Critique of "The Scientific Worldview": Part 8a The Ten Assumptions of Science: Complementarity

The true meaning of entropy and negentropy in a mechanistic world. The Second Law of Thermodynamics recapitulates Newton's First Law of Motion.

I am ever so grateful to Bill Westmiller, whose comments are marked "BW: ". The quotes marked TSW are from "The Scientific Worldview[1]" and my comments are marked "[GB: ".

TSW: Sixth Assumption: Complementarity (Part 8a)

"All bodies are subject to divergence [from] and convergence from [with] other bodies."

[GB: Sorry Bill, but I don’t agree with your bracketed changes. I am thinking that the divergence and convergence is “from” other bodies (e.g., as in the approach of an asteroid).]

BW: Abbreviated in the vernacular to "s..t happens". ;o) ... which is a crass way to introduce my complaint about scientific jargon. Too often, it's a jumble of borrowed concepts slapped together in analogies, with no explanation of *why* it must be so. For example:

“Entropy: A thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, due to lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.”

Whereas, a good explanation describes the process:

Entropy: The proposition that objects in motion tend to collide and bounce away from each other.

[GB: You are getting close—much better than the mess you quoted, but still no cigar. The bouncing part is irrelevant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is really just a restatement of Newton’s First Law of Motion (A body stays in motion in a right line unless it collides with something). The obscuration you note as well as the “bouncing” part you included in your own definition is simply the result of the determinism-indeterminism struggle. As is typical in regressive physics, the mess you quoted misuses the energy concept in an effort to destroy mechanics (the assumption that the universe is described correctly by two phenomena: matter and the motion of matter). The so-called “isolated” system is a microcosm that contains the body in motion for a time. Because no system or microcosm is without exits, they all eventually allow that body to continue on its way via divergence.

Here is Fig. 3-3 from TSW, p. 79:

Fig. 3-3. The classical demonstration of entropy change described by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. An increase in entropy is produced when the gas in chamber A is allowed to pass through the valve into the vacuum of chamber B.]

BW: Obviously, the tendency is more pronounced in isolated systems, where the bounces spread out until they achieve the maximum common separation, resulting in equilibrium.

[GB: Close, but no cigar. What you describe is an idealization that actually would not allow the Second Law of Thermodynamics to perform. The equilibrium you speak of is only ideal because there are no isolated systems. The Second Law of Thermodynamics works precisely because there always is a macrocosm into which the submicrocosms of the microcosm (or their motions) can be transferred. In other words, the valve in Fig. 3-3 is always leaky.]

BW: As you point out, the terms "order" and "disorder" are subjective. An isolated system in equilibrium is "well ordered", not disordered: the matter in motion is "perfectly" balanced. The A-B containers are both "well ordered" systems in themselves, until they are consolidated by opening the valve, creating a "disordered" unity, for a little while.

[GB: I like your use of the quotes and the phrase “for a little while.” Remember also, that the “for a little while” also applies to the “isolated” system at “equilibrium.”]

BW: That doesn't solve the quandary of why objects in motion would *not* be inclined to always bounce *away* from each other and why they tend toward maximum common separation. I don't think your treatment really answers that problem.

[GB: Remember that each microcosm forms a “container,” that is, the submicrocosms within follow Newton’s First Law, but they do not have complete freedom to escape the container. The “maximum common separation” that you mention is just what would be expected, given the limited amount of freedom afforded in light of Newton’s laws.]

BW: To the particulars:

TSW:  "Only by assuming complementarity can we resolve the contradiction between conservation, which assumes that the universe is eternal, and the indeterministic interpretation of the SLT, which implies that it is not."

BW: I think you mean "infinite", rather than "eternal". If the universe is finite, then the objects in motion in our cosmos always have a "better place to bounce" (the void) and will never maximize their separation: entropy rules. On the other hand, if it is infinite, then the universe is - and always has been - in a state of optimized equilibrium: maximum separation has been achieved (subjectively "well ordered", conventionally "disordered").

[GB: Actually, “infinite” and “eternal” can be used interchangeably when we assume inseparability. I used “eternal” here specifically because conservation only indirectly implies that the universe is infinite. The indeterministic assumption of noncomplementarity, however, assumes that the universe is finite, a system with nothing outside of it. That is why regressive physicists claim that the universe will die a “heat death” in which all matter is turned into “energy,” construed as matterless motion. That fits with the usual claim that matter can be converted into energy, which is also incorrect.[2]

Sorry Bill, but your idealism is showing through again. The infinite universe cannot have a “state of optimized equilibrium: maximum separation.” There are many reasons for that. For one, there is never enough time for that, what with each portion of the universe continually changing. About all one can say is that any particular microcosm or submicrocosm will travel in whatever direction allowed by the immediate surroundings within its macrocosm. For another, it appears as though you are thinking of identical idealized bodies that could achieve optimum equilibrium via maximum separation. This cannot happen because no two microcosms are alike, per the Ninth Assumption of Science, relativism (All things have characteristics that make them similar to all other things as well as characteristics that make them dissimilar to all other things). Your conjecture might fit with Hoyle’s “Steady State Universe,” but would never fit with Infinite Universe Theory. There is nothing steady or in “optimized equilibrium” in the infinite universe.]

cotsw 013

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The scientific worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein ( http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/The%20Scientific%20Worldview.html ): Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p.

[2] Borchardt, Glenn, 2009, The physical meaning of  E=mc2 ( http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/Downloads/The%20Physical%20Meaning%20of%20E%20=%20mc2.pdf ): Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, v. 6, no. 1, p. 27-31.

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