2nd Law of Thermodynamics and evolution, again
"By viewing evolution as the motion of energy flows toward a stationary state (entropy), evolution can be explained by the second law of thermodynamics, a law which conventionally describes physical systems. In this view, a cheetah serves as an energy transfer mechanism, and beneficial mutations allow the animal to transfer more energy within its environment, helping even out the energy." Image credit: Rob Qld. -- from PhysOrg.com.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics has been used to argue both for and against evolution theory. In this article, the SLoT is used to argue for evolution theory:
(PhysOrg.com) -- Often, physics and biology appear as different worlds, from a scientist’s point of view. Each discipline has its own language and concepts, and physicists and biologists tend to look at the world in different ways – not least being from inanimate and animate perspectives.
But at the core of these two sciences is the concept of motion. As a biological ecosystem evolves by the process of natural selection, it disperses energy, increases entropy, and moves toward a stationary state with respect to its surroundings. Similarly, as energy flows in various physical phenomena, they too cause biological systems to move toward stationary states with respect to their surroundings, in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics. Whether an object is animate or inanimate, science does not seem to make a distinction. In both cases, energy flows toward a stationary state, or a state of equilibrium, in the absence of a high-energy external source.
In this way, explain Ville Kaila and Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki, the second law of thermodynamics can be written as an equation of motion to describe evolution, and, in doing so, connect biology with physics. Their study, “Natural selection for least action,” is published in the Proceedings of The Royal Society A.
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The SLoT really has nothing to do with evolution. The SLoT mainly concerns physical properties that are uniformly distributed in homogeneous substances and the transfer of heat and work between those substances and their surroundings. Probably the most popular statements of the SLoT are the following:
Kelvin statement: It is impossible to construct an engine, operating in a cycle, whose sole effect is receiving heat from a single reservoir and the performance of an equivalent amount of work.
Clausius statement: It is impossible to carry out a cyclic process using an engine connected to two heat reservoirs that will have as its only effect the transfer of a quantity of heat from the low-temperature reservoir to the high-temperature reservoir.
I previously discussed the SLoT in this article.
Labels: Non-ID criticisms of evolution