1.3.2 A fundamental question already raised.

The evolution and the increasing complexity of life on our planet imply mechanisms that elude the second law of thermodynamics.

=============================================================

© copyright notice ||| français ||| italiano

prologue > index seeds > 1.3 Interpretation of the phenomena.

1.3.1 The unidirectional thermodynamics.
>1.3.2 A question already raised.
1.3.3 The bidirectional thermodynamics.
1.3.4 Consequent forces.
1.3.5 The viability cycle - from chaos to order.
1.3.6 The secret of life on Earth.

=============================================================

In a universe where available energies tend to decrease, over billions of years, until they run out, to the “heat death”, life forms had to undergo an involution, and become less and less complex.

Instead, it is quite the opposite of what occurs here on our Earth, where we witness the flourishing of life, and its evolution.

Someone says either Clausius is right, or Darwin; not both.

In science, one piece of incoherence is more than enough to justify an attempt to reformulate the theory.

It must also be said that this possible inconsistency has already been the object of the attention of many, including James C. Maxwell, and Erwin Schrœdinger.

James C. Maxwell.

In search of a solution to the contradiction in question, in the second half of the 19th century, James C. Maxwell, in a “thought experiment”, imagined that there is an “intelligent being”, later called by others a sort of a demon, which would correct the ineluctable degradation of the quality of the energy, in contrast with the second law, by continuously feeding an energy differential, to be later tapped to carry out useful processes.

=================================================

Take two separate closed boxes, containing a gas at two different levels of energy. If put in communication, at the end of a certain amount of time, the two boxes would level to the same amount of energy. From that moment, no work would be possible, between the two containers, by exploiting the difference in the content of energy.

Imagine instead that an “intelligent being”, a demon, after separating the two containers, had to identify the molecules with less energy in the first container, and move them to the second, through a trap door; at the same time, always the demon, had to identify molecules with more energy in the second container, and move them to the first.

By doing so, between the two containers, it would maintain a differential of energy, to be exploited in useful work.

=================================================

Indeed, the “intelligent being”, imagined by Maxwell, would not change our eventual fate, the “heat death” in the universe. It would create just a local differential of energy, which would solve, for the time being, a provisional lack of it.

The demon would not give fresh energy. It only goes to correct, locally and temporarily, the natural diffusion and dispersion of energies.

Erwin Schrœdinger.

In february 1943, Erwin Schrœdinger was confronted with the crucial question of what makes the life possible, despite the laws of thermodynamics, as defined at present.

He sagely concluded that the contradiction, stated on the opening of this page, would be solved thanks to the discovery of a law, which will be the missing piece of the mosaic, to integrate with the known ones.

Among the moments of science, there are also those when we admit we do not know. As in this case. They are not the less useful ones.

=================================================

§1 - In “What is life?”, based on lectures delivered in Dublin, in february 1943, Erwin Schrœdinger was confronted with a difficult and crucial question: to reconcile the “admirable regularity and orderliness” of the animate organisms, with the second law of thermodynamics.

There you may read the following sentences:

[from chapter 6, Order, disorder and entropy] “... the device by which an organism maintains itself ..., at a fairly high level of orderliness, really consists in continually sucking orderliness, from its environment”.

[from chapter 6] “... it emerges that living matter, while not eluding the ‘laws of physics’ as established up to date, is likely to involve ‘other laws of physics’ hitherto unknown, which, however, once they have been revealed, will form just as integral a part of this science as the former”.

[from chapter 7, Is life based on the laws of physics?] “... we must be prepared to find a new type of physical law ...” (which would solve the question raised in §1 on this page).

=================================================

When the conclusion of a logical discourse, in this case, the trend to the "heat death", is in contradiction with an important fact, the evolution of the forms of life - at least on our planet - it means that, in posing the problem, an argument was not taken into account. Then the logic ceases to be a useful tool.

The missing piece of the mosaic.

The new law, the missing piece of the mosaic, must be discovered and then included in the discourse on the entropy.

On the next page I will show how the missing piece consists of the cumulative-dissipative processes, first revealed by the seeds.

continued