Georg Hirth

Georg Hirth nsIn hmolscience, Georg Hirth (1841-1916) was a German writer noted for his 1900 Entropy of the Germinal System and Hereditary Enfranchisement, wherein he attempts to tackle the problem of evolution genetics via thermodynamics, e.g. seemingly using human free energy theory, e.g. he has a section on human as a machine and discusses Helmholtz energy in the book, but done so with a tinge of mysticism, as Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1971) surmised.

In 1900, Hirth, in his Entropy of the Germinal System and Hereditary Enfranchisement, introduced the entropy antonym term “ektropy” to denote the principle that opposes the entropy principle of degradation in life-bearing structures. [1] In his work, Hirth speculated on the differences in the modes of energy between the sperm and egg, in the sense that the former represents kinetic energy and the latter potential energy. [4] The term ektropy, as introduced by Hirth, is said to refer to morphic order or generating order or form in ordinary space. [5]

The following is the partial table of contents of Hirth's Entropy of the Germinal System:

#Section (German)Section (English)
12 Spezifsche Enerien Specific energy
16 Energie und MassengesetzEnergy and mass action
18 Die Systemfrage The system question
19Subjektive EmpfindungenSubjective sensations
24Gebunden und freie EnergieBound and free energy
29Freiheitsgrade der EnergyFreedom and energy
31Die lebenden Organismen als energetische SystemeThe living organism of an energy system
34Keimsysteme; energetische EpigenensisGerminal system; and energetic epigenesis
35Epigenetische EnergiformenEpigenetic energyform
38Teleogische Vorurtheile – Der praktische StandpunktTeleogische prejudice - the practical point of view
39Der EntropiebegriffThe Entropiebegriff
40Mayer’s WasserflascheMayer's water bottle
42Warme ist ungeodnet BewegungWarm is ungeodnet Movement
45Weltather und Clausius’sche WeltentropieWeltather and Clausius' Weltentropie
47Es gibt kein streng abgeschlossenes SystemThere is no strictly closed system
48Maxwell’s DamonenMaxwell's demon
49Die Funktionen U, S, FThe functions U, S, F
50Die helmholtz’sche AnmerkungThe Helmholtz Note

The following, to give a taste of Hirth's views, is an example translation of one of Hirth's eight mentions of the term Mensche (man) or "human", in this case Lord of man (pg. 145), i.e. god:

Das Bestreben, ohne Weiteres Alles, was sich der herrschenden sittlichen, Gesellschaftsund Staatsordnung nicht fügen will, als »krankhaft« zu kennzeichnen, wird nicht besser illustrirt als durch die Kulturgeschichte selbst. Mit der Auflösung der Ordnung, der Kulturentropie, stellen sich sofort oder allmählich ähnliche Zustände ein, wie sie die Befreiung einer grösseren Anzahl von Menageriebewohnern mit sich bringen würde. Sogar unsere bissigen Hausthiere verwildern sehr rasch, und die nichtbissigen verlieren alle Haltung. Warum soll gerade der »Herr von Mensch« eine Ausnahme machen? Nur Erziehung, Wohlwollen, Verpflichtung durch Wohlthaten können bewirken, dass in den grossen Massen neben der Furcht auch Liebe zur Kultur und zur Arbeit erwächst. Aber man sollte es sich abgewöhnen, jeden in einzelnen ungezähmten, unerzogenen Naturen stärker sich regenden Raubthierinstinkt als erbliche Belastung zu — brandmarken. Derartige Instinkte sind vielleicht ganz unzertrennlich von einem kraftvollen Menschenthum; wir erkennen sie nur nicht mehr unter der Zwangsjacke der Gesittung und im Rahmen unserer kontradiktorischen Hemmungen.The endeavor readily everything that the ruling moral, social and political order will not add, as "morbidly" to identify is well illustrated no better than by the cultural and religious history. With the dissolution of order, cultural entropy, tune in immediately or gradually conditions similar one, as it would bring the liberation of a large number of residents menagerie with it. Even our snappy domestic animals run wild very quickly, and do not lose all snappy attitude. Why should the "Lord of man" make an exception? Only education, benevolence, commitment by good deeds can cause in large masses in addition to the fear arises also love to culture and from work. But one should wean themselves, each in individual untamed, uneducated natures are more active ligands carnivorous instinct as to heredity - brand. Such instincts are perhaps quite inseparable from a powerful manhood; we recognize not only among the straitjacket of civilization and as part of our adversarial inhibitions.

Hirth’s idea and terminology were taken up by German physicist Felix Auerbach in 1910 in the form of "ectropy". [3]

The majority of Hirth’s work, according to Romanian-born American mathematician and economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, is said to be “pervaded by confusing mysticism”, attributed to the fact that Hirth was not a scientist by trade. [2]

Danish science historian Helge Kragh, in his history of entropy in religion, mentions Hirth in one footnote as follows: [6]

“The name ‘ectropy’ goes back to 1900, when it was introduced by Georg Hirth in the context of biological systems (Hirth, 1900). It became widely known through Felix Auerbach’s Extropismus oder die physikalische Lehre des Lebens (Leipzig, 1910). The mistaken view that the evolution of life forms contradicts the second law continued to play a role during the twentieth century, since the 1960s often in the context of new creationism. Local processes, such as the building up of complicated molecules from simpler ones, can occur even though they involve a decrease in entropy. Because the energy diminishes in such a way that the free energy is lower for the product, they are in full accord with the second law of thermodynamics. For an overview, see: Patterson (1983).”

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1. (a) Hirth, George. (1900). Entropie der Keimsysteme und erbliche Entlastung (Entropy of Germ Systems and Hereditary Discharge (or Entropy of the Germinal System and Hereditary Enfranchisement)) (Mensch (human), 8+ pgs). Munich: G. Hirth’s Verlag.
(b) Entropy – Dictionary of Ideas.
(c) Rifkin, Jeremy. (1989). Entropy: Into the Greenhouse World (pg. 302). Bantam Books.
2. Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. (1971). The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (pgs. 189-90). Harvard University Press.
3. Auerbach, Felix. (1910). Ektropismus und die Physikalische Theorie des Lebens (Ectropy and the Physical Theory of Life). Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.
4. (a) ibid, Hirth (pgs. 89-90).
(b) Bloch, Iwan. (2006). The Sexual Life or Our Time (pgs. 71-72). Kessinger Publishing.
5. Wittbecker, Alan. (2006). Good Forestry: From Good Theories and Good Practices (keyword: ektropy). 3 Muses Books.
6. (a) Patterson, John W. (1983). “Thermodynamics and Evolution”, in: Scientists Confront Creationism (editor: Laurie Godfrey) (§6:99-116). Norton & Co.
(b) Kragh, Helge S. (2008). Entropic Creation: Religious Contexts of Thermodynamics and Cosmology (Hirth, pg. 190). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

External links
‚óŹ Georg Hirth – Wikipedia (German → English).

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