Saturday, January 06, 2007

Abiogenesis and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Previous related posts:
Andy MacIntosh and the 2nd Law.
The idea of unintelligent Abiogenesis.
Is Abiogenesis Falsifiable?

This post is based on Walter Bradley’s chapter on “Information, Entropy and the Origin of Life.” In “Debating Design” Edited by Ruse and Dembski and published by Cambridge University Press.

Walter L. Bradley was one of the authors of “The Mystery of Life’s Origin.” which remains as the best selling advanced level text on the Origin of Life.

Bradley states that the second law of thermodynamics (2lot) and the theory of evolution are two of the three major scientific discoveries of the nineteenth century with Maxwell’s field equations for electricity and magnetism being the third. He is intrigued that the theory of evolution and the 2lot appear to be in conflict. The 2lot suggests a progression to disorder from order, from complexity to simplicity. Evolution involves progression to increasingly more complex forms of living organisms.

Erwin Schroedinger noted that living systems are characterized by highly ordered, aperiodic structures that survive by drawing “negentropy” from their environment and feeding on it! Today we recognise Schroedinger’s ordered structures as the complex biopolymers of protein and nucleic acids.

Living organisms use information stored in these biopolymers to resist the pull of the 2lot towards equilibrium. They are able to store information, to replicate with minimal information loss and they are able to feed on “negentropy.”

The existence of these three abilities allow us to understand how living organisms can continue to exist without violating the 2lot but the difficulty is understanding how these three abilities came to exist without violating the 2lot. This is the greatest mystery in science. At the heart of this problem is the difficulty of explaining how the complex specified information within these biopolymers can originate.

Bradley discusses the significant quantities of Shannon information that are stored in cytochrome c and in the E.coli bacterial chromosome.

At best the 2lot gives a very small yield of unsequenced polymers that have no biological function. The sequencing required for function is not facilitated by the 2lot.

Bradley then goes on to discuss the various origin of life scenarios that have been proposed in the light of the problem of the need for information and the pressure of the 2lot towards disorder.

He concludes: The origin of life seems to be the ultimate example of irreducible complexity. I believe that cosmology and the origin of life provide the most compelling examples of Intelligent design in nature. I am compelled to agree with the eloquent affirmation of design by Harold Morowitz (1987):

“I find it hard not to see design in a universe that works so well. Each new scientific discovery seems to reinforce that vision of design. As I like to say to my friends, the universe works much better than we have any right to expect.”

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57 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, Harold Morowitz testified against the creationists in the 1981 McLean trial, and his view that the universe works well is in stark contrast to Bradley's special creationist view, which invokes divine intervention every time he doesn't understand something.

8:13 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

It should be noted that anything Bradley says about Abiogenesis and Thermodynamics is said as a layman, not an expert. His expertise is in areas unrelated to Abiogenesis and Thermodynamics:
"Walter L. Bradley received his B.S. in Engineering Science and his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Texas in Austin. He taught for eight years as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines before assuming a position as Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU) in 1976. His research area is fracture, fracture mechanics, life-time prediction, and failure analysis."

"The 2lot suggests a progression to disorder from order, from complexity to simplicity."

2LoT only requires this in closed systems. The Earth being an open system (receiving massive inflows of energy from the Sun, as well as radiating off large amounts of infrared energy from heat into space), cannot be expected to operate in any way even approximating this.

"Living organisms use information stored in these biopolymers to resist the pull of the 2lot towards equilibrium. They are able to store information, to replicate with minimal information loss and they are able to feed on “negentropy.”"

Thermodynamics has nothing to say about information, just energy and entropy.

"Bradley discusses the significant quantities of Shannon information that are stored in cytochrome c and in the E.coli bacterial chromosome."

Bradley is likewise not an Information Theorist, and so is again speaking as a layman.

"At best the 2lot gives a very small yield of unsequenced polymers that have no biological function. The sequencing required for function is not facilitated by the 2lot."

Rubbish! 2LoT makes no such generalised claims, nor can such a claim be inferred from its formal definition.

2:22 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Incidentally, Bradley is an explicitly Bible-based (Progressive) Creationist -- as can be seen from the essay he co-wrote: The Trustworthiness of Scripture in Areas Relating to Natural Science
http://www.origins.org/articles/bradley_trustworthiness.html

More evidence that ID is merely a repackaging of Creationism.

2:35 pm  
Blogger macguy said...

More evidence that ID is merely a repackaging of Creationism.

Did you know that Darwin was a creationist? It's true! ROFL.

11:24 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Did you know that Darwin was a creationist? It's true! ROFL."

Yes, I did. He was a big fan of Paley at university and a thorough Creationist throughout the Beagle expedition. It was only when he returned and submitted his collection for expert taxonomic identification on his return that he started to doubt his original position. This led to a period of intensive study and discussions with other scientists, which led some decades later to his publication of On the Origin of Species.

Bradley on the other hand appears to be publishing much the same uninformed claptrap as he always has, and exhibits no evidence that he has learnt anything over the years.

1:20 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Rather than accepting the uninformed claims of Walter Bradley and the bizarre claims of Andrew McIntosh, I would suggest people read a book on the subject of Biological Thermodynamics (which is a field of research in its own right).

One book on the subject that gets frequent mention is Donald T. Haynie's Biological Thermodynamics (ISBN: 0521795494):
""Biological Thermodynamics provides an introduction to the study of energy transformations for students of the biological sciences. Donald Haynie uses an informal writing style to introduce this core subject in a manner that will appeal to biology and biochemistry undergraduate students. ... Each chapter provides numerous examples taken from different areas of biochemistry, as well as extensive exercises to aid understanding. Topics covered include energy and its transformation, the First Law of Thermodynamics, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Gibbs Free Energy, statistical thermodynamics, binding equilibria and reaction kinetics, and a survey of the most exciting areas of biological thermodynamics today, particularly the origin of life on Earth."

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks interesting, Hrafn, thanks.
guthrie

6:56 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

It is quite expensive. Have you read it? It seems to very little in it on origins. I am reluctant to spend that much money for minimal coverage of the areas of the subject that I am interested in.
The relevant sections would be chapter 9 and consists of only 30 pages that works out about £1 per page!

7:20 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

It is quite expensive. Have you read it? It seems to very little in it on origins. I am reluctant to spend that much money for minimal coverage of the areas of the subject that I am interested in.
The relevant sections would be chapter 9 and consists of only 30 pages that works out about £1 per page!

7:21 pm  
Anonymous dolores said...

Tut, tut, Andrew, you must have found hrafn's crib sheet:

http://www.ntanet.net/Thermo-Internet.htm

8:42 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew:

No, I haven't. It is simply that when I went scratching around on Google & Wikipedia for info related to Biological Thermodynamics, it seemed to come up fairly regularly.

If it's pricey, the obvious thing to do is see if a local university library has it (or something equivalent).

1:32 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

No Dolores, I hadn't previously found this page. It does however support my hypothesis that Haynie is an appropriate expert to answer questions on Biological Thermodynamics.

5:32 am  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Hello Andrew,

Well would you believe it? I have a copy of Haynie’s “Biological Thermdynamics” right here on my shelf. Let’s get it down and see what he says about evolution. Here we are...page 319:

“We might ask how there could be such a thing as life at all when the Second Law points to death, annihilation. How can there be a process whereby life forms become increasingly complex wherever the Second Law is required to operate? Has the chain of processes by which the first cell on Earth became the many cells of all organisms that have ever existed violated the Second Law of Thermodynamics? Some people think so, saying for example that zebras are clearly more complex than zebra fish and protozoa, protozoa have been around a lot longer than zebra fish and zebras, and the Second Law demands ever increasing disorder. This view, however, stems from a misunderstanding of what is possible in the context of the First and Second Laws. The Second Law says that the entropy of the universe must increase for any real process, not that order cannot increase elsewhere....The Second Law requires only that any process resulting in a decrease in entropy on a local level must be accompanied by an even larger increase in the entropy of the surroundings”

You really should buy this book. It’s very good, and you might learn something.

6:27 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hello Tony,

I wonder whether the 30 pages on origins is worth the £30? I am aware that in an open system such as our planet the input of energy from the sun can mean that energy can be put in to ordering things. However my question is whether the sort of order that is required for life can be produced simply by the input of energy. Can an ordered information system arise together with the machines needed for its maintenance and replication arise simply by adding lots of energy? Is this the greatest mystery in science or is it a trivial problem that has effectively been solved? It is the specific sequencing that is the problem and my understanding is that this problem is recognised as a big one by OOL researchers.

10:01 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

You say: "I wonder whether the 30 pages on origins is worth the £30?"

I say: True knowledge is priceless.

10:56 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Actually Andrew,

On reflection, let me modify that last post slightly. A more accurate statement of my position is: RELIABLE knowledge is priceless

11:24 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Andrew, I think you're obsessing too much over this "30 page" issue. I rather suspect that the preceding 8 chapters are necessary to gain a sufficient understanding of Biological Thermodynamics to understand the thermodynamics of evolution.

But even if you aren't willing to buy the book yourself, or find a copy in a library, the passage Tony quoted is clear indication that the most relevant expert we have come across to date (being a specialist in Biological Thermodynamics) not only believes that evolution does not violate the 2LoT, but has a clear thermodynamic explanation why it is doesn't.

2:36 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Also ABEBooks has it listed for only US$32 (<£20) plus postage.

2:40 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,

Unfortunately while I agree with your "reliable knowledge is priceless" it is nonetheless true that my income is limited as is also my time. However is you think that this book will convince me that biogenesis is thermodynamically reasonable without intelligence then I will endeavour to struggle through it.

Would you regard H. Yockey as a source of reliable knowledge on the subject of biogenesis?

8:26 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
"Bradley speaks...as a layman on this subject"

I do not agree. He speaks as a scientist who appears to be speaking and publishing outside of his main professional specialism. That is not quite the same thing. When a scientist does this he has either done his homework well or poorly. He will not have the same automatic respect as a lifetime trusted specialist but he should not be dismissed as a layman. If we are to dismiss what he says it has to be by demonstrating that he is talking rubbish. The important point is not what he is speaking as but whether he is right or wrong.

"The 2lot has nothing to say about information."

I do not understand. Information is a special kind of order. What do you mean?

9:17 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew, interesting that you mention "machines" in relation to the 2LoT. MacIntosh also brings machines into the equation here;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2006/12/andy_mcintosh_replies.html

As a layman I am aware of the law as "entropy increases in a closed system". I cannot find any mention of "machines" or "machinery" in the abbreviated 2LoT in Wikipedia.

" Second law of thermodynamics, about entropy - The total entropy of any isolated thermodynamic system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value"

Surely the law says - input local energy and you can get an increase in order, so long as there is a balancing decrease somewhere else within the system?

So, on Earth, as an isolated part of the universal system, and as you correctly state, heat from the sun propels life and ordered growth. Therefore evolution does not conflict with the 2LoT.

What have "machines" got to do with it?

9:35 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,
re machines.
As I understand it the reason that living organisms are able to maintain a relatively stable, ordered existence is because they use photosynthesis or some kind of external energy source to provide usable energy in each cell. This useable energy is then used by machines and systems to maintain and replicate the cell/organism. This explains why life can avoid the pressure of entropy towards disorder that we see when an organism dies. However it does not explain how the complex system arose in the first place.

11:30 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"He speaks as a scientist who appears to be speaking and publishing outside of his main professional specialism. That is not quite the same thing."

It is precisely the same thing. The opposite of "layman" is expert. Therefore a scientist speaking outside their field of expertise is a layman (in that they are not an expert).

And as far as I know, he has not published anything on the subject in any peer-reviewed journal (a book co-edited by somebody with as little credibility as William 'Master of Flatulence' Dembski simply does not count).

"If we are to dismiss what he says it has to be by demonstrating that he is talking rubbish."

Which I have demonstrated in my first post. His claims have also been flatly contradicted by Haynie, who is a genuine expert in this field.

"I do not understand."

That is blindingly clear. It is all the more reason why you should read Haynie's book, rather than getting your information off a bunch of cranks who are determined to misrepresent and caricature thermodynamics.

"Information is a special kind of order. What do you mean?"

What it means is that 2LoT does not directly speak of order versus disorder, in any of its (equivalent) formulations. It speaks of energy and/or of entropy.

Higher order generally (but not universally) means higher energy/lower entropy. But even when this is true, because information is only one type of order, so it is possible thermodynamically for the information of even a closed system to increase (as long as the other types of order within the system decrease to more than match).

However, that the Earth is not anywhere even close to a closed system can easily be seen from the fact that there is a permanent temperature differential between the tropics and the poles (something that would be thermodynamically impossible in a closed system).

So, we have three problems:

1) 2LoT does not directly address order.

2) Not all order is information.

3) The system we are dealing with (the Earth) is nowhere near closed.

Therefore attempting to apply the 2LoT to Information would be a bit like applying the Marquis of Queensberry Rules to a Venezuelan street brawl with knives.

1:03 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew said "As I understand it the reason that living organisms are able to maintain a relatively stable, ordered existence is because they use photosynthesis or some kind of external energy source to provide usable energy in each cell. This useable energy is then used by machines and systems to maintain and replicate the cell/organism. This explains why life can avoid the pressure of entropy towards disorder that we see when an organism dies. However it does not explain how the complex system arose in the first place."

Andrew, if you take the word "machines" out of this paragraph you get exactly the same sense.

"As I understand it the reason that living organisms are able to maintain a relatively stable, ordered existence is because they use photosynthesis or some kind of external energy source to provide usable energy in each cell. This useable energy is then used to maintain and replicate the cell/organism. This explains why life can avoid the pressure of entropy towards disorder that we see when an organism dies. However it does not explain how the complex system arose in the first place."

And it is still consistent with the 2LoT.

I still do not understand why it is necessary to put in a reference to "machines". It seems unnecessary to the explanation, and is not specifically required by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

I suspect that MacIntosh wants to put more hurdles in the way of any potential naturalistic explanation of abiogenesis (if you have to power the change and also some type of "machine" to maintain the new state, then you need more energy than is availaible.. that sort of thing).

But as these "machines" are not necessary for the 2LoT to apply, is he not in danger of stretching his credibility within his own field?

1:17 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"However it does not explain how the complex system arose in the first place."

But this returns the problem to Abiogenesis, and says nothing against the viability of evolution to produce ever more complex lifeforms thereafter.

The question divides into two sub-questions:

1) How complex does a lifeform (or proto-lifeform) have to be in order to evolve via the mechanisms contained within the Theory of Evolution (i.e. setting the threshold between Abiogenesis and Biological Evolution).

2) How, and by what mechanisms, could these (proto-)lifeforms have evolved to this threshold state?

Evolution can explain the evolution of life from (at least) simple one-celled lifeforms to every lifeform we see on Earth today.

That science does not have a clear explanation for the stage from inanimate matter to (unknown) first one-celled lifeform, under (unknown) primordial conditions does not seem so small a gap by comparison, especially given the intractable unknowns that any explanatory hypothesis would need to correctly 'guess' in order to do so.

1:17 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,

The SOD gives two senses for "layman" the one that I think we are arguing over is:

A person without professional or special knowledge in a particular subject, esp law or medicine.

I personally am convinced that someone with a good training and experience in science or engineering can pick up another field in the science/engineering area more quickly than someone who has no such training. He has professional knowledge as a scientist and is not speaking as a layman in that area. The word has a background in the clerical/laity distinction. A cleric ie any member of the clergy whatever area of theology they were specialised in was still a cleric and not a layperson. Thus its meaning tends to be associated with membership of a profession not an ever narrowing specialism. Not especially important but just wanted to get it off my chest!

With regards to the substance of the argument. Is it true to say that you see absolutely no problems whatever thermodynamically for biogenesis?

1:21 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"I personally am convinced that someone with a good training and experience in science or engineering can pick up another field in the science/engineering area more quickly than someone who has no such training."

Possibly. There are however a couple of important caveats that need to be applied to that position:

1) The degree of ease with which the new field can be picked up will be related to how closely related the field is to the original field (in terms of new concepts to learn, etc). Biological Thermodynamics is a field wholly unrelated to metallurgical fracture mechanics.

2) Before I was willing to accept that "can pick up" had turned into "had picked up" I would want to see some evidence in terms of either a formal qualification or peer-review published research in the new field, that this "picking up" had occurred to a substantive degree.

Given that Bradley has been working in a wholly unrelated field, and that we have no substantive evidence that he has "picked up" Biological Thermodynamics, I think I am justified to call him a "layman" on the subject.

"Is it true to say that you see absolutely no problems whatever thermodynamically for biogenesis?"

If I can take from the context that you mean "biogenesis" to mean (approximately) "new (possibly more complex) lifeforms from old (possibly less complex) lifeforms" (as opposed to the alternative meaning of "the assertion that life can only be passed on by living things", i.e. the negation of the possibility of Abiogenesis), then my response would be "yes".

3:29 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"The word has a background in the clerical/laity distinction. A cleric ie any member of the clergy whatever area of theology they were specialised in was still a cleric and not a layperson. Thus its meaning tends to be associated with membership of a profession not an ever narrowing specialism."

The problem with this is that under this definition, somebody could have a PhD in Theology and still be "laity" (if they haven't been ordained), and somebody could have only a very rudimentary understanding of theology, and still be ordained (an thus clergy), as might well happen in some of the more charismatic and/or anti-intellectual denominations.

I therefore do not see the laity/clergy dichotomy informing the layman/expert dichotomy in the least. The two concepts are largely orthogonal to each other (in that you can have expert-laity and layman-clergy just as easily as layman-laity and expert-clergy).

3:39 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Hrafn,
"That science does not have a clear explanation for the stage from inanimate matter to (unknown) first one-celled lifeform, under (unknown) primordial conditions does not seem so small a gap by comparison, especially given the intractable unknowns that any explanatory hypothesis would need to correctly 'guess' in order to do so."

Do you mean "so large a gap"?

If so I disagree.

11:22 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Allygally,

I am not too bothered by the insertion of deletion of the word machines. What I am trying to argue is that while I understand that a living organism can use external energy to resist the presure of entropy I cannot understand how without a system for capturing energy and using it productively a living organism can arise in the first place.

11:26 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Tony,

As you have a copy on the shelf so to speak could you give me an appetiser about how he explains Abiogenesis consistently with the 2lot?

11:34 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew,

I'm curious. Why do you conflate abiogenesis (a phenomenon that the Bible says happened) with the multitude of hypotheses (theories) about mechanisms for abiogenesis?

Do you not see that your inability to separate a phenomenon from the mechanisms underlying it is a very large intellectual problem?

7:57 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew Rowell said.."I understand that a living organism can use external energy to resist the presure of entropy I cannot understand how without a system for capturing energy and using it productively a living organism can arise in the first place."

I don't tyhink you are alone. Isn't that what the scientists working in the field are trying to find? If you find how a organisms used energy to creeate life, you've cracked abiogenesis. Of course it might nort have been a single step... It might have evolved.

9:28 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew Rowell said.."I understand that a living organism can use external energy to resist the presure of entropy I cannot understand how without a system for capturing energy and using it productively a living organism can arise in the first place."

I don't tyhink you are alone. Isn't that what the scientists working in the field are trying to find? If you find how a organisms used energy to creeate life, you've cracked abiogenesis. Of course it might nort have been a single step... It might have evolved.

9:29 pm  
Blogger jmcdavis said...

"As you have a copy on the shelf so to speak could you give me an appetiser about how he explains Abiogenesis consistently with the 2lot?"

I just cannot see how the 2lot begins to aplly to abiogenesis.

(1) 2lot only applies to closed systems. If a system is not closed 2lot has no reason whatever to enter the conversation.

(2) Inorganic elements and molecules increase in complexity all the time. You do not need a specialized "machine" to do this. Chemistry does it quite regualrly.

I seem to remember earlier in this comment thread a comment that tacitly agreed with that but seemed to imply that there was some limit of complexity that can come from simpler arrangements. I am fairly well educated and reasonably scientifically literate and have no conception of why such a limit might exist. I can however understand that someone's gut instinct would tell them that such a limit must exist. That is not proof though and any complexity threshold espoused by someone must be ragarded as a purely arbitrary number.

11:05 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

H'mm:

First, as a polymer scientist -- i.e. qualified in engineering sciences -- Bradley has had to have had quite a lot of specific training and experience in thermodynamics; which governs the relevant reactions and equilibria that he spent his career working on.

So, in the relevant chapters of the then well-received 1984 TMLO [co-authored with a PhD Chemist, Thaxton, and a Geologist; observe the blurbs by e.g. Shapiro and the announced recantation of the major 1969 textbook Biochemical Predestination, by Dean Kenyon in the book] there is significant presentation of the relevant thermodynamics of spontaneous formation of biopolymers. So, the premise that Mr Bradley is a "layman" speaking out of his depth on the thermodynamics of the formation of biopolymers by spontaneous processes in pre-biotic earth is utterly incredible to me, by comparison with the online chapters of TMLO. [Have a look; then critque the thermodynamics there . . .]

Second, as my linked web page discusses, the very first example of a 2nd law system in most textbooks, is of an isolated system embracing two interacting closed ones [i.e. allow energy but not matter flows]. One is hotter than the other and passes d'Q to the latter.

The Clausius result, that dS>/= 0 for the isol sys as a whole results from the fall in entropy in the hot body, being exceeded by the rise in entropy of the cooler one. THAT IS, SIMPLE RAW IMPORTATION OF ENERGY INTO A "CLOSED" SYSTEM -- I.E. OPEN TO ENERGY IN/OUT FLOWS (I DIDN'T MAKE UP THE TERMINOLOGY!) -- "NATURALLY" INCREASES ENTROPY.

The real issue then is to couple input energy to create/sustain order, or better yet functionally specified, complex information [such as we see in the biopolymers of life]. For that, we have three candidates: chance, natural regularities, intelligent action, which can of course act together.

Bradley's point is that in even gererously set prebiotic soups ont ehplanet-wide scale, the equilibrium concentration of biopolymers -- acquired through a Brillouin information calculation related to Boltzmann's s = k ln w, and Gibbs free energy thence equilibrium relationships -- is so small that we do not get to one molecule per planet of say a 100 monomer protien. A similar result obtains for DNA.

20+ years later, we are more prone to use information and probability calculations; but the result is the same.

My own issue is that in the face of noise,we routinely infer to intelligent agency as the best explanation of similarly complex strings of alphanumeric characters in web pagfes that are functional, so there is a question of inconsitency driven by worldview commitments at work.

Cheerio

TKI

10:00 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Hi again:

I looked up the resume partly excerpted above, and saw this very interesting and relevant part that did not appear above:

>>. . . He [Bradley] also served as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, a department of 67 faculty and 1500 students and as Director of the Polymer Technology Center at TAMU. Dr. Bradley [who I saw elsewhere is retired from TAMU] is currently working with Baylor University's engineering department and is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity Information and Design

Walter Bradley has also performed seminal research in the origin of life, having published journal articles and co-authoring the popular "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories" which remains the best-selling advanced level text on the origin of life. >>

(Q: should I make an inference to design as the best explanation of that omission? Nah -- only chance and natural regularities are permitted, tut, tut!!!)

TMLO, of course, is the actual, 1984, start-point of the modern, empirical sciences-anchored Design Theory movement. Design thought, as my linked web page discusses, goes back to Cicero, Plato and Socrates.

Okay, Cheerio

TKI

PS Pardon the typos I missed . . .

10:32 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

And also . . .

In final response to hrafn's It should be noted that anything Bradley says about Abiogenesis and Thermodynamics is said as a layman, not an expert. His expertise is in areas unrelated to Abiogenesis and Thermodynamics: . . . , no 2, above . . .

Here is the relevant part of the excerpt from Baylor on appointing him distinguished prof in Enginering:

>>Walter Bradley (B.S., Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin) is Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Baylor. He comes to Baylor from Texas A&M University where he was a highly successful Chair of Mechanical Engineering, growing his department into one that is now ranked 12th nationally. Bradley has authored over 145 research publications including 63 journal articles in periodicals such as: Journal of Material Science, Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, Mechanics of Time-Dependent Materials, Journal of Composites Technology and Research, Composite Science and Technology, Journal of Metals, Polymer Engineering and Science, and Journal of Materials Science.

Dr. Bradley has secured over [US} $4.5 million in grant funding as co-principal investigator. He has received over 15 NSF grants and over 5 NASA grants. He has also conducted projects for the DOE. In the corporate sector, he has received grants from agencies such as Alcoa, Dow Chemical, DuPont, and 3M.>>

In short, just the opposite to the attempted dismissal, Prof Bradley IS clearly a recognised expert in the relevant disciplines related to polymer science. Such expertise would naturally require deep understanding of the thermodynamics of forming and sustaining polymers in given environments. I think it is fair comment to note that he has in that context put up a technical argument in 1984, explicitly anchored on the works of pioneers in the area of thermodynamics, polymer science and abiogenesis. He could be wrong, as many experts sometimes are, but that would not be because he is a layman out of his depth.

Let hrafn and his ilk therefore address the thermodynamics, instead of distorting the record of the man -- who is plainly well qualified to speak on the subjects in the linked chaper of TMLO.

Cheerio

TKI.

1:47 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"First, as a polymer scientist -- i.e. qualified in engineering sciences -- Bradley has had to have had quite a lot of specific training and experience in thermodynamics; which governs the relevant reactions and equilibria that he spent his career working on."

Nope.

Bradley is an expert in fracture mechanics, not "reactions and equilibria". He deals with how plastics break, not how they were made.

He is a mechanical engineer, not a chemical engineer (the field that would involve "specific training and experience in thermodynamics; which governs the relevant reactions and equilibria").

"So, the premise that Mr Bradley is a "layman" speaking out of his depth on the thermodynamics of the formation of biopolymers by spontaneous processes in pre-biotic earth is utterly incredible to me..."

The problem is that Bradley isn't an expert on the formation of anything. He is an expert on things fracturing and breaking.

"[Have a look; then critque the thermodynamics there . . .]"

Somebody already beat me to it:
http://www.fsteiger.com/mystch7.html

"Walter Bradley has also performed seminal research in the origin of life, having published journal articles and co-authoring the popular "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories" which remains the best-selling advanced level text on the origin of life."

What "seminal research"?

None of Bradley's "published journal articles" appear to be related to origin of life.

"Bradley has authored over 145 research publications including 63 journal articles in periodicals such as: Journal of Material Science, Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, Mechanics of Time-Dependent Materials, Journal of Composites Technology and Research, Composite Science and Technology, Journal of Metals, Polymer Engineering and Science, and Journal of Materials Science."

Not one of these periodicals is in a field related to origin of life. Clear implication: Bradley has never had a journal article on origin of life published.

1:42 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

Sadly, it is now quite clear that HRAFN is the layperson out of his/her depth; regrettably, combining evident inability to address matters that she/he wishes to hold strong opinions about on the merits with making seriously mischievous misleading and denigratory, ill-founded ad hominem remarks about the qualifications of others.

That's not cricket!

I comment on points:

1] Nope. Bradley is an expert in fracture mechanics, not "reactions and equilibria". He deals with how plastics break, not how they were made.

This claim first and foremost is a distraction. For, it first of all simply dodges Bradley's [along with Thaxton's – NB a PhD Chemist!!!] own specific and detailed argument in TMLO ch 8, which brings to bear the relevant thermodynamics. Besides, here is the introduction from Lee Strobel's interview: “an expert on polymers and thermodynamics, both of which are critically important in the life origin debate . . .”

Q: Should I believe the resume of a named head of a Center for research on polymers, or the anonymous “critic” who refuses to expose alleged lack of credibility by the most direct route: go though the polymer thermodynamics calculation Dr Bradley and Dr Thaxton have put up, for over 20 years now, for all to see in a book that sparked the modern design movement? ANS: Obvious!

In short, HRAFN needs to address the facts in evidence on the merits: [1] the general 2nd law thermodynamics of of isolated, closed and open systems [ch 7 of TMLO], [2] the statistical thermodynamics and the related Gibbs energy and equilibria constraints of polymer formation under prebiotic conditions [ch 8], then [3] the issues with alternative models for OOL without reference to agency [ch 9].

Then, we will see who is or is not expert enough to be credible.

Now, too, as I noted already, Mr Bradley is a polymer specialist, which inter alia would as a matter of course equip him to understand and address the relevant thermodynamics as cited and used in TMLO – just as this blog's owner observed. (FYI: Onlookers: this stuff is really applications and extensions to first level thermodynamics stuff, nothing too esoteric; if you can read partial differential equations and can think about what a functional chain of digital elements is about. In TMLO, they even disguise the PDE's for those liable to have Maths fright.)

Doubt that? Then, note how for instance my first- serious- course- level Mat Sci, by Anderson et al, has a Chap 7, on thermal processes in materials, which at even such an “introductory” level immediately addresses thermodynamics issues – both classical and statistical. (For instance, too, when a material breaks – an issue you posed as an area of Mr Bradley's expertise in order to imply he does not understand the level of thermodynamics of the sort required to address the subject matter in TMLO Chs 7 – 9! -- one way to analyse the process (following Griffith) is to look at the energy required to create the new surfaces, which is basically paid for with bond energy. In turn, that brings up available quanta, and associated thermal, chemical and energy transport processes, all of which are inherently influenced by thermodynamical issues. To understand those issues even at first degree level, one needs to have more than enough thermodynamics to address what is in TMLO chs 7 – 9.

Indeed, we can therefore easily see that it is not just chemists and chem engineers who would know the relevant thermodynamics and reaction equilibrium conditions discussed; e.g. I – an applied physicist -- have done the relevant classical and statistical thermodynamics and enough undergrad chemistry to read the chapters in question with understanding. [Note, too: it is not just “follow us blindly” as the "reviewer" cited by HRAFN alleges, go look for yourself.] I speak here as one who has read physics – of course you have to know enough to fill in the omitted steps in derivations and discussions, which can be annoying sometimes, but that is the usual style of the books and articles. [My undergrad books have a fair amount of pencilled-in marginalia . . . For a simple instance, the easiest way to calculate the number of possible 100-element protein chains or similar “over-range” results is to use a calculator's log feature to do, e.g. 20^100 = 100 * lg 20. TBO's arithmetic can thus be easily checked.]

Cf my own linked introductory level discussion.

Further, you here obviously have not looked up the relevant history relating to Dean Kenyon as well, cf p. 149 TMLO, Table 9-1 where Bradley and Kok summarise how they disestablished the concept that the information in proteins viewed as polymers was derived from bonding forces between particular monomers, as Kenyon had originally claimed. Their summary, p. 148: >>the peptide bond frequencies . . . approach a distribution predicted by random statistics . . . [which] means that bonding preferences between various amino acids play no significant role in coding protein . . .>>

Kenyon – at the time a big name in OOL research -- of course agreed, and conceded his earlier claim. His words on TMLO: >>The authors [TBO] believe, and I now concur, that there is a fundamental flaw in all our current theories of the origin of life.>>

Robert Shapiro – another Chemist, co-author of Life beyond Earth, and a well-recognised name in the OOL field -- said of TMLO: >> the authors [i.e. TBO] have made an important contribution to the origin of life field . . . Although I do not share the final philosophical conclusion that the authors reach, I welcome their contribution. It will help to clarify our thinking . . . I would recommend this book to everyone with a scientific background and interest in the origin of life.>>

Similarly Jastrow, founder of the Goddard Center, observed: >> A valuable summary of the evidence against the chemical evolution of life out of non-living matter. It presents a very well thought out and clearly written analysis of the alternatives to the accepted scientific theory of the origin of life.>>


2] HRAFN's cited review:

TMLO's online chapters are: 7, 8, 9

Review comments: Chapter 7, while technically correct, fails in the difficult task of satisfactorily explaining to the lay person the relation between entropy, probability, and the thermodynamics of living systems

Kinda gives away the store at the outset there, doesn't it? “Technically correct.”

Next, TBO obviously never set out to present thermodynamics equations and results to those who have no basis for reading such, so the attempted takeaway in the next clause is irrelevant to the first point: TBO have made in CH 7 a fundamentally technically correct summary of the basic relevant classical thermodynamics. In so doing they ran through several pieces of then fairly recent or foundational work, and make appropriate comments, citing Prigogine etc. Here is a key part of their summary statement as they bridge to Ch 8:

>>While the maintenance of living systems is easily rationalized in terms of [classical] thermodynamics, the origin of such living things is quite another matter. Thought he earth is open to energy flow from the sun, the means of converting this energy into the necessary work to build up living systems from simple precursors remains at present unspecified . . . the “evolution” from biomonomers to fully functioning cells is the issue. Can one make the incredible jump in energy and organization from raw material and raw energy, apart from some means of directing the energy flow through the system? . . .>>

An excellent question, and they turn to that in the next two chapters, where they then set out to address whether chance and/or natural regularities, in the absence of agency, can credibly originate such systems. To do that, they use statistical thermodynamics,and draw out the IMHCO well warranted conclusion that – despite the fog of obfuscation and denials and bland assurances to the contrary – still stands: there is no robust evolutionary materialist theory that well accounts for the origin of life, seriously reckoning with the issues involved in the informational molecules of life. [Observe carefully how the attempted critical review ducks out just when the meat of the matter is to come up! No prizes for guessing why.]

And the reviewer has not read carefully either, as for one instance, TBO clearly state and use the point that dG LTE 0 is a condition for spontaneous reactions etc. [I could multiply such points, I just choose a striking one]

The review, as noted, ducks out on the chapter that is crucial to the argument, Ch 8, which is where the current theories were reassessed relative to the issue of formation of functional polymers of life. In short, he simply does not live up to his billing that "This review covers the thermodynamics claims in chapters 7, 8, and 9 of MOLO. "

No, it does not! Why not at least look at Klyce, whom I link in my own note, if you want a reasonable, responsible criticism of TMLO? [As you will see I follow Robertson and Jayne that there is a credible link from Informational to Thermal entropy. Why not take their arguments apart, in their core claim, if you can? Observe in particular just how carefully nuanced Robertson's argument is.]

Onlookers: In short, again, HRAFN fails to check out facts before making adverse claims against others.

3] Seminal research

TMLO is of course by itself a piece of sufficiently seminal published research that Dean Kenyon took occasion of its publication to recant his own initial positions. Indeed, let us not forget: this is the then well-received 1984 technical level book that sparked the modern design movement, i.e Bradley is a founding father of a movement in origin of life research; which is certainly seminal in the proper sense!

[NB: technically, TMLO is a monograph that undertakes a critical review of the field, and in so doing puts up several new approaches and issues. For instance [in the non-online chapters, sitting right next to me as I type] they pose a metric of investigator interference that raises serious questions about how OOL research is often conducted, then and now. Similarly, their withering rebuke to the prebiotic soup models has in the long run been on the right side of the argument – that is why we see attempts to go to ocean floor thermal vents and other planets with more congenial hypothesised reducing atrmospheres. On the latter, their questions on panspermia still dog the advocates of such models. And of course, their analysis of the relevant thermodynamics and related informational and organisational issues in the origin of life has posed a serious and as yet unanswered question. ]

So, whether or not Bradley has ever published a separate journal article in the OOL field – and cf just below on that -- he certainly has co-authored a seminal monograph in the field, the substance of which which is what is to be addressed. Also, here is the summary comment on that in DI's web site: he has co-authored several seminal works on the origin of life, including an article in the journal The Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere and the book The Mystery of Life's Origin, which was re-published by Lewis and Stanley in 1992. [Cited Journal article: Kok, Taylor and Bradley: “A Statistical Analysis of Self-Ordering of Amino Acids in Proteins,” [OOL&EOB, 18 (1988). This is of course the ultimate peer-reviewed write-up on that little piece of research that helped persuade Kenyon to recant his biochemical predestination thesis.]

In short, your series of ad hominems is all about distraction from having to face the seriousness of the argument put up by Bradley as part of the TBO team.

HRAFN, kindly look at how you erred in your dismissive inference: you pulled a list of citations on journals in the major line of Bradley's research over time, and agenda-servingly inferred from that, that he therefore could not have published in a related field, despite explicit statements to that effect in his public resume. This reflects the underlying arrogance in Dawkins' attempted quadrilemma against those who reject the Neo-Dawinian, evolutionary materialist view of origins: he thinks and has gone on record that we must be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

Think about the ill-willed arrogance and mischievous attacks on the credibility of a decent, distinguished and thoughtful man that you have here displayed, if you have enough unseared conscience left for that.

4] Let's start on serious matters: Clausius . . .

a] Clausius is the founder of the 2nd law, and the first standard example of an isolated system -- one that allows neither energy nor matter to flow in or out -- is instructive, given the "closed" subsystems [i.e. allowing energy to pass in or out] in it. Pardon the substitute for a real diagram, for now:
Isol System:
| | (A, at Thot) --> d'Q, heat --> (B, at T cold) | |
b] Now, we introduce entropy change dS GTE d'Q/T . . . "Eqn" A.1
c] So, dSa GTE -d'Q/Th, and dSb GTE +d'Q/Tc, where Th GT Tc
d] That is, for system, dStot GTE dSa + dSb >/= 0, as Th GT Tc . . . "Eqn" A.2
e] But, observe: the subsystems A and B are open to energy inflows and outflows, and the entropy of B RISES DUE TO THE IMPORTATION OF RAW ENERGY.
f] The key point is that when raw energy enters a body, it tends to make its entropy rise. For the injection of energy to instead do something useful, it needs to be coupled to an energy conversion device.
g] When such devices, as in the cell, exhibit FSCI, the question of their origin becomes material, and in that context, their spontaneous origin is strictly logically possible but negligibly different from zero probability on the gamut of the observed cosmos.
h] Now, certain bodies have in them energy conversion devices: they COUPLE input energy to subsystems that harvest some of the energy to do work, exhausting sufficient waste energy to a heat sink that the overall entropy of the system is increased. Illustratively:
| | (A, heat source: Th): d'Qi --> (B', heat engine, Te): -->
d'W [work done on say D] + d'Qo --> (C, sink at Tc) | |
i] A's entropy: dSa GTE - d'Qi/Th
j] C's entropy: dSc GTE + d'Qo/Tc
k] The rise in entropy in B, C and in the object on which the work is done, D, say, compensates for that lost from A. The second law holds for heat engines.
l] However for B since it now couples energy into work and exhausts waste heat, does not necessarily undergo a rise in entropy having imported d'Qi. [The problem is to explain the origin of the heat engine -- or more generally, energy converter -- that does this, if it exhibits FSCI.]
m] There is also a material difference between the sort of heat engine [an instance of the energy conversion device mentioned] that forms spontaneously as in a hurricane [directly driven by boundary conditions in a convective system on the planetary scale, i.e. an example of order], and the sort of energy conversion device found in living cells [the DNA-RNA-Ribosome-Enzyme system, which exhibits massive FSCI].
n] In short, the root problem is the ORIGIN of such a FSCI-based energy converter through causal mechanisms traceable only to chance conditions and undirected [non-purposive] natural forces. This problem yields a conundrum for chem evo scenarios, such that inference to agency as the probable cause of such FSCI -- on the analogy of the cases where we do directly know the causal story -- becomes the better explanation.
Now, HRAFN, what do you have to say to this preliminary thermodynamic argument, one accessible to anyone who has a first course in thermodynamics?

____________

So now, HRAFN: can we put aside the dodges and ad hominems, and address the issue on the merits?

Sadly, you have by now trashed your own reputation by careless or shoddy tactics. But we can start over, and address matters on the merits as humble students seeking where the evidence leads, and see where that takes us.

Wanna try? [Start here, with my online note and the links it provides.]

Just let me know over the next few days of your progress.

I'll be waiting, right here.

Cheerio

TKI

PS Net accessing trouble . . .

10:15 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

As I have pointed out elsewhere, kairosfocus continues to misrepresent Bradley. Bradley's specialisation is in the fracture mechanics of polymers, not on polymers generally, let alone on the thermodynamics of their formation.

Lee Strobel is a journalist-turned-apologist with no background in Science. I would therefore not trust him to know the difference between a thermodynamicist and a hydrodynamacist.

We are thus left in TMOL with three laymen in the field of Thermodynamics. I thus choose to accept the opinions of experts in the field of Biological Thermodynamics, such as Donald T. Haynie, who have evinced no opinion that Abiogenesis and/or Evolution are thermodynamically impossible.

I am not a thermodynamicist myself, so will not even attempt to critique the thermodynamic claims contained in TMOL, other than to point out that kairosfocus also misrepresents Steiger's review of it, which concludes:
"Perhaps I am missing something, but, at least so far as Chapter 7 is concerned, there seems to be no basis for achieving the goal of reassessing current theories."

On the topic of "seminal research" kairosfocus is self-contradictory. He describes TMOL as a "critical review", but (at least in the terminology of the scientific community) reviews are not research, and most certainly not "seminal research" (as reviews, by their very nature cover old territory, not new). kairosfocus' exclusive focus on TMOL is a clear indication that Bradley has performed no scientific research on OOL.

And no, kairosfocus I am not indulging in an ad hominem argument I am, perfectly legitimately, refuting an argument from false authority.

3:00 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

Let's take the last comment from HRAFN apart, point by point, starting with the one at the end, which captures the core of his/her rhetorical tactics:

1] I am not indulging in an ad hominem argument I am, perfectly legitimately, refuting an argument from false authority.

First of all, relative to the matters in TMLO chs 7 - 9, I am a very much a live, present person who is by virtue of his physics background and courses in the relevant disciplines, equipped to read with understanding and assess the thermodynamics in the book. I find that -- and am on record here on it -- that TMLO is in general competent and enlightening, even if one wishes to disagree on points or on ultimate conclusion – and that is the precise conclusion made by both Shapiro [a chemist who has done a lot of OOL work] and Jastrow [a founder of the Goddard Centre of NASA]. [NB: My major finding of error in the section, is failure to credit one of my personal heroes, Boltzmann, for the equation s = k ln w. In short Brillouin CITED it, he did not create it.]

Second, I have pointed out that Mr Bradley is not the only author in question, Mr Thaxton – a man I have personally met, discussed with and listened to as well as read -- being a PhD Chemist.

In that context, I have further highlighted that even at a first serious exposure to material science, thermodynamics issues emerge, so it is highly credible that Mr Stroebels' resume in a paragraph in his introduction to his interview with Mr Bradley is accurate. [I will take up the ad hominem on Mr Stroebel, a prize-winning courtroom reporter and qualified lawyer, later. That is, he is a qualified interviewer and is credible on reporting basic fact claims made by his subject. “I don't agree so I can dismiss out of hand while pejoratively labelling the person” is simply not good enough on this.]

The substance of that report, is that Mr Bradley is an expert on polymers and on thermodynamics. He in fact is a former head of a research centre on polymers, and has published in the field – as well as in OOL. The relevant thermodynamics for formation of polymers under assumed pre-biotic conditions, as I took pains to point out yesterday is not particularly exotic [contrast say Robertson's Statistical Thermophysics on such accessibility], and is accessible to anyone who has enough of an undergraduate science and maths background to read an introductory level textbook on thermodynamics.

Indeed, in his own words, here is MR Bradley on his many public presentations on OOL topics related, inter alia, to thermodynamics:

>>In the spring of 1987, I agreed to give a presentation on Christianity and science at Cornell University for Campus Crusade for Christ while I was there on business. Having spoken for almost 10 years on "Thermodynamics and the Origin of Life," a rather narrow presentation which was too technical for the average audience, I decided to experiment with a broad, popular level treatment of Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God . . . . It was the beginning of one of the most exciting adventures of my life: challenging students and faculty alike to consider the overwhelming evidence from modern science for the existence of God. During the past seven years, it has taken me to all of the Ivy League schools (except Columbia) most of the Big Ten schools (except U. of Iowa), and about half of the Big Eight, Southwest Conference, and Pac-10 west coast schools. The response everywhere has been overwhelmingly positive despite that a significant majority of the audiences have been comprised of nonChristians and nontheists . . . . It is important in such a presentation to acknowledge the limited goal: namely, to demonstrate the character of the universe clearly suggests an intelligent creator. While Hume and later Kant argued convincingly that one cannot prove the existence of God through teleological, or design arguments, it is fair game to study the universe and ask whether it is more reasonable to posit that such a universe could have originated from chemical and physical laws alone, or that it has the markings of an intelligent creator. . . . . There is a necessary molecular complexity required to provide minimal life functions: processing energy, storing information, and replicating. Chemical evolution, as distinct from biological evolution, cannot look to mutation and natural selection to solve its problems (which don't solve the problems of macroevolution either) . . . .

"The current scenario of the origin of life is about as likely as a tornado passing through a junkyard beside Boeing airplane company accidentally producing a 747 airplane," Sir Fred Hoyle suggested in The Intelligent Universe . . . . In an article in Scientific American (February, 1991), Sir Francis Crick wrote, "The origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to be satisfied to get it going." In the same article, Harold Klein who chaired a National Academy of Sciences committee which reviewed the origin of life noted, "The simplest bacterium is so damned complicated from the point of view of a chemist that it is almost impossible to imagine how it happened."

Anyone who thinks recent work on RNA has or will solve the problem of the origin of life should read Robert Shapiro's article in Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere (1988) or Klaus Dose's article in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (1988) entitled "Origin of Life: More Questions than Answers." >>

This of course is a relevant context for why he was involved in writing TMLO, i.e he had a longstanding interest in the area and the background to speak publicly on it in university contexts – not a setting where you would wish to stand up repeatedly to trumpet technical ignorance! [Ever made a project presentation to or sat through an oral examination by typical college profs? Advice: never do so if you don't know what you are talking about.]

In short there is excellent reason to accept that Mr Bradley is exactly what he says he is: a knowledgeable person on both polymers and thermodynamics,who has also done original,indeed, seminal,work on OOL.

Further, from persistent failure to take up the matter when it has been raised on the merits [rather than dismissively debating who is qualified to speak], we can infer that HRAFN is the real layman out of his/her depth, and is – sadly -- resorting to ad hominems to cover inability to address the matter on the merits. Of course, this is defeatable reasoning, and HRAFN can defeat this inference by competently addressing the matter on the merits. [Or, at least by linking competent assessments that do engage TMLO in chaps 7, 8 and 9, not just ducking out when the serious matters come up]

2] Bradley's specialisation is in the fracture mechanics of polymers, not on polymers generally, let alone on the thermodynamics of their formation.

In order to reach the level of competence to be an expert on polymers and their failure in use, Mr Bradley would have had to master the thermodynamics used as the foundation of the argument in TMLO chapters 7 - 9. I have adverted to why that is so, in summary above: namely, the microscopic behaviour of materials is riddled with thermodynamics-based considerations.

Further to his, the thermodynamics of formation issues in TMLO in the main relate to:

[1] the energetics of formation of monomers, relative to the Gibbs free energy criterion -- ice and protein formation by polymerisation being contrasting cases in point.

[2] The principle that microstates relative to a given macrostate are equiprobable, so that we use the expression s = k ln w and derived results to assess outcomes and requirements on energy. Brillouin information is a case in point, and they there cite and credit a pioneer.

[3] The state not path function nature of s. That is, in their equilibrium thermodynamics calculations, TMLO form a hypothetical random polymer, then transform it into the informational polymer and so use a summation technique for evaluating s total.

[4] Bringing out the point hat w, the statistical weight of a macrostate, is a measure of order/disorder, i.e. that when it is large -- and thus more likely to be accessed, the state is less orderly than one in which w is sharply constrained. This is a commonplace.

[5] then using a standard expression of reaction components concentrations in equilibrium to deduce the likely concentration of a 100 bond protein under generous prebiotic conditions. [My memory on this is that I first met that expression or the like in A Level Chemistry, where enthalpy was introduced but not the related Gibbs free energy.]

I contend, for excellent reason, that none of this is beyond the reach of a person who has done any reasonable first course in thermodynamics in a science or engineering school. Mr Bradley is a research level material scientist, with a major focus on polymers.

HRAFN confesses to being incompetent to discuss the matter on the merits and so should let it rest at that.

3] Cited Critique of CH 7 TMLO

I pointed out that TMLO raises the specific issues of reassessing the curent theories in Chs 8 and 9 as can be directly confirmed by inspection.

It can also be directly seen that the critique cuts off just when it should have been getting into the meat of the matter, not trying to make a mountain out of the introductory chapter meant to refresh and summarise the underlying classical side [mostly] of the thermodynamics.

(I linked a more serious critique, by Klyce, and gave my reasons in summary for rejecting it on the core point of asserting that informational and thermal entropy are not linked.)

The reader can see for himself just who is misrepresenting whom here.

4] He describes TMOL as a "critical review", but (at least in the terminology of the scientific community) reviews are not research, and most certainly not "seminal research" (as reviews, by their very nature cover old territory, not new).

Has HRAFN ever written say a thesis? (S/he would immediately know that a critical review of the state of the art sets the basis for one's own contributions.)

In the monograph,there is of course a considerable review and summary, then an embarkation on the new work, in each major section, especially on thermodynamics. What is novel is not the basic thermodynamics but the application and the specific line of reasoning that draws out the implications of the thermodynamics for prebiotic environments. In that context, it highlights a major challenge to a dominant paradigm in OOL research, and proposes that a new beginning needs to be made, complete with a metric for appropriate/ inappropriate degrees of investigator interference with the experiments in process. [In short it has here highlighted a major problem with the methodology in the field circa 1984,and sadly since too.]

The book also serves to report an early stage of the Kok and Bradley work that led Kenyon to publicly recant his views on a then important thesis: biochemical predestination leading to the alleged driving of protein information by inter-monomer bonding forces.

It therefore set up a new approach and became foundational to an emerging paradigm, i.e. it is seminal in the proper sense. All of this appears above, and it is simply brushed aside with a rhetorical device. That tells us a lot about the quality of thought HRAFN is bringing to the issue.

5] Mr Stroebel:

Observe carefully, I have cited Mr Strobel ONLY as an interviewer, and infer [with corroboration] that he is accurately reporting what he has been told. Watch how HRAFN twists this:

>>Lee Strobel is a journalist-turned-apologist with no background in Science. I would therefore not trust him to know the difference between a thermodynamicist and a hydrodynamacist>>

* Mr Stroebel is a qualified, experienced, prize-winning journalist, who is also a trained lawyer. [He made his reputation as a journalist in the courtroom, often on cases with a scientific forensic evidence component.] It is therefore reasonable -- selective self-serving hyperskepticism aside -- to cite him as a reasonable source on the existence of statements and fact claims by subjects he interviews. [I am not arguing that LS says it so it must be so, only that he reports that Bradley is this and LS is likely to have done the fact-checking homework a reporter should do on that before publishing.]

* I took time to address the reasons why Mr Bradley would in fact live up to this billing as knowledgeable on the relevant thermodynamics used in TMLO, noting too that a second co-author is a PhD chemist.

* I have done thermodynamics, classical and statistical. I have read the relevant chapters with interest, and find them reasonable and informative. I observe how the analysis of protein formation and DNA formation exhibit a familiar cluster of knowledge: polymers and thermodynamics. I draw the obvious conclusion: that Mr Strobel reports accurately on what Mr Bradley claims as his knowledge base, and that that knowledge base is clearly reflected in the book.

* I further observe that time after time as accusations made by HRAFN are exposed, there is no taking back of false and damaging claims [e.g. on no publication on OOL above], no apology, no expression of regret for making false and damaging assertions against others.

* I am therefore far less than impressed by an attempt to infer or suggest that because Mr Stroebel is a Christian who has written at popular level in defense of the faith, he is therefore not likely to be accurate on basic fact claims. This is the attitude of prejudice, not civility.

* Indeed, I find that here is now a plainly established pattern of prejudice against and hostility towards Christians or those who disagree with him or her on the part of HRAFN. This goes up to the level, inthe case of Mr Sternberg, of attempting to justify or at leas dismiss viewpoint discrimination based workplace harassment.

________

So, we can see plainly that as soon as the relevant thermodynamics is on the table and HRAFN is invited to asses it, s/he is compelled to retreat. Why then did s/he start out by attacking those whose work s/he is incompetent to asses on the merits?

Onlookers: What does that tell us about the sort of case being made in the attempt to discredit the emerging paradigm of design?

Cheerio

TKI

8:09 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

kairosfocus pontificates on at great length, but fails to substantiate:

1) that Bradley has any experience in polymers beyond their fracture mechanics, or any background at all in thermodynamics;

2) that Strobel has any scientific background, that his assessment of Bradley as being "an expert on polymers and thermodynamics" should be given any credence.

Oh, and the "paradigm of design" is not "emerging", it is stillborn.

9:28 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers

I simply note in conclusion to HRAFN'S latest:

1] Bradley:

I have provided sufficient information on his capacity to address the level of thermodynamics in TMLO, to satisfy "an ordinary unprejudiced mind."

Further to this, I have asked him to address the matter on the merits instead of rushing out to red herrings like this. We need not debate at length the qualifications of Mr Bradley, when we can inspect his work directly and address it on the merits. Surprise, HRAFN, on being so invited, declines, confessing that s/he does not have adequate qualifications in thermodynamics.

(So, let us ask: How then can HRAFN pose as qualified to rule on whether or not Mr Bradley knows what he is talking about?)

I note as well, nowhere do we see the faintest trace of a serious linked critique of the key chapters, 8 and 9, of what is in fact a work that has been in the public since 1984 -- and which BTW has reportedly served as a College textbook in this field.

2] Stroebel:

This is simply a strawman -- at no point have I cited LS as an authority on science or scientists, only as a credible reporter who did an interview and cites as background that Mr Bradley has qualifications relating to polymers and to thermodynamics.

3] Design as an emerging paradigm:

Design is clearly a growing and dynamic paradigm, which can be expected to prosper in an era in which information is showing itself to be as fundamental a consitutent of the cosmos as matter - energy, and space - time.

HRAFN is invited to go tot he relevant site and read then comment based on information, not empty sloganistic assertions and misrepresentations.

________

At each stage HRAFN has plainly shown him/her self to be out of depth and abusive on this topic, and thus to be ill-bred in rhetorical tactics. We need not waste further bits on that, absent a serious response at length that does not indulge in red herrings, straw men and ad hominems.

A few apologies for unwarranted misrepresentations and ad hominems would not hurt either.

Cheerio

TKI

10:44 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

kairosfocus:

If you believe that Bradley has experience in:

1) Polymers, beyond their fracture mechanics and related phenomena;

2) Thermodynamics;

3) Origins of life,

then cite articles that he has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals on these subjects.

I am sick to death of your verbose hand-waving.

If you do not cite such articles to substantiate your assertions, I will take this as an admission that Bradley is a layman on the above subjects.

Put up or shut up.

12:05 pm  
Blogger Ed Darrell said...

Generally a modest amount of heat -- say, direct sunlight -- is enough to make the reactions go.

Is Bradley so daft that he misses that point? Why are you wasting space with such bizarre conjectures on simple processes?

11:53 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

I came by after a day or so to see how this thread gets on. Sad to see the sort of comments that are being made to try to dismiss a serious issue. I will note on a few points:

1] Re H: cite articles that he [Prof Walter Bradley] has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals on these subjects . . .

First, such has ALREADY been done above, and his resume as an eminent applied scientist has already been excerpted and listed, not to mention his own testimony on what he has done in public on major universities for decades: address thermodynamics and OOL issues inter alia -- and has been well received. In that same general time, he was chosen head of his Engineering Department, and of a Polymer Research Centre -- not exactly what would credibly happen to a controversial often discredited charlatan out of his depth. And, his interview with a competent journalist summarises that heis an expert on polymers and on thermodynamics. [Your "layman- out- of- depth thesis" is massively unable to fit with these facts.]

Specifically, on the "Seminal research" issue, we see both the TMLO and the peer reviewed article on protein bonding that refuted the biochemical predestination thesis, which was specifically published in the peer reviewed literature. Just scroll back above and see for yourself.

Further, as someone who has studied thermodynamics and who has had enough exposure to solid state physics and materials to see it, I know that such subjects are deeply embedded with classical and statistical thermodynamics considerations and implications, so a research scientist in the area would have to know more than enough thermodynamics to address the contents of TMLO on that subject. I have noted on that above long since, but since it does not fit H's agenda s/he wishes to simply dismiss.

In short H is someone who is not even attending carefully to facts in evidence, and does not have the relevant technical background to comment on an informed basis, will not accept credible evidence marshalled already, but instead wishes to dismiss them as "verbosity." All, in service of slandering someone who is making an anrgument that s/he cannot directly take on on the merits but wishes to dismiss. That is shabby!

Second, as I have long since pointed out we need not play resume games, as we can directly inspect a piece of work he jointly authored with Dr Thaxton, a PhD Chemist [observe H's repeated silence on this point!] -- TMLO, CHs 7 - 9.

The work is competent, as has been attested by men like Shapiro [another PhD Chemist and prominent OOL researcher who from the remarks in the LS interview is obviously now also a friend of WB], Jastrow, and Kenyon. I have looked at it, and I too find it competent. Even the critical review H brought up has to acknowledge at theoutset that the work in the only chapter he takes on, is technically correct [and thus of course hard to understand for those who lack the relevsant background].

In short, it is not Mr Bradley whose competence is on trial here, but HRAFN. And, HRAFN has now plainly, repeatedly failed the test. So, we can know that s/he is a layman speaking out of depth, on a topic s/he knows nothing about, and trying to dismiss those who DO know what they are talking about by making turnabout accusations.

S/he does not even have enough unseared conscience to apologise!

2] Ed Darrell: Generally a modest amount of heat -- say, direct sunlight -- is enough to make the reactions go.

First problem: as TBO pointed out in detail in 1984 in TMLO and brought tot he attention of the scientific community as a coherent searching critique, under plausible prebiotic conditions, we have too much UV in that "modest sunlight,” and the high energy photons [e = hf, recall] kill off the reactions, even destroying the key monomer species. [Remember the flap over Ozone holes and UV-triggrered cancers, more or less due to [indirectly*] breaking up DNA bonds? * the usual path way for radiation damage is to look at breaking up H2O, the most common molecule in the body, then getting free radicals that will rip up delicate biofunctional molecules.]

Oxygen poisoning is another concern, and in undersea volcanoes [perhaps on hypothesised other planets] -- a current dodge -- the heat is more likely to destroy than to properly chain the required compounds -- much less, give them the required chirality! [Cf my discussion here for some of the details and links.]

Next, polymerisation reactions of the simple plastics-forming kind may well "go" when properly set up so that Le Chetalier forces will push them towards polymer formation under modest energetic conditions indeed -- as they had better, or the conditions will desroy the input molecules to make the output ocmpounds, or shift the equilibrium adversely enough to make the reaction pointless. But that is the point: we have set up the reaction sets and constraints to foster the desired outputs. [It is now a high school experiment to make nylon, for instance. But notice that, precisely, this is a case of intelligent agent action: we DESIGN and set up experiments to drive the results we desire.]

But, as TMLO pointed out in its metric for unwarranted investigator interference [unfortunately not online], we are NOT looking at the formation of simple polymers under artificially constrained conditions. Instead we have to address the early earth's probable atmosphere and oceans etc -- and the atmosphere was most likely NOT the reducing atmosphere of the classic 1953 Miller-Urey experiment. [TMLO, in 1984, was one of the first major public discussions of that -- an that is where the third co-author, Olsen showed his role, as a Geologist.] Onlookers may wish to see how this icon of evolutionary materialism is addressed here.

Let's put this directly: that means that you do not get the amino acids to form the proteins,and it means even moreso, you do not get the components of RNA and DNA in any significant quantities. So, there goes the plausibility of the prebiotic soup -- as is now increasingly acknowledged. [Undersea volcano vents run into other problems, which are discussed elsewhere, and can be linked from my online note.]

Then, even laying this to one side, we have to address a major chain of challenges, which brings out the implications of the statistical mechanical considerations in TMLO Ch 8:

* many other compounds would be present, some of which the key monomer compounds will react with preferentially to forming DNA or protein chains.

* all of these would be present in racemic forms, i.e. a 50 - 50 mix of left and right handed forms, which messes up the required geometry for biofunctionality. [Cf my discussion of a major, failed attempt to dismiss this issue, in my linked note. I was shocked to see the sort of error made, in so simple a matter as estimating the molar mass of a 25-element polymer. A more reasonable estimate leads to a huge required mass of the material to search out the state space of configurations to get to the “frozen accident” scenario. Plausibility of the OOL advocate's answer at once vanishes.]

* the chaining reactions have competing reactions even among amino acids, so that, e.g., it is about 1/2 the amino acid bonding that would form the "right" ones for proteins

* we are dealing with endothermic reactions that form long chains, for proteins 100 - 500+ with 300 to 500 being "typical."[Notice how sequentially controlled what happens in a cell is to get around these problems. Where have you seen such complex, sequentially controlled, precisely integrated, step by step processes forming chemicals before --- other than in factories and labs?]

* the state-space is HUGE, i.e. we have for proteins a 20-state element for each monomer, thence a 300 element polymer is from a state-space of 20^300, or antilog{300* lg20) ~ 2.04*10^390 possible compounds. That is, on the face of it, the functional states are sparse indeed in the space of possible compounds, which means that a random, undirected reaction process is utterly unlikely to reach them within the credible lifetime and mass of materials available on a planet; or even in the observed universe.

* For credible DNA or RNA chains, relative to what is required to code for life forms, 300 - 500,000 seems to be the minimum, and that leads to even huger numbers for the state space of possible configurations: try 4^300,000 [i.e anitlog [300k*log4] ~ 9.94*10^180,617] and compare that to the number of atoms in the observed universe, ~ 10^80, and Dembski's maximum reasonable number of quantum events in that gamut across its lifetime, ~10^150.

That means that in prebiotic environments, the relevant equilibria are heavily against the formation of significant quantities of the biofunctional molecules. Indeed, for a 100 or so monomer protein, TBO calculated on a Gibbs Free energy basis a conc in equilibrium under extremely generous prebiotic conditions [i.e. they cut out most of what I just raised and gave unimolar in the 20 amino acids], a conc of ~10^-338 molar. That means not even one molecule per planet of one of the more simple biofunctional species. Today, we would do a simpler to follow probability relative to sthe configutation space config calc but the result would boil down to the same.

In short, Ed Darrell -- quite familiar from WD's blog UD -- has dodged the real issues. Address them, Ed!

3] "Daft"?

Sorry Ed, dismissive and disrespectful ad hominems don't make the thermodynamics go away. YOU need to address them, at least at he level I have posted in my own note, and TMLO has in their 20 year old work.

So, let's begin again, starting with classic termodynamics and the favourite dodge that once a system is oven to energy flows it will be able to create or sustain order, e.g a snowflake or a hurricane – which in turn ducks the crucial distinction TBO – following Yockey et al before them, BTW -- made in the relevant chapter: “order” vs specified complexity.

Let's turn to:

4] The 2nd Law:

1] TMLO: In 1984, this well-received work provided the breakthrough critical review on the origin of life that led to the modern design school of thought in science. The three online chapters, should be carefully read to understand why design thinkers think that the origin of FSCI in biology is a significant and unmet challenge to neo-darwinian thought. (Cf also Klyce's relatively serious and balanced assessment, from a panspermia advocate. Sewell's remarks here are also worth reading. So is Sarfati's discussion of Dawkins' Mt Improbable.)

2] But open systems can increase their order: This is the "standard" dismissal argument on thermodynamics, but it is both fallacious and often resorted to by those who should know better [-- Steiger being exactly a prime case in point; note also how his review of TMLO dropped out when the meat came up . . .]. My own note on why this argument should be abandoned is:

a] Clausius is the founder of the 2nd law, and the first standard example of an isolated system -- one that allows neither energy nor matter to flow in or out -- is instructive, given the "closed" subsystems [i.e. allowing energy to pass in or out] in it. Pardon the substitute for a real diagram, for now:

Isol System:

| | (A, at Thot) --> d'Q, heat --> (B, at T cold) | |

b] Now, we introduce entropy change dS >/= d'Q/T . . . "Eqn" A.1

c] So, dSa >/= -d'Q/Th, and dSb >/= +d'Q/Tc, where Th > Tc

d] That is, for system, dStot >/= dSa + dSb >/= 0, as Th > Tc . . . "Eqn" A.2

e] But, observe: the subsystems A and B are open to energy inflows and outflows, and the entropy of B RISES DUE TO THE IMPORTATION OF RAW ENERGY.

f] The key point is that when raw energy enters a body, it tends to make its entropy rise. For the injection of energy to instead do something useful, it needs to be coupled to an energy conversion device.

g] When such devices, as in the cell, exhibit FSCI, the question of their origin becomes material, and in that context, their spontaneous origin is strictly logically possible but negligibly different from zero probability on the gamut of the observed cosmos.

h] Now, certain bodies have in them energy conversion devices: they COUPLE input energy to subsystems that harvest some of the energy to do work, exhausting sufficient waste energy to a heat sink that the overall entropy of the system is increased. Illustratively:

| | (A, heat source: Th): d'Qi --> (B', heat engine, Te): -->

d'W [work done on say D] + d'Qo --> (C, sink at Tc) | |

i] A's entropy: dSa >/= - d'Qi/Th

j] C's entropy: dSc >/= + d'Qo/Tc

k] The rise in entropy in B, C and in the object on which the work is done, D, say, compensates for that lost from A. The second law holds for heat engines.

l] However for B since it now couples energy into work and exhausts waste heat, does not necessarily undergo a rise in entropy having imported d'Qi. [The problem is to explain the origin of the heat engine -- or more generally, energy converter -- that does this, if it exhibits FSCI -- functionally specified, complex information.]

m] There is also a material difference between the sort of heat engine [an instance of the energy conversion device mentioned] that forms spontaneously as in a hurricane [directly driven by boundary conditions in a convective system on the planetary scale, i.e. an example of order], and the sort of energy conversion device found in living cells [the DNA-RNA-Ribosome-Enzyme system, which exhibits massive FSCI].

n] In short, the root problem is the ORIGIN of such a FSCI-based energy converter through causal mechanisms traceable only to chance conditions and undirected [non-purposive] natural forces. This problem yields a conundrum for chem evo scenarios, such that inference to agency as the probable cause of such FSCI -- on the analogy of the cases where we do directly know the causal story -- becomes the better explanation.

____________

So, Ed, let us begin from there if you are serious. Making nylon in the test tube has little or nothing to do with getting to the nanotechnologies of cellular level life in the plausible pre-biotic world, relative only to chance and natural regularities.

TKI

PS: I see, no blockquotes . . .

10:28 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"1] Re H: cite articles that he [Prof Walter Bradley] has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals on these subjects . . .

First, such has ALREADY been done above..."


The only article I could find in kairosfocus' interminable blather was to a short (seven page) article on (what appears to be) the statistical re-examination of data from another article 20 years previously to that. Bradley is only listed as the third of three authors of this paper (which, given the brevity of the paper, does not imply a high degree of involvement).
Abstract:
Steinman and Cole (1967) have claimed that amino acids will naturally assume a nonrandom sequence when polymerized into polypeptides. They based their claim on a comparison of the frequency with which various dipeptide bonds formed in a dilute solution of amino acids to the various depeptide frequencies actually observed in ten proteins. Although the trends in the normalized frequencies go in the same direction, a statistical examination of the two sets of frequencies indicates that there is no correlation at all between experimental dipeptide frequencies and actual depeptide frequencies based on the chi-square tests.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/k173q077n1t5n07m/

I will admit that this provides some, rather tenuous, substantiation on Origins of Life, it does not however present any substantiation at all on "Polymers, beyond their fracture mechanics and related phenomena" or Thermodynamics.

2:33 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Small correction:

This paper might be considered to also be tenuous substantiation on the polymer issue (though I rather suspect that the primary and secondary authors, who are both Chemists, would have handled all the chemical side of things).

2:38 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Oh, and I'd also point out that the journal in which this article appeared in, The Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere, is so obscure that it is relatively difficult to find evidence that it exists (the majority of the references to it on a Google search led to Creationists puffing off Bradley's 'credentials').

2:45 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers

I came by after a further couple of days, to see if there has been any substantial progress. Notice – after all the bold claims early in the thread, there are now still no serious attempts by NDT advocates to address the thermodynamics issues on the table, once a reasonably competent person is there to point out that the dismissal of the 2nd law as it relates to the origin of FSCI-rich nanotechnology in cells by making reference to open-systems is an evasion. No prizes for guessing why.

I see that there has been no take-up on the serious issues in this thread, and that HRAFN – evidently ignorant of both thermodynamics and broader physical sciences -- continues with ad hominems, attempts to besmirch the integrity of a decent man, and denials, joined to failure to apologise for what has already been done.

It is quite evident that H has little or no background in the physical sciences, and is setting out to pronounce dismissively or worse on the knowledge base of a distinguished professor in applied physical science. That alone is sufficient warning that something is very wrong here.

Is this the sort of person we should cede power to in the academy, in the public sphere and in government?

Now, on points worth a note:

1] "the only article I could find . . ."

First, notice the wider context: as the case of Sternberg shows [and Kenyon's history subsequent to 1984 . . . and s a lot of other cases . . .], the breaking through of the censorship and hostility is a major achievement on anything that directly addresses the NDT's plainly often abused position of power in the academy.

Second to that, we are dealing with a case that is of seminal impact: this is the peer-reviewed form of the research that in significant part led to the change of sides, so to speak, by a major OOL researcher, Professor Dean Kenyon -- he of the once highly rated "biochemical predestination" thesis. That "once" is there in large part because of Mr Bradley's work with his colleagues.

Third, H is also ducking a key point: in TMLO, we can directly address the credibility of Mr Bradley's claims regarding thermodynamics and OOL. Indeed, I am also available should that question come up.

So, what is his latest tactic? ANS: shifting goal posts and hinting that the journal in question is probably fake, and/or that professor Bradley had little to do with the substance of the paper in question. In short, selective hyperskepticism in the teeth of abundant contrary evidence on the substantial point -- that the thermodynamics in question in TMLO chs 7 - 9 raises serious difficulties for naturalistic accounts of the OOL -- that can be directly addressed.

Such misbehaviour is self-refuting and shabby.

H, the burden of proof on this rests with YOU -- and your insistent irresponsibility and slanderous intent are plain.

2] What expertise on polymers and their failure mechanisms implies

First, highly information-rich smart polymers [e.g. DNA, RNA, Proteins] and associated composites are of course the foundation stone of the nanotechnology and the functionality of the large scale structures in living systems. In particular, bone and wood gain much of their functional strength from polymer-based composites that promote crack-stopping, etc.

Polymer and composite behaviour in turn are critically related to the microstructure of the materials and structures, thence the energeticcs of the molecules and bonds. Recall, temperature is itself more or less a metric of the average random energy per degree of molecular [or microparticle – I think here of thermal neutrons in fission in U 235] freedom, and associated quantum mechanical constraints. The fact that many of the relevant particles are spin-half, also brings to bear the Fermi-Dirac statistics in statistical mechanics and the Pauli exclusion principle. (This is especially important in understadning semiconductors, but has relevance more broadly. Note that at the crucial point in TMLO ch 8, a F-D statistics derived result is used to conservatively count the number of accessible states for a 100-monomer length protein. I used a digital state count to get the larger number of possible configurations, above. In short TBO are undercounting microstates, making the case as friendly to NDT's extension in OOL research based on the premise of chance plus necessity alone, as possible.]

So, we can easily see that a research level understanding of the strengths of materials and failure mechanisms is deeply bound up with understanding relevant questions of composition [and formation process, as the particular process and batch affect the bonding and especially cross-linking; hence why who you buy it from, when may be significant], thermodynamics, quantum theory results, and the like. To give an idea, here is a summary point from a prospectus for a typical Grad programme in Mat Sci:

>>U of V SEAS: Materials Science & Engineering

This department offers graduate education and research programs in the structure, properties, processing, and performance of materials. The study of materials may be pursued according to their technical importance, as in ceramic or metallurgical engineering, or by considering the general principles that govern their properties. At the University of Virginia, the latter course has been adopted, leading to an understanding of materials through the study of both macroscopic and microscopic viewpoints.

The department provides a broad-based graduate education in materials, one component of which emphasizes the commonality among the various classes of engineering solids. Thus thermodynamics, kinetics, structural analysis and crystallography, defect theory, and principles of the solid state are strong features of our program. In addition, other courses relative to the application of materials and the relationships among materials properties, structure and the manner in which materials have been processed are also offered . . . >>

Recall here, that prof Bradley has accounted for 17 PhDs under his supervision and 41 thesis option MScs -- not to mention, teaching grad level – nb the 600 numbering -- courses like:

>>ME 623*: Applications of Engineering Fracture Mechanics
ME 671*: Failure Analysis
MM 607*: Flow and Fracture in Polymeric Materials>>

This pattern of courses developed and taught at Grad level is of course well within the physics of materials approach U of V speaks about above.

3] On Mat Sci and Chemistry

Materials science exists, of course at the intersection of engineering, physics, chemistry and several other related disciplines. As such, for good reason, one who is an expert in the field, will have significant knowledge of the relevant chemistry (and of course thermodynamics), which is why Mr Bradley's professional society memberships include the American Chemical Society.. And, if I may say so as a physicist, thermodynamics is NOT principally or exclusively a preserve of chemists!

__________

In short, while this is a bit of overkill, it is necessary to do this at this juncture to show the guttersnipe level of the tactics being used to attempt to discredit and dismiss a distinguished applied scientist because he will not toe the party-line on origin of life because he is willing to look at the implications of even fairly basic serious level thermodynamics.

Observe onlookers: no-one here has yet seriously addressed the thermodynamics on the merits, from the naturalistic abiogenesis side. No prizes for guessing why.

Cheerio

TKI

10:11 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

A bit of a footnote, in four points:

1] Where to find that "obscure" Journal published by Springer, that "it is relatively difficult to find evidence that it exists" -- note the dismissive tone and implicit, agenda-driven slander by H against a decent man and prolific, obviously highly proficient applied scientist. (A web search with Copernic Agent, my preferred search tool, turned this up on the very first page under the title of the article. Worse yet, my search on the title in Goodgle just now turns the Springer Link hit up as THE FIRST HIT. What does that tell us about H's level of research, credibility of claims, or even basic broughtupcy? For shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

2] The paper, if you are willing to part with US$ 32.00

3] A peer-edited presentation of the thermodynamics vs OOL case made by Bradley in one form or another from the 1970s on. [NB: the ASA scan has not been fixed up properly.]

4] Tipler on the perils of peer review, i.e. that it can be captive to an agenda-driven orthodoxy,a nd often suppresses truly breakthrough ideas. (At a more basic level, this also happens at sites like WIki on this subject -- for there are moderators and that system can be and in fact is captive to agenda-driven cliques.)

So, let the reader examine and think for him or her self.

Cheerio

TKI

7:57 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Oops:

Actually, on a closer look, the latest linked Bradley paper is the summary of the same case made in TMLO, and it is in a peer-reviewed [not just peer-edited] journal on the intersection of Science and Christian Faith by the ASA, which would not at all be necessarily a sympathetic audience.

It is significant that TBO chose Bradley to make the case to the journal for Christians in scientific, philosophical and theological fields who often tend to be theistic evolutionists and accomodationists otherwise. [As a body they are most unsympathetic to YEC,a s a scan of the journal's articles across over 50 years can show.]

In short, again, the credibility of Bradley to speak on thermodynamics is underscored,and we observe that again, no-one has risen in this blog thread to address the case on the merits from the other side.

Telling

Cheerio

TKI

4:41 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Dear Onlooker:

Almost a week later, I am still waiting . . .

That should tell you something. Go back to the top of this thread. Look for yourself and see how the fallacy of confident manner has been exposed.

[If you are serious, kindly follow up to my linked page in my consultancy name as used here, and use the links there to communicate with me. I have in hand a so far 146 pp set of excerpts and in the case of the Steiger review, with significant annotations. [He has simply in the main presented an exposition of basic thermodynamics thatunderscores the soundness of TMLO ch 7, then complains that it does not address the full ranfe of answers even as he ducks out before dealing with CHs 8 and 9.] Dialogue is welcome, spam and abuse will be dealt with seriously.]

In short, we can easily enough see where the matter lies on the merits -- as opposed to the rhetoric. [And in fact, that has long been so -- my copy of Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics has a very interesting correspondence from twenty or so years ago on the subject, and the "open systems" bluff was a rhetorical bluff then as it is now. Yes, even the humble YEC leaders were able to see off this particular canard, long since. So, ask your selves why it is still current.]

Cheerio

TKI

9:08 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:18 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

The two posts above were removed because they used a commenters name rather than an alias after I had asked that this should not happen.

8:05 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew

Thank you for intervention in the interests of civility.

As noted in the other thread (in which thread BTW H insists on defying your request), I have continued to suffer a spam surge, one that specifically includes junk intended to draw in mindless creationists of the stereotypical caricatures. I have of course reported them as spam to the relevant authorities. Thankfully I have serious virus and worm etc killing software. But identity theft is a serious issue still. [The ill intent revealed by H's insistent misconduct is telling. So much for the notion of the wonderfully moral and decent atheist/materialist; and this is not at all the first -- or the tenth even -- case in point of my acquaintance . . .]

I am still waiting for a serious engagement on the merits of the thermodynamics issues and also the statistical thermodynamics issues.

In the meanwhile, recent explorations have unearthed this find, from Brillouin a famous C20 physicist and also a faoundational figutre in information theory [his exposition on Maxwell's Demon is a classic . . .]

>> How is it possible to formulate a scientific theory of information? The first requirement is to start from a precise definition. . . . . We consider a problem involving a certain number of possible answers, if we have no special information on the actual situation. When we happen to be in possession of some information on the problem, the number of possible answers is reduced, and complete information may even leave us with only one possible answer. Information is a function of the ratio of the number of possible answers before and after, and we choose a logarithmic law in order to insure additivity of the information contained in independent situations [i.e the Shannon Information measure] . . . .

Physics enters the picture when we discover a remarkable likeness between information and entropy. This similarity was noticed long ago by L. Szilard, in an old paper of 1929, which was the forerunner of the present theory. In this paper, Szilard was really pioneering in the unknown territory which we are now exploring in all directions. He investigated the problem of Maxwell's demon, and this is one of the important subjects discussed in this book. The connection between information and entropy was rediscovered by C. Shannon in a different class of problems, and we devote many chapters to this comparison. We prove that information must be considered as a negative term in the entropy of a system; in short, information is negentropy. The entropy of a physical system has often been described as a measure of randomness in the structure of the system. We can now state this result in a slightly different way:

Every physical system is incompletely defined. We only know the values of some macroscopic variables, and we are unable to specify the exact positions and velocities of all the molecules contained in a system. We have only scanty, partial information on the system, and most of the information on the detailed structure is missing. Entropy measures the lack of information; it gives us the total amount of missing information on the ultramicroscopic structure of the system.

This point of view is defined as the negentropy principle of information [cf. my recently more elaborated discussion here ], and it leads directly to a generalization of the second principle of thermodynamics, since entropy and information must, be discussed together and cannot be treated separately. [THis is the approach TBO used in TMLO, esp Ch 8 as htey defined and used Brillouin Information to lead tot heir estimate ofthe likely conc of just one of hte many biofuncitonal polymers of life on a planet scale reaction system, i.e. the prebiotic soup] This negentropy principle of information will be justified by a variety of examples ranging from theoretical physics to everyday life. The essential point is to show that any observation or experiment made on a physical system automatically results in an increase of the entropy of the laboratory. It is then possible to compare the loss of negentropy (increase of entropy) with the amount of information obtained. The efficiency of an experiment can be defined as the ratio of information obtained to the associated increase in entropy. This efficiency is always smaller than unity, according to the generalized Carnot principle. Examples show that the efficiency can be nearly unity in some special examples, but may also be extremely low in other cases.

This line of discussion is very useful in a comparison of fundamental experiments used in science, more particularly in physics. It leads to a new investigation of the efficiency of different methods of observation, as well as their accuracy and reliability . . . . >>

My overall introductory level discussion, which has been further developed in light of this find, is here.

Onlookers: Interesting isn't it to see how when the issues are on the table on the merits and dismissals are dealt with as red herrings etc, there is a sudden silence on the part of those who wish to imagine that thermodynamics and information issues are irrelevant to the questions of origin of life and macroevolution of life based on nanotechnologies that are complex interlocking information processing and storing systems . . .

Cheerio

TKI

10:59 am  

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