Speaking as someone who tries to follow arxiv-y physics without having a formal physics background, I get really uncomfortable whenever I see an argument presented in a way that I don't feel like I can stop and look up and verify every single step in the argument. I know I don't know enough about physics to spot the holes in an argument myself, so I want to be able to make sure that I'm accepting an argument because it's well-founded and not because it "sounds right". And when I look at this "entropic gravity" stuff that's being discussed here and elsewhere a lot this last month, in this sense I get really, really uncomfortable. A lot of the discussions, in particular Verlinde's original paper, seem to take big leaps between extremely general ideas and I get lost very quickly. So I'm trying to go back and read Verlinde's original paper and make sure I understand the basic idea being discussed here from the beginning before I try to make sense of the other discussions. I'm getting stuck on like page three. The big thing I'm having a problem with is at the very beginning, where the first thing Verlinde does after the introduction (section 2) is try to explain what an entropic force is. And the interesting thing, if you'll indulge me ranting for a moment, is he somehow manages to get through his whole two page explanation with no references. He does have one footnote giving a source for a couple of the equations; the source is two people who, I assume, provided the information in conversation. This seems really fundamental and critical to get right before accepting anything that follows-- if I'm going to be convinced that space has a kind of structure that can produce an entropic force, or that it makes sense to model gravity as an entropic force, then I want to be able to understand in great detail what an entropic force is and how it works and where I can read up on it to be sure Verlinde is using it in a way consistent with how other physicists use it. So here is what I would like to ask: Is the entropic force a well-recognized enough concept that someone with more of a physics background would be comfortable seeing introduced without much detail, as happens in Verlinde's section 2? Where should someone interested in learning about entropic forces rigorously go? (Google turns up only some sketches of the concept, like on wikipedia, even less detailed than Verlinde's.) Also, is it actually legitimate to talk of the "entropic force" in the absence of any other force (as would seem to be necessary to treat the entropic force as a fundamental thing that other forces emerge from)? Like, Verlinde gives the example of a uncoiling polymer, and seems to act like you can just treat the polymer as a complete mathematical abstraction, like a series of points joined by links, with the points moving in brownian motion. Can you really just like that separate the behavior of the polymer from, say, the chemical forces that hold it together, or its interactions with the medium it is suspended in? And if the "entropic force" is really just an abstract tendency for points to cluster in certain locations once they start moving in brownian motion, as Verlinde seems to describe it, then how can it perform work on an external system? Thanks.