air consists of tiny molecules which are atomic specks so small that about 10 thousand billion will fit onto the head of a pin. Furthermore, these miniscule dots are in a state of constant motion; we sense them each time we feel a breeze. A strong breeze means that they’re moving fast whereas no breeze means that they’re hardly moving.

Now suppose the imp opens the window each time a strong breeze occurs. If he consistently does this, all the fast-moving molecules will pass through the open window and into the box on the other side. But since he keeps the window closed when there is no breeze, the slow molecules will remain in the box where he’s standing. Thus, the imp has succeeded in separating the fast and slow air molecules, putting the fast ones into the one box, and keeping the slow ones in the adjoining box. From a scientific point of view, faster air molecules mean a higher temperature and an increase in pressure.

Therefore, our imp has created a pressure and temperature difference between the two boxes; i.e., he has created energy!

But how can Maxwell’s demon work? How can he create energy? This question baffled the world for many years, and no one was able to offer a satisfactory answer. Scientists asked, “Why can’t an imp open a window?” If he could, he certainly could separate the fast- and slow-moving air into separate compartments. The fast-moving molecules will travel to one side, and the slower ones will remain in the other.

No one questioned the fact that, at least in principle, the imp had created energy. Let’s see how we know that this is true. To show that the imp has created energy, we can wait until he’s collected all the fast-moving air on one side. When that is done, we’ll open the window, but this time keep it open. Air from the high pressure side (box with the fast-moving molecules) will rush through the opening and into the other side. If a generator wheel is located near the window during the time it’s open, the resulting gush of air can be made to turn the wheel of the generator and, thereby, make electricity. Therefore, the imp does create energy. But here’s our dilemma: It’s impossible to create energy in a closed box! So no one could figure out how the imp could do it!

Death of a Demon

Maxwell invented his demon in the 1800s, but not until 1929 did a scientist named Leo Szilard find the answer. The imp can’t create energy — not because he’s unable to open and close the window, but because he doesn’t know when to do so. In other words, he doesn’t have the information necessary to identify which air molecule is moving fast and which is moving slow. But what’s even more important, it costs him energy to acquire the information he needs! In fact, Szilard did a careful analysis showing that it costs more energy than the imp can recover.4 Simply put, the process of creating energy forces you to lose it! We can phrase it yet another way: Information is equivalent to energy in the sense that to have one means you can create the other.

[cross posted originally at The Skeptical Zone Entropy and Disorder]

NOTES:
The question may come up “what about Granville Sewell’s claims?”. He and I have had bitter disagreements on the topic, but here is where our views can have reconciliation:

1. instead of Kelvin-Plank or the Asimov version, use the Jaynes “New Generalized 2nd Law”
2. use generalized entropy (measured in bits) instead of thermal entropy (Joules/Kelvin) to make ID arguments
3. instead of “order”, use the phrase “organization” (or some similar phrase since biological systems are organized but highly “disordered” in the Kolmogorov sense)

If these conventions are adopted, Dr. Sewell’s claims will be using terminology that physicists and information engineers will be less able to equivocate. I hope this post will help both Dr. Sewell and I to put forward even stronger arguments in favor of ID. We will surely need the help of some sharp physicists to make the arguments sketched out here more rigorous.

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35 Responses to Forgotten Creationist/ID Book endorsed by Nobel Prize Winner in Physics

  1. From the book’s appendix

    “We noted earlier that entropy can be correlated-but not identified-with disorder. And we said, moreover, that this correlation is valid in only three cases-ideal gases, isotope mixtures, and crystals near zero degrees Kelvin. The truth of the matter is illustrated by considering the two chemically inert gases, helium, and argon.(7) In our mind’s eye we imagine two balloons, one filled with helium and the other with argon. First, we lower the temperature of both balloons to zero degrees Kelvin. This makes all the gas molecules stop moving in either balloon. Next, we get the molecules moving by heating both balloons to 300 degrees Kelvin (room temperature). Were we to mathematically calculate the increase in entropy, we would find that it was 20 percent higher in the argon balloon than in the helium balloon (154 v. 127 joules per mole per degree Kelvin). But since helium molecules are ten times lighter than argon molecules, they are moving three times faster and thus are more disordered. Here, then, is an example where higher entropy is accompanied by lower disorder, thereby demonstrating that we cannot identify one with the other. In the particular example cited, the greater argon entropy comes from the closer quantum translational energy levels identified with its greater molecular mass as described by the Sack?r-Tetrode equation.

    Let’s look at another example. Were we to continue dissolving salt in an isolated glass of water, we’d reach supersaturation, a point where the water could not dissolve any more salt. Under certain conditions, the dissolved salt can be made to separate from the water. When crystallization happens the entropy always increases. However, the temperature can go up or down, depending on the kind of salt used and the thermochemistry of the solution,(8) This means that the motion of the molecules, and therefore the disorder, can go up or down, whereas the entropy always goes up. A less obvious example is the spontaneous freezing of supercooled water.(9) Again we see that the entropy must increase, whereas the disorder can go up or down. “

  2. Also from the book:

    Not only is entropy wrongly identified with disorder; the error has caused some people to introduce a nonsensical thing called “negentropy.”15 This idea assumes that negative entropy exists, and that it can be identified with order. It says that the onset of life was accompanied by a change in negentropy that just balanced the increase in entropy, and that this change explains the order found in life.

    However, the idea of negentropy is quite wrong because it is defective in several basic ways.16 Nevertheless, over the past twenty years a number of people have used this erroneous concept in an attempt to justify the creation of life by natural processes.17 To understand how they do this, picture water in an ice cube tray in a refrigerator. Let the tray represent the earth, the refrigerator represent the sun, and the transition of water into ice, the creation of life. The order that arises when water becomes ice is said to be balanced by the disorder that occurs when the liquid refrigerant changes into a gas (molecules are in greater disarray in a gas than a liquid). The spontaneous creation of life is then justified by saying that the increased order in life corresponds to negentropy that is offset by the greater increase in entropy (disorder).

    But life is complex, nor ordered; and the basic natural process that changes water into ice is counterproductive to the creation of life because it results in a loss of complexity. The reason that ice is ordered and not complex is that ice is made up of millions of tiny atomic units that are identical to each other. This means that if we describe one of them, we will have described all of them. When water changes into ice, we actually need less information to describe the ice because its molecules no longer behave in an independent manner. It is less complex because we need less information to describe it. But unlike ice, life is vastly complex because we require staggering quantities of information to describe even the simplest of cells. Negentropy is thus an erroneous concept.

    ….
    The important truth for our discussion is that life isn’t ordered; it is complex. We saw that clearly in chapter 4 in our consideration of the materialistic world view. An increase in organization of a structure — from simple dust particles to the oriental rug to the vacuum cleaner to the house (to repeat an earlier metaphor) — requires the systematic increase of information, but information is not produced by natural processes in the magnitude necessary to explain the origin of life.

    Let’s summarize what’s been said thus far:

    1. The Second Law requires entropy to increase.
    2. Entropy cannot be identified with disorder.

    3. Negentropy cannot be identified with order.

    4. Ordered molecules (ice) present less information.

    5. Living cells are not ordered — they are complex.

  3. To understand why I said there is still a lot of work to be done to make Jaynes Generalized law useful to ID consider the following example:

    A living lab rat is take from room temperature to near absolute zero, it is now obviously dead, calculate the change in entropy

    A chemist, a mechanical engineer, a physicist will say the rat’s entropy in terms of joule/kelvin went down. Here is a case where lowering entropy was lethal.

    Now assuming we are using Jaynes Generalized entropy, I presume the number of bits of information actually went up since there is less uncertainty about the state of the system, yet we know the rat is dead. Clearly the act of freezing the rat reduced uncertainty about the energy distribution (and reduced uncertainty implies increased information), but somehow the rat in terms of its hardware/software lost information.

    The challenge is to reconcile the numbers. What is the delta-S in terms of bits (general bits) vs. functional bits.

    To be able to make a rigorous argument where bit numbers can be stated is the next challenge for ID.

  4. I like the clear distinction being made between order and complexity. So-called “negentropy” creates islands of order at the expense of complexity. In this light, there is no way it can be used to support the claim that natural processes can give rise to living organisms. It’s a powerful insight.

  5. But then again, my understanding of negentropy may be faulty.

  6. A few notes that may (or may not) be of interest for you:

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration (knowledge of a particle’s position) turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.” – R. C. Wysong

    Moleular Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~a.....ecular.htm

    But, I believe, even if we precisely counted all the classical bits in an organism, that we still would have failed to account for all the information inherent in life, The reason is this:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Steve Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,,Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Quantum Entanglement and Information
    Quantum entanglement is a physical resource, like energy, associated with the peculiar nonclassical correlations that are possible between separated quantum systems. Entanglement can be measured, transformed, and purified. A pair of quantum systems in an entangled state can be used as a quantum information channel to perform computational and cryptographic tasks that are impossible for classical systems. The general study of the information-processing capabilities of quantum systems is the subject of quantum information theory.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-entangle/

    Never mind the noise: Quantum entanglement allows channel information rate to exceed Shannon zero-error capacity – January 23, 2013
    Excerpt: As developed by Claude Shannon, information theory defines channel capacity as the maximum rate at which information can be sent through the channel.,,,
    Recently, scientists studying asymptotic behavior in entangled sender-receiver quantum systems,, have identified families of graphs for which entanglement allows the Shannon capacity to be exceeded.,,,
    “The entanglement-assisted communication protocol we consider,” Briët adds, “dates back at least as far as the work of Charles Bennett and others in 2002.”,,,
    ,,,the sender could send any one of ten different messages with zero probability of error. Moreover, he adds, their main result shows that this number can be larger than the average number of messages that can be sent with zero error if no entanglement was used, thereby exceeding the zero-error Shannon capacity.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-m.....annel.html

    Classical information is shown to be a subset of quantum information here;

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy. Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

  7. quantum information is shown to be conserved here:

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    Implications are here:

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

  8. Mapou,

    Like you, I’m deeply fascinated by non-mainstream physics and the possibilities for renewable energy. I have endeavored to study mainstream physics since we have to admit mainstream physics works well for building lots of things like radios and atomic bombs. But are there aspects of physics we’re not recognizing? I think so…

    Now, one speculation I have in mind is that one might be able to creatively redraw thermodynamic boundaries and get renewable energy that way.

    If we look at diodes they let current pass one way, but not another. Some have thought that possible diodes can act as sort of uninformed Maxwell’s demons rectifying zero-point energy.

    The 2nd law is a statistical law. Once we start to deal with systems composed of fewer and few atoms, it becomes more and more difficult to assert the 2nd law because the 2nd law was meant to apply to large systems of particles.

    I don’t know if it is possible to rectify the zero-point energy using Josephson junction diodes, but the thought has been compelling enough that I want to learn more about it.

    My understanding is nano-engineers have problems applying the 2nd law to systems with small numbers of particles — i.e. one part of the system can become more spontaneously energized (hotter) than another part.

    Unfortunately, that’s the extent of my limited knowledge.

    Sal

  9. Sal,

    It’s easy to show that we are immersed in an immense ocean of energy, a huge lattice of energetic particles. Lots and lots of clean, free energy. One of the major unanswered questions in physics is this: what causes two bodies in relative inertial motion to remain in motion? Isaac Newton thought about it and ended up attributing it to God’s constant intervention in the movement of every particle in the universe. A more plausible explanation is that the motion of a particle is caused by the interactions of the particle with the lattice. No lattice -> no motion. The idea is that nothing can move in a truly empty space. The lattice also explains EM phenomena and gravity.

    In my opinion, a few initiated religious high priests in the distant past knew how to tap into the lattice and used it to move blocks of stone weighing up to twelve hundred tons or more over long distances across rivers and even uphill.

    What is more interesting to me, as a Christian, is that this lattice is described metaphorically in ancient scriptures that are thousands of years old. The book of Revelation, for example, calls it a sea of glass, like crystal. Revelation even describes the four types of particles that comprise the sea: the strange creatures with six wings and four faces. But that’s a different story for another time and another place. I apologize for hijacking your thread.

  10. Mapou,

    The ID and creationist case maybe strengthened by developments in anti-mainstream physics, and a byproduct of this could be renewable energy.

    Unlike Darwinism, the resistance to new physics isn’t as much ideological as it is practical. New physics can be demonstrated by a working practical device. Some are working on such devices. I wish them luck. The Josephson Junction diode is one area being explored. Nasa is working on inverse beta-decay devices, if so, its even better than cold fusion :-)

    I’ve also tracked developments in electro-alchemy. See:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cal-means/

    And relativity, see:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....he-aether/

    And natural deception in physical observations:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....deceptive/

    New physics may be a backdoor friend to ID. I’m cautiously optimistic. But unfortunately at this stage, we don’t have any working devices. Such a device would be the break I’m looking for. Till then, I remain cautious.

    Sal

  11. these miniscule dots are in a state of constant motion; we sense them each time we feel a breeze. A strong breeze means that they’re moving fast whereas no breeze means that they’re hardly moving.

    It’s too bad he felt he had to dumb down his argument like this by talking about a “breeze”. It is manifestly false that “no breeze” means that the air molecules are hardly moving.

  12. First, we lower the temperature of both balloons to zero degrees Kelvin.

    To arrive at the ACTUAL ENTROPY (is there an ‘actual entropy’ ?), this needs to be accounted for, no? In fact the actual entire history (since creation) of anything/everything must be accounted for, otherwise we are calculating change in entropy only.

  13. I think there are only special case formulations at this point. It sure is fascinating, and seems like possibly the one fundamental. I believe ‘evolution’, as posited or contrived certainly ‘violates the 2nd law’, because these are not math problems, they are physics problems and must be set up correctly.

  14. To arrive at the ACTUAL ENTROPY (is there an ‘actual entropy’ ?), this needs to be accounted for, no? In fact the actual entire history (since creation) of anything/everything must be accounted for, otherwise we are calculating change in entropy only.

    For a specific individual object, it is possible in principle to calculate absolute entropy (the terminology is used by chemists is “absolute” not actual).

    For example, I can calculate the absolute entropy of the aluminum in a 747. I did so here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....se-part-2/

    The calculation is done from absolute zero, otherwise as you say, we can only calculate change in entropy.

    It is true that since the beginning of the universe, entropy has been increasing. I’m not sure anyone actually knows the absolute entropy of the universe, but I suppose attempts have been made to estimate it. I seem to recall something in Alan Guth’s writings, but it was over my head…

  15. Surely we are at or near the beginning of understanding the universe we are in. And certainly mistaken about much of that. The electricity powering the cosmos at large and small scales transmutes and accelerates the decay of elements. As for ‘alternative’ energy, we have particles which generate?/create?/transmit? fields, apparently for eternity. We don’t have the slightest idea what they “ARE”, do we?
    I believe the elements have unknown-to-us properties – they are ‘used’ by biological systems to do amazing things. I have heard a careful analysis of seeds, chickens, crabs etc reveals transmutation of elements.

  16. It may be worth repeating, in the case of the rat that died while getting frozen, standard entropy calculations will say the rat’s entropy was lowered. But entropy in this case is thermal entropy.

    The ID community needs a way of describing some sort of life-or-death entropy. How about death entropy? As the rat is frozen it’s death-entropy increases. We have no formal convention for doing this. That is the subject of future work. Gange sort of hints at it in his book, but was never formalized.

    There are many creationist chemists, engineers, and physicists. They will estimate the dead rats thermal entropy to be about zero when it is frozen to close to absolute zero. If you tell them that the frozen rat’s entropy increased as it died, they’ll go, “huh?” That’s because thermal entropy says nothing of the organization of the rats biology. The current Kelvin-Plank version of the 2nd law couldn’t give a rat’s a– about a rat’s a–.

  17. For a specific individual object, it is possible in principle to calculate absolute entropy (the terminology is used by chemists is “absolute” not actual).

    There’s entropy and then there’s Entropy. I believe a proper accounting is necessary. And the 747 calculation is incorrect as applied to the question that was at hand. Something is missing, something.

  18. Or more aptly ‘incomplete’

  19. There’s entropy and then there’s Entropy. I believe a proper accounting is necessary. And the 747 calculation is incorrect as applied to the question that was at hand. Something is missing, something.

    Exactly. The calculation I provided was for thermal entropy, not the larger kinds of entropy that Gange suggested. Unfortunately, that area of physics and information theory is not at all well developed. Even Gange himself didn’t lay out a formalism in his book.

    The ID community cannot even agree on the entropy measures of 2000 coins. See:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....000-coins/

    I’m not trying to cause trouble here, but when I teach my students ID, I want to be able to provide facts and figures. A lot of them know how to calculate thermodynamic and Shannon entropy. What I’ve laid out is not substantially different than what a typical creationist or IDist science student in college will learn in class and then apply in the working world.

  20. butifnot/scordova,
    The entropy of universe is mainly calculated using the SMBH (Super massive body holes) and CMB entropy – using the Schwarchild formula for SMBH and the Kolb and Turner formula for CMB. The estimated entropy of observable universe is roughly 3.1 x 10^104. This is for flat universe. Since the expanding universe is mostly isotropic and homogeneous, the net flow of entropy into or out of the volume of universe is assumed to be zero.

  21. butifnot,

    You may be wondering what thermal entropy actually measures since it seems like such a big deal in physics and engineering.

    a measure of the amount of energy which is unavailable to do work.

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.g.....frame.html

    I’m not sure that’s a good formal definition, but it may help someone understand why there’s a big deal about entropy.

    If we have hot object and a cold object, we could in principle build a machine that can do work as heat flows from the hot object to the cold object (like a steam engine), but once the hot object is no longer hotter than the cold objection, no more work can be done, and there will be no more changes in entropy. As long as there is a potential for change in entropy, work can be done.

    A mechanical engineer will estimate the change in entropy as the hot object gets colder and then can use that entropy change to estimate how much work can be done.

    Similarly, we can estimate how much energy is needed to make a refrigerator or heat pump work. We use entropy to analyze chemical reactions.

    Unfortunately, this measurement of entropy (thermal entropy) says nothing about the organization of the system (i.e. a dead rat can have less entropy than a living rat).

    A new kind of entropy to measure organization might be needed. The ID community is still in its infancy, imho, on this kind of entropy.

  22. There is good reason to doubt that that CMB exists.

  23. There is good reason to doubt that that CMB exists.

    No kidding!

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104549.htm

  24. Sal I am not unfamiliar with the subject, although far removed from active study of it. What I am getting at, and you also I think, is there is a “complete entropy”. And the 747 calculation is obviously not it, but that is where it oftenseems to be left as ‘proof’ that ‘evolution’ wouldn’t violate ‘it’. Does ‘(all) entropy associated with…’ seem like a better statement of what it is being looked for when analyzing a system? I think, looking back, that my thermo professor may have been an ID’ist. When he started relating information to thermo, I was absolutely fascinated and surprised. I still find that the most fascinating facet.

  25. I’ve enjoyed reading the debate on this topic, and I think it’s a profitable one.

  26. There is good reason to doubt that that CMB exists.

    No kidding!

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re…..104549.htm

    In my opinion, the CMB exists alright since it can be observed. But all indications (as seen in the science daily link) are that it was not caused by any hypothesized Big Bang. I have always doubted the Big Bang/accelerated expansion theory. There are way too many holes in it.

  27. butifnot @ 22 Scordova @ 23

    There is good reason to doubt that that CMB exists.

    No kidding!

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re…..104549.htm

    We are living in 2013 with hi-res Planck CMBR images and data of CMBR. Claiming that there is no CMB is akin to claiming our solar system is a Ptolemaic system.
    That article was written in 2006 and is, in fact based on Microwave Background radiation too – the 1st WMAP data. If you are referring to the problem of not finding ‘shadows’, it has been resolved by studying the Y3 WMAP and of course by Planck CMBR data. The thermal SZ effect (Sunyaev Zeldovich effect) is responsible for the ‘no shadow’ mystery. If we look at > 218 GHz picture of CMBR, this effect is seen as brighter spots. At 218 Ghz, the effect disappears.

  28. I have always doubted the Big Bang/accelerated expansion theory. There are way too many holes in it.

    BigBang is the only theory that fits most of the observed and calculated data.

  29. There are 19 copies of Gange’s book available at ABE Books from $3.95 to $24.00, inclusive of shipping.

    Should you be interested, see: http://www.abebooks.com/servle.....0&y=0

    I picked up a copy at $3.95 shipped!

    Also in book news, I just noted (and purchased) Dembski’s End of Christianity at CBD for $2.99 (new).

    See: http://www.christianbook.com/c.....vent=ESRCP

  30. No one questioned the fact that, at least in principle, the imp had created energy. Let’s see how we know that this is true. To show that the imp has created energy, we can wait until he’s collected all the fast-moving air on one side. When that is done, we’ll open the window, but this time keep it open. Air from the high pressure side (box with the fast-moving molecules) will rush through the opening and into the other side. If a generator wheel is located near the window during the time it’s open, the resulting gush of air can be made to turn the wheel of the generator and, thereby, make electricity. Therefore, the imp does create energy. But here’s our dilemma: It’s impossible to create energy in a closed box! So no one could figure out how the imp could do it!

    For me, this is the essence of, and encapsulates, the 2LofT argument against abiogenesis. And this is. IMO, the rather apparent dilemna that any theory of abiogenesis is forced to overcome.

    Life performs work. Think of the mitochondria, or think of photosynthetic cells, or what have you. In the end, ADP and AMP have to be converted to ATP (Adenosine Mono, Di, and Tri Phospate, respectively) for life to occur. This involves the transfer of energy. And energy is equivalent to work. And “work” is the subject of thermodynamics.

    In the classic understanding of thermodynamics, where steam-engines were being analyzed and designed, you have “heat” becoming equivalent to “work.” Well how does this “work” come about? (Which is equivalent to saying: how does “work” become available for use in the very FIRST CELL ever?)

    You start with a ‘reservoir’ at a certain temperature; you then bring this ‘reservoir’ to a lower temperature; and, in the process, “work” is done.

    The question of ‘available work,’ or ‘available energy’ in the first primitive cell, then begins to revolve around a “reservoir.” If a “reservoir” stays at the same temperature without expanding, then, “work” cannot be done. Implied in the word “reservoir,” is the word “volume.” Implied in the word “volume,” is the word “boundary.” IOW, without a “bounded volume,” the transfer of “heat” cannot produce “work.” Heat diffusion is incapable of effective work.

    This, then, implies that the “heat” of the sun cannot do “work” unless a “bounded volume” is somehow involved. Not only that, but no work can be done unless this “bounded volume” goes from a higher “heat” to a lower “heat.” Then, finally, “work,” cannot come about unless the energy of the ‘bounded volume’ is ‘transferred’ to another ‘bounded volume,’ which is, itself, fashioned in such a way that it is capable of producing “work,” and hence, of lowering the “heat” acquired via the ‘transfer.’

    [N.B.: Chemical reactions, though relying principally on quantum effects, that is, mostly, but not exclusively, electromagnetic effects require an orderly arrangement. An 'orderly arrangement' implies overcoming the normal random movements of atoms and molecules; i.e., Brownian motion. But, as the resolution of Maxwell's Demon demonstrates, this requires the expenditure of energy in an orderly way (or else, information would be lost; but, in fact, information is the only way that Maxwell's Demon can perform his work.) So, even here, one piece of apparatus has to be connected to another piece in a meaningful, i.e., non-random, fashion.]

    The bottom line to all of this is, that unless ‘boundaries’ are drawn between one entity and another, and unless there is a process by which one of these ‘bounded’ areas has a way of bringing a ‘high temp’ reservoir to a ‘lower temp’ reservoir IN SUCH A WAY that effective “work” can be done, all the “heat” in the universe won’t help you one bit.

    To put it pithely once again: diffusion alone cannot produce work.

    Along these lines then, let’s re-examine what we find in the above quoted section about Maxwell’s Demon. Notice how the conundrum is phrased:

    “When that is done, we’ll open the window, but this time keep it open. Air from the high pressure side (box with the fast-moving molecules) will rush through the opening and into the other side. If a generator wheel is located near the window during the time it’s open, the resulting gush of air can be made to turn the wheel of the generator and, thereby, make electricity. Therefore, the imp does create energy.

    A barrier (window) exists, separating one section (bounded volume) from another (bounded volume). However! opening the window is not sufficient. It is necessary that a “generator wheel” be present; one, of course, that would involve magnets placed in particular organized way, and so designed as to produce electricity as the wheel revolves.

    Now here is a challenge posed to experts in thermodynamics concerning the 2LofT, and implicit in this conundrum are ‘bounded volumes’ and a mechanism for lowering the temperature in an energy/work producing fashion. [The revolving wheel, due to magnetic effects, resists turning. The high pressure atoms (high temp, basically) do "work" by pushing against the wheel, and thus lower their pressure 'temperature.')]

    Bottom line: unless atoms and molecules are properly arranged and effectively separated from one another, all the heat in the world won’t produce any effective work. This poses a burden for Origin of Life, a burden that, considering the “improbability” of random forces “arranging” all of the needed atoms and molecules into just the right places, with independence built into the interacting subsystems, renders OoL via random forces almost unthinkable.

    You can’t just swat all of this away with the swipe of a hand.

    But here’s our dilemma: It’s impossible to create energy in a closed box! So no one could figure out how the imp could do it!

    Yes, the expert physicists understand that the system must be “open” for any “work” to take place. And, of course, the earth is an “open” system relative to the solar system. Nevertheless, if Maxwell’s Demon lived in an “open” system, he’d not only have the problem of erecting a “generating wheel”, and all that this implies, but he would also have the problem of erecting “bounded volumes,” and not just the ‘dividing window.’

    All of the evolutionists bluster isn’t going to chase these problems away. But the fact is, is that if they’re willing to believe that highly improbable events–events that are astronomically improbable–can happen by chance, then this isn’t going to stop them from believing anything else that they want, even the astronomically improbable likelihood that all the mechanisms necessary for effective cellular work can, and have, fallen into place via random processes.

    [Let's remember, Brownian motion is random; and atoms and molecules move about via Brownian motion.]

  31. I found this in Appendix 4 of Robert Gange’s book:

    The materialistic proposals are even less credible when we realize that the biological reactions necessary to life occur at the exact locations where they need to occur, and at the precise times. Moreover, they do so both within individual cells and throughout the organism taken as a whole. These reactions create biological harmonies that are foreordained by DNA which is transmitted in a self-sustaining cycle that preserves the information that regulates and conserves the system. This organizational miracle reeks of design — an attribute identified with intelligence, and not chaos.

    This seems to be exactly the argument I’m trying to make, though I’m making it in regard to OofL, and thus on a smaller scale of overall ‘harmony’, and Gange does so at the level of multi-cellular life. But both “reek of design.”

  32. Nice to see you PaV.

    I found the paper about Maxwell’s demon. It has a great title:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-beings/

  33. Gange, p. 95/96: But the question is: How small can something be and still make itself? Loosely speaking, the answer seems to be, as small as a large protein molecule. This protein structure can be thought of as an organic machine composed of chemical parts. What’s significant is that if we submerge this organic machine into a bath composed of similar chemical parts, the protein’s structure can direct these parts to assemble another organic machine just like itself.

    To be perfectly honest I’ve never heard of such a thing – in my book this not the way how proteins are produced.

    So when I understand Gange correctly we add one protein A to a bucket filled with similar chemical parts we just have to wait until everything is turned into proteins A? How about the second law?

    Maybe Gange is speaking hypothetically >> but how about the second law? <<

    Anyway I also find his idea very hard to accept due to my metaphysical bias. I do not want lifeless machines to be able to replicate themselves.

    Gange, p. 95/96: What are the fewest decisions that a machine needs to make in order for it to assemble itself? Not too long ago, a famous twentieth-century mathematician, John von Neumann, asked the same question. He discovered mathematically that a machine would need to make about fifteen hundred correct decisions, one after the other without error, in order to reproduce itself.

  34. 34
    TheisticEvolutionist

    There’s also another forgotten early ID book it was called The Origins of Life by Jim Brooks. It was published in 1985. The book contains some beautiful illustrations. Unfortunately the book was completely forgotten about, perhaps because of the release of The Mystery of Life’s Origin by Charles B. Thaxton a year before.

  35. TheisticEvolutionistDecember 15, 2013 at 8:36 am (Edit)

    There’s also another forgotten early ID book it was called The Origins of Life by Jim Brooks. It was published in 1985. The book contains some beautiful illustrations. Unfortunately the book was completely forgotten about, perhaps because of the release of The Mystery of Life’s Origin by Charles B. Thaxton a year before.

    Hey thanks for the info. I believe this is the first time we’ve met. Welcome to Uncommon Descent.

    Sal

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