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Open & Closed/Thermodynamic proofing

  1. Sep 23, 2010 #1
    I am the author of 16 books, but a current one requires some understanding I don't have. I'm a neophyte in the areas of physics, cosmology and such. I hope that some of you degreed folks can tell me if the following statement is accurate: (I realize there's a mix of disciplines here)

    "Evolution is not a closed system (Locally, i.e., on Earth) because natural selection is the force that acts upon evolution. That makes it an Open System.

    The universe was thought of as a closed system as far as we knew—no one knows what might be outside the universe as we understand it, so we can’t gauge whether or not energy or matter is being exchanged over that hypothetical boundary. In the last few years, it is more and more commonly thought of as an open system. Still others insist it’s neither: (the Universe) is neither an open system nor a closed system. An open system has permeable boundaries while a closed system has impermeable (or partially permeable) boundaries. Space does not have boundaries and thus neither apply.

    Either way, all that’s needed for evolution is the exchange of energy from the sun, which acts as a transferant1 of heat."

    1 okay, this is my own neologism. It’s like "complainant"—a person who makes a complaint. So Transferant is something that transfers.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2010 #2


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    I'm not sure I would consider that statement to be accurate. A closed system is defined based on things that cross the boundary of the system, and natural selection doesn't really have to do at all with any energy or matter crossing system boundaries. The reason the earth is not a closed system is because the earth has significant energy transfer both in and out (via radiation), as you alluded to in your final statement, not because of anything with natural selection.
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