Entropy islands

In animate thermodynamics, entropy islands, or "islands of entropy", are hypothetical regions of ordered life (powered CHNOPS+ matter), defined such that life is representative of localized islands of order in a universe of ever-increasing entropy (disorder); a cybernetics-conceptualized type of energy eddy model of order, in short.

In 1950, Norbert Wiener stated: [1]

“There are local and temporary islands of decreasing entropy in a world in which the entropy as a whole tends to increase, and the existence of these islands enables some of us to assert the existence of progress.”

This logic, however, may have been inspired by the earlier 1947 logic of Belgian-born English thermodynamicist Alfred Ubbelohde who stated that living organisms represent regions of local entropy decrease. [2]

In 1961, Czechoslovakian scientist E. Kollman expressed the following similar view: [3]

“The machine and the living organism seem islands in an ocean of increasing entropy of all macroprocesses on those parts of the universe inhabitable by us, islands where entropy decreases because information is accumulated.”

In 1985, American economist Thomas DeGregory stated: [4]

Life as a whole is definable as an island of negative entropy.”

In 1989, the view had emerged that Erwin Schrodinger had asserted that: [5]

“Living beings are decreasing entropy islands”.

This view, however, is not a word-for-word translation, as Schrodinger never used the term 'island', but instead focused on digestion and his concept of negative entropy being equal to order.

1. Wiener, Norber. (1950). The Human Uses of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society (pg. 36). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
2. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1947). Time and Thermodynamics, (section “Experimental Aspects of the Relation between Thermodynamics and Life”, pgs. 100-05). Oxford University Press.
3. Trincher, Karl S. (1965). Biology and Information: Elements of Biological Thermodynamics (pg. 10). Consultants Bureau.
4. De Gregory, Thomas R. (1985). A Theory of Technology: Continuity and Change in Human Development (entropy + island, pg. 8). Iowa State University Press.
5. Steemers, Theo C. etc. (1990). 2nd European Conference on Architecture (pg. 347). Kluwer.

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