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Comment Re:Laws of Physics have become Heresy? (Score 1) 649

you think we should ban a classroom discussion of the 2nd Law?

I think it should be MANDATORY to teach the 2nd law of thermodynamics in any physics education. I wish your teachers had been more clear on it. Your notion of the 2nd law is clearly flawed or incomplete, as it would prohibit the natural formation of highly ordered snowflakes from chaotic water vapor, as well as prohibiting countless other common physical processes.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that the total entropy of a closed system tends to increase, with overwhelming probability. It does not apply to any system subject to a flow of energy an outside source. It not prohibit one location or object in a system from increasing in order while other objects/locations in that system have an equal or larger increase in disorder.

The earth is receiving energy from the sun. The enormous entropy increase within the sun easily "pays for" the ongoing creation of order and complexity here on earth. So long as the sun shines, that energy flow can and does fuel natural self-organizing physical processes. You can see this in snowflake formation, the self-organization of hurricanes, the development of an individual organism, as well as the genetic evolution of a population. There is no violation of the 2nd law here. The sun's energy input pays for, fuels, these self-organizing natural processes.

What branch of Science did you say you were from?

Computer science, with an active interest in physics and science in general. Computer science deals extensively with Information Theory, the ways that information can measured, processed, transformed, and CREATED. Evolution is not merely a "theory", it is an applied science. Evolutionary Algorithms is a field of computer science where complex, ordered, useful, problem-solving information is CREATED by replication with mutation and natural selection of "digital-DNA". I have personally witnessed the fact that evolution can and does create complex useful new information. It is an applied science put to active use in one way or another by a majority Fortune 500 companies. It is quite common for evolution to create designs better than the best "Intelligent Designs" by human engineers. One particular case comes to mind of one team that applied evolution to jet engine design, which evolved an engine more fuel efficient than any human engineer had ever been able to achieve. And there is at least one company solely dedicated to filing patents on valuable innovations generated via evolution.

Here is a grossly oversimplified illustration. Roll one hundred dice. The chances of them all coming up 6 is effectively zero. Now apply evolution. Take that random result and REPLICATE it, and lets apply one MUTATION re-rolling one random die. Now SELECT (keep) the set with the higher total, and kill (discard) the set with the lower or equal total. After approximately 3000 replication-selection steps you will have a perfect set of all 6's.

This process works even when you do not have a pre-determined target. All it requires to work is that you have some means of measuring which set of DNA is "better" or "worse" than another. Evolution will generate whatever information is required to satisfy the selection criteria.

But as I said, that was a grossly oversimplified example. Evolution's power to generate information is exponentially increased when there is a population with sexual reproduction (genetic recombination). This has been mathematically proven by the Schemata Theorem (J. Holland 1975). I won't attempt to explain it here, but a Google search on schemata theorem turns up 122,000 results. It is a seminal paper, widely cited by subsequent scientific work in mathematics and computer science and biological evolution. It mathematically proves a major principal whereby population evolution is almost infinitely more powerful than the trivial dice example I gave above.


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