>How will all things come to an end?

>The second law of thermodynamics says that in sum total disorder is always increasing. Hence where a baby is being born somewhere a building is being destroyed. They call this disorder entropy, and of course it has some frightening implications; that we are hurtling towards our own destruction. Admittedly this ‘law’ says that the process will take a very long time. But ultimately it predicts an end to all things, and also suggests there was a start.

Do you think this law is correct? Will there be an end to all things? Is there always more disorder being created than order?

4 comments

  • >This law is flawed, things get better, then worse, then better again, not slowly worse untill the end.There will of course be an end, and it might occur at a time when society is sophisticated, or it might occur when our society is having bad problems. and furthermore I dont think a building being destroyed is a good example. The materials will be reused, perhaps to build better buildings. When order has completely been taken over into randomization, then order will slowly begin to emerge again (e.g. evolution- i see it a a cycle, not as a downward spiral. This would be a gross oversimplication of things.Robin.

  • >I agree that the law cannot be rigidly true until the end. It doesn't seem logical.However the building is an apt example. You see when you construct new buildings you're expending more energy than was taken to destroy the old one. To be sure you get it from someone with a little more scientific knowledge than me I'll quote you a bit from Paul Davies' "God and the New Physics":"If all natural activity produces more disorder (measured in some appropriate way) then the world must change irreversibly, for to restore the universe to yesterday's condition would mean somehow reducing the disorder to its previous level, which contradicts the second law. Yet at first sight there seem to be many counter-examples of this law. New buildings are erected. New structures grow. Isn't every new-born baby an example of order arising out of disorder? In these cases you have to be sure you are looking at the total system, not merely the subject of interest. The concentration of order in one region of the universe is always paid for by increasing disorder somewhere else."Now in a way this second law fits with the theory of the expanding universe. If the universe is still expanding outwards from the Big Bang then it is possible that the energy of the Big Bang is still at work creating entropy (disorder). However this doesn't mean that entropy will keep increasing. One idea is that the Universe will one day contract (eventually leading to the 'Big Crunch'), and in that case more order will be created than not as the universe contracts. Another idea is that as the energy released by the Big Bang lessens the amount of entropy created may decline. My view is that we cannot discuss the "second law" as a law. Nobody knows much about it. What's the logic in order being able to increase order in one space but not another? What's the logic behind order being able to come out of disorder but never more than 49.9% of the time? Perhaps you could say it's something to do with the expansion of the Universe, and therefore that there will come a time when more order can be created than disorder. But to say so is to speculate and guess. For we really don't know. In fact 73% of the Universe is supposedly Dark Energy, and 23% Dark Matter. Neither of these do we know very much about. So how can we know the majority of things are becoming more disordered when we don't know what the majority of things are actually doing?

  • >you said "You see when you construct new buildings you're expending more energy than was taken to destroy the old one". It's a basic theory that energy is not used up – It merely changes form. This guy is a nut – where do you find them – you cant say 'everythings slowly becoming dissorderly. For one its subjective, what is dissorder from one perspective is order from another.

  • >Trust me the guy is not a nut. These are not the thoughts of one scientist. The second law of thermodyanamics is one of the most accepted laws in Science.The concept of order is not subjective in Science. Your point that nothing is ever destroyed or wasted was one I mentioned before. It only changes form. However when you use kinetic energy to move yourself from A to B much of that energy escapes not only as kinetic energy but also heat energy. Hence 100% energy type A has become more disordered because it becomes 90% energy type B and 10% type energy C.Yet how can we measure all these changes in form? Who are we to say to lay out a strict measurement of 'order'? It may be that there are exchanges of energy we don't know about that do not create such 'waste'.Basically, the idea of this law is anything but stupid. All evidence thus far uncovered points out it's truth. However the logic of the law is slightly odd, and the evidence based on a miniscule data sample (relative to the entire Universe). Hence I do not think it should be called a law. I also think that even within the confines of the law it is possible that if this expanding universe collided with another (that we have no idea exists yet), or if this Universe started contracting, then entropy could decline.Where, as the name clearly says the law originated, the law talks of heat transfer alone, then the law does indeed seem quite indisputable while the universe is expanding. Heat naturally spreads into colder areas. It's why things cool down, and things heat up. Put a hot coal in a bucket of water and the heat spreads out, with each heated particle becoming more disordered relative to other particles as the coal cools and water warms. A possible exception could be that these particles might move closer together rather than further apart in a black hole. But such exceptions, and extensions of this law to all types of energy, are for me not completely convincing.

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