Where the dangers presented by those with a little learning are allayed        

Entropy Theory is Goin' Down!

Yes, it's Second Law of Thermodynamics time, again.

Do you have these?  Topics that you have to explain over and over and over again, to different people?  Topics that you are so sick of explaining that you wish you'd never heard of them?

This is one of those, for me.

Last night, I was subjected, yet again, to a lengthy "explanation" of how the universe is a closed system, and entropy yadda yadda fluff fluff bim bam bom.

This time, I just sat schtum, and let him get on with it, but the number of people who pick up one little factoid about entropy (it's less work for me to type "entropy" than "the Second Law of Thermodynamics", so I like it) seems to itself prove the entropy theory i.e. rather than everyone learning more about it, which is hard, it appears that there are hotspots of learning on the subject, from where little bits of learning seep out into comparatively frozen brains.

My Toesies is Coldsies!

One of the two little bits of learning on the subject is, of course, the "universal heat death" thing, where hot things in the universe (if I have to tell you what they are, you're probably on the wrong site) will continue to give off their heat to colder things until everything is the same temperature.

And yes, of course it's utter bollocks.  Suns (whoops!  I went and told you!) don't just "give off" heat, they generate it.  And while it's true that all suns eventually run out of fuel, new suns are being formed all the time which is made all the easier by the heavier elements resulting from the deaths of other suns.

Yes, entropy does state that it's easy to make a colder thing warmer, and difficult to make a hotter thing hotter, but that's where it ends!  The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not state that the universe will die of heat death, where everything is the same temperature!  It's loonies with a little learning who can't understand the bleeding obvious who say that!

I mean, look at it:  Even if the universe did achieve a state where everything was the same temperature (which it can't), all the matter would still be there, and gravity would still work.

That means that lumps of matter would crash into each other, generating heat, and making bigger and bigger lumps of matter until Kawabunga!  Really big lumps collapse into suns, and the sky is suddenly full of stars, again!

So sure, entropy means that energy (e.g. heat) flows down energy gredients (e.g. from hotter things to colder things), but I just wish people would stop picking up this little bit of learning and taking it too damned far!

Death and Decay, and Plenty of It!

This second bit of misused information annoys me even more.

"Like, Man, the universe is slowly breaking down, Man.  It's like decaying away and will end up as mush!  It's chaos, Man!  The universe wants chaos, not order!"


May the Lord protect and preserve us.

... Not from entropy, mind, but from idiots who can allow such perverse and ridiculous thoughts to bounce around in their empty heads unchallenged.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not state that the universe is degrading into a chaotic system.  It says nothing of the kind, because the universe is not degrading into a chaotic system.

In fact, it doesn't take two minutes of rational thought to realise that the exact opposite is true the universe Loves order!  It Loves complicated systems!  It Loves making existing systems even more complicated!

I pretty much covered this in the micro-story A Good Idea (If you're planning on building a time machine, please read that first), but, essentially, what happens is that if the universe manages to find a more complicated (and therefore more ordered and unchaotic) way of doing something, then that way proliferates, and simpler systems are replaced.

Are solar systems more chaotic than dust clouds?

Are mammals more chaotic than amoebas?

"Like Hell!" to both questions.

The universe is not decaying.  That stupid idea has only become popular because we totally unimportant monkeys like to think that we're the most important things in the universe our bodies decline, then stop working and decay, and the universe just has to be a reflection of us, doesn't it?

Sorry, but it ain't so.  Actually, I'm not sorry  It's the universe that would be in a sorry state if it reflected the way we behave.

The universe is evolving; it's constantly moving away from chaos and into the arms of order.

Of course, for evolution to happen, you've got to throw a little chaos into the mix, but that's a different kind of chaos from the "decaying into mush" chaos that the I-don't-know-what-I'm-talking-about-but-I'll-just-keep-talking entropy perverters prattle about; it's the "let's keep randomly tweaking things and see what happens" kinda chaos.

And if the human race dies because the universe decides to evolve in a way that's inhospitable to us: it doesn't matter, because we have no importance whatsoever, 'K?

But, if and when it does change, it will change to something better, more structured, more ordered something far removed from the cosmic mush of the idiocy theorists so it'll be a happy ending, after all.

And Now, the Good News...

I will never again have to discuss this topic with anyone!

I can just open this page on my phone, toss it to them, and tell them to shut up and read it!

And that, Dear Friends, is a really happy ending!

Go back to the Grumpy Old Scribe index page

Go back to the main site

This page is copyright © 2015 by Mark Wallace.  All Rights Reserved.