General question re: entropy

mmeunier at cc.umanitoba.ca mmeunier at cc.umanitoba.ca
Wed Nov 12 09:28:36 EST 1997


>   "Walter L. Ash" <ash1 at freenet.calgary.ab.ca> writes:
>      I'm under the impression that the chemical and physical processes of
>  life work to increase the overall entropy of the universe.  I was recently
>  debating this with a friend of mine who believed that because living
>  organisms are highly organized systems of matter and energy which
>  replicate themselves that they would work to decrease the entropy of the
>  universe by converting uniform matter and energy (sunlight) into more
>  organized forms...  I'm sure I had read that the disordered random motion
>  of heat given off by cellular processes worked to increase overall
>  entropy.  Maybe I'm unclear on the concept of entropy.  Anyway, I couldn't
>  find my textbooks to check it out so I'm wondering if anyone in this group
>  can address this question for me.  Our debate was more theological than
>  anything.

There is a good FAQ for this in the talk.origins FAQ site. (Sorry, I don't have the URL handy)
It is quite an extensive site. 
AFA the 2nd law goes, entropy, though the best known value associated with it, is not
always (ever?) the best one to use where life is involved. A value known as the Gibbs
Free Energy is often used inb this context. 
In any case, life (nor any other process known) does not violate the 2nd law.





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