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← The Natural Order Of Things

AmericanGodless's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by AmericanGodless

Living beings are eddies in the stream of entropy.
#10 by Apeseed & #11 by NewEnglandBob: Yes, life is both an engine for general increased entropy and for localized decreased entropy. It is made up of dissipative structures, which utilize a flow of energy and a general increase in entropy to build and maintain themselves as local organized structures, thus doing both. The "eddy" metaphor is quite illustrative, as an eddy in a stream depends upon the flow of the stream to keep those leaves swirling around in its center; but while it is there, more leaves are drawn in, and an organized structure is formed that would not be there but for the energy flow of the stream.

Edit: Apeseed has got it pretty much right in #14: life uses energy to build things, but there is always a loss to inefficiency; so local order is increased (decreased entropy) while total order is decreased (increased entropy).

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 13:44:00 UTC | #302856