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Order and Disorder

  1. May 1, 2008 #1
    When we talk about Entropy we look at how the disorder in a system is measured. Now if we see the whole universe as a system, we can say that the universe tends to constantly go towards more disorder since it is expanding. My question is:
    If the universe which we live in and governs everything we are and know is going towards disorder, how come "life" is going in the opposite direction towards more order? I had this question posed to me and im still unable to answer. It just seems illogical to have something go in the opposite direction than what the universe is.
    Any suggestions/opinions?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2008 #2
    Seeing as we are an entity born out of a much smaller organism which gradually builds up into a certain structure i would say is order...more order than the expansion of the universe at the very least. I dont know, you would suggest that life as well is going towards disorder? If that is the case then i would be more than happy to hear your thoughts.
  4. May 1, 2008 #3
    Life is just another inevitable consequence of the physical nature of our universe. All the same rules apply to us as to atoms and galaxy clusters. All be it we (living organisms) are very strange manifestation, that doesn't mean we are attempting to resist the laws of nature any differently than any other physical manifestation of atoms. Just because we try to maintain 'order' as long as we can doesn't mean that in the end entropy loses. It is hard to imagine what kind of life is going to exist during the dark cosmological era and/or after all the black holes evaporate.

    Its is true that on a small time scale we may seam to be beating entropy, but in actuallity this isn't true. Life indeed is strange and very special, but it is still physical and so, not exempt from the laws of the universe.
  5. May 1, 2008 #4
    If you take into account the mess we make on earth, I would say we're not at all moving in the direction of order. But anyway, a question similar to yours is often asked in relation to the second law of thermodynamics. Taking into account however things like the amount of heat produced by a lifeform, it turns our that the formal analogue of order (entropy) actually can be seen to increase.
  6. May 1, 2008 #5


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    One can use energy to create 'order', as long as the entropy of the universe increases. For example, I can use my own energy to clean my room. The earth gets energy from the sun, and using this energy 'orderly' organisms can exist.
  7. May 1, 2008 #6

    It is the conversion of 'ordered energy' like potential energy to 'disordered thermal energy' if you like that more than compensates for the increase in order.
  8. May 4, 2008 #7
    Ok, I think i got a grasp around it now. Thanks a lot
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