For the sake of brevity, I've clipped most of oracs post. I would just like to add that most of the articles he linked to are excellent ones - but IMO, none of them support his contention that more complex = more susceptible to damage/less adaptable. I'll only hit on a few key points.

Originally Posted By: Orac

Here is the background to the argument for your reference

You will note as discussed in the article Biological thermodynamics is in direct contrast between Ilya Prigogine dissipative systems

I just want to interject here by saying I think Orac has misunderstood some of the points I have made - indeed, he seems to be arguing for the same point of view in several places.

However, I would at this point also mention that he is mixing up two distinct processes - one of which I suspect he & I agree upon completely, and one which he is arguing against (incorrectly, IMO).

Biology is dominated by two thermodynamic processes - those which require energy in the form of things like ATP or NADP/NADPH and those which rely on other processes such as emergence. The former follow the typical 'rules' of thermodynamics, while the latter are driven by processes such Ilya Prigogine's (Ilya from now on, for simplicity) dissipative systems (i.e. emergent systems). These are processes like the formation of some cellular structures, protein folding, membrane formation, etc. These do not consume cellular energy sources, and yet create order that seems to disobey classical thermodynamics.

Orac seems to be arguing that only those later processes drive the thermodynamics of living organisms - if so (and my apologies if I have mis-interpreted), then in a word, he is wrong. But, if someone were to argue only the former were involved, they too would be wrong. You need both for life. Emergent properties are critical for life, and they obey the 'rules' discovered by Ilya et al. But they cannot persist for any length of time without the continued manufacture of the base materials (proteins, lipids, etc), and the continued removal of 'poisons' (damaged/misfolded proteins, oxidized lipids, etc) - and these are all energy-dependent processes that are powered by chemiosmotic energy-generating pathways that obey classical thermodynamics.

Originally Posted By: Orac
If you look that is exactly the open thermodynamics view that ImagingGeek is pushing.

That is not, nor has ever been, my position. Please read what I wrote before putting words in my mouth.

Originally Posted By: Orac
So there is a deep divide in the science here and I find it alarming that as I roll the open entropy discussion back into the QM domain I can falsify it.

But for 2 major issue:
1) as far as we can tell, you've not accurately described what QM says about thermodynamics - indeed, what you've claimed runs contrary to Gibbs, Ilya, etc.
2) you (and AFAIK, all physicists) have yet to demonstrate that QM processes operate at any measurable level at the macromolecular level of biology.

Ergo, you've falsified nothing.

Originally Posted By: Orac
I noticed someone has dealt with the obvious issue that if you can not cross the hurdle of entropy the idea is dead in the water a claim I stand by.

Originally Posted By:

...In this view, evolution explores possible paths to level differences in energy densities and so increase entropy most rapidly.

Firstly, I fail to see how this supports your argument - that thermodynamically favoured processes would offer a selective advantage is given - however, it does not support your contention that more complex = higher susceptibility to damage/failure.

Secondly, while the article is interesting, it makes one fundamental flaw (and one commonly seen when physicists try to do biology) - the authors incorrectly assume that all evolution is adaptive. Most evolution is not - indeed, some (sexual) tends towards maladaptive; most (95% or more) is neutral. Ergo, the bulk of evolution should occur with a neutral or even negative entropic effect.

Originally Posted By: Orac
So I fail to see how I can be called argumentative just because I don't accept ImagingGeeks very singular view.

I'd just like to point out that I would consider 'argumentive' a complement - not accepting things at face value is a good characteristic of a scientist.

However, given that you don't seem to understand what I ahve written (nor provided any evidence to disprove my 'disproofs' of your claims), I'd say you're still a ways away from a real scientific argument in favour of your position.

Originally Posted By: Orac
I am condescending of him because he thinks Entropy is something that doesn't matter.

You would have had to completely ignore everything I wrote to conclude that. I guess we can chalk your condescention upto compensation for poor reading comprehension.

Originally Posted By: Orac
What I finding interesting is the certainty ImagingGeek portraits in his theory and you all go along for the ride. I don't even claim that with the Big Bang, Universe expansion or even the discovery of the Higgs. Normal sane scientists discuss openly the possibilities of conflicting theories but apparently the thermodynamics of evolution of life only has one theory according to all you people and the science is settled so perhaps you can show me the proof laugh

Actually, Orac, I've given you multiple opportunities to discuss the thermodynamics of evolution - but you've consistently failed to provide any support for your arguments, nor any counter-evidence when I point to data that disproves your theory.

A key part of any scientific discourse is evidence. To date, you've provided none; the best you've given are a handful of papers which are either unrelated or which run counter to your claims. Moreover, you've ignored and/or failed to respond to every point & paper I've posted. You cannot be surprised that given those actions on your part, that we treat you as a troll rather than as a serious participant in the thread.


EDIT: I forgot to add one thing. Abiogenesis an evolution are two completely separate processes, dominated by very different energetics and processes. One cannot make conclusions of one based on the other. Indeed, until an abiogenic process becomes self-replicating it is intrinsically incapable of undergoing anything even resembling evolution.

Last edited by ImagingGeek; 03/04/13 11:05 PM.