Medicine vs. 2nd Law of Thermo

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Bones2008

waiting for retirement
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
551
Reaction score
0
Which one's that again?
 

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
I believe it states that every isolated system becomes disordered over time. I don?t understand how medicine violates this. If someone receives any kind of medical treatment they are no longer an isolated system.
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Cowboy DO
I believe it states that every isolated system becomes disordered over time.

Wow I'm surprised an DOer knew what it was.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by doctorcynical
Doesn't medicine go against the second law of thermodynamics?

The human body isnt an isolated system.
 

felipe5

Fingerpickin' Good
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
1,230
Reaction score
4
Originally posted by doctorcynical
Wow I'm surprised an DOer knew what it was.

ouch........welcome back dr. cynical, you have been missed :rolleyes:
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Gleevec
The human body isnt an isolated system.

The universe is an isolated system. Aren't we contributing to the universe. Doesn't the promotion of life contribute to the universe? Life sort of disobeys the overall picture. I might be wrong here Gleevac. Enlighten me.
 

NE_Cornhusker1

12" Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
877
Reaction score
0
the human body [as a system] continually has energy [food/calories] pumped into the system. when the system doesn't get energy pumped into [that is that you're dead] it begins to break down. good luck on stanford ;)
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by doctorcynical
The universe is an isolated system. Aren't we contributing to the universe. Doesn't the promotion of life contribute to the universe? Life sort of disobeys the overall picture. I might be wrong here Gleevac. Enlighten me.

Depends on what kind of entropy you're talking about, you sound like you're talking about logical or philosophical entropy (which has no laws based in physics), as opposed to thermodynamic entropy.

The 2nd law only applies to thermodynamic entropy.

And while indeed human bodies contribute to the universe, the human body itself is not a closed system at all, it has all sorts of inputs and outputs (in the form of matter and energy) that make it an open system, and thus even if we wanted to try to apply the laws of thermodynamic entropy to logical/philosophical entropy we couldnt because the body is an open system relative to the environment.

Closed/open/isolated is all relative anyway, depending on your frame or reference.
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Gleevec
Depends on what kind of entropy you're talking about, you sound like you're talking about logical or philosophical entropy (which has no laws based in physics), as opposed to thermodynamic entropy.

The 2nd law only applies to thermodynamic entropy.

And while indeed human bodies contribute to the universe, the human body itself is not a closed system at all, it has all sorts of inputs and outputs (in the form of matter and energy) that make it an open system, and thus even if we wanted to try to apply the laws of thermodynamic entropy to logical/philosophical entropy we couldnt because the body is an open system relative to the environment.

Closed/open/isolated is all relative anyway, depending on your frame or reference.

Baylor???? What the hell happened to Duke. I was banking on being anatomy partners with you.
 

CalBeE

Full Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2003
Messages
2,062
Reaction score
1
Originally posted by doctorcynical
Wow I'm surprised an DOer knew what it was.

Wow, I'm surprised that someone who couldn't get into Stanford within one week of interview can ask a philosophical question :rolleyes:
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by doctorcynical
Baylor???? What the hell happened to Duke. I was banking on being anatomy partners with you.

Projected tuition costs out of my pocket:
Baylor = $6,200 for four years
Duke = $135,000 for four years
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Gleevec
Baylor = $6,200 for four years
Duke = $135,000 for four years

I suppose you are right. Besides there is not much in Durham, NC.
 
Members don't see this ad :)

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
Complex organisms contribute more to the overall disorder than simple organisms, thus they are selected for because they are actually deceasing the amount of time it will take for the universe to reach disorder. It is argued that natural selection is actually selecting for organisms that use the most energy.

Oh and ill pretend you didnt just make that DO comment.
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Cowboy DO
Complex organisms contribute more to the overall disorder than simple organisms, thus they are selected for because they are actually deceasing the amount of time it will take for the universe to reach disorder. It is argued that natural selection is actually selecting for organisms that use the most energy.

Oh and ill pretend you didnt just make that DO comment.

That is pretty impressive stuff. Did you come up with this?
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by Cowboy DO
Complex organisms contribute more to the overall disorder than simple organisms, thus they are selected for because they are actually deceasing the amount of time it will take for the universe to reach disorder. It is argued that natural selection is actually selecting for organisms that use the most energy.

Oh and ill pretend you didnt just make that DO comment.

Hmm that's interesting. So the universe actually WANTS to die (at least energetically) it seems, based on thermodynamics.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by doctorcynical
I suppose you are right. Besides there is not much in Durham, NC.

Nah, I love Duke, but I dont love it $130,000 more than Baylor (and that's just tuition).
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Do complex organisms that use more energy not use this energy to create order?
 

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
I read something about it when I took my physical chemistry class in college. Fascinating stuff.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by doctorcynical
Do complex organisms that use more energy not use this energy to create order?

Yes, but they use up "ordered energy" and give off heat, or "disordered energy." I think in current physics, heat is considered the most useless (in terms of doing work) form of energy because it is so disordered.

For example, a car uses more energy than a bike (petroleum, highly ordered when combusted), and produces more useless heat than a bike, thus increasing the overall entropy.

Same with organisms. It takes a lot of energy to remain ordered, and thus a lot of the thermodynamic output is disorganized energy in the form of heat.
 

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
Do complex organisms that use more energy not use this energy to create order?

Anytime you do work energy is lost in the form of heat and contributes to disorder. Even if we create something that is seemingly ordered, for example a house, how much fuel and labor when into the building of that house? A house that will eventually be pulled down to the ground by gravity anyway. I don?t know exactly how you would quantify order but some would argue that the order created is < the amount of disorder created.
 

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
I think in current physics, heat is considered the most useless (in terms of doing work) form of energy because it is so disordered.

Yep. The 2nd law of TD also states that one cannot convert heat completely into useful work.
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Cowboy DO
Anytime you do work energy is lost in the form of heat and contributes to disorder. Even if we create something that is seemingly ordered, for example a house, how much fuel and labor when into the building of that house? A house that will eventually be pulled down to the ground by gravity anyway. I don?t know exactly how you would quantify order but some would argue that the order created is < the amount of disorder created.

My question is then. Why are humans fascinated with creating order. e.g. building homes or preserving life. It seems like this is the purpose of life. To defy the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Mathematically it seems we are suppose to lose. And that is when faith comes in....
 

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by doctorcynical
My question is then. Why are humans fascinated with creating order. e.g. building homes or preserving life. It seems like this is the purpose of life. To defy the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Mathematically it seems we are suppose to lose. And that is when faith comes in....


In essence life in general is like a catalyst in a chemical reaction. We dont change the outcome but we make the transition easier/quicker. We make ordered things because we need them to survive, and in trying to survive we hasten our eventual doom. Kinda bleak huh? Remember this is just a theory.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by Cowboy DO
In essence life in general is like a catalyst in a chemical reaction. We dont change the outcome but we make the transition easier/quicker. We make ordered things because we need them to survive, and in trying to survive we hasten our eventual doom. Kinda bleak huh? Remember this is just a theory.

So it seems as if life is nothing more than a struggle against the thermodynamic quicksand we find ourselves trapped in.

Pretty bleak huh? Though there is a good chance some future branch of quantum physics (or whatever else is around in billions of years) will handle that problem when we get to it.
 

Cowboy DO

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
Yeah I have faith that human ingenuity will allow us to handle whatever obstacles come our way. Also this is only slightly related but there is a NOVA special called the elegant universe and its outstanding. In one part they talk about the possiblity of us outliving or universe by hopping over to another one.

Heres the link if you want to watch it. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html
 

doctorcynical

Membership Revoked
Removed
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
392
Reaction score
0
THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE by Brian Greene is amazing. If you guys get the chance read the book. I have also seen the NOVA special and he does an excellent job of dumbing down string theory. I was at my med school interview at UMich and I brought that book to read. My interviewer made a sarcastic crack on the book and I quickly responded with "there is no way in hell I am going to school here." I walked out of my interview and haven't looked back. Although I wish I could get my plane ticket reimbursed.
 

Gleevec

Peter, those are Cheerios
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
4,129
Reaction score
9
Originally posted by doctorcynical
THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE by Brian Greene is amazing. If you guys get the chance read the book. I have also seen the NOVA special and he does an excellent job of dumbing down string theory. I was at my med school interview at UMich and I brought that book to read. My interviewer made a sarcastic crack on the book and I quickly responded with "there is no way in hell I am going to school here." I walked out of my interview and haven't looked back. Although I wish I could get my plane ticket reimbursed.

He came to speak at my ugrad, he's awesome.
 
Top