Side Comments on Sewell and Evolution and Reproduction


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

I started off with a big misread of his article. Sorry…

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #2

Wow. Still they are still arguing about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Face-palm.

Granville Sewell: 2nd Law Disproves Evolution?
(Retired Professor & Minister.) #3

Have they considered that cell metabolism (whether involved in reproduction of not) always increases net entropy of the entire “system”? Shouldn’t it be obvious that cell survival and growth never involves some sort of perpetual motion machine? (No biological system is 100% efficient. A typical farm animal may require from two to ten pounds of food in order to get one pound of weight gain.) There is always waste heat and and waste products released into the environment. That “local” decrease in entropy is exceeded by the increased entropy of the entire environment. This strikes me as high school biology and physics. What is controversial about this?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #4

My error. I misread this. He is saying that the 2nd law does apply to reproduction, and that reproduction is natural. I misread him, sorry.

Still, as I noted, entropy increases just increase the amount of information in genomes. We can empirically demonstrate this.

I misread him the first time.

(Arthur Hunt) #5

I suspect that Sewell would argue that oil and water separating would violate the second law. His ideas are, to be kind, bizarre.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #6

Even so, the section on the 2nd LOT at the end of the article seems to try and allow for “the controversy” and implies that either view can be reasonable—as if it is a matter of personal opinion and valid disagreement. I didn’t sense much instruction (much less rebuke) toward those who claim that evolution defies The Laws of Thermodynamics.

(Neil Rickert) #7

And Granville Sewell (the author) ought to know better.

(Ashwin S) #8

Are you referring to information as defined in information theory? In that case the information increase need not translate into complex systems capable of some kind of function… form my reading of the conversations here, that kind of complexity cannot be distinguished from complex noise…

Is this a correct understanding? If so… Increased entropy/information need not result in the kind of complexity in life that all of us are in awe of…

Granville Sewell: 2nd Law Disproves Evolution?
(Ashwin S) #9

Its obvious that neither a dead rat or a living human breaks the second law of thermodynamics. Cars, ACs, fridges etc don’t break the second law either (if they did, it’s a problem for the second law of thermodynamics).

The question is how living cells can arise from inorganic materials without breaking the second law… Do such natural processes exist. And if so, does the second law make it extremely unlikely (to the point of it being impossible) for life to arise via natural processes.

It’s a probability related argument… showing that the idea of a creator is more parsimonious

Granville Sewell: 2nd Law Disproves Evolution?
(Timothy Horton) #10

Natural processes can and do cause local reductions in entropy as long as the overall system entropy still increases. That’s how endothermic chemical reactions work. Life is just a very complex self-sustaining endothermic chemical reaction

(Ashwin S) #11

That’s reductionism at its worst .

(Timothy Horton) #12

OK, you don’t understand how endothermic reaction work. Maybe you should do a bit of reading.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #13

That is @stcordova’s point. You’ve been confused by his argumetn.

(Ashwin S) #14

No one makes the claim that living organisms violate the second law of thermodynamics… The question is connected to origins and how novelty arises for the first.

So what’s the point of proving something everyone accepts?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #15

He is not proving it. He is using at a starting point to show that Sewell’s case contradicts this point that everyone accepts. Therefore Sewell’s case is in error.