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Entropy of the universe

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icosahedron
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**This thread has been split from here. -Dante**

The entropy of the whole Universe is constant, but the entropy of any part of it is non-decreasing. The difference is in the interactions among the parts. It is an induction with scale, as more encompassing systems can be maintained with less intensive entropy reduction -- less intensive in the sense that the incremental entropy reduction per unit time divided by the total entropy of the system goes to zero in the limit of the whole Universe.

- ico

Edited by Dante
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That is a fallacy, the heat death of the universe. It is predicated on considering Universe as an embedded system, which it is not. Universe is the ever and only, minimum, quintessential perpetual motion machine. Anything within Universe cannot be perpetual without disconnecting from the rest of Universe, which is absurd.

The thought of the universe as the perpetual motion machine, has occurred to me over the last couple of days following this thread.

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That's it, exactly!

I "discovered" this way of thinking from reading R. Buckminster Fuller, but he was not the original. I believe that Boltzmann was the original.

In Boltzman's model, stars decay to dust, and dust collects into stars, rinse and repeat. Perpetual motion.

The only "problem" that this model suffers, from my reading, is that it conflicts with Hubble's expanding universe hypothesis. It also contradicts the Big Bang, but as Hubble is essential to that, I'm not so concerned about that. I call the Big Bang "the ejaculatory theory of creation", and really just find it too absurd to countenance.

But, I don't think that physicists have properly codified the nature of "expansion". As shown in fractal maths, one can add complexity just as well by subdivision[\b] as one can by aggregation. In fact, to a sometime observer not watching the switch, the end result will appear to be the same! But the subdivision picture is nicer because it doesn't lead one to imagine an outside into which Universe could expand (which is my conceptual problem with Hubble as stated, though not with the empirical facts on which he based his hypothesis -- nor with the apparent effect that things get "farther" away -- farther in terms of how many nodes in a graph one must hop to get there.

Start with a line segment. How can you tell the difference between subdividing it, and multiplying it, conceptually? You see, size is relative, conceptually. So the answer is, you can't tell the difference.

What if "distance" refers to the number of discrete hops, and to increase distance you add more hop-nodes by subdividing the connecting segment? So Hubble's expansion could be a telescoping effect. It is actually a pretty cool visual -- Universe is finite and closed, complexity occurs by subdivision.

Okay, enough speculation. But, the idea that Universe is the minimum and only perpetual motion machine holds water. Which is also to say, Ayn's robot IS possible to a point -- we usually call it "universe" or "existence" -- but Existence does not require consciousness, as it need not satisfy any conditionals.

- ico

(edited to change "minimum perpetual motion machine" to "minimum and only perpetual motion machine".)

Edited by icosahedron
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The thought of the universe as the perpetual motion machine, has occurred to me over the last couple of days following this thread.

“Die Energie der Welt ist konstant.” -- Rudolf Clausius

“Die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu." -- also Rudy

"The energy of the Universe is constant" -- lots of folk have repeated this in many ways, and it is an easy extension of Clausius.

"The entropy of the Universe is constant" -- this is, I think, my innovation; I'd be happy to be wrong in that claim, as it would mean there is an interesting person I need to meet and talk to. I can't of course prove it beyond doubt to others, but my buddy and I have been discussing the implications of a Universe of constant entropy for 15 years.

Two big implications:

1) The big bang is wrong

2) Hubble's "expansion" is not expansion per se, because that would imply an increase in entropy (same "gas" in greater volume means greater entropy).

- ico

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"The entropy of the Universe is constant" -- this is, I think, my innovation; I'd be happy to be wrong in that claim, as it would mean there is an interesting person I need to meet and talk to. I can't of course prove it beyond doubt to others, but my buddy and I have been discussing the implications of a Universe of constant entropy for 15 years.

Two big implications:

1) The big bang is wrong...

How, and in what respects, would that imply that the big bang theory is wrong? The basic facts of the big bang theory, namely the fact that the universe used to be in an incredibly hot and condensed state, is well substantiated by the evidence from cosmic background radiation.

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If the Big Bang is correct, then the initial entropy of the Universe was at a minimum, in a quasi-stable "equilibrium" (like a rock teetering on top of a spire, like in the old roadrunner cartoons), which was broken somehow (what caused THAT?), and now entropy is in the process of increasing as Universe expands from a pinprick of minimal entropy to eventual heat death.

But if the entropy is constant, then the current state and initial state have the same entropy (a path-independent state function, so it matters not how we got here, the argument is valid without knowing the intervening states). Contradiction.

As for cosmic background radiation, the physicists are miscounting it, conceptually. I haven't yet tried to, but I am willing to bet there is at least one other model to account this radiation -- a model in which entropy is constant. Time will tell, right now I am more interested in showing that atomic transitions correspond to entropy changes, with the entropy determined as the (logarithm of the) number of ways the atom can retain its observable properties while its parts pirouette. I expect electronic "orbitals" to develop from my description, too.

- ico

Edited by icosahedron
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Wait, I just thought of the essential problem with inferences from background radiation: what if the next batch of radiation, from further out, shows that, whilst our LOCAL region is expanding, a further region is contracting? I know, arbitrary claim on its face, but then, is the induction from the observed expansion back to a single kernel not equally arbitrary, given that the two models would agree on the facts? I doubt the maths are much harder, so Occam won't help here. Why should I choose Big Bang over Boltzmann's Universe?

The keys are Hubble and Heisenberg, I think.

As I have pointed out, the maths of subdivision and aggregation are isomorphic except for one aspect: subdivision does not assume Universe to be embedded in a container, whereas aggregation does. That's my take on Hubble, as I said -- subdivision is simpler, and Occam does help me here.

Heisenberg was correct. But he didn't generalize it far enough. You see, I have discovered that Heisenberg Uncertainty is a function of relative size step-up/step-down resolution, so that any two entities sufficiently disparate in energy will have trouble seeing each other clearly.

Heisenberg effects (quantum fluctuations) are assumed to be the cause of the initial symmetry break, are they not? I may have got that mixed up, so correct me if I am wrong. But Heisenberg applies, according to my logic, only between pairs of entities, and would not exist in the unitary kernel of Big Bang lore.

This is fun, thanks for converting the thread, Dante. Happy to noodle and speculate on this until you are tired.

- ico

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Wait, I just thought of the essential problem with inferences from background radiation: what if the next batch of radiation, from further out, shows that, whilst our LOCAL region is expanding, a further region is contracting? I know, arbitrary claim on its face, but then, is the induction from the observed expansion back to a single kernel not equally arbitrary, given that the two models would agree on the facts? I doubt the maths are much harder, so Occam won't help here. Why should I choose Big Bang over Boltzmann's Universe?

I don't see how you could argue that an induction from the evidence of the CMB back to a dense, hot, earlier universe is on equal footing with a theory that posits that the universe simply has patches of expansion, and we happen to be completely contained within one of these patches. The second theory, as you note, posits an arbitrary phenomenon outside of the observable universe, and I see no corresponding arbitrariness in the first induction. It has nothing to do with the mathematical complexity of modeling either situation.

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If the Big Bang is correct, then the initial entropy of the Universe was at a minimum, in a quasi-stable "equilibrium" (like a rock teetering on top of a spire, like in the old roadrunner cartoons), which was broken somehow (what caused THAT?), and now entropy is in the process of increasing as Universe expands from a pinprick of minimal entropy to eventual heat death.

But if the entropy is constant, then the current state and initial state have the same entropy (a path-independent state function, so it matters not how we got here, the argument is valid without knowing the intervening states). Contradiction.

- ico

According to Penrose and his Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, there is a way to identify the heat "death" of this "aeon" with the minimum entropy "big bang" of the next. On such a view, the Universe is indeed eternal with the "initial singularity" of the current aeon identified as the maximally decayed state of the previous.

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About all I can add to this conversation is some exposure to a clarification made by Harry Binswanger in Selected Topics in the Philosophy of Science where he stated something to the effect that entropy has been usurped by religion and misrepresented for their ends. Essentially it boils down to: that which is most likely to occur, will.

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The entropy gradient does indeed indicate the direction of equilibrium, i.e., what is most likely to occur; but don't forget that, despite its title, Thermodynamics has nothing to do with detailed dynamics of how changes occur. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (non-decreasing entropy) says NOTHING about how fast the transition to equilibrium will occur.

That is not to say that the idea of entropy maximization can't be used in a detailed dynamic context; it just hasn't been done yet. But, if my hunches are correct, then all the energy minimization ideas could be translated whole hog into the lingo of entropy maximization without loss of generality nor applicability, and with (I think) great gain in clarity.

Its not how much iron you have that matters; what matters is how you invest the iron, e.g., to make plows or swords. Just so, energy is not the fundamental issue; how the energy is arrayed to form a useful structure is the issue.

All in my estimation.

- ico

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