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Novel Idea on the Origin of Life

  1. Jan 6, 2016 #1

    jedishrfu

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  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2016 #2

    DrClaude

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    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  4. Jan 6, 2016 #3

    russ_watters

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    This sounds overmathed to me, based on two dubious starting assumptions. To put a finer point on it: humans are terribly inefficient users of energy - and so what?
     
  5. Jan 6, 2016 #4
    You mean the human body?
     
  6. Jan 6, 2016 #5

    russ_watters

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    Yes, them too.
     
  7. Jan 6, 2016 #6
    OK. I'm baffled by your post. In the sense that, I don't understand what you were trying to say.
     
  8. Jan 6, 2016 #7

    russ_watters

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    To be perfectly frank, I'm not sure what to do with that. Sorry.
     
  9. Jan 6, 2016 #8
    What does "overmathed" mean?
    Which are?
    Wouldn't that fact support the theory?
    "So what?' that humans are terribly inefficient users of energy, or "so what?" to the whole theory?[/QUOTE]
     
  10. Jan 6, 2016 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Isn't that the point behind the article?

    You say "users of energy", but that concentrates on the useful portion - as in: getting something done. If life turns potential chemical energy into waste heat, yet accomplishes very little in the process, that's actually a pretty good entropy generator, is it not?
     
  11. Jan 6, 2016 #10
    Yes, that's the way I read the article as well.
     
  12. Jan 6, 2016 #11

    russ_watters

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    You can use math to say anything, but that doesn't mean the math is meaningful. I think this person did a lot of math that led to a conclusion that doesn't have anything to do with reality because it was never based in reality to begin with.
    The two points that came next:
    No: the premise was that life seeks efficiency. Humans are highly evolved and terribly inefficient, nearly the opposite of his assumption.
    "So what?" as in why does he think that efficient use of energy has anything to do with anything. He seems to be pulling both of those premises out of thin air and they appear completely unconnected with reality to me.
     
  13. Jan 6, 2016 #12

    DaveC426913

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    Look at a hypothetical 30,000 foot scenario of human action.

    A young, molten Earth cools until its surface crusts over, and its internal heat and volatile gasses leech out somewhat slowly after that. Humans show up and crack the surface, churning up the underbelly, exposing heat and gasses to the surface where they can be lost much more rapidly than any non-living process.
     
  14. Jan 6, 2016 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Does he mean efficient use of energy, or efficient dissipation of energy?
     
  15. Jan 6, 2016 #14

    russ_watters

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    I found the wording of the article confusing and maybe that's part of the issue here, but the way I see it, it doesn't work either way. Life is neither an efficient way to use energy or an efficient way to dissipate (waste) energy. [edit] And I see no reason why life should be driven by either.
     
  16. Jan 6, 2016 #15
    OK. I agree that's perfectly possible.

    I think you concentrated on "efficiency" too much and missed the point about life being efficient at wasting energy, that is: at not using it efficiently. In other words, he's proposing that things adopt particular arrangements in order to be less efficient.
     
  17. Jan 6, 2016 #16

    DaveC426913

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    Agreed. Which forces us to try to read between the lines.

    Well, as opposed to what? Is non-life better at either of those things? Kind of hard to say, and the article is not a lot of help there.
    Agreed. Not sure how he links it to an evolutionary driver.
     
  18. Jan 6, 2016 #17

    DaveC426913

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    This might be a case of the article poorly representing the proposal. The scientist might not have skipped over quite so many steps in the logic.
     
  19. Jan 6, 2016 #18

    russ_watters

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    Life is not effective at either. From the (news) article.
    So, a plant's "key physical attribute" is turning sunlight into waste heat -- and it is good at that? You know what's better at it? A rock.
     
  20. Jan 6, 2016 #19

    DaveC426913

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    Yeah. I'd like him to spell that out a little better.
     
  21. Jan 6, 2016 #20
    His contention is that physics says it isn't:
     
  22. Jan 6, 2016 #21

    russ_watters

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    He's flat out wrong. Energy turning into waste heat is something that happens on its own. Thermodynamics is the science/engineering of getting in the way of that.
     
  23. Jan 6, 2016 #22

    DaveC426913

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    This quote makes a lot more sense if you consider stored chemical energy.
     
  24. Jan 6, 2016 #23

    russ_watters

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    What stored chemical energy? The energy stored by plants from sunlight? He specifically cited the sun as such a primary energy source. Another would be a waterfall. These things instantly turn all of the energy they provide into lower grade waste heat. A plant stores the solar energy as chemical energy, thereby not turning it into waste heat. It does exactly the opposite of what he says it should be doing. A hydroelectric dam captures the energy of the waterfall and allows us to use it for other things before it finally gets released as waste heat (unless we also store it as another form of energy).
     
  25. Jan 6, 2016 #24

    russ_watters

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    I've invented another new term for this: philosomath.
     
  26. Jan 6, 2016 #25

    DaveC426913

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    No. I mean using solar energy to drive the engine that extracts useful chemical potential energy from the environment and turns it into such things as CO2.

    (OK well, nevermind the fact that plants also produce oxygen, which is used in lots of other ways, but still...)
     
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